complexity theory

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pages: 354 words: 105,322

The Road to Ruin: The Global Elites' Secret Plan for the Next Financial Crisis by James Rickards

"Robert Solow", Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, butterfly effect, buy and hold, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, cellular automata, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, Corn Laws, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, cuban missile crisis, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, disintermediation, distributed ledger, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial repression, fixed income, Flash crash, floating exchange rates, forward guidance, Fractional reserve banking, G4S, George Akerlof, global reserve currency, high net worth, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, jitney, John Meriwether, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, large denomination, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, money market fund, mutually assured destruction, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, nuclear winter, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, Peace of Westphalia, Pierre-Simon Laplace, plutocrats, Plutocrats, prediction markets, price anchoring, price stability, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, random walk, reserve currency, RFID, risk-adjusted returns, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, stocks for the long run, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, transfer pricing, value at risk, Washington Consensus, Westphalian system

The number of complex systems best comprehended using nonlinear and critical state models is vast. Climate, biology, solar flares, forest fires, traffic jams, and other natural and man-made behaviors can all be described using complexity theory. Lorenz’s observation that long-run forecasting in nonlinear systems is impossible given minute differences in initial conditions did not mean that no valuable information is derived from the models. Applied complexity theory is interdisciplinary. Complex systems all have behaviors in common, yet have dynamics unique to each domain. A team out to crack the code in applied complexity theory would include physicists, mathematicians, computer modelers, and subject matter experts from the field being addressed. Biologists, climatologists, hydrologists, psychologists, and other domain experts work together with complexity theorists to model particular systems.

It’s a matter of taking the math from New Mexico to the marketplace. Complexity Bayesian technique is not a science in itself, it’s an applied mathematical tool with robust predictive properties. The prime science of capital markets is complexity theory. Capital markets are complex systems, yet complexity is little understood and even less used in financial economics. From the 1998 global liquidity crisis, to the 2000 tech bubble collapse, to the 2008 panic, policymakers have led the world into one crash after another. Their failure to use complexity theory explains why. The case for complexity theory is straightforward. It’s not difficult to grasp. Investors must grasp it now if they wish to preserve wealth. The next panic will be too late. The ice-nine solution will lock down wealth and make it impossible to take defensive measures.

Yet his view of historical processes fits well with the extended time frames for which complexity theory holds the most explanatory power. Complexity provides models for comprehension of the slow, steady buildup of dense networks that suddenly, catastrophically collapse. Seismic faults, forests, and financial markets are all dynamic arrays in which systems may appear stable until a sudden earthquake, conflagration, or crash destroys everything. Complexity theorists know that apparent stability is a mask for rising tension. The rise and fall of civilizations is the grandest example of complexity theory applied to human affairs. Schumpeter’s consideration of capitalism’s rise and fall, while not specific to one civilization, is the kind of study to which complexity theory lends valuable tools. Schumpeter eschewed Keynesian models because of the artifice in holding most variables constant while monotonically isolating one as the “cause” of the phenomena under study.


pages: 381 words: 101,559

Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Gobal Crisis by James Rickards

Asian financial crisis, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, borderless world, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business climate, buy and hold, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, diversification, diversified portfolio, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, full employment, game design, German hyperinflation, Gini coefficient, global rebalancing, global reserve currency, high net worth, income inequality, interest rate derivative, John Meriwether, Kenneth Rogoff, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Myron Scholes, Network effects, New Journalism, Nixon shock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, one-China policy, open economy, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, price mechanism, price stability, private sector deleveraging, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, special economic zone, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, time value of money, too big to fail, value at risk, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, zero-sum game

Far better solutions are needed. Fortunately, economic science has not stood entirely still. A new paradigm has emerged in the past twenty years from several schools of thought, including behavioral economics and complexity theory, among others. This new thinking comes with a healthy dose of humility—practitioners in many cases acknowledge the limitations of what is possible with the tools at hand. The new schools avoid the triumphalism of Keynes’s claim to a “general theory” and Friedman’s dictum that inflation is “always and everywhere” monetary. The most promising new school is complexity theory. Despite the name, complexity theory rests on straightforward foundations. The first is that complex systems are not designed from the top down. Complex systems design themselves through evolution or the interaction of myriad autonomous parts.

When you apply this paradigm to finance, you begin to see where the currency wars are headed. Complexity theory has a strong empirical foundation and has had wide application in a variety of natural and man-made settings, including climate, seismology and the Internet. Significant progress has been made in applying complexity to capital and currency markets. However, a considerable challenge arises when one considers the interaction of human behavior and market dynamics. The complexity of human nature sits like a turbocharger on top of the complexity of markets. Human nature, markets and civilization more broadly are all complex systems nested inside one another like so many Russian matryoshka dolls. An introduction to behavioral economics will provide a bridge to a broader consideration of complexity theory and how underlying dynamics may determine the fate of the dollar and the endgame in the currency wars.

Cold War era Collapse of Complex Societies, The (Tainter) collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) commodities Commodity Futures Modernization Act Communist Party of China competitive devaluations complexity theory Connally, John connectedness, in complex systems convening power theory copper correlation, in global financial warfare Cosmic Evolution (Chaisson) Coughlin, Charles counterfeiting Credit-Anstalt Bank of Vienna critical state systems critical thresholds currency collapse capital flight response to dollar collapse in complexity theory 1920s currency convergence currency devaluations competitive dollar devaluation against gold, 1930s and 1970s 1930s and 1970s sterling devaluations Tripartite Agreement of 1936 and currency markets currency peg currency wars Atlantic theater benefits of chaos as outcome of Currency War I (1921–1936) Currency War II (1967–1987) Currency War III (2010–) Eurasian theater Pacific theater Czechoslovakia Davison, Henry P.


pages: 492 words: 118,882

The Blockchain Alternative: Rethinking Macroeconomic Policy and Economic Theory by Kariappa Bheemaiah

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Ada Lovelace, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, balance sheet recession, bank run, banks create money, Basel III, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business cycle, business process, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cashless society, cellular automata, central bank independence, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, complexity theory, constrained optimization, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, deskilling, Diane Coyle, discrete time, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, diversification, double entry bookkeeping, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Flash crash, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Akerlof, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, interest rate derivative, inventory management, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, large denomination, liquidity trap, London Whale, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, MITM: man-in-the-middle, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nikolai Kondratiev, offshore financial centre, packet switching, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, Ponzi scheme, precariat, pre–internet, price mechanism, price stability, private sector deleveraging, profit maximization, QR code, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ray Kurzweil, Real Time Gross Settlement, rent control, rent-seeking, Satoshi Nakamoto, Satyajit Das, savings glut, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, software as a service, software is eating the world, speech recognition, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, supply-chain management, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Great Moderation, the market place, The Nature of the Firm, the payments system, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Von Neumann architecture, Washington Consensus

Rethinking Economics Using Complexity Theory. Iowa State University. Kirman, M. G. (2013). Reconstructing economics: Agent based models and complexity. Baltzer Science Publishers, DOI :10.7564/12-COEC2. Lawrence J. Christiano, M. E. (1998). Monetary Policy Shocks: What Have We Learned and to What End? LeBaron, B. (2002). Building the Santa Fe Artificial Stock Market. Brandeis University. Levy, D. L. (2000). Applications and Limitations of Complexity Theory in Organization Theory and Strategy. In G. J. Jack Rabin, Handbook of Strategic Management (pp. 67-87). Routledge. Levy, M. (2012). Agent Based Computational Economics. In R. A. Meyers, Computational Complexity: Theory, Techniques, and Applications (pp. 18-39). Springer. Manson, S. M. (2001). Simplifying complexity: a review of complexity theory. Geoforum, Volume 32, Issue 3, 405-414.

If the economy is seen in this light, then the reactions of technology with agents and the following assemblages and adaptations that are seen in an economy are reflective of the study of complex systems, an academic discipline that observes the deep laws of complexity and emergence in any system. Complexity theory was born in the 1970’s (Wilson, 1998) and was originally inspired by 19th century physics, specifically the fields of classical mechanics, statistical non-equilibrium physics and thermodynamics (Helbing and Kirman, 2014). The main tenets of complexity theory borrow their conceptions from chaos theory, self-criticality and adaptive landscapes, to bring into focus the way complex systems grow, persist and collapse. The first scholars of complexity theory began their formulations at the Santa Fe institute, and based their study of complex systems on abstract non-linear transformative computer simulations. They attempted to recreate the same phenomenon seen in complex systems, be it rain forests or collisions of protons in the large hadron collider (LHC10), in massive computer-aided simulations.

DSGE based models have been dominant tools in macroeconomic modelling, economic forecasting and policy construction since the early 1980’s and continues to play this role today - For example, in 2009 the Reserve Bank of New Zealand developed and adopted the KITT (Kiwi Inflation Targeting Technology) DSGE model as their main forecasting and scenario tool (Beneš et al., 2009). Hence, to fully understand why we need to consider the use of complexity based models, in the context of the Blockchain, it is essential for us to first review equilibrium economic models. Some of the early trailblazers who combined the study of complexity theory with economics include, Kenneth Arrow (economist), Philip Anderson (physicist), Larry Summers (economist), John Holland (physicist), Tom Sargent (economist), Stuart Kauffman (physicist), David Pines (physicist), José Scheinkman (economist), William Brock (economist) and of course, W. B. Arthur (economist), who coined the term complexity economics and has been largely responsible for its initial growth and exposure to mainstream academia. 12 Knightian uncertainty is an economic term that refers to risk.


pages: 265 words: 15,515

Nomad Citizenship: Free-Market Communism and the Slow-Motion General Strike by Eugene W. Holland

business cycle, capital controls, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, continuation of politics by other means, deskilling, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, informal economy, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, means of production, microcredit, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Naomi Klein, New Urbanism, peak oil, price mechanism, Richard Stallman, Ronald Coase, slashdot, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal, wage slave, working poor

The best illustration of immanent self-organization, as far as I know, is still jazz group improvisation, to which chapter 1 will add a number of others from a variety of fields (including science, games, and ethology); the concept of immanence they illustrate, in any case, is key to nomadism and nomadology, as first defined by Deleuze and Guattari.24 Some of its roots lie in complexity theory and nonlinear mathematics, which have both formalized and reinforced long-standing impressions that order can and often does arise in systems spontaneously, without being imposed by some transcendent instance standing above or outside the system. Complexity theory supports both the nontotalized view of society and the nonlinear view of history informing nomadology.25 The discovery of emergent self-organization seemed to belie the second law of thermodynamics, according to which entropy is supposed to increase—in any closed system operating close to equilibrium, that is. But the fields to which complexity theory was most dramatically applied were not closed systems and were nowhere near equilibrium: life on earth, for instance, receives practically immeasurable amounts of energy from the sun and thus represents a classic case of negentropy or syntropy rather than en­ tropy.

But the fields to which complexity theory was most dramatically applied were not closed systems and were nowhere near equilibrium: life on earth, for instance, receives practically immeasurable amounts of energy from the sun and thus represents a classic case of negentropy or syntropy rather than en­ tropy. As Stuart Kauffmann (among others) has shown, starting from al­ most trivially simple mathematical models, spontaneous self-organization emerges in all kinds of systems, from inorganic molecule clusters to cells and organisms, to ecosystems, economies, and cultures.26 Of course, de­ bates about the sources or bases of social organization date back to the dawn of philosophy, but complexity theory gave new impetus and added credence to conceiving of various kinds of social order as immanently self­ organizing, and this becomes a key component of the concept of nomad citizenship. The main components of the concept of free-market communism, mean­ while, come from more disparate sources, starting with theories of the free market and Marxist theory itself. Drawing components from such ideo­ logically opposed theories, the construction of the paradoxical concept of free-market communism will clearly have to be quite selective.

But first, it is impor­ tant to note that the distinction presented here (derived from A Thousand Plateaus) between two kinds of science seriously complicates the stark distinction between science and philosophy discussed earlier (and derived from What Is Philosophy?). The fact is that Deleuze and Guattari were very well versed and extremely interested in developments in contempo­ rary science inspired by nonlinear mathematics and complexity theory, as I mentioned earlier.60 Compared to classical mechanics, for example (which may represent the epitome of controlled-variable empirical science), many contemporary sciences pay far more attention to the conditions of emer­ gence of their objects of study, to the virtual intensive processes that give rise to actual objects. There is therefore considerable overlap between the contributions of these sciences and what Jeffrey Bell has called Deleuze’s “historical ontology”—the view he derives from Bergson and Leibniz (among others), according to which each and everything is understood to be simply the result (the “contraction”) of its virtual conditions of actual­ ization or emergence.61 Ultimately, however, the main thrust of Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy is not ontological: it is political.


pages: 466 words: 127,728

The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System by James Rickards

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, Ayatollah Khomeini, bank run, banking crisis, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business climate, business cycle, buy and hold, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, centre right, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, complexity theory, computer age, credit crunch, currency peg, David Graeber, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, diversification, Edward Snowden, eurozone crisis, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, financial repression, fixed income, Flash crash, floating exchange rates, forward guidance, G4S, George Akerlof, global reserve currency, global supply chain, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, invisible hand, jitney, John Meriwether, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, Lao Tzu, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, market design, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mutually assured destruction, obamacare, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price stability, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, reserve currency, risk-adjusted returns, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, Stuxnet, The Market for Lemons, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trade route, undersea cable, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, working-age population, yield curve

This book limns the most imminent threats to the dollar, likely to play out in the next few years, which are financial warfare, deflation, hyperinflation, and market collapse. Only nations and individuals who make provision today will survive the maelstrom to come. In place of fallacious, if popular, methods, this book considers complexity theory to be the best lens for viewing present risks and likely outcomes. Capital markets are complex systems nonpareil. Complexity theory is relatively new in the history of science, but in its sixty years it has been extensively applied to weather, earthquakes, social networks, and other densely connected systems. The application of complexity theory to capital markets is still in its infancy, but it has already yielded insights into risk metrics and price dynamics that possess greater predictive power than conventional methods. As you will see in the pages that follow, the next financial collapse will resemble nothing in history.

