Integrating Equity Considerations into Agent-Based Modeling: A Conceptual Framework and Practical Guidance (2022)
Type of ContentJournal Article
PublisherJournal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation
Advancing equity is a complex challenge for society, science, and policy. Agent-based models are increasingly used as scientific tools to advance understanding of systems, inform decision-making, and share knowledge. Yet, equity has not received due attention within the agent-based modeling (ABM) literature. In this paper, we develop a conceptual framework and provide guidance for integrating equity considerations into ABM research and modeling practice. The framework conceptualizes ABM as interfacing with equity outcomes at two levels (the science-society interface and within the model itself) and the modeler as a filter and lens that projects knowledge between the target system and the model. Within the framework, we outline three complementary, equity-advancing action pathways: (1) engage stakeholders, (2) acknowledge positionality and bias, and (3) assess equity with agent-based models. For Pathway 1, we summarize existing guidance within the participatory modeling literature. For Pathway 2, we introduce the positionality and bias document as a tool to promote modeler and stakeholder reflexivity throughout the modeling process. For Pathway 3, we synthesize a typology of approaches for modeling equity and ffer a set of preliminary suggestions for best practice. By engaging with these action pathways, modelers both reduce the risks of inadvertently perpetuating inequity and harness the opportunities for ABM to play a larger role in creating a more equitable future.
CitationWilliams TG, Brown DG, Guikema SD, Logan TM, Magliocca NR, Müller B, Steger CE Integrating Equity Considerations into Agent-Based Modeling: A Conceptual Framework and Practical Guidance. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation. 25(3).
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KeywordsAgent-Based Model; Fairness; Justice; Reflexivity; Best Practice; Simulation
ANZSRC Fields of Research46 - Information and computing sciences::4602 - Artificial intelligence::460202 - Autonomous agents and multiagent systems
46 - Information and computing sciences::4602 - Artificial intelligence::460207 - Modelling and simulation
44 - Human society::4410 - Sociology::441012 - Sociology of inequalities
50 - Philosophy and religious studies::5001 - Applied ethics::500103 - Ethical use of new technology
40 - Engineering::4010 - Engineering practice and education::401004 - Humanitarian engineering
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