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Human Timelines – IT to the rescue

How can a digital infrastructure help us understand human history and the future? This is an invitation to collaborate and create something new. Welcome to join this hybrid seminar!

Time: 27 April 2023, 14:00–16:00
Location: Room M20, 3rd floor, DSV, Borgarfjordsgatan 12, Kista – or Zoom

Please register your physical/digital attendance by April 24, 2023. A Zoom link will be sent upon request. Physically, we meet at the Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, DSV.

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During the first part of this seminar Magnus Enquist, Professor and Director of the Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution at Stockholm University, will present the Wallenberg funded project “Cultural Evolution in Digital Societies”. This project adopts the novel approach of applying evolutionary analyses to the study of the consequences of Digital Information Technologies (DITs) for individuals and society.

The project aims to answer the question: How do digital information technologies transform cultural evolution, and what are the likely effects on individuals and society? It is an interdisciplinary research effort bringing together epistemology, evolutionary thinking, psychology, social science, and mathematics.

The second part of the seminar will be about the Human Timelines Infrastructure, presented by Peter Søgaard Jørgensen from the Stockholm Resilience Centre. Human Timelines is planned to be an infrastructure to promote explorations of coevolution between human culture and the environment from human prehistory and into the future. It will bring together data from a large body of work, and provide researchers and the public with a friendly, interdisciplinary and informative digital environment.

The project will provide an open digital platform for understanding these dynamics, through visualisation and analysis of data from recent events (modern time), historical events, and events extending into deeper human history (archaeological time). In order to do this, we are seeking collaboration with cutting edge computer scientists to build this digital infrastructure.


Magnus Enquist is Professor of ethology and director of the Centre for Cultural Evolution. His main research is cultural evolution and the human evolutionary transition. He currently leads several research projects in these areas. Magnus has recently written a book about the human evolutionary transition that was published by the Princeton University Press in February 2023.
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Peter Søgaard Jørgensen is an ecologist and evolutionary scientist at the Stockholm Resilience Centre. He is working on topics related to the Anthropocene, the current period where humans are the dominant force driving planetary-scale change. Peter leads an ERC project on cascading consequences emerging infectious disease and agricultural pests, and works on a book.
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DHV Neandertalare 13 oktober 2022

Reconstruction of a Homo neanderthalensis. Photo: ©LDA Sachsen-Anhalt, Juraj Lipták.