AI (artificial intelligence) systems shed light on root cause of religious conflict: Humanity is not naturally violent
- Published: Saturday, 08 December 2018 10:37
Artificial intelligencecan help us to better understand the causes of religious violence and to potentially control it, according to a new Oxford University collaboration. The study is one of the first to be published that uses psychologically realistic AI – as opposed to machine learning.
The study published in The Journal for Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, combined computer modelling and cognitive psychology to create an AI system able to mimic human religiosity, allowing them to better understand the conditions, triggers and patterns for religious violence.
The study is built around the question of whether people are naturally violent, or if factors such as religion can cause xenophobic tension and anxiety between different groups, that may or may not lead to violence?
The findings reveal that people are a peaceful species by nature. However, in a wide range of contexts they are willing to endorse violence – particularly when others go against the core beliefs which define their identity.
Although the research focuses on specific historic events, the findings can be applied to any occurrence of religious violence, and used to understand the motivations behind it. Particularly events of radicalized Islam, when people's patriotic identity conflicts with their religions one, e.g. the Boston bombing and’London terror attacks. The team hope that the results can be used to support governments to address and prevent social conflict and terrorism.
Conducted by a cohort of researchers from universities including Oxford, Boston University and the University of Agder, Norway, the paper does not explicitly simulate violence, but, instead focuses on the conditions that enabled two specific periods of xenophobic social anxiety, that then escalated to extreme physical violence.