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Science & Cocktails: Why People do Stupid Things

Science & Cocktails: Why People do Stupid Things

Wednesday 28 October 2020

Wednesday 28 October 2020

In Paradiso - Main Hall

Doors: 19:30, Doors close: 23:00, Support: 17:45, Main programme: 20:30

Students/CJP/Stadspas €5,50
incl. service charge
  • Program is half seated, half standing

The Dutch Government has taken extra measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, this event is postponed until further notice. We hope we can welcome you in Paradiso soon for this programme in a safe way. In cooperation with the artist, we already started looking for a new date for this event.

Ticket buyers who have purchased a ticket directly via our website will receive updates through e-mail. As soon as the final decision has been made whether the event is rescheduled or cancelled, it will be possible to request a voucher or refund. More information will follow through email. In the meantime, your ticket will keep its value. For general information regarding postponements, see www.paradi.so/Ticketinfo.

This is the postponed event of 22 April, which has been moved to Paradiso main hall. Tickets bought for the original date are valid for this date.


Event in English.
19:30 doors open for cocktails
19:45 Nancy Kleurenblind & de Zingende Roadie (live music)
20:30 Gert Jan Hofstede (talk)

Science & Cocktails is a series of public talks by scientists with live music and smoky dry-ice chilled cocktails in your hand. Professor of Artificial Sociality Gert Jan Hofstede talks about his computational models to map and understand how individuals and groups of people act and interact. We people tend to be a bit obsessed with our own intelligence. So why do people collectively do stupid things? Beforehand live music and tasty cocktails to contemplate our collective stupidity. 

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Artificial Sociality: finding out why people do stupid things
Why do people collectively do stupid things? What makes humans social animals? How is human intelligence related to human sociality? What happens when you merge this with computer modelling? Why can it be so useful to model social behaviour and human decision making? How can artificial sociality be used for supporting policy making?
We people tend to be a bit obsessed with our own intelligence. This is certainly true for the fascination about artificial intelligence. There is anxiety and anticipation about what will happen when computers outsmart us. Actually, this has already happened, but that has not stopped us from collectively doing very stupid things, such as destroying the Earth’s climate. How can we be so clever, and have such perfect climate models and weather forecasts, yet fail to cure our collective blunders?

The answer is found, in large part, in human sociality. We are tribal animals, and our intellect bends to our tribal needs. What is sociality, and how new it is in evolutionary sense? It turns out that sociality is hundreds of millions years old, and shapes our behaviours so deeply that it is more a master than a servant to our intelligence.

If we take sociality seriously, this allows us to understand our collective stupidity, and to try and cure it. This helps in particular for policy making about common goods such as the earth, water, and air around us. People and their sociality are always at the core of understanding these ‘socio-something’ systems; yet they tend to be overlooked in policy making.

Professor in Artificial Sociality, Gert Jan Hofstede’s research involves models of human sociality that can be used in so-called agent-based models. Such models are a form of computational models to map and understand how individuals and groups of people (agents) act and interact.
Gert Jan Hofstede refers to these models as living hypotheses, populated with creatures in a simplified world, and we can look at them as we would at an anthill. We can study both the hill and the individual ants. This makes such models very intuitive, and potentially useful as means of communication.

How to include sociality depends on the model. Typical elements make up the acronym GRASP: Groups, ritual, affiliation, status, and power. In this episode, Professor Hofstede will give some examples of how a GRASP – based model can reproduce societal phenomena. The model consists of computational agents that have culture, status and power, and can show us how cultural differences can affect all sorts of dynamics in and between groups. 

Gert Jan Hofstede
Prof. Dr. Ir. Gert Jan Hofstede (1956) has been a globetrotter, a population biologist, a computer programmer. He is a world citizen, son-of, father-of and grandfather. He loves singing, speedskating and acting. At present he is professor of Artificial Sociality at Wageningen University, the Netherlands.

Nancy Kleurenblind & de Zingende Roadie
Nancy Kleurenblind & de Zingende Roadie are a Casio SA-1 keyboard inspired, electro LED-light duo with a throbbing bass. Their extremely catchy pop songs with Dutch lyrics sound like Eefje de Visser and Spinvis got a kid, high on ketamine. 

This event is an initiative by the Dutch Institute for Emergent Phenomena (DIEP) with the support of NWA Route2Science & Cocktails Amsterdam is presented in cooperation with Paradiso and acknowledges the support of New Scientist.

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Main Hall

    Wijland - door Nancy Kleurenblind & De Zingende Roadie

    Wijland - door Nancy Kleurenblind & De Zingende Roadie

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    How to get to Paradiso

    Paradiso is on the Weteringschans 6-8 in Amsterdam. That is very close to Leidseplein. From every part of the city there are trams heading towards Leidseplein. From there on out you can walk to Paradiso. Free and secured underground bike parking is available on the opposite side of Paradiso. Travelling by car is difficult, since there are only a few busy parking lots nearby. 

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