Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute

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pages: 524 words: 120,182

Complexity: A Guided Tour by Melanie Mitchell

Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, Arthur Eddington, Benoit Mandelbrot, bioinformatics, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, clockwork universe, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, dark matter, discrete time, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Henri Poincaré, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John von Neumann, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, Menlo Park, Murray Gell-Mann, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, Norman Macrae, Paul Erdős, peer-to-peer, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, scientific worldview, stem cell, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Turing machine

Left to right: Geoffrey West, Brian Enquist, and James Brown. (Photograph copyright © by Santa Fe Institute. Reprinted with permission.) FIGURE 17.3. Illustration of bronchi, branching structures in the lungs. (Illustration by Patrick Lynch, licensed under Creative Commons [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/].) Enter Geoffrey West, who fit the bill perfectly. West, a theoretical physicist then working at Los Alamos National Laboratory, had the ideal mathematical skills to address the scaling problem. Not only had he already worked on the topic of scaling, albeit in the domain of quantum physics, but he himself had been mulling over the biological scaling problem as well, without knowing very much about biology. Brown and Enquist encountered West at the Santa Fe Institute in the mid-1990s, and the three began to meet weekly at the institute to forge a collaboration.

Their goal was to plot out the founding of a new research institute that would “pursue research on a large number of highly complex and interactive systems which can be properly studied only in an interdisciplinary environment” and “promote a unity of knowledge and a recognition of shared responsibility that will stand in sharp contrast to the present growing polarization of intellectual cultures.” Thus the Santa Fe Institute was created as a center for the study of complex systems. In 1984 I had not yet heard the term complex systems, though these kinds of ideas were already in my head. I was a first-year graduate student in Computer Science at the University of Michigan, where I had come to study artificial intelligence; that is, how to make computers think like people. One of my motivations was, in fact, to understand how people think—how abstract reasoning, emotions, creativity, and even consciousness emerge from trillions of tiny brain cells and their electrical and chemical communications.

It was at that meeting that I first encountered a large group of people obsessed with the same ideas that I had been pondering. I found that they not only had a name for this collection of ideas—complex systems—but that their institute in nearby Santa Fe was exactly the place I wanted to be. I was determined to find a way to get a job there. Persistence, and being in the right place at the right time, eventually won me an invitation to visit the Santa Fe Institute for an entire summer. The summer stretched into a year, and that stretched into additional years. I eventually became one of the institute’s resident faculty. People from many different countries and academic disciplines were there, all exploring different sides of the same question. How do we move beyond the traditional paradigm of reductionism toward a new understanding of seemingly irreducibly complex systems?


pages: 578 words: 168,350

Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies by Geoffrey West

Alfred Russel Wallace, Anton Chekhov, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, British Empire, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, clean water, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, continuous integration, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, dark matter, Deng Xiaoping, double helix, Edward Glaeser, endogenous growth, Ernest Rutherford, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Frank Gehry, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Guggenheim Bilbao, housing crisis, Index librorum prohibitorum, invention of agriculture, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, laissez-faire capitalism, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, Marchetti’s constant, Masdar, megacity, Murano, Venice glass, Murray Gell-Mann, New Urbanism, Peter Thiel, profit motive, publish or perish, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Florida, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, urban renewal, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, wikimedia commons, working poor

Like all grand syntheses, these will almost certainly remain incomplete, and very likely unattainable, but they will nevertheless inspire significant, possibly revolutionary new ideas, concepts, and techniques with implications for how we move forward and whether what we have thus far achieved can survive. 2. TRANSDISCIPLINARITY, COMPLEX SYSTEMS, AND THE SANTA FE INSTITUTE Although such a vision may not be explicitly articulated in such grandiose terms, it does encapsulate what the Santa Fe Institute was founded to address. It’s a remarkable place. Maybe not everybody’s cup of tea, but for many of us who still harbor a naive, possibly romantic image of wanting to be part of an eclectic community of scholars searching for “truth and beauty”—and having been disappointed that we didn’t find it in a classic university setting—SFI comes the nearest we’re likely to get to realizing it.

TOWARD A SCIENCE OF COMPANIES Is Walmart a Scaled-Up Big Joe’s Lumber and Google a Great Big Bear? • The Myth of Open-Ended Growth • The Surprising Simplicity of Company Mortality • Requiescant in Pace • Why Companies Die, but Cities Don’t 10. THE VISION OF A GRAND UNIFIED THEORY OF SUSTAINABILITY Accelerating Treadmills, Cycles of Innovation, and Finite Time Singularities Afterword Science for the Twenty-first Century • Transdisciplinarity, Complex Systems, and the Santa Fe Institute • Big Data: Paradigm 4.0 or Just 3.1? Postscript and Acknowledgments Notes Index List of Illustrations About the Author 1 THE BIG PICTURE 1. INTRODUCTION, OVERVIEW, AND SUMMARY Life is probably the most complex and diverse phenomenon in the universe, manifesting an extraordinary variety of forms, functions, and behaviors over an enormous range of scales.

In between, I will touch upon Superman, LSD and drug dosages, body mass indices, ship disasters and the origin of modeling theory, and how all of these are related to the origins and nature of innovation and limits to growth. Above all, I want to use these examples to convey the conceptual power of thinking quantitatively in terms of scale. 1. FROM GODZILLA TO GALILEO From time to time, like many scientists I receive requests from journalists asking for an interview, usually about some question or problem related to cities, urbanization, the environment, sustainability, complexity, the Santa Fe Institute, or occasionally even about the Higgs particle. Imagine my surprise, then, when I was contacted by a journalist from the magazine Popular Mechanics informing me that Hollywood was going to release a new blockbuster version of the classic Japanese film Godzilla and that she was interested in getting my views on it. You may recall that Godzilla is an enormous monster that mostly roams around cities (Tokyo, in the original 1954 version) causing destruction and havoc while terrorizing the populace.


pages: 379 words: 113,656

Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age by Duncan J. Watts

Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, business process, corporate governance, Drosophila, Erdős number, experimental subject, fixed income, Frank Gehry, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, industrial cluster, invisible hand, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, Milgram experiment, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Murray Gell-Mann, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Paul Erdős, peer-to-peer, rolodex, Ronald Coase, scientific worldview, Silicon Valley, supply-chain management, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Toyota Production System, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, Vilfredo Pareto, Y2K

One of them, the brother of another Cornell student, was visiting from Harvard. After listening to me for a while, he mentioned that his friend Peter would be really interested in this stuff, and that he had come to MIT to work with this guy—Steve somebody—who had jumped ship to Cornell. “That’s my adviser,” I said, and there it rested again, until over two years later, at the Santa Fe Institute. One day my office mate, Geoffrey West, a distinguished physicist and expatriate Brit, mentioned that he was inviting “one of your fellow countrymen” from MIT to recruit him for a postdoc position. “Oh,” I said, “let me guess…his name’s Peter, right?” Sure enough. And that’s when I finally met Peter. He didn’t take the job, however, preferring to stay on at MIT to work with his Ph.D. adviser, Dan Rothman (who, you will not be surprised to learn, was a friend of Steve’s).

Gueorgi Kossinets provided invaluable assistance in preparing the many figures, and Mary Babcock did a fantastically thorough job of copy editing. At a more general level, I am deeply grateful to a number of people at Columbia University—Peter Bearman, Mike Crowe, Chris Scholz, and David Stark—as well as Murray Gell-Mann, Ellen Goldberg, and Erica Jen at the Santa Fe Institute and Andrew Lo at MIT for giving me the freedom and support to pursue my selfish interests, even sometimes at questionable benefit to their own. The National Science Foundation (under grant 0094162), Intel Corporation, the Santa Fe Institute, and the Columbia Earth Institute have provided critical financial support to my teaching and research, as well as to a series of seminal workshops in Santa Fe and New York, out of which numerous collaborations and projects have sprung. But among the multitude of influences, both institutional and personal, from which I have benefited, there are two who stand out.

A more contemporary version is Sornette, D. Critical Phenomena in Natural Sciences (Springer, Berlin, 2000). A detailed discussion of spin systems and phase transitions is given in Palmer, R. Broken ergodicity. In Stein, D. L. (ed.), Lectures in the Sciences of Complexity, vol. I, Santa Fe Institute Studies in the Sciences of Complexity (Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA, 1989), pp. 275–300. Stein, D. L. Disordered systems: Mostly spin systems. In Stein, D. L. (ed.), Lectures in the Sciences of Complexity, vol. I, Santa Fe Institute Studies in the Sciences of Complexity (Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA, 1989), pp. 301–354. If one actually wants to do work in this field, a useful text is Newman, M. E. J., and Barkema, G. T. Monte Carlo Methods for Statistical Physics (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1999). And finally, a very accessible text that uses simple computer models to explain many of the central concepts of nonlinear dynamics and critical phenomena is Flake, G.


pages: 501 words: 114,888

The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler

Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, blood diamonds, Burning Man, call centre, cashless society, Charles Lindbergh, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, computer vision, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Dean Kamen, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, digital twin, disruptive innovation, Edward Glaeser, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, experimental economics, food miles, game design, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, gig economy, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hive mind, housing crisis, Hyperloop, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late fees, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, loss aversion, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mary Lou Jepsen, mass immigration, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, mobile money, multiplanetary species, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, out of africa, packet switching, peer-to-peer lending, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, QR code, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart contracts, smart grid, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supercomputer in your pocket, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, X Prize

These egalitarian establishments drew people from all walks of life, allowing novel notions to meet and mingle and “have sex,” as author Matt Ridley famously wrote. By becoming a hub for information sharing—a network—coffee shops were foundational in driving progress forward. Not surprisingly, we see similar network effects in cities, which are essentially coffee shops writ large. Two-thirds of all growth takes place in urban environments because population density leads to the cross-pollination of ideas. This is why Santa Fe Institute physicist Geoffrey West discovered that doubling the size of a city produces a 15 percent increase in income, wealth, and innovation (as measured by the number of new patents). But just as the coffeehouse pales in comparison to the city; so does the city pale in comparison to the globe. In 2010, roughly one-quarter of the Earth’s population, some 1.8 billion people, were connected to the internet. By 2017, that penetration had reached 3.8 billion people, or about half the globe.

