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Principled Societies Project

Facilitating Societal Cognition

Science-Driven R&D on New Societal Cognitive Systems

Groups of all sizes, kinds, and formalities, from small local organizations to national political entities, collect and digest information, make predictions, consider options, make decisions, and take actions. In short, groups engage in cognition and as such can usefully be viewed as cognitive agents (i.e., cognitive organisms). Cognition, in any organism, requires a cognitive architecture—the means and mechanics employed to perform cognition. The mission of the Principled Societies Project (PSP) is to support the science-based de novo development and testing of new cognitive architectures that are fit for purpose, especially in the large-group setting. A group cognitive architecture can include norms, rules, mechanisms, institutions, tools, procedures, sensors, and analytic processes. For a society, it can include core societal systems (e.g., governance, economic/financial, legal, education, health, and analytical systems). For example, societies collect and process information and make decisions via an economic system, and these decisions affect the wellbeing of the society.

What does "fit for purpose" mean? The cognitive process of a group can range from highly functional to highly dysfunctional, relative to to the normative purpose of cognition. From an active inference perspective, that purpose is to make accurate predictions and guide behavior in order to reduce the uncertainty of achieving and maintaining wellbeing, broadly defined.