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COMPLEX TIME: Adaptation, Aging, & Arrow of Time

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Population and the Environment: Analytical Demography and Applied Population Ethics/KaarelSikk

From Complex Time

Notes by user Kaarel Sikk (University of Luxembourg) for Population and the Environment: Analytical Demography and Applied Population Ethics

Post-meeting Reflection

As I am working with conceptualizing the formation of human settlement patterns I came searching for the state of art knowledge on socio-ecological processes influencing their formation. Santa Fe and the Institute greeted me with even lot more than expected starting from eclectic societies of art and science in the city to the bold focus on "the most important" backed by art and mathematics in the SFI.

The course on population and environment offered a wide range of bits and pieces related to demographic dynamics, population size, migration, economy and spatial processes all essentially connected to my own study. All those bits and pieces created a confident methodological backgrond that significantly advances my work. Several ideas in the talks and personal exchange with other participants were directly related to my work. The themes of demographic transitions, migrations, ecosystem services gave me a lot of tought food. More philosophical questions asked in population axiology presented paradoxes in maximization in ranking which in addition to ethical inquiry also makes you think on the level of abstraction of models.

Another topic I was secretly pursuing was the projection of long term processes to the future. As my own work is based on archaeological data from the past, envisioning it towards to the future creates a powerful motivator. And I did observe several interesting trends. Although in most parts we were presented analytical aggregate models the reasoning and understanding behind those macro-level processes involves choice. So a somewhat emotional takeaway from the course for me was - if we want to project from the past to the future, we need to conceptualize our models to the level of choice, and even further to the level of agency (and hopefully use agent-based models on the go).

I really thank SFI, all the organizers and participants for the great opportunity.

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