They found the same pattern: more people, more productivity. London and Paris, for example, are significantly more productive than the rest of Britain and France. In America, our hundred largest cities are 20 percent more productive than all others. In Uganda, urban workers are 60 percent more productive than rural ones. Shenzhen’s GDP, meanwhile, is three times larger than the rest of China. Density also drives innovation. Santa Fe Institute physicist Geoffrey West discovered that every time the population of a city doubles, its rate of innovation, as measured in number of patents, increases by 15 percent. In fact, in West’s research, no matter the city studied, as population density increases, so do wages, GDP, and quality-of-life factors like the number of theaters and restaurants. And, as cities grow, they require less, not more, resources.

See: http://money.cnn.com/2015/06/03/technology/ray-kurzweil-predictions/. 86 percent success rate: Dominic Basulto, “Why Ray Kurzweil’s Predictions Are Right 86% of the Time,” Big Think, December 13, 2012. See: https://bigthink.com/endless-innovation/why-ray-kurzweils-predictions-are-right-86-of-the-time. Force #5: Communications Abundance as author Matt Ridley: Matt Ridley, Rational Optimist (HarperCollins, 2010), p. 1. Santa Fe Institute physicist Geoffrey West: West wrote a great piece on all this work for Medium. Find it here: https://medium.com/sfi-30-foundations-frontiers/scaling-the-surprising-mathematics-of-life-and-civilization-49ee18640a8. roughly one-quarter of the Earth’s population, some 1.8 billion people, were connected to the internet. By 2017, that penetration had reached 3.8 billion people: “Individuals Using the Internet (% of population),” World Bank.


pages: 297 words: 77,362

The Nature of Technology by W. Brian Arthur

Andrew Wiles, business process, cognitive dissonance, computer age, creative destruction, double helix, endogenous growth, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, haute cuisine, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, locking in a profit, Mars Rover, means of production, Myron Scholes, railway mania, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, sorting algorithm, speech recognition, technological singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

Autonomous Technology. MIT Press, Cambridge. 1977. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This project has grown, rather haphazardly, over several years. It was initially supported by Ernesto Illy, grew into the Stanislaw Ulam Lectures at the Santa Fe Institute in 1998 and the Cairnes Lectures at the National University of Ireland, Galway, in 2000, and in 2001 began to take shape as a book. I thank my home institutions, the Santa Fe Institute and the Intelligent Systems Lab at PARC, for providing refuge during the research and writing, and my colleagues at both places, in particular, Geoffrey West and Markus Fromherz. The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria hosted me as Institute Scholar through parts of the writing; and IBM Almaden provided partial support as a Faculty Fellow. I am grateful to St.

Later it came to me that a great deal more of the world emerges from its technologies than from its wars and treaties, and historians are naturally interested in how the world has formed itself. They are therefore interested in how technologies come into being. This book is an argument about what technology is and how it evolves. It grew out of two sets of lectures I gave: the 1998 Stanislaw Ulam Memorial Lectures at the Santa Fe Institute on “Digitization and the Economy”; and the Cairnes Lectures in 2000 at the National University of Ireland, Galway, on “High Technology and the Economy.” It uses material from both series, but builds largely from the Cairnes ones. I have had to make some decisions in the writing of this book. For one, I decided to write it in plain English (or what I hope is plain English). I am a theorist by profession and nature, so I have to admit this has caused me some horror.

Because I write a book on technology, the reader should not take it that I am particularly in favor of technology. Oncologists may write about cancer, but that does not mean they wish it upon people. I am skeptical about technology, and about its consequences. But I have to admit some things. I have a passion for science and I am enthralled by the magic of technology. And I confess a fondness for aircraft. And for old-fashioned radio electronics. W. Brian Arthur Santa Fe Institute, New Mexico; and Intelligent Systems Laboratory, PARC, Palo Alto, California. 1 QUESTIONS I have many attitudes to technology. I use it and take it for granted. I enjoy it and occasionally am frustrated by it. And I am vaguely suspicious of what it is doing to our lives. But I am also caught up by a wonderment at technology, a wonderment at what we humans have created. Recently researchers at the University of Pittsburgh developed a technology that allows a monkey with tiny electrodes implanted in its brain to control a mechanical arm.


pages: 325 words: 73,035

Who's Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life by Richard Florida

active measures, assortative mating, barriers to entry, big-box store, blue-collar work, borderless world, BRICs, business climate, Celebration, Florida, correlation coefficient, creative destruction, dark matter, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic transition, edge city, Edward Glaeser, epigenetics, extreme commuting, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, happiness index / gross national happiness, high net worth, income inequality, industrial cluster, invention of the telegraph, Jane Jacobs, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, megacity, new economy, New Urbanism, Peter Calthorpe, place-making, post-work, Richard Florida, risk tolerance, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Seaside, Florida, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, superstar cities, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, urban planning, World Values Survey, young professional

But what about the inevitable drawbacks and obstacles to city growth? Traffic congestion, rising crime rates, and unaffordable housing are all predictable by-products of city life that pose significant barriers to a city’s future development. Although seemingly such diseconomies could kill a city, compelling research suggests otherwise. According to a multidisciplinary team of researchers led by Geoffrey West of the Santa Fe Institute, large cities and megaregions possess a basic mechanism by which they transcend such limitations.7 Any scientist will tell you that the metabolic rate of biological organisms—the rate at which living things convert food into energy—slows as organisms increase in size. The Santa Fe team wondered whether cities and megaregions might function in a similar way. Do their “metabolisms” increase as their population and therefore their productivity and innovation grow?

What makes it advantageous for people who do the same type of work to live near each other—software engineers in Silicon Valley, investment bankers and fashion designers in New York and London, entertainment moguls, actors, and directors in L.A.—is not just that the industries and the companies are there. The companies are there because people can plug into the existing cluster, increase their overall productivity, and make good money. Or as the Santa Fe Institute researchers have found, these larger cities and larger clusters have to generate faster and faster rates of urban metabolism to keep up. The productivity gains brought on by clustering of work is creating a new and more specialized geography of work in the United States and around the world, as jobs and employment opportunities sort into a regional hierarchy by city and location. Making the Scene The physical proximity inherent in clustering provides ample face-to-face communication, information sharing, and teaming required to innovate and improve productivity.

Rooted economic factors for reasons for staying of Roth, Philip Rothfield, Lawrence Rotman School of Management Rotterdam Rural settings, urban settings v. Russia Rutgers College Ryan, Rebecca Sachs, Jeffrey Sacramento Safety/security(fig.) family and Salt Lake City San Antonio San Diego San Francisco (fig.) San Francisco Bay Area San Jose Sanchez, Matt Sansom, Liva Santa Fe Institute São Paulo Sapporo(fig.) Saxenian, AnnaLee Scandinavia Scenes Schumpeter, Joseph Schwartz, Christine Scientific discovery, clustering of (fig.) Seaside, Florida Seattle Seemel, Gwenn Selective migration Self-actualization openness and Self-esteem Self-expression Seligman, Martin Sense of self Seoul Seoul-San(fig.) September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks Service sector growing job markets and India and Sex and the City (Edlund) Sex and the City (television series) Sex Pistols Shanghai (fig.)


pages: 385 words: 118,314

Cities Are Good for You: The Genius of the Metropolis by Leo Hollis

Airbnb, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, Broken windows theory, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, cellular automata, clean water, cloud computing, complexity theory, congestion charging, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Deng Xiaoping, digital map, East Village, Edward Glaeser, Enrique Peñalosa, Firefox, Frank Gehry, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Gini coefficient, Google Earth, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, Hernando de Soto, housing crisis, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Masdar, mass immigration, megacity, negative equity, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, openstreetmap, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, place-making, Ray Oldenburg, Richard Florida, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, spice trade, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Good Place, the High Line, The Spirit Level, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, trade route, traveling salesman, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, Y2K, Yom Kippur War

While many involved felt that this was an opportunity to use art and culture to cross borders, it is difficult not to believe that its primary purpose is not so much creativity as tourist dollars; Saadiyat includes plots for a Hyatt Hotel, a Monte Carlo Club, the Mandarin Oriental and St Regis beach villas; as Barry Lord, one of the developers noted: ‘Cultural tourists are wealthier, older, more educated and spend more. From an economic view, this makes sense.’4 It might make sense, and has clearly worked in Bilbao, but this is not the only way to define a creative city, nor does it truly tell us why they will become so important in the future. Recall Geoffrey West’s study into the metabolism of the city. Gathering together all possible data on the urban world, West and his team at the Santa Fe Institute discovered that cities display a superlinear power law when it came to size and output. Thus the city that grows by, say, ten times does not just improve its performance by ten but by sixteen times its original. This was, they proposed, true of the city’s economic power, energy efficiency, even crime rate and levels of disease; surprisingly, it is also true for the city’s creativity: ‘wages, income, domestic product, bank deposits, as well as rates of invention, measured by new patents and employment in creative sectors all scale superlinearly with city size’.5 Thus, the complex interweave of connections and people, the agglomeration of knowledge and ideas, is an amazing incubator of innovation.

It also shows that a larger animal is likely to live longer than a small one: for while most animals die at between 1–2 billion heartbeats, a chicken heart beats 300 times a minute, an elephant’s only 30 times. Kleiber found a direct relationship between size and life expectation. In his research West refined Kleiber’s original laws and attempted to find out why they worked. In 2005 West was named president of the Santa Fe Institute, the mecca of study in Complexity Theory, set up in the 1980s to explore the connections between physics, mathematics, computation and evolutionary biology (the institute is so multidisciplinary that even the novelist Cormac McCarthy has a desk in the facility). There, West turned his focus on the nature of cities, perhaps the greatest self-organising organism of all; the results would gain him the honour of being named one of Time magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People in the World’.

