According to Will Knight, writing in the New Scientist, a team of five European research institutes have launched a project to simulate the evolution from (Rousseau's? Hobbes'?) pre-civilized world to our present high culture of shopping and daytime TV.
Known as NEW-TIES, the project will begin with 1,000 (simulated) agents, each with certain Maslowian "needs," and the ability to learn from experience.
The researchers claim this process will allow them to observe the emergence of language, culture, and higher-order social structures.
Personally, I have my doubts. But it does sound more interesting than the latest iteration of Survivor.