GSS provides evidence about global systems. This is essential to track, understand and shape how shocks propagate through the global economic system, or how the shift from “the West” towards South-East Asia and other areas may influence global institutional structures like the international monetary system. Producing evidence is equally important in view of other global systems, from the dynamics of social networks to the worldwide interdependence of cities.
As important as evidence are concepts that help to structure problems, identify phenomena and organize actions. It is of great relevance for the study of global systems in general, as are related concepts of coordination games, network topologies and more.
In the world of computing, an important resource to achieve coordination under “anarchic” conditions is the culture shared by computer occupations, famously summarized in the internet meme: "We reject: kings, presidents, and voting. We believe in: rough consensus and running code."
A key feature of GSS is the combination between computational tools & methods and conversations involving both researchers and practitioners. Why bother about such conversations? Because they can help us keep in mind that computation is but one of many facets of the human condition.
In the GSS synthesis paper, we plant a few seeds for a research program of global systems science. They come in two kinds. First, we discuss global challenges that call for GSS and where GSS holds the promise of making useful contributions in the coming years (as opposed to problems where greater patience will be required). Second, we discuss the role of ICT in this endeavour, again with an emphasis on the near future (as opposed to the long-term development of the industry).