-Iran financial war and, 56, 57 Warlord Period, 91 Warring States period, 90 China Daily, 52 China Investment Corporation (CIC), 51 China National Petroleum Corporation, 97 China Petrochemical Corporation (SINOPEC), 97 China Railway Corporation, 255 China State Shipbuilding Corporation, 97 China Telecom, 97 Churchill, Winston, 116, 223 Citibank, 28, 30–31, 262 Citigroup, 196 civilizational collapses, 5 Clinton, Bill, 210 cluster paradigm, 192–93, 194, 198 CNN, 36, 37 codetermination, 123–24 Cohen, David, 54 Coinage Act of 1792, 217 Cold War, 46, 231 collapse civilizational, 5 financial, 265–67 of international monetary system, 5 market, 11–12 warning signs of, 295–98 collateral swaps, 188 College of Europe, 116 commodities, 217 Communist Dynasty, 90, 91–92 complexity theory, 6, 269–70 financial collapse and, 265–67 market collapse and, 11–12 phase transitions in, 172, 265, 289–90 computational complexity theory, 71 confidence, in U.S. dollar, 253–56, 291 confirmation bias, 26 continuity of government operations, 63 contract theory of money (contractism), 165–67, 169 corporate tax rates, 122 correlations, 4–5 Cosco, 133 Counter-Reformation, 115 credit, in premoney economies, 255 creditism, 168–69 credit risk, 218 criticality, 270 Croatia, 136 Croseus, King, 217 “Crunch Time: Fiscal Crises and the Role of Monetary Policy” (Mishkin), 286–87 Crusades, 115 currency war, 159 cyberattacks, 59–60 cyclical downturns, 197–98 Cyprus, 200, 290 Dam, Kenneth W., 209–10 Da Silva, Tekoa, 236 Davoudi, Parviz, 151 “Day After, The” (Ambinder), 63 debasement, of money, 172 debt, 171–80, 290–91 Federal Reserve monetary policy’s relation to, 176–77, 180–89 Federal Reserve Notes as, 167 monetization of, 287–88 sustainable, 171–72, 176–80 tests for acceptable government spending, 173–76 of United States, 171–73 Debt-Deflation Theory of Great Depressions, The (Fisher), 246–47 debt-to-GDP ratio, 159–60, 173 deflation, impact of, 9, 258–59 of Japan, 159, 259, 261 of United Kingdom, 159 of United States, 159, 173, 259 defensive aspects of financial war, 46 deficits, 172–73, 176–80 deflation, 9–11, 76–83, 243–52, 256–64 banking system, impact on, 9, 259 Bernanke’s response to, 76, 77 Chinese imports and, 76 debt-to-GDP ratio and, 9, 258–59 deleveraging after housing market collapse and, 76–77 government debt repayment and, 9, 258 Greenspan’s response to, 76 versus inflation, in depression of 2007 to present, 243–52, 260, 290–91 in Japan, 160–61, 260–62, 264 post-2000 deflationary bias, 76 SDR issuance to prevent, 213–14 tax collection and, 9, 259–60 unemployment and, 77 De Gasperi, Alcide, 116 degree distribution, 265–66 de Léry, Jean, 115 deleveraging, 76–77, 246 DeMint, Jim, 205 Democrats, 175–76, 179, 180, 294 Deng Xiaoping, 93, 97 depressions defined, 244 deflation in, 246–47 Great Depression, 84, 85, 125–26, 155, 221–22, 223–24, 234, 244, 245 Long Depression, in Japan, 160 of 1920, 246–47 regime uncertainty and, 125–26 2007 to present, 3, 76, 87, 126, 197, 243–52, 260, 290–91 derivatives, 80–81 gold as not constituting, 217–18 mortgage-related, 290 risk posed by, 11–12 size of positions in, 11 Deutsche Bank, 32–33 Deutsche Bundesbank, 232 devaluations, 158, 200 of dollar, U.S., 1, 10–11, 235 Gold Bloc devaluations, 222 Great Depression and, 223 digital currencies, 254 dollar, U.S., 161 alternatives to, 254 Beijing Consensus and, 120–21 confidence in, 253–56, 291 contract theory of, 165–67, 169 deflation as threat to, 9–11 demise of, potential paths of, 292–95 devaluation of, 1, 10–11, 235 financial war as threat to, 6–7 geopolitical threats to, 12–13 gold convertibility abandoned, in 1971, 1, 2, 5, 209, 220, 235, 285 inflation as threat to, 7–9 King Dollar (sound-dollar) policy, 118, 176–77, 210, 211 loss of confidence in, in 1970s, 1–2, 5 market collapse as threat to, 11–12 MARKINT as means of detecting attacks on, 40 pegging to, effect of, 155 SDRs as potential reserve currency replacement for, 211–14, 292–93 threats to, 5–13 Volcker’s efforts to save, 2 Washington Consensus and, 118–20 dollar index in 1978, 1, 253–54 in 1995, 2, 253–54 in 2011, 2–3, 253–54 in 2013, 253–54 SDR issuance and weakness in, 210–11 Dr.

If the United States faces severe deflation again, the antidote of dollar devaluation against gold will be the same, because there is no other solution when printing money fails. ■ Market Collapse The prospect of a market collapse is a function of systemic risk independent of fundamental economic policy. The risk of market collapse is amplified by regulatory incompetence and banker greed. Complexity theory is the proper framework for analyzing this risk. The starting place in this analysis is the recognition that capital markets exhibit all four of complex systems’ defining qualities: diversity of agents, connectedness, interdependence, and adaptive behavior. Concluding that capital markets are complex systems has profound implications for regulation and risk management. The first implication is that the proper measurement of risk is the gross notional value of derivatives, not the net amount.


pages: 823 words: 220,581

Debunking Economics - Revised, Expanded and Integrated Edition: The Naked Emperor Dethroned? by Steve Keen

"Robert Solow", accounting loophole / creative accounting, banking crisis, banks create money, barriers to entry, Benoit Mandelbrot, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, butterfly effect, capital asset pricing model, cellular automata, central bank independence, citizen journalism, clockwork universe, collective bargaining, complexity theory, correlation coefficient, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, diversification, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental subject, Financial Instability Hypothesis, fixed income, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Henri Poincaré, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, information asymmetry, invisible hand, iterative process, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, market microstructure, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, money market fund, open economy, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, place-making, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, random walk, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Schrödinger's Cat, scientific mainstream, seigniorage, six sigma, South Sea Bubble, stochastic process, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, time value of money, total factor productivity, tulip mania, wage slave, zero-sum game

The Sraffian scorecard Though the Sraffian school was fairly influential up until 2000, there have been few developments in it since, certainly in comparison to the growth in post-Keynesian economics since that date. Complexity theory and Econophysics Complexity theory is not so much a school of thought in economics as a group of economists who apply what is popularly known as ‘chaos theory’ to economic issues. Since the first edition of this book, there has also been an enormous growth in the number of physicists taking an active interest in economics and finance, and this new school of ‘Econophysics’ has largely subsumed the complexity theory approach. The concept of chaos itself was first discovered in 1899 by the French mathematician Henri Poincaré. However, knowledge of it languished until the mid-1960s because it could not be fully explored until after the invention of computers.

Modeling Minsky Minsky did develop a mathematical model of a financially driven business cycle in his PhD, which resulted in the one paper he ever had published in a mainstream economic journal, the American Economic Review (Minsky 1957).3 But the model was unsatisfactory for a number of reasons, and he subsequently abandoned it to stick with predominantly verbal reasoning. Minsky’s failure to develop a satisfactory mathematical model was partly due to bad timing: the 1950s pre-dated the development of complexity theory, which made trying to build a model of his hypothesis virtually impossible. Minsky simply added a financial dimension to the dominant linear trade cycle model of the day, which was a particularly unsuitable foundation for his hypothesis.4 In 1993, well after complexity theory had developed, I built my initial Minsky model using the far more suitable foundation of the cyclical growth model developed by the non-neoclassical economist Richard Goodwin (Goodwin 1967). Goodwin’s model considered the level of investment and the distribution of income in a simple two-class model of capitalism.

You would do as well to consult a Ouija board as an economist who rigorously follows economic theory when giving advice. The Sonnenschein-Mantel-Debreu result is one of many that have effectively split the caste of mathematical economists into two sects. One pretends that business as usual can continue, despite the presence of this (and many other) fallacies in the creed. The other is dabbling in alternative religions – such as complexity theory, or evolutionary economics. Sadly, the uninformed majority of the profession believes that the first sect is the bearer of the true religion, and that the members of the second sect have betrayed the faith. A more accurate analogy is that the dabblers in alternative religions are experiencing the first flushes of adolescence, while the majority of the profession remains mired in infancy. Clearly, the Benthamite ambition to portray society as simply an aggregate of its individual members is a failure.


pages: 245 words: 12,162

In Pursuit of the Traveling Salesman: Mathematics at the Limits of Computation by William J. Cook

complexity theory, computer age, Computer Numeric Control, four colour theorem, index card, John von Neumann, linear programming, NP-complete, P = NP, p-value, RAND corporation, Richard Feynman, traveling salesman, Turing machine

What sets the traveling salesman problem apart is the fact that despite decades of research by top applied mathematicians around the world, in general it is not known how to significantly improve upon simple bruteforce checking. It is a real possibility that there may never exist an efficient method that is guaranteed to solve every example of the problem. This is a xii Preface deep mathematical question: is there an efficient solution method or not? The topic goes to the core of complexity theory concerning the limits of feasible computation. For the stouthearted who would like to tackle the general version of the problem, the Clay Mathematics Institute will hand over a $1,000,000 prize to anyone who can either produce an efficient method or prove that this is impossible. The complexity question that is the subject of the Clay Prize is the Holy Grail of traveling-salesman-problem research and we may be far from seeing its resolution.

Thousands of LP users nonetheless go ahead and include such restrictions in their models everyday, unable to resist the flexibility that integer-only variables bring to the table. The extended framework is known as integer programming, or IP for short. Dantzig himself was the first to document how versatile integer programming can be. In a paper that is fundamental in both the field of optimization and the field of complexity theory, he showed how each member of a long list of important optimization problems can be modeled as an IP problem.29 Dantzig described his work as follows in his 1963 LP book.30 Linear Programming Figure 5.19 Four-coloring of a graph. Our purpose is systematically to review and classify problems that can be reduced to linear programs, some or all of whose variables are integer valued. We shall show that a host of difficult, indeed seemingly impossible, problems of a nonlinear, nonconvex, and combinatorial character are now open for direct attack.

Why would he expect his polyhedral methods to fail on the salesman, after working spectacularly in other cases? Edmonds was coy with his explanation, noting only that it was a legitimate possibility that no good algorithm exists. Four years after this bet, Stephen Cook and Richard Karp developed their theory placing the question in the larger world of P vs. N P. The Complexity Classes Mathematicians like to keep things tidy, and in the case of complexity theory this has led to a focus on decision problems, that is, a focus on problems having yes or no answers. So, for example, does a graph have a Hamiltonian circuit? Yes or no. Or, given a set of cities, is there a tour of length less than 1,000 miles? Yes or no.7 Among decision problems, Richard Karp introduced the short notation P to denote those that have good algorithms. Formally, P is the class of problems that can be solved in polynomial time on a single-tape Turing machine, that is, if n is the number symbols on the input tape, then the machine is guaranteed to halt after a number of steps that is at most C times nk , for some power k and some constant C .


pages: 236 words: 50,763

The Golden Ticket: P, NP, and the Search for the Impossible by Lance Fortnow

Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, complexity theory, Donald Knuth, Erdős number, four colour theorem, Gerolamo Cardano, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, linear programming, new economy, NP-complete, Occam's razor, P = NP, Paul Erdős, Richard Feynman, Rubik’s Cube, smart grid, Stephen Hawking, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William of Occam

The most prestigious computer science journal receives a steady stream of papers claiming to resolve the P versus NP question and has a specific policy for those papers: The Journal of the ACM frequently receives submissions purporting to solve a long-standing open problem in complexity theory, such as the P/NP problem. Such submissions tax the voluntary editorial and peer-reviewing resources used by JACM, by requiring the review process to identify the errors in them. JACM remains open to the possibility of eventual resolution of P/NP and related questions, and continues to welcome submissions on the subject. However, to mitigate the burden of repeated resubmissions of incremental corrections of errors identified during editorial review, JACM has adopted the following policy: No author may submit more than one paper on the P/NP or related long-standing questions in complexity theory in any 24 month period, except by invitation of the Editor-in-Chief. This applies to resubmissions of previously rejected manuscripts.

The Association for Computing Machinery is a major society serving computing researchers and professionals, and Communications is the society’s main magazine devoted to articles of interest for that community. At first I tried to push the article onto another computer scientist, but eventually relented. As Moshe put it to me, “If physicists write popular articles (and books) about string theory, we should be able to explain what complexity theory has accomplished, I’d hope.” I wrote the article, aiming for the Communications audience, not just about the status of the P versus NP problem, which can be summarized as “still open,” but about how people deal with hard problems. “The Status of the P versus NP Problem” was published in the September 2009 issue and quickly became the most downloaded article in the Communications’ history. The P versus NP problem remained a story to be told, and the popularity of the article suggested the time was right to tell this story, not just to scientists but to a much broader audience.

Chapter 4 The quotation from Cook is actually a paraphrase in modern terminology of the original quotation from his seminal paper. The original reads as follows: The theorems suggest that {tautologies} is a good candidate for an interesting set not in L*, and I feel it is worth spending considerable effort trying to prove this conjecture. Such a proof would be a major breakthrough in complexity theory. Steve Cook, “The Complexity of Theorem-Proving Procedures,” in Proceedings of the Third Annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing (New York: ACM), 151–58. Karp’s follow-up paper is Richard Karp, “Reducibility among Combinatorial Problems,” Complexity of Computer Computations 40, no. 4 (1972): 85–103. Bob Sehlinger (author) and Len Testa (contributor), The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World 2010 (New York: Wiley, 2010).


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More Than You Know: Finding Financial Wisdom in Unconventional Places (Updated and Expanded) by Michael J. Mauboussin

Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Atul Gawande, availability heuristic, beat the dealer, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, Brownian motion, butter production in bangladesh, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, Clayton Christensen, clockwork universe, complexity theory, corporate governance, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, demographic transition, discounted cash flows, disruptive innovation, diversification, diversified portfolio, dogs of the Dow, Drosophila, Edward Thorp, en.wikipedia.org, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fixed income, framing effect, functional fixedness, hindsight bias, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, index fund, information asymmetry, intangible asset, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kenneth Arrow, Laplace demon, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, Menlo Park, mental accounting, Milgram experiment, Murray Gell-Mann, Nash equilibrium, new economy, Paul Samuelson, Pierre-Simon Laplace, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, shareholder value, statistical model, Steven Pinker, stocks for the long run, survivorship bias, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, traveling salesman, value at risk, wealth creators, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

Tools of the Trade-Off Chapter 24 - You’ll Meet a Bad Fate If You Extrapolate Social Versus Security Nonstationarity and Historical P/Es Why the Past May Not Be Prologue Bounded Parameters Unpacking the (Mental) Baggage Chapter 25 - I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up Returns and Growth Death, Taxes, and Reversion to the Mean I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up Chapter 26 - Trench Cooperation The War Metaphor—Death or Life? Why a Date and a Marriage Are So Different Price and Quantity Chapter 27 - Great (Growth) Expectations Compounding and Confounding Reality Check The Bigger They Are, the Slower They Grow (or Don’t Grow) Refuse Refuge in Castles in the Air Part 4 - Science and Complexity Theory INTRODUCTION Chapter 28 - Diversify Your Mind Ant Brain A-Mazing Getting a Diversity Degree Creativity and Investing Chapter 29 - From Honey to Money Smart Ant Traveling Salesman? Follow the Ant . . . Delphic Decision Markets The Stock Market—the Ultimate Hive? Swarm Smarts Chapter 30 - Vox Populi The Accuracy of Crowds Needle in a Haystack Weighing the Ox with the Vox Estimating Printers with Populi And Now, For the Real World Chapter 31 - A Tail of Two Worlds Experience Versus Exposure Tell Tail What Fat Tails Mean for Investors Chapter 32 - Integrating the Outliers Bernoulli’s Challenge What’s Normal?

Unlike a best-selling thriller, you can read More Than You Know from back to front just as easily as from front to back. But I recommend you simply go to the table of contents, find something that interests you, and jump in. While the essays cover a range of topics, I categorize them into four parts—investment philosophy, psychology of investing, innovation and competitive strategy, and science and complexity theory. Consider these compartments in a toolbox, each addressing a distinct facet of investing. That said, every essay is meant to stand by itself. This edition has updated tables and charts and new chapters in each part. Fresh topics include thoughts on management assessment, the role of intuition, applications of game theory, and the mechanisms behind the market’s mood swings. More Than You Know leverages the research of many top-flight academics.