Similarly, although New York emits 1 per cent of all the greenhouse gases of the US (which taken as a single figure seems enormous), this figure is incredibly efficient when you take into account the fact that the city contains 2.7 per cent of the entire population. One way to explain this unexpected efficiency is to return to Geoffrey West’s model for the metabolism of the city. As he showed, when a city doubles in size, there is a scaling of efficiencies. This means that as more people come to live in the metropolis they share services and resources; thus as a city doubles in population size, it only needs to increase its carbon footprint by 85 per cent, including everything from heating and housing to the number of petrol stations; representing an energy saving of 15 per cent. As the metropolis grows it becomes more energy efficient, not less. Indeed, in one interview Geoffrey West went so far as to state: ‘The secret to creating a more environmentally sustainable society is making our cities bigger.


pages: 118 words: 35,663

Smart Machines: IBM's Watson and the Era of Cognitive Computing (Columbia Business School Publishing) by John E. Kelly Iii

AI winter, call centre, carbon footprint, crowdsourcing, demand response, discovery of DNA, disruptive innovation, Erik Brynjolfsson, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, global supply chain, Internet of things, John von Neumann, Mars Rover, natural language processing, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, planetary scale, RAND corporation, RFID, Richard Feynman, smart grid, smart meter, speech recognition, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

The urban center is where the dreamers, planners, engineers, builders, social activists, and artists congregate. The more diverse groups of people interact with one another, the more likely it is that new ideas will germinate and take root. This charged mixture, along with bold leadership and new technology, could lead to a global renaissance for cities, which could grow not just bigger but better. According to Geoffrey West of the Santa Fe Institute, cities are the sources of our problems but also can be the sources of our solutions. In order to achieve that goal, however, “we desperately need a serious scientific theory of cities,” Geoffrey said at a Ted Talk in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 2011.3 What would a scientific theory of cities look like? IBMers who study cities describe it as a large set of structures, patterns, and processes that provide a formal, quantitative approach to understanding the complex systems of cities of all sizes.

Jonathan Mahler, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005). 2. United Nations Department of Urban and Social Affairs, “World Urbanization Prospects: The 2007 Revision,” executive summary, February 2008, http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/wup2007/2007WUP_ExecSum_web.pdf. 3. Geoffrey West, TED Talk, Edinburgh, Scotland, 2011, video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyCY6mjWOPc. 4. “Fighting Terrorism in New York City,” 60 Minutes, CBS television, September 25, 2011. 5. Paul Maglio, IBM Research, interview, July 6, 2012. 6. Arizona State University, “Study Maps Greenhouse Gas Emissions to Building, Street Level for U.S. Cities,” press release, October 9, 2012, https://asunews.asu.edu/20121009_Hestia. 7.


pages: 395 words: 116,675

The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge by Matt Ridley

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, AltaVista, altcoin, anthropic principle, anti-communist, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Boris Johnson, British Empire, Broken windows theory, Columbian Exchange, computer age, Corn Laws, cosmological constant, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of DNA, Donald Davies, double helix, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Snowden, endogenous growth, epigenetics, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, falling living standards, Ferguson, Missouri, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, George Santayana, Gunnar Myrdal, Henri Poincaré, hydraulic fracturing, imperial preference, income per capita, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, land reform, Lao Tzu, long peace, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, Necker cube, obamacare, out of africa, packet switching, peer-to-peer, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, price mechanism, profit motive, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Feynman, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, smart contracts, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, twin studies, uber lyft, women in the workforce

There is also a consistent 15 per cent saving on infrastructure cost per head for every doubling of a city’s population size. The opposite is true of economic growth and innovation – the bigger the city, the faster these increase. Doubling the size of a city boosts income, wealth, number of patents, number of universities, number of creative people, all by approximately 15 per cent, regardless of where the city is. The scaling is, in the jargon, ‘superlinear’. Geoffrey West of the Santa Fe Institute, who discovered this phenomenon, calls cities ‘supercreative’. They generate a disproportionate share of human innovation; and the bigger they are, the more they generate. The reason for this is clear, at least in outline. Human beings innovate by combining and recombining ideas, and the larger and denser the network, the more innovation occurs. Once again, notice that this is not policy.

In practice, inventions rarely run late. They turn up at just the moment in history when it makes most sense that they do so. The first laptop, in 1982, came when computers had at last got small enough not to crush your knees through the floor. The sea fashions boats Kevin Kelly’s 2010 book is not the only one in recent years that has begun to describe technology in evolutionary terms. In 2009 Brian Arthur of the Santa Fe Institute published a book called The Nature of Technology: What it is and How it Evolves, in which he concluded ‘that novel technologies arise by combination of existing technologies and that (therefore) existing technologies beget further technologies . . . we can say that technology creates itself out of itself’. He saw explicitly Darwinian themes in the steady accumulation of beneficial innovations within the progress of technology.

(with Paul Paddock) 207 Page, Larry 188 Pagel, Mark 80, 81–2 Pakistan 32, 206 Paley, William 38–9, 41–2, 51 Panama 286 Paris 102, 121, 254 Park, Walter 139 Parris, Matthew 303 Parys Mine Company, Anglesey 278 Pascal, Blaise 273 Paul, Senator Rand 241 Paul, Ron 114, 285, 292, 295 Paul, St (Saul of Tarsus) 8, 258, 264 Pauling, Linus 121 Pax Romana 239 Peace High School, Hyderabad (India) 181 Peel, Robert 246, 283–4 Peer-to-Peer Foundation 308 Peninsular War 280 People’s Printing Press 288 personality: and the blank slate 156–7, 158–9; and genes 159, 160–2; and homicide 169–71; innateness of behaviour 157–8; intelligence from within 165–7; non-genetic differences 162–5; and parenting 159–60, 161–2; and sexual attraction 172–3; and sexuality 167–9 Peterloo massacre (1819) 245 Pfister, Christian 276 Philippe, duc d’Orléans 286 Philippines 190 Philips, Emo 140 Philostratus 258 Phoenicia 101 Pinker, Steven 28, 30, 31–3, 172–3; The Better Angels of Our Nature 28–9 Pinnacle Technologies 136 Pitt-Rivers, Augustus 127 Pixar 124 Planned Parenthood Foundation 204 Plath, Robert 126 Plato 7, 11 Plomin, Robert 165, 167 Poincaré, Henri 18, 121 Polanyi, Karl 133 Polanyi, Michael 253 politics 314–16 Poor Law (1834) 195 Pope, Alexander 15 Popper, Karl 253; ‘Conjectures and Refutations’ 269 Population: American eugenics 200–3; control and sterilisation 205–8; and eugenics 197–9; impact of Green Revolution 208–10; Irish application of Malthusian doctrines 195–7; Malthusian theory 193, 194–5; and one-child policy 210–14; post-war eugenics 203–5 Population Crisis Committee 206 Portugal, Portuguese 134 Pottinger, Sir Harry 233 ‘Primer for Development’ (UN, 1951) 232 Prince, Thomas 242 Pritchett, Lant 179–80; The Rebirth of Education 176 Procter & Gamble 130 Proudhon, Pierre-Joseph 194–5 Prussia 176 Psychological Review 159 Putin, Vladimir 305 ‘The Puzzle of Monogamous Marriage’ (Henrich, Boyd & Richerson) 89 Pythagoras 85 Pythagorism 259 Qian XingZhong 213 Quesnay, François 98 Raines, Franklin 292 Ramsay, John 25 RAND Corporation 206, 300 Ravenholt, Reimert 206 Ray Smith, Alvy 124 Reagan, Ronald 254, 290 Red Sea 82 Reed, Leonard 43 Reformation 216, 220 religion: and climate change/global warming 271–6; and cult of cereology (crop circles) 264–6; existence of God 14–15; heretics and heresies 141–2; as human impulse 256–8; predictability of gods 259–60; and the prophet 260–3; temptations of superstition 266–8; variety of beliefs 257–8; vital delusions 268–71 Renaissance 220 Ricardo, David 104–5, 106, 246 Richardson, Samuel 88 Richerson, Pete 78, 89 Ridley, Matt, The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves 110–11, 126–7 Rio de Janeiro 92 Roberts, Russ 4 Robinson, James 97–8 Rockefeller Foundation 229, 230–1 Rodriguez, Joã 47–8 Rodrik, Dani 228 Rome 257, 259, 260 Romer, Paul 109 Roosevelt, Franklin Delano 251 Roosevelt, Theodore 197 Rothbard, Murray 243 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques 165, 216 Rowling, J.K. 122 Royal Bank 281 Royal Mint 278, 279 Royal Navy 297 Royal United Services Institution 198 Rudin, Ernst 202 Rufer, Chris 226 Runciman, Garry, Very Different, But Much the Same 94 Rusk, Dean 206–7 Russell, Lord John 195 Russia 119, 204, 227–8, 250, 303 Russian Revolution 318 Sadow, Bernard 126 Safaricom 296 St Louis (ship) 202–3 St Maaz School, Hyderabad (India) 181 Salk Institute, California 67 San Marco, Venice 53 Sandia National Laboratory 136 Sanger, Margaret 201, 204 Santa Fe Institute 93, 126 Santayana, George 10 Sapienza, Carmen 67 Satoshi Nakamoto 307–8, 309–10, 312 Schiller, Friedrich 248 Schmidt, Albrecht 222 Schumpeter, Joseph 106, 128, 251; Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy 106–7; Theory of Economic Development 106 science: as driver of innovation 133–7; as private good 137–9; pseudo-science 269 Science (journal) 70 Scientology 263 Scopes, John 49 Scotland 17, 280–2, 286 Scott, Sir Peter 211 Scott, Sir Walter (‘Malachi Malagrowther’) 283 Second International Congress of Eugenics 200 Second World War 105, 138, 203, 231, 252, 254, 318 Self-Management Institute 226 Selgin, George 297; Good Money 279, 280 Shade, John 188 Shakespeare, William 15, 131, 216, 224 Shanker, Albert 180 Shaw, George Bernard 197 Shaw, Marilyn 155–6 Shelley, Mary, Frankenstein 16 Shelley, Percy 16 Shockley, William 119 Shogun Japanese 130 Sierra Club 204 Silk Road 311–12 Silvester, David 274 Simon, Julian 209 Singapore 190 Sistine Chapel, Rome 256 Skarbek, David, The Social Order of the Underworld 237–8 Skinner, B.F. 156, 267–8 Skirving, William 244 skyhooks 7, 13, 14, 18, 65, 67, 71, 150, 267 Slumdog Millionaire (film, 2008) 185 Smith, Adam 3, 20, 21, 22–7, 28, 33, 110, 112, 117, 234, 243, 244, 246, 249; The Theory of Moral Sentiments 23–4, 27, 28, 37–8, 98; The Wealth of Nations 24, 38, 98–100, 103–4, 137 Smith, John Maynard 53 Smith, Joseph 263, 264, 266 Smithism 110 Snowden, Edward 303 SOLE (self-organised learning environment) 186 Solow, Robert 108, 137 Somalia 32 Song, Chinese dynasty 101 Song Jian 210–11, 212–13 South America 247 South Korea 125, 190, 229 South Sea Bubble (1720) 285, 294 South Sudan 32 Soviet-Harvard illusion 3 Soviet Union 114, 122 Spain 101, 247 Sparkes, Matthew 313 Sparta 101 Spencer, Herbert 216–17, 249, 253 Spenser, Edmund 15 Spinoza, Baruch 20, 141–2, 148, 268; Ethics 142; l’Esprit des lois 142–3 Sputnik 138 Stalin, Joseph 250, 252, 253 Stalling, A.E. 10 Stanford University 184, 185 Stealth bomber 130 Steiner, George, Nostalgia for the Absolute 266 Steiner, Rudolf 271 Steinsberger, Nick 136 Stephenson, George 119 Stewart, Dugald 38, 244 Stiglitz, Joseph 292 Stockman, David 288, 289–90; The Great Deformation 294 stoicism 259 Stop Online Piracy Act (US, 2011) 304 Strawson, Galen 140 Stuart, Charles Edward ‘The Young Pretender’ 282 Stuart, James Edward ‘The Old Pretender’ 281 Sudan 32 Summers, Larry 110 Sunnis 262 Suomi, Stephen 161 Sveikauskas, Leo 139 Swan, Joseph 119 Sweden 101, 284 Switzerland 32, 190, 247, 254 Sybaris 93 Syria 32 Szabo, Nick 307, 310; ‘Shelling Out: The Origins of Money’ 307 Tabarrok, Alex 132; Launching the Innovation Renaissance 132 Taiwan 190 Tajikistan 305 Taleb, Nassim 3, 92, 107, 135, 285, 312 Tamerlane the Great 87 Taoism 259, 260 Taylor, Winslow 250 Taylorism 250, 251 Tea Act (UK, 1773) 282n Tea Party 246 technology: biological similarities 126–31; boat analogy 128; computers 123–5, 126; copying 132–3; electric light 1–2; and fracking 136; inexorable progress 122–6, 130–1; innovation as emergent phenomenon 139; and the internet 299–316; light bulbs 118–19, 120; many-to-many 300; mass-communication 200; open innovation 130; patents/copyright laws 131–2; and printing 220; and science 133–9; simultaneous discovery 120–2; skunk works 130; software 131 TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) lecture 177 Thatcher, Margaret 217 Third International Congress of Eugenics 201–2, 204 Third World 231–2 Thrun, Sebastian 185 Time (magazine) 241 The Times 308 Togo 94 Tokyo 92 Tolstoy, Leo 217 Tooby, John 43 Tooley, James 181–4 Toy Story (film, 1995) 124 Trevelyan, Charles 195 Tuchman, Barbara, A Distant Mirror 29 Tucker, William 90; Marriage and Civilization 89 Tullock, Gordon 35 Turner, Ted 213 Twister (messaging system) 313 Twitter 310, 313 U-2 reconnaissance plane 130 Uber 109 UK Meteorological Office 275 UN Codex Alimentarius 254 UN Family Planning Agency 213 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change 254–5 UN General Assembly 305 UNESCO 205 Union Bank of Scotland 281 United Nations 131, 213, 232, 305 United States 34, 122, 125, 138, 139, 176, 200–2, 232, 235–8, 245, 247, 250, 254, 284–5, 286, 302 United States Supreme Court 50 universe: anthropic principle 18–20; designed and planned 7–10; deterministic view 17–18; Lucretian heresy 10–12; Newton’s nudge 12–13; swerve 14–15 University of Czernowitz 106 University of Houston 71 University of Pennsylvania 133 UNIX 302 Urbain Le Verrier 120–1 US Bureau of Land Management 240 US Department of Education 240 US Department of Homeland Security 240, 241 US Federal Reserve 285, 286, 288, 293, 297, 309 US Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission 294 US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 240 US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration 240 US Office of Management and Budget 290 Utah 89 Uzbekistan 305 Vancouver 92 Vanuatu 81 Vardanes, King 258 Veblen, Thorstein 249 Verdi, Giuseppe: Aida 248; Rigoletto 248 Veronica (search engine) 120 Versailles Treaty (1919) 318 Victoria, Queen 89 Virgil (Publius Vergilius Maro) 10, 23 vitalism 270–1 Vodafone 296 Vogt, William 205, 209; Road to Survival 204 Voltaire, François-Marie Arouet 14, 15, 20, 22, 25, 41, 143, 243, 268; Candide 15 Volvo 101 Wagner, Andreas 47 Wall Street Journal 125, 132 Wallace, Alfred Russell 20, 54–5, 196 Wallison, Peter 294 Walras, Léon 106 Waltham, David, Lucky Planet 19 Walwyn, Thomas 242 Wang Mang, Emperor 267 Wang Zhen 212 Wannsee conference 198 Wapinski, Norm 136 Washington, George 220, 222, 240 Washington Post 241 Watson, James 121, 145 Webb, Beatrice 197 Webb, Richard 5, 319 Webb, Sidney 197 Webcrawler 120 Wedgwood family 38 Wedgwood, Josiah 199 Weismann, August 55 Wells, H.G. 197, 251 West, Edwin 178; Education and the State 177 West, Geoffrey 93 West Indies 134, 286 Whitney, Eli 128 Whittle, Frank 119 Whole Foods 227 Wikipedia 188, 304–5 Wilby, Peter 315 Wilhelm II, Kaiser 198, 247 Wilkins, Maurice 121 Wilkinson, John 278–9 Willeys 278–9, 280 Williams, Thomas 278 Williamson, Kevin 33; The End is Near and it’s Going to be Awesome 238–9 Wilson, Catherine 12 Wilson, Margo 171 Wolf, Alison, Does Education Matter?


