Joe Bak-Coleman is a computational social scientist, and an incoming Associate Research Scholar at the Craig Newmark Center for Journalism Ethics and Security at Columbia University. He earned his PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University in 2020, working with Iain Couzin and Dan Rubenstein, and recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Washington Center for an Informed Public. His research focuses on understanding how collectives make decisions in the face of uncertainty. He’s particularly interested in understanding what makes collective decision-making work and how it can go awry. Over the past decade, he has worked on collective decision-making in a range of contexts from animal groups and social media to metascience.
Assembly Fellowship Project:
Tackling the challenges posed by social media through evidence-based policy and intergovernmental agreements depends on consolidating our understanding of technological change at a global scale. Working with RSM Faculty Director James Mickens and other co-authors, Joe Bak-Coleman argued in Nature that an intergovernmental body—similar to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)—is necessary to confront changes to our digital ecosystem.