The evidence shows that sustaining rapid growth is very difficult, especially for large corporations. Furthermore, while there is nothing wrong with growth stocks, the indications are that it is very difficult to know which companies will exceed expectations and which will disappoint. Investors should continue to focus on investment ideas where the expected value is favorable—where the upside opportunity outstrips the downside risk. Part 4 Science and Complexity Theory INTRODUCTION One of my first calls after the major East Coast power blackout in August 2003 was to my friend Duncan Watts, then a Columbia University sociology professor. I peppered him with questions about the failure: what might have caused it, how it progressed, and by what means could we avoid future similar events. Now you might ask, why would you call a sociologist to answer questions about a power failure?


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Emergence by Steven Johnson

A Pattern Language, agricultural Revolution, Brewster Kahle, British Empire, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, Danny Hillis, Douglas Hofstadter, edge city, epigenetics, game design, garden city movement, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Kevin Kelly, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Murano, Venice glass, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, pez dispenser, phenotype, Potemkin village, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, slashdot, social intelligence, Socratic dialogue, stakhanovite, Steven Pinker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, Turing machine, Turing test, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush

How did such a lowly organism come to play such an important scientific role? That story begins in the late sixties in New York City, with a scientist named Evelyn Fox Keller. A Harvard Ph.D. in physics, Keller had written her dissertation on molecular biology, and she had spent some time exploring the nascent field of “nonequilibrium thermodynamics,” which in later years would come to be associated with complexity theory. By 1968, she was working as an associate at Sloan-Kettering in Manhattan, thinking about the application of mathematics to biological problems. Mathematics had played such a tremendous role in expanding our understanding of physics, Keller thought—so perhaps it might also be useful for understanding living systems. In the spring of 1968, Keller met a visiting scholar named Lee Segel, an applied mathematician who shared her interests.

Weaver had played a leading role in the Natural Sciences division of the Rockefeller Foundation since 1932, and when he retired in the late fifties, he composed a long report for the foundation, looking back at the scientific progress that had been achieved over the preceding quarter century. The occasion suggested a reflective look backward, but the document that Weaver produced (based loosely on a paper he had written for American Scientist) was far more prescient, more forward-looking. In many respects, it deserves to be thought of as the founding text of complexity theory—the point at which the study of complex systems began to think of itself as a unified field. Drawing upon research in molecular biology, genetics, physics, computer science, and Shannon’s information theory, Weaver divided the last few centuries of scientific inquiry into three broad camps. First, the study of simple systems: two or three variable problems, such as the rotation of planets, or the connection between an electric current and its voltage and resistance.

As our everyday life becomes increasingly populated by artificial emergence, we will find ourselves relying more and more on the logic of these systems—both in corporate America, where “bottom-up intelligence” has started to replace “quality management” as the mantra of the day, and in the radical, antiglobalization protest movements, who explicitly model their pacemakerless, distributed organizations after ant colonies and slime molds. Former vice president Al Gore is himself a devotee of complexity theory and can talk for hours about what the bottom-up paradigm could mean for reinventing government. Almost two centuries after Engels wrestled with the haunting of Manchester’s city streets, and fifty years after Turing puzzled over the mysteries of a flower’s bloom, the circle is finally complete. Our minds may be wired to look for pacemakers, but we are steadily learning how to think from the bottom up.


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Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Laurence Gonzales

business climate, butterfly effect, complexity theory, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, impulse control, Lao Tzu, loose coupling, Louis Pasteur

The theory of self-organized criticality, sometimes called Complexity theory, was developed hard on the heels of chaos theory by some of the same people. It asked and suggested answers to questions as fundamental as: Where does order come from? How do you reconcile it with the second law of thermodynamics, which says that everything is heading toward more disorder? In a sense, complexity was an extension of the thinking that gave rise to chaos theory; indeed, it was often referred to as existing at “the edge of chaos.” (There has also been strong objection to linking complexity and chaos and to using the term “complexity.”) Like chaos theory, complexity theory postulated “upheaval and change and enormous consequences flowing from trivial-seeming events—and yet with a deep law hidden beneath.” Complexity theory is a bold attempt to explain everything all at once, and so far it’s done a better job in some ways than either Einstein’s relativity theory or Niels Bohr’s quantum mechanics did.

He failed to anticipate the interaction of forces that would result from his stepping into a stream and flooding his boots. In moments, his feet froze solid. Now under stress, he failed to take in new information: In his haste, he built his fire beneath a tree that was laden with snow. It was one of those nonlinear kickback systems that was tightly coupled and that magnified trouble when upset. The Sand Pile Effect. London described all this long before chaos or complexity theory had been developed. His story touches on the most important elements of surviving in a spare and systematic manner: Each bough was fully freighted. Each time he had pulled a twig [from the tree] he had communicated a slight agitation to the tree—an imperceptible agitation, so far as he was concerned, but an agitation sufficient to bring about the disaster. High up in the tree one bough capsized its load of snow.

In a world governed by an ineluctable order, which pushes through Newtonian physics, Einsteinian relativity, thermodynamics, and quantum theory with all the certainty of gravity or any other encroaching natural law, nothing can truly be said to happen by chance, which is just a word we invented to explain the troublesome boundary between order and chaos. Fate, then, turns out to be the struggle, the tension, between the natural law that dictates that everything should proceed toward disorder (entropy) and the natural law that dictates that everything should be self-organizing (complexity theory). If those are, indeed, the two overarching natural laws, then everything becomes clear and we go forward into the past to find the Chinese concept of yin and yang. Certainly, my father’s survival did not end with his falling from the sky. I watched it take shape, even as it shaped me and my world. It began there, a man with broken legs and broken arms and broken feet and ribs, his nose stuck back on almost as an afterthought by a boy who happened by as he was weeping.


Applied Cryptography: Protocols, Algorithms, and Source Code in C by Bruce Schneier

active measures, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, dark matter, Donald Davies, Donald Knuth, dumpster diving, Exxon Valdez, fault tolerance, finite state, invisible hand, John von Neumann, knapsack problem, MITM: man-in-the-middle, NP-complete, P = NP, packet switching, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, software patent, telemarketer, traveling salesman, Turing machine, web of trust, Zimmermann PGP

Stream ciphers rely on confusion alone, although some feedback schemes add diffusion. Block algorithms use both confusion and diffusion. As a general rule, diffusion alone is easily cracked (although double transposition ciphers hold up better than many other pencil-and-paper systems). 11.2 Complexity Theory Complexity theory provides a methodology for analyzing the computational complexity of different cryptographic techniques and algorithms. It compares cryptographic algorithms and techniques and determines their security. Information theory tells us that all cryptographic algorithms (except one-time pads) can be broken. Complexity theory tells us whether they can be broken before the heat death of the universe. Previous Table of Contents Next Products | Contact Us | About Us | Privacy | Ad Info | Home Use of this site is subject to certain Terms & Conditions, Copyright © 1996-2000 EarthWeb Inc.

7.6 Caveat Emptor Chapter 8—Key Management 8.1 Generating Keys 8.2 Nonlinear Keyspaces 8.3 Transferring Keys 8.4 Verifying Keys 8.5 Using Keys 8.6 Updating Keys 8.7 Storing Keys 8.8 Backup Keys 8.9 Compromised Keys 8.10 Lifetime of Keys 8.11 Destroying Keys 8.12 Public-Key Key Management Chapter 9—Algorithm Types and Modes 9.1 Electronic Codebook Mode 9.2 Block Replay 9.3 Cipher Block Chaining Mode 9.4 Stream Ciphers 9.5 Self-Synchronizing Stream Ciphers 9.6 Cipher-Feedback Mode 9.7 Synchronous Stream Ciphers 9.8 Output-Feedback Mode 9.9 Counter Mode 9.10 Other Block-Cipher Modes 9.11 Choosing a Cipher Mode 9.12 Interleaving 9.13 Block Ciphers versus Stream Ciphers Chapter 10—Using Algorithms 10.1 Choosing an Algorithm 10.2 Public-Key Cryptography versus Symmetric Cryptography 10.3 Encrypting Communications Channels 10.4 Encrypting Data for Storage 10.5 Hardware Encryption versus Software Encryption 10.6 Compression, Encoding, and Encryption 10.7 Detecting Encryption 10.8 Hiding Ciphertext in Ciphertext 10.9 Destroying Information Part III—Cryptographic Algorithms Chapter 11—Mathematical Background 11.1 Information Theory 11.2 Complexity Theory 11.3 Number Theory 11.4 Factoring 11.5 Prime Number Generation 11.6 Discrete Logarithms in a Finite Field Chapter 12—Data Encryption Standard (DES) 12.1 Background 12.2 Description of DES 12.3 Security of DES 12.4 Differential and Linear Cryptanalysis 12.5 The Real Design Criteria 12.6 DES Variants 12.7 How Secure Is DES Today? Chapter 13—Other Block Ciphers 13.1 Lucifer 13.2 Madryga 13.3 NewDES 13.4 FEAL 13.5 REDOC 13.6 LOKI 13.7 Khufu and Khafre 13.8 RC2 13.9 IDEA 13.10 MMB 13.11 CA-1.1 13.12 Skipjack Chapter 14—Still Other Block Ciphers 14.1 GOST 14.2 CAST 14.3 Blowfish 14.4 SAFER 14.5 3-Way 14.6 Crab 14.7 SXAL8/MBAL 14.8 RC5 14.9 Other Block Algorithms 14.10 Theory of Block Cipher Design 14.11 Using one-Way Hash Functions 14.12 Choosing a Block Algorithm Chapter 15—Combining Block Ciphers 15.1 Double Encryption 15.2 Triple Encryption 15.3 Doubling the Block Length 15.4 Other Multiple Encryption Schemes 15.5 CDMF Key Shortening 15.6 Whitening 15.7 Cascading Multiple Block Algorithms 15.8 Combining Multiple Block Algorithms Chapter 16—Pseudo-Random-Sequence Generators and Stream Ciphers 16.1 Linear Congruential Generators 16.2 Linear Feedback Shift Registers 16.3 Design and Analysis of Stream Ciphers 16.4 Stream Ciphers Using LFSRs 16.5 A5 16.6 Hughes XPD/KPD 16.7 Nanoteq 16.8 Rambutan 16.9 Additive Generators 16.10 Gifford 16.11 Algorithm M 16.12 PKZIP Chapter 17—Other Stream Ciphers and Real Random-Sequence Generators 17.1 RC4 17.2 SEAL 17.3 WAKE 17.4 Feedback with Carry Shift Registers 17.5 Stream Ciphers Using FCSRs 17.6 Nonlinear-Feedback Shift Registers 17.7 Other Stream Ciphers 17.8 System-Theoretic Approach to Stream-Cipher Design 17.9 Complexity-Theoretic Approach to Stream-Cipher Design 17.10 Other Approaches to Stream-Cipher Design 17.11 Cascading Multiple Stream Ciphers 17.12 Choosing a Stream Cipher 17.13 Generating Multiple Streams from a Single Pseudo-Random-Sequence Generator 17.14 Real Random-Sequence Generators Chapter 18—One-Way Hash Functions 18.1 Background 18.2 Snefru 18.3 N- Hash 18.4 MD4 18.5 MD5 18.6 MD2 18.7 Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA) 18.8 RIPE-MD 18.9 HAVAL 18.10 Other One-Way Hash Functions 18.11 One-Way Hash Functions Using Symmetric Block Algorithms 18.12 Using Public-Key Algorithms 18.13 Choosing a One-Way Hash Function 18.14 Message Authentication Codes Chapter 19—Public-Key Algorithms 19.1 Background 19.2 Knapsack Algorithms 19.3 RSA 19.4 Pohlig-Hellman 19.5 Rabin 19.6 ElGamal 19.7 McEliece 19.8 Elliptic Curve Cryptosystems 19.9 LUC 19.10 Finite Automaton Public-Key Cryptosystems Chapter 20—Public-Key Digital Signature Algorithms 20.1 Digital Signature Algorithm (DSA) 20.2 DSA Variants 20.3 Gost Digital Signature Algorithm 20.4 Discrete Logarithm Signature Schemes 20.5 Ong-Schnorr-Shamir 20.6 ESIGN 20.7 Cellular Automata 20.8 Other Public-Key Algorithms Chapter 21—Identification Schemes 21.1 Feige-Fiat-Shamir 21.2 Guillou-Quisquater 21.3 Schnorr 21.4 Converting Identification Schemes to Signature Schemes Chapter 22—Key-Exchange Algorithms 22.1 Diffie-Hellman 22.2 Station-to-Station Protocol 22.3 Shamir’s Three-Pass Protocol 22.4 COMSET 22.5 Encrypted Key Exchange 22.6 Fortified Key Negotiation 22.7 Conference Key Distribution and Secret Broadcasting Chapter 23—Special Algorithms for Protocols 23.1 Multiple-Key Public-Key Cryptography 23.2 Secret-Sharing Algorithms 23.3 Subliminal Channel 23.4 Undeniable Digital Signatures 23.5 Designated Confirmer Signatures 23.6 Computing with Encrypted Data 23.7 Fair Coin Flips 23.8 One-Way Accumulators 23.9 All-or-Nothing Disclosure of Secrets 23.10 Fair and Failsafe Cryptosystems 23.11 Zero-Knowledge Proofs of Knowledge 23.12 Blind Signatures 23.13 Oblivious Transfer 23.14 Secure Multiparty Computation 23.15 Probabilistic Encryption 23.16 Quantum Cryptography Part IV—The Real World Chapter 24—Example Implementations 24.1 IBM Secret-Key Management Protocol 24.2 MITRENET 24.3 ISDN 24.4 STU-III 24.5 Kerberos 24.6 KryptoKnight 24.7 SESAME 24.8 IBM Common Cryptographic Architecture 24.9 ISO Authentication Framework 24.10 Privacy-Enhanced Mail (PEM) 24.11 Message Security Protocol (MSP) 24.12 Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) 24.13 Smart Cards 24.14 Public-Key Cryptography Standards (PKCS) 24.15 Universal Electronic Payment System (UEPS) 24.16 Clipper 24.17 Capstone 24.18 AT&ampT Model 3600 Telephone Security Device (TSD) Chapter 25—Politics 25.1 National Security Agency (NSA) 25.2 National Computer Security Center (NCSC) 25.3 National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 25.4 RSA Data Security, Inc. 25.5 Public Key Partners 25.6 International Association for Cryptologic Research (IACR) 25.7 RACE Integrity Primitives Evaluation (RIPE) 25.8 Conditional Access for Europe (CAFE) 25.9 ISO/IEC 9979 25.10 Professional, Civil Liberties, and Industry Groups 25.11 Sci.crypt 25.12 Cypherpunks 25.13 Patents 25.14 U.S.

Most everyone assumes that factoring is hard, but it has never been mathematically proven one way or the other. This is worth dwelling on. It is easy to imagine that 50 years in the future we will all sit around, reminiscing about the good old days when people used to think factoring was hard, cryptography was based on factoring, and companies actually made money from this stuff. It is easy to imagine that future developments in number theory will make factoring easier or that developments in complexity theory will make factoring trivial. There’s no reason to believe this will happen—and most people who know enough to have an opinion will tell you that it is unlikely—but there’s also no reason to believe it won’t. In any case, today’s dominant public-key encryption algorithms are based on the difficulty of factoring large numbers that are the product of two large primes. (Other algorithms are based on something called the Discrete Logarithm Problem, but for the moment assume the same discussion applies.)