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The Levelling: What’s Next After Globalization by Michael O’sullivan

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Boris Johnson, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, business process, capital controls, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, cloud computing, continuation of politics by other means, corporate governance, credit crunch, cryptocurrency, deglobalization, deindustrialization, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, first-past-the-post, fixed income, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Gini coefficient, global value chain, housing crisis, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), knowledge economy, liberal world order, Long Term Capital Management, longitudinal study, market bubble, minimum wage unemployment, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, open economy, pattern recognition, Peace of Westphalia, performance metric, private military company, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Sinatra Doctrine, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, special drawing rights, supply-chain management, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, tulip mania, Valery Gerasimov, Washington Consensus

Many of the articles on this topic by the Financial Times’s Gillian Tett are useful here; see, for example, G. Tett, “An Anthropologist in the Boardroom,” Financial Times, April 21, 2017. 23. On development economics, see, for example, Rodrik and Rosenzweig, Handbook of Development Economics. And Sir Thomas Bingham’s The Rule of Law is worth a read. 24. Berlin, The Power of Ideas. 25. One of the Santa Fe Institute’s leading scholars, Geoffrey West, gives a good account of it: “What a fantastic melting pot. There is almost no hierarchy, and its size is sufficiently small that everyone on-site gets to know everyone else, the archaeologist, economist, social scientist, ecologist and physicist all freely interact on a daily basis to talk, speculate, bullshit and seriously collaborate on questions big and small.” West, Scale, 433. 26.

Another element in the development of ideas that deserves more attention is the rise of cross-disciplinary research that mixes insights into, say, biology and anthropology with insights in economics, for example. This mingling of disciplines is critical because, to reiterate a point made earlier in this book, the forces operating on our world—financial, scientific, social, economic, and diplomatic—are intertwined. A useful example of the multidisciplinary way we need to think about the world comes from the Santa Fe Institute, which is unique because of the eminence of its researchers but also in the way they bring together perspectives from very different fields of study to try to better understand complex, adaptive systems.25 The nub of The Levelling is that the world is entering a transition phase moving toward a state of being that will be different from what we have enjoyed in the past thirty years. The early phase—ranging from the financial crisis to the democratic recession—where we now find ourselves looks noisy, chaotic, and directionless.

See poles in multipolar world Reich, Robert, 127 religion, 90 Remonstrance of Many Thousand Citizens (Overton), 85–86 “rent economy,” 142 republic, 3, 278 Republican Party (US), 269–270 La République En Marche, 110–111, 117 research, and productivity, 142–143 Revival Bank, 300–301 “Rheinish capitalism,” 202 Richmond Federal Reserve, 214 right-wing parties, 54–55, 105–107 Riksbank, 171, 177 risks (financial) consequences, 206, 208–209 and debt, 173–174, 184–185, 201, 205–207, 209 treaty on, 184, 207–208 The Road to Somewhere (Goodhart), 79–80 Rodrik, Dani, 237–238 Rome and Roman Empire, 151, 152 Romer, Paul, 69 Roosevelt, Franklin D., 291 Roosevelt, Theodore, 293–294 rule of law, and economy, 161–162 Russia, 137, 143–144, 160, 218–219, 296 same-sex marriage, 49–50 Santa Fe Institute, 74 Santolaria, Nicolas, 26 Sawers, John, 249 Scales, Bob, 67 Schott, Peter, 35 Schröder, Gerhard, 107 Schwab, Klaus, 142 science, ideas and paradigm shifts, 71–72 Scotland, 87, 251–253 search engines, 214 Second French Empire, 227 Selassie, Bereket, 281 Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), 245 Shiller, Robert, 65 Shorrocks, Tony, 42 Skilling, David, 271 skyscrapers, as power, 211–212 small-sized nations in multipolar world, 244, 245–246, 259–262 Smoot, Reed, 65 Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act (1930), 65 social change, 47–51 social media, 49, 74, 107, 108–109, 141, 273–274 social mobility, 47 soft vs. hard power, 219–220, 223–224 Solow, Robert, 159–160 Somewhere/Anywhere theory, 79–80 Soros, George, 107 sortition, 109–110 Spanberger, Abigail, 129 Special Drawing Rights (SDR) bonds, 265–266 Spinoza, 94 St.


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Think Twice: Harnessing the Power of Counterintuition by Michael J. Mauboussin

affirmative action, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, availability heuristic, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, butter production in bangladesh, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, Clayton Christensen, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, disruptive innovation, Edward Thorp, experimental economics, financial innovation, framing effect, fundamental attribution error, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Akerlof, hindsight bias, hiring and firing, information asymmetry, libertarian paternalism, Long Term Capital Management, loose coupling, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, money market fund, Murray Gell-Mann, Netflix Prize, pattern recognition, Philip Mirowski, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, presumed consent, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, statistical model, Steven Pinker, The Wisdom of Crowds, ultimatum game

I was privileged to have a small group, each a leader in his field, read and critique sections of the book. My thanks to Steven Crist, Scott Page, Tom Seeley, Stephen Stigler, Steve Strogatz, and David Weinberger. The Santa Fe Institute has been a tremendous source of learning and inspiration for me. SFI takes a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the common themes that arise in complex systems. The institute attracts people who are intellectually curious and collaborative, and I am appreciative of the willingness of the scientists, staff, and network members to share so much with me. Particular thanks go to Doug Erwin, Shannon Larsen, John Miller, Scott Page, and Geoffrey West. Reading a draft of a manuscript and providing feedback to the author is difficult and time-consuming. I was fortunate to have a stellar collection of folks, from many walks of life, help me out.

