Physics of humans, physics for society

Today, the massive use of information and communication technologies (ICT) has made it possible to attach a traceable set of data to almost any person. We argue that these data provide the opportunity to build a ‘physics of society’: describing a society — composed of many interacting heterogeneous entities (people, businesses, institutions) — as a physical system. While important ethical implications have to be taken into account, the benefits in developing such physics of society would be tremendous. Indeed, it could help understanding, anticipating and forecasting future societal trends and human behavioural responses, and their associated uncertainty; or address societal challenges in which globally networked risks play a role. A case in point is modern epidemiology and its success in predicting the large-scale spreading of infectious diseases.


Physics of humans, physics for society
Guido Caldarelli, Sarah Wolf & Yamir Moreno 
Nature Physics volume 14, page 870 (2018)