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From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism by Fred Turner

1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, bioinformatics, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, distributed generation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, game design, George Gilder, global village, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, market bubble, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, new economy, Norbert Wiener, peer-to-peer, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Richard Stallman, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Hackers Conference, theory of mind, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Yom Kippur War

In 1995 Brad Hoyt, a senior project manager at Senco, a Cincinnati toolmaker, recalled a scenario-planning session with Stewart Brand: “He changed my whole life in one scenario planning session. He asked whether we’d heard about complexity theory. . . . Little did I know he’s on the board of the Santa Fe Institute.”36 Over the next year, Hoyt reported reading another dozen books on complexity and came to use complexity theory as a guide to “thinking about the housing industry and other ecosystems affecting Senco.” For executives like Hoyt, the systems-oriented rhetoric of complexity theory, buttressed by the cultural legitimacy of Stewart Brand, offered a compelling framework within which to understand the topsy-turvy economy of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Even at firms with more skeptical executives, GBN quietly brought into the corporate world people and publications that both promoted and modeled a networked sensibility.

Out of Control was not widely reviewed at its release, but it was reviewed in several important publications and was extensively cited over the next several years. Early reviews included Poundstone, “Can You Trust Your Computer?”; Boisvert, “Weird Science”; Mitchell, “Mystifying the Net”; and Tetzeli, “Managing in a World Out of Control.” 63. Taylor, “Control in an Age of Chaos,” 65. 64. For critiques of Kelly’s cyberrevolutionism, see Terranova, “Digital Darwin”; Best and Kellner, “Kelly’s Complexity Theory”; Borsook, Cyberselfish. 65. As Walter Powell has pointed out, these forces included a flattening of corporate hierarchies, newly flexible employment structures for executives as well as laborers, globalization, and the integration of information technology into the firm. See Powell, “Capitalist Firm in the Twenty-First Century,” esp. 40 – 61. 66. Ibid., 68. 67. The Long Now Foundation is still active at this writing.

The Survival of a Counterculture: Ideological Work and Everyday Life among Rural Communards. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981. Berman, Morris. The Reenchantment of the World. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1981. Bertalanffy, Ludwig von. General System Theory: Foundations, Development, Applications. New York: G. Braziller, 1968. Best, Steven, and Douglas Kellner. “Kevin Kelly’s Complexity Theory: The Politics and Ideology of Self-Organizing Systems.” Organization and Environment 12, no. 2 (1999): 141– 62. Bey, Hakim. T.A.Z.: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism. Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia, 1991. Bijker, Wiebe E. “The Social Construction of Bakelite: Toward a Theory of Invention.” In Bijker, Hughes, and Pinch, Social Construction of Technological Systems, 159 – 87.


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The Most Human Human: What Talking With Computers Teaches Us About What It Means to Be Alive by Brian Christian

4chan, Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, carbon footprint, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, complexity theory, crowdsourcing, David Heinemeier Hansson, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, George Akerlof, Gödel, Escher, Bach, high net worth, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, job automation, l'esprit de l'escalier, Loebner Prize, Menlo Park, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Skype, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, starchitect, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Thales of Miletus, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game

I try splitting the difference; then we both jump back in at the same time. A guy can’t catch a break—or more accurately might be he can’t get someone else to catch his breaks. Somehow the timing ballet that feels like second nature in person seems consistently—here, and as a general rule—to break down over the phone. I do the best I can, but it feels, somehow, solitary— Computability Theory vs. Complexity Theory The first branch of computer science theory was what’s come to be known as “computability theory,” a field that concerns itself with theoretical models of computing machines and the theoretical limits of their power. It’s this branch of theory in which Turing made some of his greatest contributions: in the 1930s and ’40s, physical computing machines were so fledgling that it made sense to think idealistically about them and the purely theoretical extents and limits of their potential.

Similarly, computer data encryption hinges on the fact that prime numbers can be multiplied into large composite numbers faster than composite numbers can be factored back into their primes. The two operations are both perfectly computable, but the second happens to be exponentially slower—making it intractable. This is what makes online security, and online commerce, possible. The next generation of computer theorists after Turing, in the 1960s and ’70s, began to develop a branch of the discipline, called complexity theory, that took such time-and-space constraints into account. As computer theorist Hava Siegelmann of the University of Massachusetts explains, this more “modern” theory deals not only “with the ultimate power of a machine, but also with its expressive power under constraints on resources, such as time and space.” Michael Sipser’s textbook Introduction to the Theory of Computation, considered one of the bibles of theoretical computer science, and the textbook I myself used in college, cautions, “Even when a problem is decidable and thus computationally solvable in principle, it may not be solvable in practice if the solution requires an inordinate amount of time or memory.”

In a purely grammatical view of language, the words “uh” and “um” are meaningless. Their dictionary entries would be blank. But note that the idealized form of language which Chomsky makes his object of study explicitly ignores “such grammatically irrelevant conditions as memory limitations … [and] actual performance.” In other words, Chomsky’s theory of language is the computability theory of Turing’s era, not the complexity theory that followed. Very similarly idealized, as it happens, are chatbots’ models of language. Yet it turns out—just as it did in computer science—that there’s a tremendous amount happening in the gap between the “ideal” process and the “actual performance.” As a human confederate, I planned to make as much of this gap as possible. Satisficing and Staircase Wit Economics, historically, has also tended to function a bit like computability theory, where “rational agents” somehow gather and synthesize infinite amounts of information in the smallest of jiffies, then immediately decide and act.


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How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker

affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, double helix, experimental subject, feminist movement, four colour theorem, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, hedonic treadmill, Henri Poincaré, income per capita, information retrieval, invention of agriculture, invention of the wheel, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, lake wobegon effect, lateral thinking, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, Necker cube, out of africa, pattern recognition, phenotype, plutocrats, Plutocrats, random walk, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Saturday Night Live, scientific worldview, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, sexual politics, social intelligence, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, Turing machine, urban decay, Yogi Berra

Dozens of new books have applied these ideas to topics such as AIDS, urban decay, the Bosnian war, and, of course, the stock market. Stuart Kauffman, one of the movement’s leaders, suggested that feats like self-organization, order, stability, and coherence may be an “innate property of some complex systems.” Evolution, he suggests, may be a “marriage of selection and self-organization.” Complexity theory raises interesting issues. Natural selection presupposes that a replicator arose somehow, and complexity theory might help explain the “somehow.” Complexity theory might also pitch in to explain other assumptions. Each body has to hang together long enough to function rather than fly apart or melt into a puddle. And for evolution to happen at all, mutations have to change a body enough to make a difference in its functioning but not so much as to bring it to a chaotic crash.

Evolutionary skeptics: Mayr, 1993. 150 Number of extraterrestrial civilizations: Sullivan, 1993. 151 We’re only the first: Drake, 1993. 153 Human chauvinism: Gould, 1989, 1996. 153 Costs and benefits in evolution: Maynard Smith, 1984. 154 Costs and benefits of big brains: Tooby & DeVore, 1987. 155 Darwin and the universe: Dawkins, 1983, 1986; Williams, 1966, 1992; Maynard Smith, 1975/1993; Reeve & Sherman, 1993. 159 Photons don’t wash an eye clear: Dawkins, 1986. 159 Macromutations cannot explain complex design: Dawkins, 1986. “Punctuated equilibria” are not the same as macromutations: Dawkins, 1986; Gould, 1987, p. 234. 160 “Adaptive mutation”: Cairns, Overbaugh, & Miller, 1988; Shapiro, 1995. Problems with adaptive mutation: Lenski & Mittler, 1993; Lenski & Sniegowski; Shapiro, 1995. 160 Complexity theory: Kauffman, 1991; Gell-Mann, 1994. 161 Take a hike, Darwin: James Barham, New York Times Book Review, June 4, 1995; also Davies, 1995. 161 Limitations of complexity theory: Maynard Smith, 1995; Horgan, 1995b; Dennett, 1995. 162 Evidence for natural selection: Dawkins, 1986, 1995; Berra, 1990; Kitcher, 1982; Endler, 1986; Weiner, 1994. 163 Ascent of man: Bronowski, 1973, pp. 417–421. 164 Simulated evolving eye: Nilsson & Pelger, 1994; described in Dawkins, 1995. 165 Darwin-hating academics: Dawkins, 1982; Pinker & Bloom, 1990 (see commentaries and reply); Dennett, 1995. 165 Straw adaptationist: Lewontin, 1979. 166 Snagged seminal ducts: Williams, 1992. 166 Adaptationist advances: Mayr, 1983, p. 328. 167 Animal engineering excellence: Tooby & Cosmides, 1992; Dawkins, 1982, 1986; Williams, 1992; Griffin, 1974; Tributsch, 1982; French, 1994; Dennett, 1995; Cain, 1964. 168 The splendid camel: French, 1994, p. 239. 168 Howlers: Author’s reply in Pinker & Bloom, 1990.

If there are abstract principles that govern whether a web of interacting parts (molecules, genes, cells) has such properties, natural selection would have to work within those principles, just as it works within other constraints of physics and mathematics like the Pythagorean theorem and the law of gravitation. But many readers have gone much further and conclude that natural selection is now trivial or obsolete, or at best of unknown importance. (Incidentally, the pioneers of complexity theory themselves, such as Kauffman and Murray Gell-Mann, are appalled by that extrapolation.) This letter to the New York Times Book Review is a typical example: Thanks to recent advances in nonlinear dynamics, nonequilibrium thermodynamics and other disciplines at the boundary between biology and physics, there is every reason to believe that the origin and evolution of life will eventually be placed on a firm scientific footing.


pages: 123 words: 37,853

Do Improvise: Less push. More pause. Better results. A new approach to work (and life) (Do Books) by Poynton, Robert

Berlin Wall, complexity theory, Hans Rosling, iterative process, off grid, Skype, Toyota Production System

Every now and then something happens, apparently by chance, that sparks off a cascade of connections and insights I could never have anticipated. It is a glorious feeling. The first of these was when I met Gary Hirsch, in Portland, Oregon. We met to talk about his art, but he happened to make a few passing comments about improv. Odd though it may seem, in an instant I connected what he was saying to complexity theory. I had been studying the science of complexity and adaptive systems for years, because I felt it held great promise for changing the way we think about organisations and creativity. The trouble was I couldn’t explain it for toffee. Improv, by contrast, was something I could use. A business, a great friendship and everything else I have written about followed. Another of these leaps occurred when I realised that the leadership programme I had worked on for years at Oxford could itself be seen as a piece of improvisation.

Index Abrashoff, Commander Mike 97–8 Agile Project Management 119, 120, 121, 122 analysis, planning and 9, 30, 113–15 Apollo XIII 100 Apple 73 April, Professor Kurt 89 Ariel Atom 122 audience 24, 40, 45–53, 57, 61, 72, 73, 77, 81, 82, 104, 111, 113, 128, 130 baggage, your own (shadow story) 23, 24–5, 42, 56 blocking 37, 41, 42, 55, 59, 62, 63, 64, 80, 120 body, notice more about your own 21–2, 55–6, 76, 102 body language 35, 41–2, 48, 62, 110 Bohannon, John 76 brands 20, 44, 84 Cleese, John 70 Comedy Store Players, The 69 communication 39–64 audience requirements 45–53 ‘bad’ 40 blocking has a place 55 body language and 41–2 complexity of 40 Game: ‘Yes, and’ 59–64 going off piste 53–8 improv practice and 40–1 interpersonal 43 is the audience being seen or acknowledged? 50–2 listening intently 55–6 one-way/two-way 43–4 presentations 39, 44–58 trust the driver 48 what is expected of the audience; what are they going to have to do? 49 what is the audience going to get as a result of listening? 50 ‘whites of the eyes’ 46 who am I (the speaker) beyond labels? 48–9 your own baggage (shadow story) and 42 complexity theory 118 ‘connective tissue’ 99 control: changing attitudes towards 116–17 companies which give employees 121–3 exerting influence without 31 imposing in areas where it isn’t appropriate 9, 11 as neither sensible or desirable 30 new ideas and 79§ paying attention to what you can 12, 52, 113–14 creativity 65–88 all creativity is co-creativity 85–6 and solving future world problems 66 creative doing, not creative thinking 72–6 creative process 67 ‘creativity is the new literacy’ 85 embracing constraint and 80–6 Game: Object Taps 87–8 importance of 66, 85–6 importance of play 69–72 ‘last letter, first letter’ 80, 81 popular image of 66–8 putting flow first 77–80 sets humans apart 85 Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly 66 ‘Dance Your Ph.D’ (TED talk) 76 discomfort, accepting 10, 94, 96 eatbigfish 20, 138 Edison, Thomas 102 education 30, 114 either/or, seeing things as 114 Everything’s An Offer (EAO) 17, 18 ‘Facebook effect, the’ 23 ‘fit and well’ 35, 102 Fleming, Alexander 70 flexibility 90–1, 107, 121 future-proof 30, 101 games, killer 12–13, 27–8, 32, 33–8, 59–64, 78, 79, 81–2, 87–8, 99, 108–11, 112, 117, 118, 120, 125–37, 138 see also under individual game name General Motors 103 Gore Associates 121 Heifetz, Professor Ronald 107 Hirsch, Gary 27, 38, 45–6, 49, 61, 71, 88, 111, 118 Hollywood 67, 89, 93–4 Honda 122–3 ideas, generating new 10, 12, 70, 87, 88, 113 acting first 72–6 constraint and 80–6 creating a flow of 31 finding in areas your competitors don’t notice 20, 21, 22–5 flow and 77–80 games and see games in spite of how things are organised, not because of them 116 leaders and see leadership new ideas as combinations of old ones, re-expressed 14 play and 69–72 practice and 94, 95, 96 re-designing organisations and 121 using other people’s 98–100 IDEO 75 IKEA 28, 102–3, 111 image bank 85 improv in action 112–24 analysis, nature of 113–15 building into the design of an organization 119–23 education and 114 either/or ‘yes, and...’ 114 enthusiasm for taking things to pieces and 115–16 journeys and 115 order without control 113, 116–17 planning and 114–15 improv theatre 31, 112, 119 improvisation, nature of 8–13 incorporations (game) 135–7 intuition/hunch 30, 100, 101, 115, 123 journeys, improv and 115 Kamprad, Ingvar 28, 102–3 Keating, David 42–3 Kelleher, Herb 85 knee-jerk conclusions/reaction, resisting 18, 23–4 Kranz, Gene 100 leadership 89–111 accepting discomfort and 94, 95 distributed 91–2 ‘fit and well’ 102 flexibility and 107 fluid approach to 90–1 focus on your own experience 93 Game: Swedish Story 108–11 intuition/hunch and 100, 101, 123 level of trust in 99 looking for offers 101–3 mistakes and 93–4, 95, 102–3 new ideas and 98–9 no single leader 89–92 paying attention to others and 97–8, 99–100 practice and 93, 94–6 presence and 96–7 status and 104–6 value ‘connective tissue’ 99 Let Go 15, 16, 17, 18, 22–5, 29, 34–5, 55, 56, 70, 84, 91, 96, 101, 117, 119, 122, 125, 127, 129 listening 20, 21, 29, 41, 42, 44, 45, 47, 48, 49, 55–6, 60, 62, 81, 96–8, 107 Mandela, Nelson 97 Michelangelo 79 mistakes 26, 27, 54, 93–4, 95, 101, 102–3, 105, 113, 114–15, 123, 127 Morgan, Adam 20, 42, 51 Morning Star 121–2 Nike 48 ‘no’, saying 28, 42, 51, 54 Notice More 15, 16, 17, 18–22, 35, 81, 96–7, 119 Object Taps (game) 87–8 offer/offers: blocking 37, 40–2, 54, 56–7, 58, 59, 61, 62, 63, 64, 76, 78–80, 103, 120 errors and mistakes as 26–8, 103 Everything’s An Offer (EAO) 16, 17, 18, 26, 102–3 failure and breakdowns as 28–9 seeing objections as 56–7, 101–3 On Your Feet 38, 49, 71, 82, 84, 119, 122 One to Twenty (game) 125, 131–4 Pascale, Richard 122–3 paying attention 19, 22, 24, 96–8, 99–100 Pert, Candace 22 planning 9, 51–2, 62, 63, 81, 113, 114–15 practice, improvisational 12, 13, 14–31 Let Go 15, 16, 17, 18, 22–5, 29, 34–5, 55, 56, 70, 84, 91, 96, 101, 117, 119, 122, 125, 127, 129 Notice More 15, 16, 17, 18–22, 35, 81, 96–7, 119 Presents (game) 33–8, 62, 63, 111, 129 Use Everything 15–16, 17, 18, 26–9, 96, 119 presentations 39, 44–58 Presents (game) 33–8, 62, 63, 111, 129 Robinson, Sir Ken 85, 86 Rodriguez, Robert 28 Roshi, Suzuki 27 Rosling, Hans 53 SCRUM 119 Semco 121 senses 18–21, 76, 96 shadow story 24–5, 42, 56 Sloan, Alfred 103 software engineers 119–20 Southwest Airlines 85 status 49, 104–6, 107 storyteller improv games 27–8, 99, 108–11 Swedish Story (game) 108–11 taking things to pieces, enthusiasm for 8, 18, 29, 30, 113, 115–16 TED talks 53, 76 3M 121 Toyota Production System 91 Twain, Mark 54 Use Everything 15–16, 17, 18, 26–9, 35, 96, 119 Wake Wood (film) 42–3 weak signals 99–100 ‘whites of the eyes’ 46 ‘Yes, and’ (game) 59–64, 78 ‘yes, and...’, seeing things as 11, 42, 98, 114, 120 Published by The Do Book Company 2013 Works in Progress Publishing Ltd www.thedobook.co Text copyright © Robert Poynton 2013 Illustrations copyright © Andy Smith 2012 The right of Robert Poynton to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 All rights reserved No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced to a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the publisher.