Mauboussin has also authored or coauthored articles for the Harvard Business Review, Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Financial Management, Time, and Fortune. Mauboussin has been an Adjunct Professor of Finance at Columbia Business School since 1993 and is on the faculty of the Heilbrunn Center for Graham and Dodd Investing. In 2009, he received the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence by an Adjunct Faculty Member. Mauboussin is also affiliated with the Santa Fe Institute, the founding institution of complexity science and a global leader in multidisciplinary research. Mauboussin received an AB in government from Georgetown University. He lives in Darien, Connecticut, with his wife and five children.


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Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto by Stewart Brand

agricultural Revolution, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, back-to-the-land, biofilm, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, business process, Cass Sunstein, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, conceptual framework, Danny Hillis, dark matter, decarbonisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Elon Musk, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, glass ceiling, Google Earth, Hans Rosling, Hernando de Soto, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invention of the steam engine, Jane Jacobs, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kibera, land tenure, lateral thinking, low earth orbit, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, microbiome, New Urbanism, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, out of africa, Paul Graham, peak oil, Peter Calthorpe, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart grid, stem cell, Stewart Brand, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Thomas Malthus, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, wealth creators, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, William Langewiesche, working-age population, Y2K

Looking at everything from patents to personal income to electrical cable length in a variety of cities, the researchers found that not only do cities increase their creativity with increasing size, but the relation is “superlinear”: when a city doubles in size, it more than doubles its rate of innovation. A summary of the paper in the Santa Fe Institute Bulletin reported thatIndividual productivity rises (15% per person when the city doubles) as people get busier. Average walking speeds increase. Businesses, public spaces, nightclubs, and public squares consume more electricity. The city draws in more inventors, artists, researchers, and financiers. Wealth increases, as does the cost of housing. City growth creates problems, and then city innovation speeds up to solve them. “Not only does the pace of life increase with city size,” the authors wrote, “but so also must the rate at which new major adaptations and innovations need to be introduced to sustain the city.”

prairies Pratchett, Terry precautionary principle Primeiro Comando da Capital Prinn, Ronald Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) Program for the Human Environment Progress in Nuclear Energy Prospect ProVitaMinRice Consortium Psychology Today Public IP Resource for Agriculture (PIPRA) Puszcza Białowieska Quadir, Iqbal Quadir, Kamal Quist, David radiation radiation mutagenesis Raffensperger, Carolyn Rain of Fire and Ice (Lewis) rain forests Ramdas, Kavita Randall, Doug Rapley, Chris Raven, Peter “Real GM Food Scandal, The,” Real Goods recombinant DNA research reconciliation ecology recycling Reed, Lou Rees, William Register, Katherine Renewistan “Restoring the Forests” (Victor and Ausubel) resveratrol Revelle, Roger Revenge of Gaia, The (Lovelock) Rewilding North America (Foreman) Reynolds American Rhoades, Willard rice Rice, Charles Rifkin, Jeremy “Ring of Bone” (Welch) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil risk balancing Robb, John Roberts, Gregory David Rockefeller Foundation Rocky Mountain Institute Rodale Institute Romer, Paul Ronald, Pamela Roosevelt, Franklin D. Rosenfeld, Arthur Rosling, Hans Roundup (glyphosate) Rucker, Rudy Ruddiman, William Rural Advancement Foundation International Russia nuclear power and Rust, James Safaricom Sagan, Dorion salmon Salmonella Salter, Stephen Sandia National Laboratories Santa Fe Institute Bulletin Santillo, David Santoki, Rajesh Kumar Raghavji São Paulo, Brazil Sasakawa, Ryoichi satellites Sausalito, Calif. Savory, Allan Sax, Dov Sayre, Richard Schaeffer, John Schneider, Stephen Schwartz, Peter Schweickart, Russell L. “Rusty,” Science Science Daily Scotland Second Nature (Pollan) Seed Seeds for the Future (Thomson) Seminars About Long-term Thinking Serageldin, Ismail sex Shadow Cities (Neuwirth) Shantaram (Roberts) Shapiro, Robert Shelley, Mary Shirky, Clay Shiva, Vandana Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant shotgun sequencing Sierra Club Silent Spring (Carson) Simonyi, Charles Singapore Skeptical Environmentalist, The (Lomborg) Slate slums cellphones in crime and economy of education and literacy in globalization and infrastructure in militias in recycling in religion and women and smallpox Smetacek, Victor Smith, Bruce Smits, Willie Snyder, Gary Soberón, Jorge Socolow, Robert solar dimming solar power Sonoma County Farm Bureau sorghum Soulé, Michael South Africa genetic engineering and soybeans space mirrors space program species, inventory of Spengler, Oswald squash “Stabilization Wedges” (Socolow and Pacala) Starved for Science (Paarlberg) Stewart, C.

Cities do the same. “One of the basic principles of cities is that it’s more efficient to bring people together,” says physicist Geoffrey West. “You need a little bit less of everything per person. It’s the exact same way in biology. As animals get bigger, they require less energy to support each unit of tissue.” But organisms move more slowly as they increase in size (compare a shrew’s whirring heart rate to the stately thump of an elephant’s heart), whereas cities speed up as they get bigger. That was the news in a landmark paper, “Growth, Innovation, Scaling, and the Pace of Life in Cities,” which appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2007; Geoffrey West was a coauthor. Looking at everything from patents to personal income to electrical cable length in a variety of cities, the researchers found that not only do cities increase their creativity with increasing size, but the relation is “superlinear”: when a city doubles in size, it more than doubles its rate of innovation.


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Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia by Anthony M. Townsend

1960s counterculture, 4chan, A Pattern Language, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, anti-communist, Apple II, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Burning Man, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, chief data officer, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, computer age, congestion charging, connected car, crack epidemic, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Deng Xiaoping, digital map, Donald Davies, East Village, Edward Glaeser, game design, garden city movement, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, ghettoisation, global supply chain, Grace Hopper, Haight Ashbury, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, jitney, John Snow's cholera map, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, Kibera, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, load shedding, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, off grid, openstreetmap, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Parag Khanna, patent troll, Pearl River Delta, place-making, planetary scale, popular electronics, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, social software, social web, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, too big to fail, trade route, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, undersea cable, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, working poor, working-age population, X Prize, Y2K, zero day, Zipcar

Do Sound Urban Science We have seen how the introduction of new scientific ideas about cities and data-driven approaches to urban management and planning often bring unwelcome baggage and unintended negative consequences. As I set out to write this book in 2010, a coterie of “hard” scientists—physicists and mathematicians—at the prestigious Santa Fe Institute proclaimed the launch of a new science of cities from their desert retreat. That December, a cover story for the New York Times Magazine breathlessly reported on empirical studies of urban growth conducted by Geoffrey West and his colleague Luis Bettencourt. (Ominously, perhaps, the article was written by Jonah Lehrer, who would later resign from his position as staff writer at the New Yorker in 2012 following accusation of plagiarism for several articles—not including this one). Homing in on the grandiloquent West as the new champion of rational study of the city, the headline boldly pronounced “A Physicist Solves the City.”

Tell West the size of a city, and he could predict its key characteristics. West dazzled audiences around the world with these seemingly universal truths. Yet as my writing came to an end late in 2012, these claims had begun to come under intense scrutiny. The first salvo came from one of West’s and Bettencourt’s own colleagues, Carnegie Mellon University statistician Cosma Shalizi, who is himself listed as “external professor” on the Santa Fe Institute website. Shalizi tried to replicate West’s and Bettencourt’s analysis, and what he discovered was disconcerting for those who had bought into West’s elegant theory. In a paper posted to the electronic prepress archive arXiv, Shalizi argued that West and Bettencourt had only looked at city-wide figures and not per capita values. “The impressive appearance of scaling displayed,” he wrote, “is largely an aggregation artifact, arising from looking at extensive (city-wide) variables rather than intensive (per-capita) ones.”53 Michael Batty, the urban-simulation expert, says that while the scaling effect is still detectable when one converts extensive variables to intensive ones (simply by normalizing, or dividing by population), it is much noisier, or less clear.

While we celebrate their diversity, as economists such as Harvard University’s Ed Glaeser argue, cities are actually social search engines that help like-minded people find each other and do stuff. “People who live in cities can connect with a broader range of friends whose interests are well matched with their own,” he argues in his 2010 book Triumph of the City.23 The big buildings we associate with urbanity are merely the support system that facilitates all of those exchanges. As Geoffrey West, a physicist who studies how cities grow, explains, “Cities are the result of clustering of interactions of social networks.”24 And they are repositories of the civilization and culture that grow from these dealings. They are, as urban design theorist Kevin Lynch once put it, “a vast mnemonic system for the retention of group history and ideals.”25 Cities are indeed an efficient way of organizing activity, since infrastructure can be shared.


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Where Good Ideas Come from: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson

Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, cleantech, complexity theory, conceptual framework, cosmic microwave background, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, digital Maoism, digital map, discovery of DNA, Dmitri Mendeleev, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Ernest Rutherford, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, greed is good, Hans Lippershey, Henri Poincaré, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invention of air conditioning, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Johannes Kepler, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, Mason jar, mass immigration, Mercator projection, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, online collectivism, packet switching, PageRank, patent troll, pattern recognition, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Oldenburg, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, six sigma, Solar eclipse in 1919, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Good Place, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, urban planning

Wherever life appeared, whenever an organism had to figure out a way to consume and distribute energy through a body, negative quarter-power scaling governed the patterns of its development. Several years ago, the theoretical physicist Geoffrey West decided to investigate whether Kleiber’s law applied to one of life’s largest creations: the superorganisms of human-built cities. Did the “metabolism” of urban life slow down as cities grew in size? Was there an underlying pattern to the growth and pace of life of metropolitan systems? Working out of the legendary Santa Fe Institute, where he served as president until 2009, West assembled an international team of researchers and advisers to collect data on dozens of cities around the world, measuring everything from crime to household electrical consumption, from new patents to gasoline sales.

