Phil 8.12.2022

Baseball tix!

Social Simulacra: Creating Populated Prototypes for Social Computing Systems

  • Social computing prototypes probe the social behaviors that may arise in an envisioned system design. This prototyping practice is currently limited to recruiting small groups of people. Unfortunately, many challenges do not arise until a system is populated at a larger scale. Can a designer understand how a social system might behave when populated, and make adjustments to the design before the system falls prey to such challenges? We introduce social simulacra, a prototyping technique that generates a breadth of realistic social interactions that may emerge when a social computing system is populated. Social simulacra take as input the designer’s description of a community’s design — goal, rules, and member personas — and produce as output an instance of that design with simulated behavior, including posts, replies, and anti-social behaviors. We demonstrate that social simulacra shift the behaviors that they generate appropriately in response to design changes, and that they enable exploration of “what if?” scenarios where community members or moderators intervene. To power social simulacra, we contribute techniques for prompting a large language model to generate thousands of distinct community members and their social interactions with each other; these techniques are enabled by the observation that large language models’ training data already includes a wide variety of positive and negative behavior on social media platforms. In evaluations, we show that participants are often unable to distinguish social simulacra from actual community behavior and that social computing designers successfully refine their social computing designs when using social simulacra.


  • Submit an abstract by 19 August for the opportunity to participate in MORS’ one-of-a-kind event held at the new IDA Center from 27-29 September! With high-level speakers including Dr. Baruch Fischhoff, Dr. Kristen Kulinowsk, Dr. Michael Ford and Dr. Ryan Barrett, the Emerging Techniques Forum (EFT) is one you will not want to miss this year. All abstracts must be submitted in an unclassified format and 1,500 (including spaces) or less characters without images or videos. If you are submitting an abstract for the classified session, indicate the classification level at the time of submission.
    • Mostly done. Need some additional paperwork filled out. Sent that off as well
  • Prep slides for Sprint review and finish off tasks – done

GPT Agents

  • Deploy updated versions for Chirp
  • Test and validate balanced pull
  • Run balanced and proportional 10,000 tweet pulls for ivermectin and plaxovid
  • Try running Top2Vec on tweets to see what the topic spaces look like
  • Try to get some threads in those two spaces and use those to show trajectories through topics
  • If there are enough intersecting trajectories, then create narrative embedding space
  • Had a good talk with Aaron yesterday about his discord group and how that could be a nice source of maps.
  • Submit KeywordExplorer to Chirp Developer Challenge by Aug 19
    • Content discovery apps
    • Include an App built with the required developer tools and meets the above Project Requirements.
    • Include a text description that should explain the features and functionality of your App.
    • Include a description of which category you are submitting to.
    • Include a link to a fully deployed app. 
    • Provide Twitter handle associated with the developer account.
    • Include a demonstration video of your App. The video portion of the submission:


  • Submitted to U Columbia Press