pages: 313 words: 84,312

We-Think: Mass Innovation, Not Mass Production by Charles Leadbeater

1960s counterculture, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, c2.com, call centre, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, complexity theory, congestion charging, death of newspapers, Debian, digital Maoism, disruptive innovation, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, frictionless, frictionless market, future of work, game design, Google Earth, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jean Tirole, jimmy wales, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Joi Ito, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lateral thinking, lone genius, M-Pesa, Mark Shuttleworth, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, microcredit, Mitch Kapor, new economy, Nicholas Carr, online collectivism, planetary scale, post scarcity, Richard Stallman, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social web, software patent, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Whole Earth Catalog, Zipcar

David, ‘From Keeping “Nature’s Secrets” to the Institutionalization of “Open Science”‘, in Rishab Aiyer Ghosh (Ed.), Code (Cambridge, MA/London: MIT Press, 2005) 30 Alessandro Nuvolari, ‘Open Source Software Development: Some Historical Perspectives’, Eindhoven Centre for Innovation Studies Working Paper 03.01 (2003); Koen Frenken and Alessandro Nuvolari, ‘The Early Development of the Steam Engine: An Evolutionary Interpretation Using Complexity Theory’, Eindhoven Centre for Innovation Studies Working Paper 03.15 (2003) Chapter 3 1 Andrew Brown, In the Beginning Was the Worm (Pocket Books, 2003) 2 Eric S. Raymond, The Cathedral and the Bazaar (O’Reilly, 2001) 3 Doc Searls, ‘Making a New World’, in Chris DiBona, Danese Cooper and Mark Stone (Eds), Open Sources 2.0 (O’Reilly, 2006) 4 Glyn Moody, Rebel Code: Linux and the Open Source Revolution (Penguin, 2002) 5 Like many radical innovations Linux is not as revolutionary as it first seems.

Available from http:// www.essex.ac.uk/chimera/content/pubs/wps/ CWP-2005–02-Blogging-in-the-Knowledge-Society-MB.pdf Bragg, Melvyn, The Routes of English (BBC Factual and Learning, 2000) Bragg, Melvyn, The Adventure of English (Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 2003) Brown, Andrew, In the Beginning Was the Worm (Pocket Books, 2003) Brown, John Seely, and Paul Duguid, The Social Life of Information (Boston, MA: HBS Press, 2000) Bush, Vannevar, ‘As We May Think’, Atlantic Monthly, July 1945. Available from http://www.theatlantic.com/ doc/194507/bush Byrne, David, Complexity Theory and the Social Sciences (Routledge, 1998) Castells, Manuel, The Rise of the Network Society (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1996) Castells, Manuel, and Pekka Himanen, The Information Society and the Welfare State (Oxford University Press, 2002) Chesbrough, Henry, Open Innovation (Boston, MA: HBS Press, 2003) Chesbrough, Henry, Wim Vanhaverbeke and Joel West (Eds), Open Innovation: Researching a New Paradigm (Oxford University Press, 2006) Christensen, Clayton M., The Innovator’s Dilemma (Boston, MA: HBS Press, 1997) Clippinger III, John H.

Lakhani (Eds), Perspectives on Free and Open Source Software (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005) Ferris, Timothy, Seeing in the Dark (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002) Flichy, Patrice, The Internet Imaginaire (Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2007) Florida, Richard, The Rise of the Creative Class (New York: Basic Books, 2002) Florida, Richard, The Flight of the Creative Class (New York: HarperBusiness, 2005) Frayn, Michael, Copenhagen (Methuen, 2003) Frenken, Koen, and Alessandro Nuvolari, ‘The Early Development of the Steam Engine: An Evolutionary Interpretation Using Complexity Theory’, Eindhoven Centre for Innovation Studies Working Paper 03.15 (2003) Garud, Raghu, Arun Kumaraswamy and Richard N. Langlois (Eds), Managing in the Modular Age (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2003) Gawer, Annabelle, and Micheal A. Cusumano, Platform Leadership: How Intel, Microsoft and Cisco Drive Industry Innovation (Boston, MA: HBS Press, 2002) Ghosh, Rishab Aiyer (Ed.), Code (Cambridge, MA/London: MIT Press, 2005) Gillmor, Dan, We the Media (Farnham: O’Reilly, 2004) Gladwell, Malcolm, The Tipping Point (Little, Brown, 2000) Granstrand, Ove (Ed.), Economics of Technology (Amsterdam/London: North-Holland, 1994) Gratton, Lynda, The Democratic Enterprise (Harlow: Pearson, 2004) Gray, Matthew, ‘Web Growth Summary’, www.mit.edu.


pages: 306 words: 82,765

Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

availability heuristic, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Brownian motion, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, David Graeber, disintermediation, Donald Trump, Edward Thorp, equity premium, financial independence, information asymmetry, invisible hand, knowledge economy, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, mental accounting, microbiome, moral hazard, Murray Gell-Mann, offshore financial centre, p-value, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, Ralph Nader, random walk, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Silicon Valley, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, survivorship bias, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, urban planning, Yogi Berra

But I found the topic so dull that it was a Herculean task for me to read more than seven lines per sitting (which is the reason God mercifully invented social media and Twitter fights): unlike science and mathematics, law, while being very rigorous, doesn’t offer surprises. Law cannot be playful. The mere sight of these books reminds me of a lunch with a former member of the Federal Reserve Board, the kind of thing to which one should never be subjected more than once per lifetime. So I will dispatch the topic of torts in a few lines. As we intimated in the first paragraphs of the introduction, some nonsoporific topics (pagan theology, religious practices, complexity theory, ancient and medieval history, and, of course, probability and risk taking) match this author’s naturalistic filter. Simply: if you can’t put your soul into something, give it up and leave that stuff to someone else. Talking about soul in the game, I had to overcome some shame as follows. In the Paris episode of Hammurabi at the Louvre, when I stood in front of the imposing basalt stele (in the room with Koreans with selfie sticks), I felt uneasy not being able to read the stuff and having to rely on experts.

And, as the anthropologist David Graeber has observed, even the investment bank Goldman Sachs, known for its aggressive cupidity, acts like a communist community from within, thanks to the partnership system of governance. So we exercise our ethical rules, but there is a limit—from scaling—beyond which the rules cease to apply. It is unfortunate, but the general kills the particular. The question we will reexamine later, after deeper discussion of complexity theory, is whether it is possible to be both ethical and universalist. In theory, yes, but, sadly, not in practice. For whenever the “we” becomes too large a club, things degrade, and each one starts fighting for his own interest. The abstract is way too abstract for us. This is the main reason I advocate political systems that start with the municipality, and work their way up (ironically, as in Switzerland, those “Swiss”), rather than the reverse, which has failed with larger states.

Take also the two following remarks: True equality is equality in probability. and Skin in the game prevents systems from rotting. THE STATIC AND THE DYNAMIC Visibly, a problem with economists (particularly those who never took risk) is that they have mental difficulties with things that move and are unable to consider that things that move have different attributes from things that don’t. That’s the reason complexity theory and fat tails (which we will explain a few pages down) are foreign to most of them; they also have (severe) difficulties with the mathematical and conceptual intuitions required for deeper probability theory. Blindness to ergodicity, which we will begin to define a few paragraphs down, is indeed in my opinion the best marker separating a genuine scholar who understands something about the world from an academic hack who partakes of ritualistic paper writing.


pages: 452 words: 126,310

The Case for Space: How the Revolution in Spaceflight Opens Up a Future of Limitless Possibility by Robert Zubrin

Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, battle of ideas, Charles Lindbergh, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, cosmic microwave background, cosmological principle, discovery of DNA, double helix, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, flex fuel, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, gravity well, if you build it, they will come, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Kuiper Belt, low earth orbit, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, more computing power than Apollo, Naomi Klein, nuclear winter, off grid, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, place-making, Pluto: dwarf planet, private space industry, rising living standards, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, telerobotics, Thomas Malthus, transcontinental railway, uranium enrichment

But putting that aside, a larger problem is that, while necessary for life, stars could readily exist in universes having a much broader set of parameters than those which life requires. For example, life as we know it requires the existence of carbon, with all its peculiar characteristics that enable complex organic chemistry. Stars have no such requirement. So, let me advance a hypothesis of my own, which is based on complexity theory. According to such theory, as set forth in other contexts by thinkers like Santa Fe Institute philosopher Stuart Kauffmann, order arises spontaneously in systems when A causes B and B causes A (or A causes B which causes C which causes D which causes A).20 The free market works like this. Farmers grow crops that other people want to buy. That's why you can find food at the store. It's not a lucky accident without whose chance occurrence you would starve to death.

See carbon dioxide colonization of asteroids, 131–35, 142–43 chemistry for space settlers of, 150 leading to new types of societies, 143–45 list of what needs to be done, 327–34 of Mars, plate 7, 101–23 chemistry for space settlers of, 146–50 commercial benefits of, 114–17 “Dragon Direct” plan, 108 habitation module, plate 5 leading to a human asteroid mission, 131–32 as new frontier for humanity, 277–79, 316 as a public-private enterprise, 328 raising families on Mars, plate 8 use of greenhouses, 101, 113, 115, 278 of the moon, 69–99 achieving long-range mobility on, 80–81 chemistry for space settlers of, 145–46 energy sources, 82–91 phases of Moon Direct program, 75 as a public-private enterprise, 317 range and lunar accessibility of an LEV, 81 sending solar energy back to earth, 82–83 use of microwaves to extract water vapor, 79 need for low cost spaceflight, 25–26 Noah's Ark Eggs (seed spaceships), 209–14 of outer solar system Jovian system, 166–70 obstacles to settling, 173–74 Saturn system, 160–65, 173 reasons for pursuing for the challenges, 271–86 for the future we can create, 315–25 to gain more freedom, 301–25 for the knowledge gained, 249–69 for survival of humanity, 287–99 terraforming other worlds, 215–45 time needed for interstellar civilizations to spread, 266–67 vision of for the year 2069, 317 vision of for the year 3000, 319–24 Columbus, Christopher, 174, 182, 208, 316, 328 comets, 129, 130, 151, 170, 171, 195–96 commercial benefits of spaceflight, 66–68 on asteroids, 136–40 commercial energy system in space, 57–60 communications and data satellites, 51–56 CubeSat revolution, 54–56 fast global travel on Earth, 40–43 on Mars, 114–17 orbital industries, 48–50 orbital research labs, 47–48, 50 of outer solar system, 161–62 commercial development of Titan, 162–65 Jovian system, 166–70 in the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud, 171–72 space business parks, 50–51 space tourism, 45–47 space triangle trade (Earth-Mars-asteroids), 140–42 See also mining Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS), 330–31 Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS), 176–77 communications and data satellites, 23, 52–56, 63, 64, 65, 277 CubeSat revolution, 54–56 potential impact of on World War II, 61–62 “Compact Fusion Reactor” (CFR) project, 180 complexity theory applied to the universe, 262–63 computers, early, 233–34 constants, role of in physics, 260–61 Coons, Steve, 148 Coppi, Bruno, 176–77 Cosmic Microwave Background Surveyor, 251 cosmic rays, 104, 132, 135, 167, 192, 253, 259, 339 cost-plus contracting, 22–24, 330–31 COTS (Commercial Orbital Transportation Services), 330–31 Crèvecoeur, Jean de, 274 cryogenic hydrogen and oxygen, 102, 339–40 CT Fusion, 180 CubeSat revolution, 54–56 Curiosity rover (NASA), 13, 106 Customs and Border Protection (US), 138 Cygnus (constellation), 240 D.