Pencils Pendulums Penicillin Penzias, Arno Periodic table Perkins, Jacob Pescara, Raúl Pateras Phoenix memo Photography Photosynthesis Piano Pi Sheng Planck, Max Plante, Gaston Plant respiration Plastic Platforms city as emergent generative open stacked Pliny the Elder Poe, Edgar Allan Poincaré, Henri Poindexter, Admiral John Polaris nuclear missiles Portland cement Pressure cookers Prestero, Timothy Priestley, Joseph Princeton University Printing press Procter & Gamble Proust, Joseph Ptolemaic astronomy Public Broadcasting System (PBS) Public Enemy Pulmonary respiration Pulsars Punch cards Pyramids Quantum mechanics Quarter-power laws Quick-Time Radioactivity Radiocarbon dating Radios RAM (random access memory) Ramón y Cajal, Santiago Rangiroa atoll Raytheon Corporation Reagan, Ronald Red Sea Refrigerators Relativity theory REM sleep Renaissance Reproductive strategies Research and development (R&D) labs Respiration plant pulmonary Restriction enzymes Revolvers Richter, Claudio Riess, Adam RNA Roberts, Richard J. Rock, John Rockets Roemer, Olaus Roentgen, Wilhelm Romans, ancient Rosen, Jonathan Rosenberg, Susan Royal Air Force (RAF) Royal Society Rubber vulcanized Rudolff, Christoph Ruef, Martin Rumsey, James Rutherford, Ernest Sackett-Wilhelm Lithography Company Salesforce.com Samit, Harry Sanger, Margaret Santa Fe Institute Sarcopterygii Saudi Arabia Savery, Thomas Sawyer, William Schawlow, Arthur L. Scheele, Carl Wilhelm Scheutz, Per Georg Schickard, Wilhelm Schmidt, Brian Schumpeter, Joseph Scleractinia Seismographs Senebier, Jean Senefelder, Alois September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks (9/11) Serendipity chaos and in dreams hunches and Web and Servetus, Michael Sewing machines Sexual reproduction SGML Sharp, Philip A.


pages: 309 words: 81,975

Brave New Work: Are You Ready to Reinvent Your Organization? by Aaron Dignan

"side hustle", activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, butterfly effect, cashless society, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Heinemeier Hansson, deliberate practice, DevOps, disruptive innovation, don't be evil, Elon Musk, endowment effect, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, gender pay gap, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, gig economy, Google X / Alphabet X, hiring and firing, hive mind, income inequality, information asymmetry, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, loose coupling, loss aversion, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, new economy, Paul Graham, race to the bottom, remote working, Richard Thaler, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, smart contracts, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, software is eating the world, source of truth, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, the High Line, too big to fail, Toyota Production System, uber lyft, universal basic income, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

Their research shows that in 1958, the average tenure of a company on that list was sixty-one years. But by 2016 that number had been reduced to twenty-four years. The data suggests this pattern will continue. At the current rate of churn, about half the list will be replaced in the next decade. And by 2027 the average tenure will shrink to just twelve years. This fits with broader research recently completed by the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico. In its analysis of more than 25,000 companies, it found that the half-life of all firms was roughly 10.5 years. Big business, small business, it doesn’t matter. Our days are numbered. Organizations are under siege. If we can’t learn to adapt, we may never see another century-old company. Average Company Lifespan on S&P 500 Index (in Years) DATA: INNOSIGHT/RICHARD N.

., 172 one-on-ones, 121–22 OODA loop, 88, 90 Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth (Fuller), 247 operating system, organizational (OS), 12–13, 17, 18, 43, 215 agility and, 19 changing, see change economic, 246–47, 248 evolutionary, see Evolutionary Organizations management innovations and, 20 Operating System Canvas (OS Canvas), 14, 53–57 authority, 14, 54, 63, 65–74 compensation, 14, 54, 163–73 how to use, 174, 270–72 information, 14, 54, 127–37 innovation, 14, 54, 102–9, 188 mastery, 14, 54, 151–62 meetings, 14, 54, 118–26 membership, 14, 54, 138–50 purpose, 14, 54, 68–64, 67, 85 resources, 14, 54, 93–101 strategy, 14, 54, 83–92 structure, 14, 54, 75–82, 111 workflow, 14, 54, 110–17 operating systems, 9 for traffic flow, see traffic flow organizational debt, 27–29, 91 organizations, 255 agility in, 19, 20, 28–29 as complex systems, 45, 187–88 cooperatives, 250 decentralized autonomous, 250–51 entry/exit rates of, 33 evolutionary, see Evolutionary Organizations governance of, 122 investment and, 251–55 lattice, 142 legacy, see Legacy Organizations longevity of, 29–30 mergers and acquisitions, 32, 33 new forms of incorporation, 248–51, 252 operating systems of, see operating system, organizational org charts, 7–9, 24, 77, 78, 81, 114, 189 return on assets of, 31, 32 as set of membranes, 139–40 three structures of, 78 OS Canvas, see Operating System Canvas Ostrom, Elinor, 98 over statements, 89 Page, Larry, 136 Patagonia, 85, 130–31, 133, 249, 259 pay, see compensation People Positive mindset, 13, 36–43, 53, 55–57, 190, 195, 199, 244, 258–59, 267 authority and, 74 compensation and, 173 information and, 137 innovation and, 109 mastery and, 162 meetings and, 126 membership and, 150 purpose and, 64 resources and, 101 strategy and, 92 structure and, 82 workflow and, 117 Percolate, 131–32 performance, 46 individual, 158–60, 172 Petrarch, 224 Pflaeging, Niels, 78, 180, 189–90 Pixar, 119–20, 191–92 planning, 91, 95, 96, 100 see also strategy Plato, 3 Play-Doh, 103 polycentric governance, 98 PopSugar, 135 practices, proposing, 207–12 priming, 193, 197–201, 236 Principles (Dalio), 152 Principles of Scientific Management, The (Taylor), 23–24, 29 priorities, 88–89 profit, 59–60 Project Aristotle, 221 projects, 113, 114, 117 management of, 112, 237 sprints and, 115, 237–38 status of, 121, 132 work in progress and, 115–16, 132 proposing practices, 207–12 psychological safety, 219–23, 236 purpose, 14, 54, 68–64, 67, 85 push vs. pull, 131–32 Quaroni, Guido, 192 railroads, 8, 22–23 Raworth, Kate, 246–47 Ready, The, 17–19, 123, 125, 143, 149, 174, 190, 217 recruiting and hiring, 79, 142–43 Reddit, 135 red team, 90–91 REI, 85 Reinventing Organizations (Laloux), 105 relatedness, 42 relief, 236–37 reputation, 78 resistance, 233–34 resources, 14, 54, 93–101 retrospectives, 123–24 return on assets (ROA), 31, 32 Rework (Fried and Hansson), 68–69 Ries, Eric, 107–8, 254, 255 risk, 68, 122, 132, 231 barbell strategy and, 86–87, 105–6 ritual, 143 Robertson, Brian, 202 Rogers, Carl, 38 roles, 72, 77, 80, 81, 111, 141, 157 decision making and, 72, 73 mixing of, 157–58 Rotter, Julian B., 154 roundabouts, 10–12, 13, 47, 55 Ruimin, Zhang, 76 Russell, Bertrand, 247 Ryan, Richard, 42 sabotage, 5–7 safety, psychological, 219–23, 236 Sahlberg, Pasi, 12 Saint-Exupéry, Antoine de, 212 salary, 164, 165, 168 see also compensation Salary.com, 170 Salesforce, 119 S&P 500, 29–30, 60 Santa Fe, USS, 67 Santa Fe Institute, 29 scaling change, 234–39 scenario planning, 90 Schaar, Tom, 259 Scientific Management, 22–24, 26, 48 Scott, Kim, 120 scribes, 122–23 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), 104, 255 self-determination theory, 42 self-employment, 33 self-evaluation, 154 self-management, 16–17 self-set pay, 168 Semler, Ricardo, 245, 258 Seneca, 189 Senge, Peter, 153, 202 sensing, 202–6, 231–32 signal-controlled intersections, 9–12, 13, 46, 55 Simple Sabotage Field Manual, 7 Sinek, Simon, 222 Sisodia, Raj, 60 Slack, 119, 134, 135 SLAM teams, 80 Snowden, Dave, 156, 188–89 Sociocracy, 70–71, 122 space: creating, 224–26, 228 holding, 226–28 liminal, 196, 197, 201 Spencer, Percy, 103 Spotify, 112–13, 160, 218 spread, 217–18 sprints, 115, 237–38 standards vs. defaults, 106–7 Starbucks, 85 startups, 27–28, 33, 76–77, 107, 197, 254 Lean Startup method, 107–8 status quo, 48, 90–91, 233 steering metrics, 60–61 stocks, 30–31 strategy, 14, 54, 83–92 strategy+business, 76 strategy review meetings, 3–4 structure, 14, 54, 75–82, 111 Svenska Handelsbanken, 13, 94, 227–28 Taleb, Nassim Nicholas, 86–88, 106 targets, 95, 97, 101 Taylor, Frederick Winslow, 21–24, 26, 29, 111, 153, 186, 257 teams, 79, 82, 113, 117, 141, 142, 172, 225–26 Ballpoint game for, 199–200 charters for, 144–45 dynamic, 81 gratitude and, 148 ICBD technique for, 222–23 red, 90–91 retrospectives and, 123–24 rituals and, 143 SLAM, 80 sprints and, 115, 237–38 status updates and, 121 teams of, 77, 197 work in progress and, 115–16, 132 technology, 256–57 TED, 128, 246, 257 telephone, 103 Teller, Astro, 49 tensions, sensing, 202–6 Tesla, Inc., 62, 86 Theory X and Theory Y, 39–41, 130 Thomison, Tom, 89 tipping point, 216 Torvalds, Linus, 132 Toyota, 20, 111, 235 TPG, 253 traffic flow, 9–12, 45 roundabouts for, 10–12, 13, 47, 55 signal-controlled intersections for, 9–12, 13, 46, 55 tragedy of the commons, 98 training, 6, 156–57 transparency, 129, 130–31, 134, 136, 190, 195, 258 compensation and, 168, 169–71, 173 radical, 152, 154 trust, 236 twenty percent time, 107 Twitter, 84 Urwick, Lyndall, 25 User Manual to Me, 147–48 value creation, 78, 111–14, 160 Valve Software, 66, 107 Vang-Jensen, Frank, 227 Vanguard, 48 venture capital, 253 Vrba, Elisabeth, 103 VUCA, 43 wages, 34, 166 see also compensation Wallander, Jan, 94, 227 Warby Parker, 96 waterline principle, 69–70, 72 Weber, Max, 25 WeWork, 87 Whole Foods, 59, 61, 170, 259 Wikipedia, 140 Williams, Ev, 84–85 workflow, 14, 54, 110–17 working in public, 132 work in progress (WIP), 115–16, 132 World War II, 6–7 Wright, Orville and Wilbur, 103 Y Combinator, 230 Zanini, Michele, 26 Zappos, 144 al-Zarqawi, Abu Musab, 129 Zobrist, Jean-François, 37, 42–43 Zuckerberg, Mark, 88 ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ About the Author Aaron Dignan is the founder of The Ready, an organization design and transformation firm that helps institutions like Johnson & Johnson, Charles Schwab, Kaplan, Microsoft, Lloyds Bank, Citibank, Edelman, Airbnb, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and charity: water change the way they work.

