The time is ripe to begin such integration — to use the tremendous computing power we now have to integrate data across these fields to create new models and hence new understanding of the behavior of individuals. The ultimate goal is acquiring the ability to predict the behavior of an individual and, by extension, of groups. Recent advances in brain imaging, neuropsychology, and other sciences of the brain have significantly contributed to our knowledge of brain functioning. Genomics, molecular biology, and contributions from other areas in the life sciences have greatly advanced our knowledge of the human body, its genetic core, and its response to various environmental stimuli. The increasing body of knowledge in the social sciences, combined with the tremendous computing (analysis) power available at affordable prices and new tools for communication and expression, have given us new ways of looking at social relationships such as social network theory, and new ways of understanding different ways of life. Incorporating these advances in a wide range of fields of study into overarching and integrating conceptual models should give us significant insights into human behavior.

Figure B.12 shows two possible trajectories for the development of knowledge. The upper trajectory combines the "two cultures," using technology to leverage the behavioral and social sciences, and leads to a predictive science of behavior. The lower trajectory illustrates improvements in the behavioral and social sciences, with little incorporation of theory and tools from science and technology. It leads to greater descriptive but no predictive capabilities.

Figure B.12. Socio-tech: A qualitatively new science.

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Figure B.12. Socio-tech: A qualitatively new science.

Socio-tech — the accumulation, manipulation, and integration of data from the life, social, and behavioral sciences, using tools and approaches provided by science and technology — will raise our ability to predict behaviors. It will allow us to interdict undesirable behaviors before they cause significant harm to others and to support and encourage behaviors leading to greater social goods.

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