., 152 Toutatis (near-Earth object), 129 Transcontinental Railroad, 97, 97 Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS telescope), 244, 251 “Translife” mission, 31 translunar injection orbit (TLI), 107, 109, 110, 111 Trans-Mars injection (TMI), 77, 344 transorbital railroad, 93–97 Tri-Alpha Energy (TAE), 177–78, 178 Triton (moon of Neptune), 152, 237 Tsiolkovsky, Konstantin, 316 Tumlinson, Rick, 138, 332 Turner, Frederick Jackson on importance of having a frontier to conquer, 272–73 Twigg, Robert, 54 two-stage rocket systems, 39–45 payloads for one and two stage reusable rockets, 42 types of civilization. See civilizations, types of Ulam, Stanislaw, 186 United Launch Alliance (Lockheed Martin-Boeing), 35 comparison of space launch systems, 36 universe, why it is an ultimate mystery, 260 complexity theory, 262–63 universes born within black holes, 262 University of Rochester/Sandia Lab project, 180 Uranus, 125, 181, 200, 239 discoveries of, 152 exploration spacecraft to, 153 moons of, 152 solar system energy resources of, 159 statistics on getting to and back from, 162 Van Allen, James, 166 Vancouver Sun (newspaper), 228–29 vapor pressure, 344 Vector Launch, 12, 37–38 Vector-H microsatellite launcher, 36 Vector-R microsatellite launcher, 36, 37 Vega (star), 240, 244 Velcro as a space-program spin-off, 284 Venrock, 177 Venus IKAROS solar sail spacecraft flying to, 197 NASA and Soviet probes reaching, 220 terraforming of, 220–23 water on, 221–22 “young Venus,” 222, 223 Verne, Jules, 318 Vesta (asteroid), 125, 130 Viking mission (NASA), 119, 153 Virgin Group, 29, 53 Virgin Galactic, 12, 29–30, 38, 42, 43 virtual reality allowing visits to space, 98–99 von Braun, Wernher, 296, 332 Von Neumann, John, 231 Voyager missions (NASA), 154, 167, 168, 181, 183, 184 Voyager 1, 152–53 Voyager 2, 153 wars belief in inevitability of, 305–309, 309 use of space power to deter, 60–66 War with the Newts, The (Čapek), 212 water on asteroids, 130, 131, 140, 142–43, 294, 297 on Jupiter's moons, plate 10, 153–54, 167 Kepler mission finding, 242 in Kuiper Belt, 170, 171 on Mars, 14, 101, 102–103, 105–106, 109, 113–15, 117, 118, 120, 146–49, 218, 222, 297 on the moon, 13, 55, 69, 70, 73, 75–76, 79, 79, 81, 91–92, 145–46 nuclear salt-water rocket, 187–88, 187 in Oort cloud, 171 reverse water-gas shift reaction, 147–48, 149 on Saturn's moons, 155–56, 157, 163, 164, 165 use of in fusion, 142–43 on Venus, 221–22 water vapor, 13 on Mars, 117, 218 on the moon, 79, 79 on Venus, 222 Webb, Walter Prescott, 271 Webb space telescope, 201, 251 Wellcome Trust, 177 WFIRST (WideField InfraRed Space Telescope), 251 Whitmire, Daniel, 202 Whyte, Dennis, 177 WideField InfraRed Space Telescope (WFIRST), 251 Williams, John, 148 WorldVu (aka OneWeb), 53 World War II, 64–65 impact present technology could have had on, 61–62 lead-up to, 305–309 Wyler, Greg, 53 XPRIZE Foundation, 29 Young, Larry, 133 zero-gravity.


pages: 250 words: 9,029

Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Popular Culture Is Making Us Smarter by Steven Johnson

Columbine, complexity theory, corporate governance, delayed gratification, edge city, Flynn Effect, game design, Marshall McLuhan, pattern recognition, profit motive, race to the bottom, sexual politics, social intelligence, Steve Jobs, the market place

And De Landa has a mply demonstrated the fundamental alli ance between Deleuzian philosophy and complexity theory, an alliance that goes back to Deleuze's interest in the work of Nobel laureate (and founding co mplexity theori st) IIya Prigogine. And so i n climbing the l adder of consilience , we can't af­ ford to draw an arbitrary line at the sciences; too many pro­ ductive connections exist. If McLuhan is right and media are extensions of our central nervous system, then we need a theory of the central nervous system as much as we need a theory of medi a ; if the network technology we ' re creating N O T E S O N F U RT H E R R E A D I N G 2 09 takes the form of self-organizing systems, then we need the tools of complexity theory to make sense of those networks. But neither should we grant the sciences a de facto su­ premacy over the other levels in the interpretative model.


pages: 202 words: 62,901

The People's Republic of Walmart: How the World's Biggest Corporations Are Laying the Foundation for Socialism by Leigh Phillips, Michal Rozworski

Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, call centre, carbon footprint, central bank independence, Colonization of Mars, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, corporate raider, decarbonisation, discovery of penicillin, Elon Musk, G4S, Georg Cantor, germ theory of disease, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, hiring and firing, index fund, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, linear programming, liquidity trap, mass immigration, Mont Pelerin Society, new economy, Norbert Wiener, oil shock, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, post scarcity, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, recommendation engine, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, strikebreaker, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, transaction costs, Turing machine, union organizing

But the infinity of real numbers that fits just between 0 and 1 is even larger, containing an infinite number of such infinite strings of integers! And so it could never, even with an infinite amount of time, be counted. It is this second sort—an uncountable infinity—that Murphy says describes the full set of prices needed to engage in planning. Essentially, Cockshott, Cottrell, Marciszewski, Murphy and a handful of others had revived the long-dormant calculation debate but recast it as a problem for the field of computational complexity theory, a branch of theoretical computer science that seeks to classify the inherent difficulty of different sorts of problems, and the resources needed to solve them. In the same way that neuroscientists have in recent decades stolen debates over the theory of mind away from philosophers, complexity theorists and computer scientists are stealing this debate away from economists and political scientists.

However, over the last two generations, a great many progressive thinkers (though certainly not all) have come from the academy, in particular from the humanities—history, law, philosophy, literature—and from the social sciences—sociology, anthropology, economics, political science. Any future Left that takes the question of planning seriously will also have to depend heavily upon talents from computer science, operations research, combinatorics and graph theory, complexity theory, information theory and allied fields. And the transformation needed if it is to be democratic, rather than technocratic, will have to be led by, not on behalf of, workers at Walmart, Amazon, Facebook and other transnationals. Humans have long relied on planning, from the simple distribution carried out by the first settled civilizations, to the complex calculations that undergird today’s corporate behemoths, to those rare instances, like war or disaster, when the rules of today’s complex economy are temporarily suspended and planning takes over on the grandest scales.


pages: 210 words: 62,771

Turing's Vision: The Birth of Computer Science by Chris Bernhardt

Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, British Empire, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, Conway's Game of Life, discrete time, Douglas Hofstadter, Georg Cantor, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Henri Poincaré, Internet Archive, Jacquard loom, John Conway, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Norbert Wiener, Paul Erdős, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture

In fact, there is a million dollar prize offered by Clay Mathematics Institute for the first person to give a proof of whether or not P is the same set as NP, some people conjecture that the set of problems that quantum computers can solve in polynomial time contains all of P and also some problems not in P, but not all of NP. But this is a conjecture. The proof would have to show that P is not equal to NP. This area of the theory of computation dealing with the amount of time and storage needed to do computations based on the size of the input is known as complexity theory. These questions are not just of theoretical interest, but have important practical applications. Much of internet commerce requires secure ways of encrypting information. However, many of the current methods of encryption are based on methods that are conjectured, but not proven, to be exponentially difficult to crack. It would be nice to have a proof that our internet banking is safe! Quantum computers and non-deterministic Turing machines may be faster in certain instances, but they are not computationally more powerful than Turing machines.

., 124 Brown, Gordon, 161 Busy beaver function, 119 Canonical systems, 62 Cantor, Georg, 12, 108, 111, 123 Cantor’s Theorem, 132 CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart), 158 Cardinality, 124 computations, 140 real numbers, 136 Cells, 25, 43 Cellular automata, 82 Central Limit Theorem, 1 Central processing unit, 98 Chinese Room Argument, 158 Church, Alonzo, 16, 24, 62, 63, 71, 148 Church-Turing thesis, 61–62 Clay Mathematics Institute, 66 Code breaking, 147, 150, 153, 160 Collatz function, 80–81 Colossus, 153 Compiler, 98, 105, 156 Complement of a language, 33, 40 Complexity theory, 66 Computable function, 59, 120 Computable numbers, 141 Computational power, 12, 25, 63, 71, 101 Computing Machine Laboratory, 147, 153, 160 Concatenation, 38, 91 Configurations, 43, 46 Continuum hypothesis, 22, 139 Control unit, 98 Conway, John, 164 Cook, Matthew, 86, 103 Copeland, Jack, 160, 163 Correspondence problem. See Post’s Correspondence Problem Countable, 138 Cybernetics, 26 Davis, Martin, 13, 23, 121, 163 Decidable decision problem, 15 Decision problem, 15.


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

Thus he suggested that the world was made up of systems, groups of linked individuals who had a powerful impact on each other. The art of Complexity Theory, therefore, was to work out the original forms of the system and to calculate the particular dynamic that transformed them. Weaver’s work set out the template of the science of self-organised systems; in time, the ideas opened new avenues of enquiry in biology, technology, physics, cybernetics and chemistry. His fascination with systems became the language expressed in E. O. Wilson’s groundbreaking study of anthills and the development of his socio-biological ideas of the super-organism. Complexity Theory became central to the development of the packet-switch method that underpins the internet. The theory has also been the driving force behind the Black-Scholes algorithm that raised Long-Term Capital Management to the peaks of financial success in the 1990s, and its eventual collapse in 2000; as well as James Lovelock’s theory of the earth as a self-organised structure, Gaia.

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’.


pages: 404 words: 134,430

Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time by Michael Shermer

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anesthesia awareness, anthropic principle, butterfly effect, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, cosmological principle, discovery of DNA, false memory syndrome, Gary Taubes, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, laissez-faire capitalism, Laplace demon, life extension, moral panic, Murray Gell-Mann, out of africa, Richard Feynman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

The contract calls for individuals to surrender all rights (except self-defense) to the sovereign who, like the biblical Leviathan, is responsible only to God. Compared to a war of all against all, a sovereign presiding over the state is far superior and forms the basis for a rational society in which peace and prosperity are available on a mass scale. I have oversimplified the steps in Hobbes' complex theory, but the point is that his reasoning was Euclidean and his system mechanical. He began with metaphysical first principles and ended with an entire social structure. Moreover, because many political theorists consider Hobbes the most influential thinker of the modern age, the connection Hobbes made between politics and science is not dead yet. Science and culture are interactive, not separate and independent, despite attempts by scientists to keep them separate.

Like the alien abduction phenomenon, these are products of the mind, not reality. They are social follies and mental fantasies, driven by a curious phenomenon called the feedback loop. A Witch Craze Feedback Loop Why should there be such movements in the first place, and what makes these seemingly dissimilar movements play out in a similar manner? A helpful model comes from the emerging sciences of chaos and complexity theory. Many systems, including social systems like witch crazes, self-organize through feedback loops, in which outputs are connected to inputs, producing change in response to both (like a public-address system with feedback, or stock market booms and busts driven by flurries of buying and selling). The underlying mechanism driving a witch craze is the cycling of information through a closed system.

And both received the ultimate endorsement of the conservative intelligentsia when they were invited by William F. Buckley to join his team in a television PBS debate on evolution and creation. (Buckley's PBS Firing Line show aired in December 1997, where it was resolved that "Evolutionists should acknowledge creation." The debate was emblematic of the new creationism, employing new euphemisms such as "intelligent-design theory," "abrupt appearance theory," and "initial complexity theory," where it was argued that the "irreducible complexity" of life proves it was created by an intelligent designer, or God.) For my money, however, the quintessential example of a smart person believing a weird thing is Frank Tipler, a professor of theoretical mathematics at Tulane University and one of the world's leading cosmologists and global general relativists. Tipler enjoys close friendships with such luminaries as Stephen Hawking, Roger Penrose, and Kip Thorne.


pages: 303 words: 67,891

Advances in Artificial General Intelligence: Concepts, Architectures and Algorithms: Proceedings of the Agi Workshop 2006 by Ben Goertzel, Pei Wang

AI winter, artificial general intelligence, bioinformatics, brain emulation, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer vision, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, epigenetics, friendly AI, G4S, information retrieval, Isaac Newton, John Conway, Loebner Prize, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Occam's razor, p-value, pattern recognition, performance metric, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, semantic web, statistical model, strong AI, theory of mind, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Y2K

In my picture the genome encodes this inductive bias, programs that execute, interacting with sensory data, to learn. The learning so innately programmed appears quite automatic, reliably resulting in creatures with similar abilities provided that they are allowed interaction with the world during development. Complexity theory suggests that learning is a hard problem, requiring vast computation to extract structure. Yet we learn so fast that we do not have time to do the requisite computation. This is possible only because creatures are preprogrammed to extract specific kinds of meaning. The bulk of the requisite computation, and thus the guts of the process from the point of view of complexity theory, went into the evolution of the genome. Empirical evidence shows that creatures are in fact programmed with specific inductive biases. If a rat is shocked once at a specific point in its maze, it will avoid that corner.

Natural Intelligence Turing argued compellingly that whatever is happening in the brain, it could be simulated in detail by a computer running the right software. Thus thoughts must be isomorphic to some particular computations. Turing's thesis gives us a precise language which we can use to discuss and model thought, the language of computer programs. This thesis, however, left us with some puzzles. A first important one is: what about this particular code causes it to understand? A second important one is: given that complexity theory has indicated that many computations are inherently time consuming, how does the mind work so amazingly fast? Computational learning theory has explained generalization as arising from Occam's razor. The most studied context is concept learning, where one sees a series of classified examples, and desires to learn a function that will predict correctly whether new examples are examples of the concept or not.


pages: 436 words: 76

Culture and Prosperity: The Truth About Markets - Why Some Nations Are Rich but Most Remain Poor by John Kay

"Robert Solow", Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, business cycle, California gold rush, complexity theory, computer age, constrained optimization, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, equity premium, Ernest Rutherford, European colonialism, experimental economics, Exxon Valdez, failed state, financial innovation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Akerlof, George Gilder, greed is good, Gunnar Myrdal, haute couture, illegal immigration, income inequality, industrial cluster, information asymmetry, intangible asset, invention of the telephone, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, John Meriwether, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, market bubble, market clearing, market fundamentalism, means of production, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, Nash equilibrium, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, pets.com, popular electronics, price discrimination, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, rent-seeking, Right to Buy, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, second-price auction, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, The Chicago School, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, the new new thing, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, transaction costs, tulip mania, urban decay, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, yield curve, yield management

That is why many fewer resources are now devoted to this kind of meteorology, or to economic forecasting models. Some scientists have attempted to establish general principles that might be relevant to all problems of organized complexity. The world center for this research is a spin-off from the U.S. nuclear research establishment at Los Alamos, located at Santa Fe in the mountains ofNew Mexico, and analysis undertaken there goes under the heading of complexity theory. 21 The hope is not to predict the future, but to gain a better understanding of the general properties of complex systems. We cannot know what the weather will be like next June 4. But meteorologists can give an indication of the average temperature to be expected and the likely range. They can assess the probability of rain and make contingent predictions-it is more likely to be sunny on June 4 if it was sunny on June 3.

Simon's example parallels complexity theorist Stuart Kauffman's description of what he calls fitness landscapes. 26 Kauffman is interested in the general mathematical structure of complex systems. Height above sea level in Simon's example might equally be a measure of how well a species is adapted to its environment, or how effectively scarce resources are allocated between competing ends. Kauffman's conjecture is that common models and principles of self-organization describe phenomena as diverse as the emergence of life and the construction of social order. Complexity theory today occupies a strange, perhaps unique, position within the scientific canon. It has attracted the attention of scientists of exceptional distinction and creativity, yet stands somewhat outside the mainstream of professional knowledge. Economists are particularly skeptical. 27 As I shall describe in chapter 28, the analogy with physics is central to their thinking. The most widely used model of spontaneous order in economics follows the structure of "simple system" physical models.