Edwards Deming, David Dewane, Peter Drucker, Amy Edmondson, Charles Eisenstein, Gerard Endenburg, Robin Fraser, Jason Fried, Isaac Getz, James Gleick, Seth Godin, Deborah Gordon, Paul Graham, Adam Grant, Dave Gray, Gary Hamel, David Heinemeier Hansson, Tim Harford, Frederick Herzberg, Jeremy Hope, Steven Johnson, Daniel Kahneman, Kevin Kelly, David Kidder, Doug Kirkpatrick, Henrik Kniberg, Lars Kolind, John Kotter, Frederic Laloux, Jason Little, David Marquet, John E. Mayfield, Douglas McGregor, Greg McKeown, Melanie Mitchell, Taiichi Ohno, Tom Peters, Niels Pflaeging, Daniel Pink, Adam Pisoni, Eric Ries, Brian Robertson, Ricardo Semler, Peter Senge, Simon Sinek, Dave Snowden, Nassim Taleb, Ben Thompson, Geoffrey West, Meg Wheatley, Keith Yamashita, Jean-Francois Zobrist, and the few I forgot. Especially them, because their work has stuck with me but their names have not. I also owe a special thank-you to Tom Thomison, who introduced me to many of these ideas at just the right time, starting a fire that surprised us both. It’s funny how forty-eight hours with someone can be the start of so much. And of course, big thanks to Douglas Rushkoff for being my accountability buddy as we penned our most recent manifestos.


pages: 304 words: 80,143

The Autonomous Revolution: Reclaiming the Future We’ve Sold to Machines by William Davidow, Michael Malone

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, blue-collar work, Bob Noyce, business process, call centre, cashless society, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, gig economy, Gini coefficient, Hyperloop, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, license plate recognition, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Network effects, new economy, peer-to-peer lending, QWERTY keyboard, ransomware, Richard Florida, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Snapchat, speech recognition, Stuxnet, TaskRabbit, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, trade route, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, uranium enrichment, urban planning, zero day, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Perhaps the most important difference between the next societal phase change and those of the past will be the rapid rates of change we are about to experience. Population growth is a useful proxy for getting a feel for the rate of progress and change across culture because, when population densities increase, more interactions occur and thus there are more chances for knowledge exchange. Modern research has shown that these “knowledge spillovers,” as economists call them, spur innovation.46 Geoffrey West, a theoretical physicist at the Santa Fe Institute, has demonstrated that innovation super-scales in cities as their populations increase. “It’s like being on a treadmill that keeps on getting faster,” West says. We used to get a big revolution every few thousand years. And then it took us a century to go from the steam engine to the internal-combustion engine. Now we’re down to about 15 years between big innovations.

Wei Pan, Gourab Ghoshal, Coco Krumme, Manuel Cebrian, and Alex Pentland, “Urban Characteristics Attributable to Density-Driven Tie Formation” Nature Communications, June 4, 2013, https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms2961 (accessed June 26, 2019); Brian Knudsen, Richard Florida, Gary Gates, and Kevin Stolarick, “Urban Density, Creativity, and Innovation,” Creative Class, May 2007, http://creativeclass.com/rfcgdb/articles/Urban_Density_Creativity_and_Innovation.pdf (accessed June 26, 2019); Richard Florida, “The Density of Innovation,” The Atlantic, September 21, 2010, https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2010/09/the-density-of-innovation/62576/ (accessed June 26, 2019); and Gerald Carlino, Satyajit Chatterjee, and Robert Hunt, “Urban Density and the Rate of Invention,” Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, August 2006 draft, http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.233.2108&rep=rep1&type=pdf (accessed June 26, 2019). 47. Geoffrey West, “The Surprising Math of Cities and Corporations,” TEDGlobal 2011, https://www.ted.com/talks/geoffrey_west_the_surprising_math_of_cities_and_corporations#t-1033091; and Jonah Lehrer, “A Physicist Solves the City,” New York Times Magazine, December 17, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/19/magazine/19Urban_West-t.html (accessed June 26, 2019). 48. “Historical Estimates of World Population,” United States Census Bureau, https://www.census.gov/data/tables/time-series/demo/international-programs/historical-est-worldpop.html (accessed June 26, 2019). 49.


pages: 219 words: 63,495

50 Future Ideas You Really Need to Know by Richard Watson

23andMe, 3D printing, access to a mobile phone, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, BRICs, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, dark matter, dematerialisation, digital Maoism, digital map, Elon Musk, energy security, failed state, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, germ theory of disease, global pandemic, happiness index / gross national happiness, hive mind, hydrogen economy, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, life extension, Mark Shuttleworth, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, peak oil, personalized medicine, phenotype, precision agriculture, profit maximization, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Florida, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, semantic web, Skype, smart cities, smart meter, smart transportation, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, Stuxnet, supervolcano, telepresence, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Turing test, urban decay, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, women in the workforce, working-age population, young professional

We’ll start to see more low-carbon building materials, increased investment in energy-efficient public transport, more carbon-neutral cities, locally farmed energy and vertical agriculture—literally tower blocks of urban farms that harvest their own power and water and grow food and animals up to 300m (1,000ft) in the air. The second factor shared by large cities: they act as magnets for human energy. They attract poor people with ambition and put them to productive use, which makes both individuals and cities richer overall. For example, according to Geoffrey West of the Santa Fe Institute (a thinktank), a doubling in size of cities results in a 15 percent reduction in energy use per capita. But for each doubling, urban dwellers also experience an increase in income of around 15 percent. And the more that ambitious individuals move to these areas to secure maximum economic value and become concentrated in small geographic areas, the more people the area attracts.


pages: 550 words: 89,316

The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspirational Class by Elizabeth Currid-Halkett

assortative mating, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, discrete time, disruptive innovation, Downton Abbey, East Village, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, Etonian, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, income inequality, iterative process, knowledge economy, longitudinal study, Mason jar, means of production, NetJets, new economy, New Urbanism, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post scarcity, post-industrial society, profit maximization, Richard Florida, selection bias, Silicon Valley, The Design of Experiments, the High Line, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, the market place, Thorstein Veblen, Tony Hsieh, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, upwardly mobile, Veblen good, women in the workforce

In his famous 1938 essay, Urbanism as a Way of Life, University of Chicago sociologist Louis Wirth set out to define the city through three criteria: size, heterogeneity, and density.31 Many have followed suit: Henri Lefebvre, the French Marxist philosopher, argued that we are experiencing an “urban revolution” (indeed, 82% of the US population and more than half of the world are urban) and that the city needs to be studied as its own field, much like biology or physics. More recently, the Santa Fe Institute physicist, Geoffrey West, has constructed complicated equations and amassed big data to argue that regardless of size, density, or heterogeneity, deep, highly predictable structures uphold the city and urban patterns. West believes we can explain city functions and patterns through equations with 85% accuracy.32 For example, a city’s crime level, amount of waste, number of grocery stores, and so forth can be determined simply by knowing a city’s population size.

Both days can be described in four stops, but the lives described are so incredibly different, and the data tell us nothing about these very different experiences of people living in the same city, let alone the millions of other people who also live in a city. These data do not really describe the people who live there and what their lives are actually like. Generalizable patterns of city life are only superficial. Even Geoffrey West himself, after looking at all the models and data, remains puzzled by the ongoing mysteries of cities—why do we put up with them and what makes them so compelling (despite their high rent, cockroaches, and overzealous, cutthroat competition)?34 What’s clear is that cities as a whole are often understood only in broad strokes—those key criteria Wirth outlined some 75 years ago, to which we’ve made small additions in more recent research.


pages: 339 words: 94,769

Possible Minds: Twenty-Five Ways of Looking at AI by John Brockman

AI winter, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Joy: nanobots, Buckminster Fuller, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, David Graeber, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Elon Musk, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, finite state, friendly AI, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, gig economy, income inequality, industrial robot, information retrieval, invention of writing, James Watt: steam engine, Johannes Kepler, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Laplace demon, Loebner Prize, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, Picturephone, profit maximization, profit motive, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, sexual politics, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, speech recognition, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, technological singularity, technoutopianism, telemarketer, telerobotics, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K, zero-sum game

It’s time to examine the evolving AI narrative by identifying the leading members of that mainstream community along with the dissidents and presenting their counternarratives in their own voices. The essays that follow thus constitute a much-needed update from the field. —John Brockman New York, 2019 Chapter 1 WRONG, BUT MORE RELEVANT THAN EVER SETH LLOYD Seth Lloyd is a theoretical physicist at MIT, Nam P. Suh Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute. I met Seth Lloyd in the late 1980s, when new ways of thinking were everywhere: the importance of biological organizing principles, the computational view of mathematics and physical processes, the emphasis on parallel networks, the importance of nonlinear dynamics, the new understanding of chaos, connectionist ideas, neural networks, and parallel distributive processing. The advances in computation during that period provided us with a new way of thinking about knowledge.

