Fall of the Machines: Why Simple Models Work (Disappointingly) Well, and What to Do About It in Politics
Join us for an engaging evening as Professor Arthur Spirling explores the intriguing dynamics between complexity and efficacy in machine learning models within the political landscape. The keynote will be followed by a drinks reception, providing attendees with an excellent opportunity to network with peers, discuss the insights shared by Professor Spirling, and enjoy a selection of refreshments in a relaxed and convivial atmosphere.

Arthur Spirling is the Class of 1987 Professor of Politics . He received a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the London School of Economics, and a master’s degree and PhD from the University of Rochester. Previously, he served on the faculties of Harvard University and New York University.

Spirling’s research centers on quantitative methods for analyzing political behavior, especially institutional development and the use of text-as-data. His work on these subjects has appeared in outlets such as the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science and the Journal of the American Statistical Association. Currently he is active on problems at the intersection of data science and social science, including those related to machine learning, and large language models.

He previously won teaching and mentoring awards at Harvard and NYU, along with the “Emerging Scholar” prize from the Society for Political Methodology.

Dr Nicholas Cole (MA MPhil DPhil Oxf) studies the political thought of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, and is working on a digitial project that looks at the way constitutions and treaties have been negotiated over the last two hundred years.

His particular interests are the influence of classical political thought on America’s first politicians, and the search for a new ‘science of politics’ in post-Independence America. He studied as an undergraduate and graduate at University College, Oxford, and was a Visiting Fellow at the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello. He has held research and teaching positions at St Peter’s College, and within the History Faculty. His doctoral work focused on the use made of classical antiquity by Jefferson’s generation, and he retains a strong interest in the reception of classical antiquity in the modern world, about which he has written extensively. He supervises undergraduate and graduate theses on early American politics and ideology and the history of ideas. He is the also the Director of Quill Project, an innovative initiative dedicated to the exploration and advancement of constitutional history through digital humanities. Utilizing cutting-edge technology, the project aims to reconstruct the complex decision-making processes that have shaped significant historical documents and legislative sessions.
Date: 10 June 2024, 17:00 (Monday, 8th week, Trinity 2024)
Venue: Pembroke College, St Aldates OX1 1DW
Venue Details: Harold Lee Room
Speakers: Professor Arthur Spirling (Princeton University), Dr Nicholas Cole
Organiser: Humeyra Biricik (University of Oxford)
Booking required?: Required
Booking url: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/fall-of-the-machines-why-simple-models-work-disappointingly-well-and-wh-tickets-891683618707?aff=oddtdtcreator
Cost: Free
Audience: Public
Editor: Eleanor Coomber