See Arrow-Debreu model competitive markets, 20, 137-94, 345-48 Chicago school and, 199,200 compatibility standards, 259-62 cooperation vs., 256 definition of, 137 and economic rent, 290-301 emergence of, 146 examples of, 14, 137-52 information asymmetry effects, 232-33 and Pareto efficiency, 192-94,202,291, 319 and public goods, 341-42 rigging of, 150-51 in risk, 153-61 spontaneous order in, 152, 311 views of, 203, 206-7 virtual, 148-50, 156 See also antitrust laws; Arrow-Debreu model; coordination; market economy complexity theory, 131, 132, 134, 183 computers, 18, 108, 115 development of, 118-22, 267, 272-73, 306 standards, 161,351 Congo,12,31,282-83,354 conservatism, 11, 82, 198-201, 289-90, 321-22,324,335,338-39,344 consumer goods choice in, 88, 107 demand evolution, 141 imperfect information on, 222,223-27 Japanese manufacture, 64 reliance factors, 352 supply coordination, 127-28 vector comparisons, 186-87, 191 contracts, 11, 73, 74-76, 77, 352 convexity, 179-81 cooperation, 207,247-58 adaptive nature of, 219, 247, 255-56, 347 self-interest vs., 247-48, 250, 253, 255-56, 320 teamwork, 20, 252-53, 320 See also spontaneous order coordination, 126-28, 173-83,341,350-51 Arrow-Debreu model, 100, 134, 179, 181-83,232,259 and externalities, 259-65 theoretical developments, 207 See also competitive markets; spontaneous order copyright, 74, 89,272,273,274 corporations, 320, 334 adaptive vs. optimal behavior, 214-16 American business model, 79, 322, 342-44 centralized decision-making errors, 106-9, 114 competitive advantage, 88-90, 296-98 development of, 69, 78-79 executive rewards, 12-13, 77, 321,342 and new technologies, 79-81, 117-22 and pluralism, 115-24 regulation of, 87, 352 social responsibility of, 241-42,315-16 corruption, 5, 7, 12, 51, 96, 109,281 as adaptive behavior, 213, 218 and monopoly grants, 295 in poor states, 281,282-84 in Russian privatization, 288, 306, 307 Crick, Francis, 80, 267,274 Darwin, Charles, 126, 132,216,217,256 Debreu, Gerard, 179, 358.


pages: 829 words: 186,976

The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-But Some Don't by Nate Silver

"Robert Solow", airport security, availability heuristic, Bayesian statistics, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, business cycle, buy and hold, Carmen Reinhart, Claude Shannon: information theory, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, Donald Trump, Edmond Halley, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, en.wikipedia.org, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, Freestyle chess, fudge factor, George Akerlof, global pandemic, haute cuisine, Henri Poincaré, high batting average, housing crisis, income per capita, index fund, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet Archive, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, Laplace demon, locking in a profit, Loma Prieta earthquake, market bubble, Mikhail Gorbachev, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Monroe Doctrine, mortgage debt, Nate Silver, negative equity, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, pets.com, Pierre-Simon Laplace, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, savings glut, security theater, short selling, Skype, statistical model, Steven Pinker, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, transaction costs, transfer pricing, University of East Anglia, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, wikimedia commons

Recent efforts by NASA and by Rundle to measure fault stress through remote sensing systems like GPS satellites have shown some promise.76 Although the efforts are crude for the time being, there is potential to increase the amount of data at seismologists’ disposal and get them closer to understanding the root causes of earthquakes. • • • These methods may eventually produce some forward progress. If success in earthquake prediction has been almost nonexistent for millennia, the same was true for weather forecasting until about forty years ago. Or it may be that as we develop our understanding of complexity theory—itself a very new branch of science—we may come to a more emphatic conclusion that earthquakes are not really predictable at all. Either way, there will probably be some failed predictions first. As the memory of our mistakes fades, the signal will again seem to shimmer over the horizon. Parched for prediction we will pursue it, even if it is a mirage. 6 HOW TO DROWN IN THREE FEET OF WATER Political polls are dutifully reported with a margin of error, which gives us a clue that they contain some uncertainty.

., 401 caloric consumption, 372, 373 Cal State Fullerton, 161 Calvinism, 112 Campbell, Murray, 268, 284–85, 286, 288 Canada, 52, 210, 379 capitalism, 13 Protestant work ethic and, 5 see also free markets CAPTCHA technology, 124 carbon dioxide, 374, 375, 379, 392–93, 395, 401–3, 404, 406, 408, 508 carbon emissions, 397–98, 399, 406, 410 Carew, Rod, 84, 85 Carley, Kathleen, 440 Carruthers, David, 319 Carter, Jimmy, 208 cartography, 3, 220 Case, Karl, 30, 32 Case-Shiller index, 30, 30, 464 causation, correlations vs., 185–88, 254–55 Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), 425–27 Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 205, 206–7, 211 Central Park, 391, 391 CFOs, 359 Chadwick, Henry, 95 chaos, cone of, 139 chaos theory, 118–22, 124, 132, 162, 172, 195, 386 complexity theory vs., 386n Charleston, S.C., 150 chartists, 339–40, 341 Chavez, Eric, 99 chemistry, 114 chess, 10, 16, 262–64, 263, 265–66, 493–94 beginning of game, 268–71 birth of computers for, 265–66 databases for, 270, 277 endgame of, 268, 276–79, 285 forecasting in, 271, 289 heuristics for, 267, 269, 272, 273, 284, 286 midgame of, 268, 271–76, 285 pattern detection in, 281 as theoretically solvable, 267 ChessBase.com, 292–93 Chicago, Ill., 223–24, 225, 228, 230, 432 Chicago, University of, 227 Chicago Cubs, 63, 104 Chicago White Sox, 88 Chile, 144, 438 China, 189, 209, 400 chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), 375 Christchurch, New Zealand, 174 Christianity, 490 CIA, 51, 467 terrorism prevention by, 273, 424, 426, 433, 443, 510 CIBC Oppenheimer, 352 cigarette smoking, 254–55, 258 Cinema Rex theater, 425n Cirque du Soleil, 318 Citizens Bank Park, 286 Civil Aeronautics Administration, 123n Civil Protection Department, Italy, 143 Clarke, Richard, 425 Clauset, Aaron, 427, 431, 432, 437, 441, 442, 511–12 Clean Air Act, 400 Cleveland, Grover, 334 Cleveland Cavaliers, 239–40, 257 Clift, Eleanor, 48, 49, 50, 56 climate change, use of term, 376, 377n see also global warming Climategate, 408 Climatic Research Unit (CRU), 408 climatology, 131, 132, 370–411 Bayesian reasoning in, 371, 377–78, 403, 406–7, 407, 410–11 models of, 371, 380, 384–85, 401–6, 402 signal vs. noise in, 371–73 uncertainty in, 389–93, 390 Clinton, Bill, 55, 56, 433, 510 Clinton, Hillary, 59, 60, 252 clouds, 385, 386 CNN, 217 coal, 410 cognitive psychology, 227 Cole, USS, 422, 423 comets, 447 commerce, 10 Commerce Department, U.S., 123n commercial lending, 187 commodity prices, 186n, 202 common sense, 451 communism, 51 community cards, 299 compartments, in disease modeling, 220–21, 223 competition, 1, 16, 97, 106, 128, 189 in poker, 313 in the stock market, 313, 352, 364 in weather forecasting, 127–28, 131–37, 132 competitive advantage, 313–14 competitiveness, 97 complexity, of global warming forecasting, 382 complexity theory, 172–73, 368–69, 386 chaos theory vs., 386ncomputer age, 7–8 computers: chess played by, 261–62, 287–88; see also Deep Blue; Deep Thought; Fritz poker played by, 324 predictions and, 292 weather forecasting by, 116–18, 123–25, 289 condom fatigue, 222–23 cone of chaos, 139 Conference Board, 187 confidence, 46 accuracy and, 203 see also overconfidence confidence interval, see margin of error Congress, U.S., 19, 123n, 207, 408 low approval rating of, 188 see also House of Representatives, U.S.; Senate, U.S.

., 123n commercial lending, 187 commodity prices, 186n, 202 common sense, 451 communism, 51 community cards, 299 compartments, in disease modeling, 220–21, 223 competition, 1, 16, 97, 106, 128, 189 in poker, 313 in the stock market, 313, 352, 364 in weather forecasting, 127–28, 131–37, 132 competitive advantage, 313–14 competitiveness, 97 complexity, of global warming forecasting, 382 complexity theory, 172–73, 368–69, 386 chaos theory vs., 386ncomputer age, 7–8 computers: chess played by, 261–62, 287–88; see also Deep Blue; Deep Thought; Fritz poker played by, 324 predictions and, 292 weather forecasting by, 116–18, 123–25, 289 condom fatigue, 222–23 cone of chaos, 139 Conference Board, 187 confidence, 46 accuracy and, 203 see also overconfidence confidence interval, see margin of error Congress, U.S., 19, 123n, 207, 408 low approval rating of, 188 see also House of Representatives, U.S.; Senate, U.S.


pages: 290 words: 82,871

The Hidden Half: How the World Conceals Its Secrets by Michael Blastland

air freight, Alfred Russel Wallace, banking crisis, Bayesian statistics, Berlin Wall, central bank independence, cognitive bias, complexity theory, Deng Xiaoping, Diane Coyle, Donald Trump, epigenetics, experimental subject, full employment, George Santayana, hindsight bias, income inequality, manufacturing employment, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, minimum wage unemployment, nudge unit, oil shock, p-value, personalized medicine, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, randomized controlled trial, replication crisis, Richard Thaler, selection bias, the map is not the territory, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, twin studies

., ‘Changes in Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles in Britain through the Life Course and Over Time: Findings from the National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal)’, Lancet, vol. 382, no. 9907, 2013, pp. 1757–1856. 9 Laura Lindberg, John Santelli and Sheila Desai, ‘Understanding the Decline in Adolescent Fertility in the United States, 2007–2012’, Journal of Adolescent Health, vol. 59, no. 5, 2016, pp. 577–583. 10 Some readers will again be put in mind here of the ideas of complexity and chaos. These are useful analogies, I think, in their emphasis on the subtle, interactive power of small causal influences. One committed student of complexity theory who works as an advisor to government told me it is an uphill task to persuade ministers and others that they are not pulling levers on a simple machine. 11 Nancy Cartwright and Jeremy Hardie, Evidence Based Policy: A Practical Guide to Doing it Better, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012. 12 In my more radical moments, I am not sure that causality exists as we usually think of it. Philip Dawid, a professor of statistics cited earlier, has said exactly this: ‘While we may find uses for causal terms within our theories in the intellectual universe, there are no direct external referents of such terms within the physical universe.’

