EP 215 Cody Moser on Inequality and Innovation

Jim talks with Cody Moser about the ideas and findings in his and Paul Smaldino’s paper “Innovation-Facilitating Networks Create Inequality.” They discuss transient diversity, group performance vs the agent level, taking an agent-based modeling approach, Derex & Boyd’s group potion-mixing experiment, no free lunch theorem, random network structures, an inverse correlation between network connectivity & performance, effects of sharing intermediate results, Fisher’s fundamental theorem of natural selection, measuring inequality with the Gini coefficient, higher performance in less equal networks, connected caveman networks, ring networks, Ashby’s good regulator theorem, exploration vs exploitation, randomly allocating lifetime endowed academic chairs to 25-year-olds, institutional design, generative entrenchment, implications for internet platform design, the parochial pyramid, tribalism at the Dunbar number, and much more.
Cody Moser is a PhD student in the Department of Cognitive and Information Sciences. His research examines the origins of individual and institutional behavior where he uses approaches from complex systems and evolutionary dynamics to study collective problem-solving, systems collapse, cultural evolution, and innovation. Before coming to UC Merced, he studied primatology where he worked with capuchin monkeys, dwarf and mouse lemurs, lorises, and aye-ayes. He obtained a B.S. in Anthropology with minors in statistics and biology from Florida State University, a Master’s in Anthropology from Texas A&M University, and worked for two years with The Music Lab in the Harvard Department of Psychology. He is interested in the history and philosophy of science and has written for a number of popular science venues on the applications of research from his field.