Why have recent years seen falling standards of living for large segments of people in the industrialized West? Is it the result of declining social cooperation, especially among the elites and increasingly dysfunctional politics? What role does growing economic inequalities in these countries play? And perhaps most pressing, what are the chances that rising instability will lead to open, possibly violent conflict?
Computational Social Sustainability Group (CSS Group) addresses the challenge of proper assessment of these issues in order to trace the dynamics in key social factors and to forecast how they are likely to play out in the coming years. This challenge requires complex and sophisticated analyses and may appear impossible at the scholarly level—given the incredible quantity and size of the data involved, a large number of variables, and the diversity of social well-being measures needed. However, new opportunities for interdisciplinary cooperation, backed by recent advances in data science methods and high-performance computing, provide an opening toward resolution of this important issue that should not be passed up. Our mission is to improve people’s lives in meaningful ways by establishing a new paradigm for forecasting, assessing, and preventing the triggers that diminish social well-being in societies at risk of falling into cycles of instability and conflict.