CASUS In-depth SciTalk, Andrei Sontag, University of Bath.

Abstract of the talk// Political decisions are the epitome of how many aspects of our lives are determined by collective decision-making. However, active participation in collective decision-making is often highly variable, with many individuals temporarily abstaining from voting in the face of uncertainty. Whilst memory and noise have been found to aid consensus formation, the role of neutrality in collective decision-making is not well understood, and the level of individual behavioural complexity required for the emergence of group consensus is not well-characterised.

In his talk, Andrei will show that symmetric autonomous systems with neutral intermediate states, such as voters of a two-party system who can abstain, present only two possible dynamical pathways for consensus switching. These predictions have been tested and verified with data from experiments with human participants, providing a parsimonious explanation of consensus formation and change, giving insight into distributed decision-making protocols in animal and human collectives and suggesting efficient solutions to automated collective decision-making problems.

Andrei Sontag will be talking live in Görlitz. However, as the event is organized in a hybrid format that includes a videoconferencing tool by Zoom Inc., people interested in the topic have the chance to also join the talk remotely. Please ask for the login details via