Post(s) tagged with "complexity"
Batty and Stephen Marshall, The Origins of Complexity Theory in Cities and Planningin Complexity Theories of Cities Have Come of Age (2012) Springer
‘The idea of the planned city as a knowable utopia is a chimera.’
Block by Block is a three-year partnership to support the UN-Habitat’s Sustainable Urban Development Network. The aim is to upgrade 300 public spaces by 2016. The new program grew from a project called Mina Kvarter (My Blocks) that was a collaboration between Mojang and the Swedish Building Services, with similar aims to involve the public in reconstructing neighborhoods.
Why does Minecraft, which also are spreading in schools in Sweden, succeed in getting the attention of people looking for collaboration, simulation and visualization when companies running virtual worlds like Project Entropia or Second Life does not succeed. I think the answer lies in the fact that a tool which bypass the focus on technology and quickly become an invisible tool, an extension to ones mind or limb, have a huge advantage of engaging people. We have seen a similar effect with the explosive adoption rates of the iPhone and the iPad.
The trick of becoming valuable and at the same time invisible, or ubiquituous, seems to be a shortcut to cross Geoffrey Moore’s chasm (Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers ). But why doesn’t more innovators or companies succeed in this? I think in short it has something to do with that our instinctive social behavior. We seem to have a strong tendency to see simpler solutions to be less advanced and less valuable than more complicated or complex ones. This works against simpler solutions and towards increasing complexity. It is basically the same tendency that Joseph Tainter refers to when he talks about how societies collapse due to increased complexity (The Collapse of Complex Societies (New Studies in Archaeology) ), which in turn leads to decreasing ability to change and adopt to a changing environment.
This might be one of the greatest challenges to our species. And unless we are able to play down the urge to constantly increase complexity, we are doomed to build societies and companies that crash due to complexity-induced inabilities to adopt.
We have come to a point where organizations can no longer leave learning to their HR or training departments. Being able to understand emerging situations, see patterns, and co-solve problems are essential business skills. Learning…
Have you ever been thinking that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way economists view the world? One reason is that Economists apply linear and analytical models which simply don’t take into account e g non-linearity, which is exactly what we see around us today. During certain periods the world seems to behave according to linear models and things seems almost predictable, but between those stable periods non-linear or even chaotic phenomena is dominating and linearly created models becomes totally irrelevant.
This video is an interview with Doyne Farmer, a professor doing research complex systems at the Santa Fe institute. In this video he explains his project of making a bottom-up agent-based simulation of the economy.
The really interesting value with agent-based simulations is that they don’t reduce problems into a linear models. On the other hand they require calibration to reality as well as a lot of computer power to simulate the actions of millions of individuals.
What we also must know is that they are not very good at predicting future outcomes. They rather help is to learn about how certain patterns appears and how these patterns have certain emergent results. It is a tool for learning rather than predicting.
One way to understand this is to see the computer as a “macroscope” which helps us zoom in and out from individual behavior to the emergent patterns in order to understand under which circumstances e g collapses and other phenomena happens.
This emerging understanding and research of non-linearity, complexity and chaos have been interesting for scientist from many field for a couple of decades now, almost nothing of it have seems to have been applied to e g econometry. It is really urgent that this happens now and professor Doyne Farmer seems to be the right person to take the first steps towards a new complexity based theory of economics.
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P A Martin Börjesson
To be able to see the future emerge we have to throw a wide net to catch the weak signals. In this tumble I collect things I find valuable for my work as scenario planner, strategist and futurist - for more info about me go to www.futuramb.se.
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