Benoit Desmarchelier (Université Lille) 9.5.2024

It is our pleasure that professor Benoit Desmarchelier (Université Lille) will present on Thursday, May 9, 2024, at 12:45 in room RB338 about the topic “Recommender Systems and Social Disintegration: Insights from Agent-Based Modelling“.

Registration is not required and anyone who would like to attend is warmly invited.

It is also possible to participate online via MS Teams. To get access, please, contact

ABSTRACT: There is an ongoing debate about whether recommender systems could produce a social disintegration, that is break the society into separate hubs of homogeneous individuals, with no communication channel between them. The reason behind such a dystopian outcome is that recommender systems would fuel individuals’ homophily. Building on a computer simulation model of knowledge exchange among homophilous agents, we find that a society break does emerge in the case of extreme homophily. While some scholars advocate for a redesign of recommender systems, we rather propose to focus on maximizing people’s opportunities to benefit from serendipity, that is to be confronted with unexpected knowledge, especially in the off-line world, for instance when getting involved into a thrid place, like a public library. Indeed, simulations suggest that extremely homophilous agents can still produce a society-wide network of knowledge exchange when some of their knowledge bits get modified unexpectedly.

BIO: Benoît Desmarchelier is professor in management at the Sorbonne Paris Nord University. Over the years, he held academic positions in economics at the University of Lille (France) and at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (China). His research interests are into organizational learning, collective dynamics (e.g. news spreading or innovation diffusion) and entrepreneurship. Also, he is the editor in chief of the European Review of Service Economics and Management.

Benoit Desmarchelier (Université Lille) 9.5.2024
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