The Fifth Generation: Artificial Intelligence and Japan’s Computer Challenge to the World was published in 1983. We had a code name for the project: “It’s coming, it’s coming!” But it didn’t come; it went. From that point on I’ve worked with researchers in nearly every variety of AI and complexity, including Rodney Brooks, Hans Moravec, John Archibald Wheeler, Benoit Mandelbrot, John Henry Holland, Danny Hillis, Freeman Dyson, Chris Langton, J. Doyne Farmer, Geoffrey West, Stuart Russell, and Judea Pearl. AN ONGOING DYNAMICAL EMERGENT SYSTEM From the initial meeting in Washington, Connecticut, to the present, I arranged a number of dinners and discussions in London and Cambridge, Massachusetts, as well as a public event at London’s City Hall. Among the attendees were distinguished scientists, science historians, and communications theorists, all of whom have been thinking seriously about AI issues for their entire careers.


pages: 327 words: 103,336

Everything Is Obvious: *Once You Know the Answer by Duncan J. Watts

active measures, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Black Swan, business cycle, butterfly effect, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, coherent worldview, collapse of Lehman Brothers, complexity theory, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, discovery of DNA, East Village, easy for humans, difficult for computers, edge city, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, framing effect, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Santayana, happiness index / gross national happiness, high batting average, hindsight bias, illegal immigration, industrial cluster, interest rate swap, invention of the printing press, invention of the telescope, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, lake wobegon effect, Laplace demon, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, medical malpractice, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, oil shock, packet switching, pattern recognition, performance metric, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, prediction markets, pre–internet, RAND corporation, random walk, RFID, school choice, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, Toyota Production System, ultimatum game, urban planning, Vincenzo Peruggia: Mona Lisa, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize

Without these organizations, much of the research described in this book would have been impossible. Subsequently, I’ve also benefited from visiting appointments at Nuffield College, Oxford, which generously hosted me for a two-month sabbatical in 2007, and the Santa Fe Institute—my intellectual home away from home—where I spent a few weeks per summer in 2008 and 2009. Without these critical breaks from my usual routine, it’s unlikely I would have been able to complete such a long writing project, and I’m grateful to Peter Hedstrom at Nuffield and Geoffrey West and Chris Wood at SFI for their support in arranging these visits. Finally, I’m grateful to a number of people who have helped me realize this book directly. Roger Scholl, my editor at Crown, proved equally adept both as a cheerleader and a coach, frequently restoring my enthusiasm during the long slog of editing while also steering me clear of numerous traps of my own making.


pages: 603 words: 182,781

Aerotropolis by John D. Kasarda, Greg Lindsay

3D printing, air freight, airline deregulation, airport security, Akira Okazaki, Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, blood diamonds, borderless world, Boris Johnson, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Charles Lindbergh, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, digital map, disruptive innovation, edge city, Edward Glaeser, failed state, food miles, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Gehry, fudge factor, full employment, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, global supply chain, global village, gravity well, Haber-Bosch Process, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, inflight wifi, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, invention of the telephone, inventory management, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, Kangaroo Route, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, kremlinology, low cost airline, Marchetti’s constant, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, mass immigration, McMansion, megacity, Menlo Park, microcredit, Network effects, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, Peter Calthorpe, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pink-collar, pre–internet, RFID, Richard Florida, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, savings glut, Seaside, Florida, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, starchitect, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, telepresence, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, thinkpad, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, Tony Hsieh, trade route, transcontinental railway, transit-oriented development, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, white picket fence, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

The note on the real versus ad valorem costs of air transport is taken from David Hum-mels’s “Transportation Costs and International Trade in the Second Era of Globalization” (Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2007). The best introduction to Julian Simon and his heresies is Ed Regis’s “The Doomslayer” (Wired, February 2007), from which the Simon quote is taken. (Simon died a year later.) Researchers at the Santa Fe Institute led by the physicist Geoffrey West have published a number of papers on the metabolism of cities. An introduction to their work is Jonah Lehrer’s “The Living City” (Seed, July 2007). The statistics on oil demand destruction are taken from Jad Mouawad’s “Wondering if Crude Could Fall Even More” (The New York Times, March 9, 2009). The International Energy Agency’s predictions are taken from its World Energy Outlook 2009.

One way of reading Kasarda’s Law is to substitute the speed and frequency of human connections for the sheer numbers in Simon’s predictions. Just as con-sciousness is a function of firing synapses rather than raw gray matter, Kasarda believes the key to cracking peak oil and climate change is collaboration, unfettered by space or time. This is counterintuitive, to say the least, but the same effect is already seen in cities. Researchers at the Santa Fe Institute have found that cities grow smarter and faster as they get bigger. “By almost any measure,” they wrote, “the larger the city’s population, the greater the innovation and wealth creation per person.” Their growth becomes “superlinear” as the number of connections between people increases exponentially. Who’s to say the same isn’t true at a global scale, and hasn’t been for fifty years? “People keep saying things are different this time,” Kasarda said, “but the data refutes this.


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Model Thinker: What You Need to Know to Make Data Work for You by Scott E. Page

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, algorithmic trading, Alvin Roth, assortative mating, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Checklist Manifesto, computer age, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, deliberate practice, discrete time, distributed ledger, en.wikipedia.org, Estimating the Reproducibility of Psychological Science, Everything should be made as simple as possible, experimental economics, first-price auction, Flash crash, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, High speed trading, impulse control, income inequality, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, meta analysis, meta-analysis, money market fund, Nash equilibrium, natural language processing, Network effects, p-value, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, Paul Samuelson, phenotype, pre–internet, prisoner's dilemma, race to the bottom, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, school choice, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, selection bias, six sigma, social graph, spectrum auction, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Supply of New York City Cabdrivers, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the rule of 72, the scientific method, The Spirit Level, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, urban sprawl, value at risk, web application, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game

We make the assumptions, write the rules, and then play within those rules bound also by the laws of logic. Through our logical explorations, we improve ourselves and become wise. May we take that wisdom out into the world and help to change it in positive ways. SCOTT E. PAGE is the Leonid Hurwicz Collegiate Professor of Complex Systems, Political Science, and Economics at the University of Michigan and an external faculty member of the Santa Fe Institute. Photo Credit: Cooper Page Notes I have too many colleagues and friends to thank properly. This book was improved by conversations about modeling with Eric Ball, Andrea Jones-Rooy, Michael Mauboussin, Carl Simon, John Miller, Lu Hong, Helene Landemore, Jim Johnson, Skip Lupia, Josh Berke, Patrick Grim, Bob Axelrod, PJ Lamberson, Jessica Steinberg, Jessica Flack, Charlie Doering, Michael Ryall, Robert Deegan, Jay Grusin, Sarah Silvestri, Zev Berger, Ken Kollman, Jean Clipperton, Michael Barr, Benjamin Bly, Elizabeth Bruch, Abbie Jacobs, Mark Newman, Cosma Shalizi, Kent Myers, and Josh Cooper Ramo.

Therefore, we benefit from knowing the logic that creates the various distributions. In general, we would prefer that we add random shocks rather than multiply them together so as to reduce the likelihood of large events. 6. Power-Law Distributions: Long Tails Every fundamental law has exceptions. But you still need the law or else all you have is observations that don’t make sense. And that’s not science. That’s just taking notes. —Geoffrey West In this chapter, we cover power-law distributions. Often described as long- or heavy-tailed distributions, when graphed these distributions produce a long tail running along the horizontal axis corresponding to large events. The distributions of city populations, species extinctions, the number of links on the World Wide Web, and firm sizes all have long tails, as do the distributions of videos downloaded, books sold, academic citations, war casualties, and floods and earthquakes.

His predecessor, 2008 Olympic decathlon gold medalist Brian Clay, had a BMI of 25.8. 11 See Flegal et al. 2012. 12 We assume a mouse 3 inches long, 1 inch high, and 1 inch wide, and an elephant 10 feet tall, 10 feet long, and 5 feet wide. The elephant has a surface area of 400 square feet, or 57,600 square inches. The elephant has a volume of 500 cubic feet, which equals 864,000 cubic inches. 13 Geoffrey West and colleagues have constructed more elaborate and accurate models that predict that metabolism should scale with mass raised to the three-quarters power. See West 2017. 14 Controlled experiments that send identical resumes but change the name demonstrate that women receive lower salary offers and lower evaluations than men (Moss-Racusina et al 2012). 15 The probability of a man becoming CEO equals the probability he receives fifteen promotions in a row, or .


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Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life by Nick Lane

Benoit Mandelbrot, clockwork universe, double helix, Drosophila, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, out of africa, phenotype, random walk, Richard Feynman, stem cell, unbiased observer

Then, in 1997, a high-energy particle physicist at Los Alamos National How do we reconcile Max Rubner’s exponent of 2/3 with Max Kleiber’s 3/4? The usual answer is that within species the metabolic rate does indeed vary with 2/3, and the 3/4 exponent only becomes apparent when we compare different species. 1 The Power Laws of Biology 161 Laboratory, Geoffrey West, joined forces with the ecologists James Brown and Brian Enquist, at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque (through the Santa Fe Institute, an organization that fosters cross-disciplinary collaborations). They came up with a radical explanation based on the fractal geometry of branching supply networks, such as the circulatory system of mammals, the respiratory tubes of insects (the trachea), and the plant vascular system. Their densely mathematical model was published in Science in 1997, and the ramifications (if not the maths) swiftly captured the imagination of many.


pages: 579 words: 183,063

Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice From the Best in the World by Timothy Ferriss

23andMe, A Pattern Language, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Bayesian statistics, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, corporate social responsibility, cryptocurrency, David Heinemeier Hansson, dematerialisation, don't be evil, double helix, effective altruism, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, family office, fear of failure, Gary Taubes, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Google Hangouts, Gödel, Escher, Bach, haute couture, helicopter parent, high net worth, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, income inequality, index fund, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kevin Kelly, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Naomi Klein, non-fiction novel, Peter Thiel, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Saturday Night Live, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart contracts, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, Tesla Model S, too big to fail, Turing machine, uber lyft, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

Here is one of her key conclusions: “Babies are just plain smarter than we are, at least if being smart means being able to learn something new. . . . They think, draw conclusions, make predictions, look for explanations and even do experiments. . . . In fact, scientists are successful precisely because they emulate what children do naturally.” Much of the human brain’s power derives from its massive synaptic interconnectivity. Geoffrey West from the Santa Fe Institute observed that across species, synapses/neuron fanout grows as a power law with brain mass. At the age of two to three years old, children hit their peak with ten times the synapses and two times the energy burn of an adult brain. And it’s all downhill from there. The UCSF Memory and Aging Center has graphed the pace of cognitive decline, and finds the same slope of decline in our 40s as in our 80s.