Index abstract formulas 141 Academy of Medical Sciences 133 adoption studies 41 aid, economic development 141 aid-effectiveness craze, the 153 alcohol consumption 180 AllTrials campaign 114–5 Altman, Doug 129–30 Amano, Yukiya 185 ambiguity 209–10 Amgen 111–2 Analysis (radio programme) 102 analytic validity 158, 263n18 anarchy 224 aphorisms 68–9, 149 apprenticeships 205–6 argument, beliefs and habits of 186 asthma 135 Attanasio, Orazio 225–9, 230 Autho, David 219–23 average knowledge 173 background influences 23–34 background norms, rejecting 24–5 bacon 161–3, 162–3 Banerjee, Abhijit 150–4, 157 Bangladesh 80–2, 82, 101–2, 158, 261n6 Bank of England 103, 216 Bank of Japan 103 Basbøll, Thomas 244–5 baseline data 165 base-rate neglect 176–7 basic laws 140 Bateson, William 245 BBC 88, 98 Beatles, the 52–3, 259n33 Begley, Glenn 111–7 behaviour context-specific 42–3 environmental cues 65–7 behavioural economics 157 Behavioural Insight Team 155, 156, 232 beliefs 60 contradictory 63–4 inconsistency of 60–6 justification 60–1, 63 manipulation 62–3 power of information on 66–8 self-contradiction 61–2 Berlin, Isaiah 199 betting, on knowledge 236–7 big causes, power of 35 big events causal intricacy 193–6 complexity 185–7 difficulty determining causality 188–96 power of circumstance 196–9 big picture, the 215–6 Bijani, Ladan 40–1 Bijani, Laleh 40–1 biographies 49 biological randomness 43–4 biomedical science, research standards 129–36 Bolsover 217–8 Boorstin, Daniel 17, 136, 138, 264n24 Booth, Charles 146–7 BP 211 brain, the 64 plasticity 56 self-justifying 83 breast cancer 45–6, 46 Brexit referendum 18–9, 20, 90, 214–8, 223–4, 241 Bunnings 77 Burckhardt, Jacob 255n20 Burke, Edmund 269n1 Burns, Terry 102–3 business decisions, failures 210–1 cancer 45–8 breast 45–6, 46 lung 174–5 risk 162–3, 166, 174–5 screening 132–3 Cancer Research UK 133 canned laughter 154–5 capitalism 118 Carillion 211 Carp, Joshua 123–4 Cartwright, Nancy 79, 79–82, 82, 193–4, 195, 202–3, 203–4, 263n18 causal instincts 123 causal interactions, complexity 239 causal intricacy 193–4 causal models 242–4, 243, 269–70n3 causal theorizing 212–4 causality assumption of 212–4 difficulty determining 188–96 existence of 276–7n12 hard 225–9 importance of 212 mechanical models 242–4, 243 in one person 48 cause and effect dependable 203–4 patterns of 23, 25–6, 26 supposed 248 unreliable 204 causes and causal influences 90, 94 competing 248 criminals 29 interaction 193–6 and luck 178 secret life of 8–11 simple 184–5 cells, biographical stories 47–8 certainty, desire for 235 Chadwick, Edwin 146–7 chance 14, 37–8, 247, 281n1 chaos theory 56–7, 276n10 Chater, Nick 59, 60, 63, 64–5, 66–7 Chernobyl disaster 185 child and adolescent development 23–6, 41–2 child mental health 206–7 childhood influences 23–5 delinquent boys 26–34 China, rise of 218–23, 279n19 choice, situated 31–3, 34 choice blindness 62 choices 60 Cialdini, Robert 154–5 Cifu, Adam 131–2 circumstances 70 power of 196–9 claims inflation 130 climate change 238–9 Clinton, Hillary 222 Cochrane Collaboration, the 189–90 cognition 64 cognitive biases 14 cognitive limitations 14, 214 Comaroff, John 107–8 common sense 69–70 comparative cost analysis 173 competence 236–7 complacency 237 complexity adding 244 big events 185–7 facing 15 hidden 184–201 of reality 245 complexity theory 276n10 complexity-avoidance 187 complications, hidden 187 Conan Doyle, Arthur 108 confidence 72 consistency 68–75, 202–4, 260n6, 260n8 constructive realism 17 consumer behaviour 77 context 41–2, 72, 101 context-specific behaviour 72 context-specific learning 42–3 control alternative to 248–9 elusiveness of 85–6 powers of 195 conviction 104 coping strategies 16–7, 225–46 adapting 230–3 betting 236–7 communicate uncertainty 237–9 embracing uncertainty 234–6 exceptions 244–5 experiment 230–3 governing for uncertainty 239–41 managing for uncertainty 241–2 metaphors 242–4 negative capability 234 relax 246 triangulation 233–4 use of probability 242 Corbyn, Jeremy 20 corporate power 241 cost/benefit analysis, cows 117–22 cows, cost/benefit analysis 117–22 Coyle, Diane 216, 262n12 Crabbe, John 85–7 credibility 238–9 credibility crisis 18 crime causes of 142–4 heroes and villains view 142 opportunist 144–5 reduced opportunity 144–5 theory of 142–6, 143 victims and survivors view 142–3 criminals causal influences 29 childhood influences 26–34 desisters 30 high rate chronics 30 life-course persistent offenders 28–9 life-courses 28, 236 variables 31 critical factors 83–5 crowds, wisdom of 149 cultural difference 79–82, 79–85 Daniels, Denise 43–4, 57 Darwin, Charles 50–1 data granularity 216–7 interpretation 98–100 Dawid, Philip 276–7n12 De Rond, Mark 198, 201 de Vries, Ymkje Anna 114 deadweight cost 205–6 debate 98 decision making 58–60 influences 32–3 situated choice 31–3 deep preferences 65 deeper rationale, construction of 60 Deepwater Horizon 211 defining characteristics 43 degrees of freedom 122–9 delinquent boys 26–34 dementia 176–7, 274n16 democracy 20 Deng Xiaoping 219 Denrell, Jerker 199, 201 desires 59 details importance of 49–54 neglecting 151–2 problem of 229 selective 26 determinism 28 development economics 150–3 developmental difference, sources of variation 9–11 developmental noise 10 difference 15 pockets of 214–24 Dilnot, Andrew 237, 275n3 disciplined pluralism 231 disorder 45 forces of 11–3 doubt 238 Down’s syndrome 166 drugs comparative cost analysis 173 impact 171–2 medical effect 167–9, 169, 170–4 non-responders 172 Numbers-Needed-to-Treat (NNTs) 168, 169, 170, 173–4 predictive weakness 170–3 duelling certainties 235 Duflo, Esther 83, 84, 141, 150–3, 157–8, 158–9, 230–1 ecological validity 263n18 economic development, aid 141 economic forecasting 92, 102–7 economic recovery 217–8 economics 233 economy, the 87–100, 91, 93, 94, 95 education 151–2, 206–7, 275– 6n7 Einstein, Albert 140–1 Emerson, Ralph Waldo 68 enigmatic variation 13–6, 48 environment context 72 non-shared 37 shared 35 environmental influences 43–4 epidemiology 181 epigenetics 6–7 erratic influences 60 essential you, the 59–60 estimates 89–91, 96 European Central Bank 103 evidence 21 balance of 114 conclusive 186, 187 the Janus effect 121, 122–9 limitations of 117–22 statistical significance 137 strength of 137 evidence-based medicine 133–4 exceptions 214–24, 244–5 expectations 35 big 196 frustration of 15 of regularity 47, 202–4 unrealistic 182 experience, influence of 33, 34, 55–7 experiment 230–3 expertise, crisis of 18–9 experts, credibility crisis 18–9 external validity 101, 158, 263n18, 264n19 extreme performance 199 failure 204–11 fairness 66–7 false negatives 113–4 false positives 113–4, 122 falsification 245 family, changes of 41 farmer and a chicken, the 202–4 fate 30 fears, exaggerated 46 Financial Times 77 First World War 108 Fitzroy, Robert 50 flat mind, the 60, 60–8 Flaubert, Gustave 139 forecasting 109 former Yugoslavia 108 foxes 199 France 186–7 Freedman, Sir Lawrence 108, 109 freedom 236 Fukushima nuclear power station meltdown 185–7 fundamentals 141 identifying 153 further education 208–9 Galbraith, John Kenneth 110 Gartner, Klaus 87 Gash, Tom 142–3 Gates, Bill 199 GDP data 262n12 growth estimation 88–100, 91, 93, 94, 95, 262–3n14 local 214–5, 216, 218 Gelman, Andrew 124–5, 244 gene–environment interaction 6–7 general principles 140 generalities 174 generalization 76–8, 146, 152, 263n18 genes and genetics influence of 34–7, 39–41, 44, 45–7 overclaiming 134–5 power of 33, 45 genetic risk 45–7 genius, dangerous 212–4 genotype 8 Germany 185, 186, 188 Gillam, John 77 global financial crisis, 2008–9 104, 106, 210, 235 globalization 213 Gove, Michael 18–9 granularity 216–7 ground truth 217 groupthink 149 guarantees, lack of 160 Guardian 207 Gupta, Rajeev 117, 118 Haldane, Andy 216–7, 218 Harford, Tim 156–7, 237 Harris, Judith Rich 40–2, 72 Hayek, Friedrich 105–6 health screening 177 heart disease 163–6 hedgehogs 199 Henry (ex-delinquent) 32 Hensall, Abigail 39–40, 41 Hensall, Brittany 39–40, 41 herd mentality 154–5 hidden causes 35–8 hidden half, the coping strategies 225–46 ignoring 202–24 mystery of 35 power of 44–5 hidden trivia 8–9 hindsight 78 hindsight bias 83 history 107–8 lessons of 109 Homebase 76–7 Honda, US motorcycle market penetration 196–9 hubris 77 human sameness irregularity 45–9 limits of 34–45 human understanding, fundamentals 213 Human Zoo, The (radio programme) 60–6 humility 224, 248–9 IBM 199 ibuprofen 163–5 ideological divide 240 ideologies 9–10 idiosyncratic influence 53–4 ignorance 21, 107 disguising 242 the shock of 7 imagination 138 impulsive judgement, value of 149 incarceration rates, United States of America 222, 240, 280n10 incidentals, effect of 51–2 incoherency problem, the 149 inconsistency beliefs 60–6 justifiable 70–1 incredible certitude 209 Indian Express 117 individual differences 56 individuality conjoined twins 39–42 neurological foundation of 56 industrial policy 208 inflation 102–7 influences background 23–34 childhood 26–34 criminals 26–34 decision making 32–3 environmental 43–4 erratic 60 hidden 204 microenvironmental 8–9, 253–4n12 information power of 66–8 selective 66–7 Institute for Fiscal Studies 205–6 Institute for Government 208–9 intangible differences 253n11 intangible variation 10, 229 interaction, problems of 193–6 internal validity 101–2, 158 International Journal of Epidemiology 43 intuition 54, 204 Ioannidis, John 121, 133–6 irrationality, human 14 irregularity 94 disruptive power of 224 frustration of 15 human 45–9 influence 12 problem of 229 underestimating 214–24 Islamic State 108 it’s-all-because problem 91, 96 James, Henry 29, 56 James, William 141 Janus effect, the 121, 122–9 Johansen, Petter 62 Johnson, Samuel 214 Johnson, Wendy 71–2 Jones, Susannah Mushatt 162–3, 165 journalism 237–8 Juno (film) 193 Kaelin, William 130 Kawashima, Kihachiro 197 Kay, John 16, 68, 197, 231, 232 Keats, John 138–9, 234 Kempermann, Gerd 56, 57 Keynes, John Maynard 107, 271n9 Keynesianism 103 King, Mervyn 103, 104, 106, 110 Kinnell, Galway 28 Knausgaard, Karl Ove 86–7 Knight, Frank 107 Knightian uncertainty 107 knowledge 12–3, 170 advance of 20–1 average 173 betting on 236–7 credibility crisis 18 critical factors 83–5 failures of 19, 76–8, 79–82 fallibility of 248 generalizable 234 generalization 76–8 illusion of 136, 138 lessons of the past 102–7, 107–10 in medicine 182 negative capability 138–9 as obstacle to progress 17 obvious 82 paths to 136–9 plausibility mistaken for 132 practical 30–1 pretence of 105–6 probabilistic 160, 161, 163–4, 172–3 and probability 180 problem of scale 177–80 provenance 116 relevant 82–5 replication crisis 111–7 subverting 76–110 and time variations 87–100, 91, 93, 94, 95 transfer 37, 76–8, 83, 101–2 unknowns 85–7 validity 100–2 validity across time 107–10 weakest-link principle 79–82 Krugman, Paul 210 Lancet 225–6 Langley, Winnie 51, 165, 178 Laub, John 26–34, 42 law-like effects, claims about 21 learning styles 207 Leicester City Football Club 199–201 Leon (ex-delinquent) 31–2 Leyser, Ottoline 114 life, mechanics of 51 life-course persistent offenders 28–9 limits and limitations 16–7, 44, 75 base-rate neglect 176–7 of cleverness 278n14 individual level 174–6, 178–9, 181–3 lack of guarantees 160 marginal probabilistic outcomes 176–7 medical effect 167–9, 169, 170–4 on prediction 165–6 on probability 160–83 problem of scale 161–6, 174– 6, 177–80, 181–3 Liskov Substitution Principle 261n3 Little Britain (TV comedy) 192 Liu, Chengwei 198, 201 lives, understanding 29 location shift 264n20 Loken, Erik 124–5 long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCS) 190 luck 37–8, 48, 178, 198 lung cancer 174–5 Lyko, Frank 1, 2 machine mode thinking 151–2 Macron, Emmanuel 20 Manski, Charles 209, 235 Mao Zedong 218 marginal probabilistic outcomes 176–7 marmorkrebs 1–9, 4, 10, 12, 12–3, 22, 35, 81, 182, 252n2 Marteau, Theresa 65 Martin, George 52 May, Theresa 208 Mayne, Stephen 77 measurement 99–100 mechanical relationships 212, 242, 244 mechanical thinking 242–4, 243 media stigma 192–3 medical effect, drugs 167–9, 169, 170–4 medical reversal 131–3 medicine comparative cost analysis 173 knowledge in 182 non-responders 172 Numbers-Needed-to-Treat (NNTs) 168, 169, 170, 173–4 personalized 181–3 predictive weakness 170–3 probability and 167–9, 169, 170–4 memory 56, 102–7 Mendelian randomization 233 Menon, Anand 214–5 mental shortcuts 14–5 mere facts 202–3 meta-science 19, 20 methodological revisions 97–8, 120 mice 55 microenvironmental influences 8–9, 253–4n12 micro-irregularity 35–7 micro-particulars 128 Microsoft 147–50, 199 Miller, Helen 66–7, 67 mind, the flat 59–60, 60–8 shape 59 models and modelling 140, 242–4, 243, 269–70n3 moment when, the 52 morality, changing 108 More or Less (radio programme) 237 Munafò, Marcus 234 Nadella, Satya 147–8 National Survey of Family Growth 192 National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles 191–2 nationalism 108 Nature 2, 112, 136, 168, 174 nature/nurture debate 3, 5–6, 9–10 negative capability 138–9, 234 neurology 58 New England Journal of Medicine 131–2 Newcastle upon Tyne 214 Newton, Isaac 140–1 noise 14 definition 10 developmental 10 as intellectual dross 11 re-appraisal of 11–3 non-shared environment 37 Nosek, Brian 129 noses 49–51 Nottingham 217 Numbers-Needed-to-Treat (NNTs) 168, 169 nurture, influence of 44 O’Connor, Sarah 217–8 Office for National Statistics 89, 92, 98, 99–100, 216 O’Neill, Onora 238 opinions 21, 59 order 11–2, 13 organ donation campaign 155–6 outside influence 44 overclaiming 134–5 overconfidence 21 overseas business expansion 76–8 Oxfam, sexual abuse scandal 210 Paphides, Pete 52–3 parental behaviour 41 parents, impact of 41 Parris, Matthew 63 parthenogenesis 1–2 particularism 271–2n15 particularity problem, the 93 past, the, lessons of 102–7, 107–10 pattern-making instinct 21 patterns 13 pendulums 57 perceptual systems 64 performance 72–5 personalized medicine 181–3 Peto, Richard 47–8 phenotypes 8 physiognomy, and character 50 plausibility 132 Plomin, Robert 43–4, 49, 57 pluralism 231–2 polarization 235 policy making 231–2 appraisal 277n4 chances of success 208 failures 204–9 governing for uncertainty 239–41 and probability 178–9 secret of 209 seminar 207–8 sequential changes 208 political assumptions, fall of 20 political beliefs 60–6 population validity 263n18 populism, rise of 20 poverty 240–1 Prasad, Vinayak 131–2 precision 183 predictability 28 predictive weakness 165–6, 170–3 preferences 59, 62 deep 65 priming 126–8 probabilistic knowledge 160, 161, 163–4, 170, 172–3 probability 54, 70, 107, 258n25, 272n2 advantages 177–80 base-rate neglect 176–7 difference in 30 fear of low probabilities 166 individual level 174–6, 178–9, 181–3 limits and limitations 160–83 marginal 176–7 medical effect 167–9, 169, 170–4 paradox 170 and policy making 178–9 predictive weakness 165–6 problem of scale 161–6, 174– 6, 177–80, 181–3 recognizing significance 161 risk evaluation 161–6 suggestion of knowledge 180 use of 242 usefulness 161 problems, conceptualizing 17 productivity growth 209–10 progress, knowledge as obstacle to 17 psychoanalysis 58 psychology 58 Pullinger, John 278n14 Pullman, Philip 37 quantification, risk and risk-taking 162–5 racism 125–6 radical uncertainty 106, 107 Radio, Andrew 102 rage to conclude, the 139 randomized controlled trials, value of 280n6 randomness, pure 9 Ranieri, Claudio 200–1 rationality 68, 260n6, 260n8 reality 230, 245, 254n14 reciprocity 155 reflection 65–6 regularity 73, 160 assumption of 212–4 expectations of 47, 202–4 search for 212, 230 statistical 240–1 replication crisis 18, 111–7, 117– 22, 129, 136, 138 Replication Project 129 research 111–39 balance of evidence 114 breadth 130 claims inflation 130 confidence in 115–6 credibility crisis 18 decision rules 136–9 depth 130 evidence-based medicine 133–4 false negatives 113–4 false positives 113–4, 122 fragility 128–9 freedom 122–9 half wrong 113, 115–6 the Janus effect 121, 122–9 limitations of 117–22 micro-particulars 128 multiple analyses 125–6 multiple conclusions 117–22 overclaiming 134–5 priming 126–8 redemption 20 replication crisis 111–7, 117– 22, 129, 136, 138 rigour 19 scepticism 115–6 standards 129–36 statistical significance 122 triangulation 138 validity 101–2 research-credibility crisis 18 rigour 19, 246 risk and risk-taking 70–1, 107, 186 alcohol consumption 180 cancer 162–3, 166, 174–5 communication of 133 evaluation 161–6 heart disease 163–6 quantification 162–5, 166 quantified 187 risk-perception 71 Rockhill, Beverly 181 Rolling Stone magazine 23 Rose, Geoffrey 175–6 Rowntree Joseph 146–7 Royal Bank of Scotland 211 Russell, Bertrand 202, 202–3 samples, validity 100–2 Sampson, Robert 26–34, 42, 236 sanitation 225–9 Santayana, George 109 scale, problem of 161–6, 174–6, 177–80, 181–3 scepticism 105, 115–6, 128, 206 schizophrenia 34–6, 256n10 Science 56 Scientific American 55 Scotland, Triple-P parenting programme 206 screening 132–3, 177 searing memory, doctrine of the 102–7 selection bias 244 self-understanding 67 Sense about 115 serendipitous events 43, 52–3 sex education, role of 189–90 short-term gene–environment interaction 7 significance, recognizing 161 Silberzahn, Raphael 125–6 Simmons, Joseph 122–3 situated choice 31–3, 34, 42 situations, appraisal of 72 sliding-doors moments 50 small differences, power of 56–7 small effects, influence of 49–54 small experiences, influence of 35–7 smartphones 97, 191 Smith, George Davey 50, 51, 234, 281n1 social contexts 31, 195 social media 191 social mobility 240–1 social policy 195 social proof 154–6 social reformers 146–7 social science, utility of 146–50 special theory of relativity 140–1 Spiegelhalter, David 180, 244–5 spontaneous interaction 9 stagflation 103 statins 171 statistical regularities 240–1 statistical significance 122, 137 stents, use of 131 stories and storytelling 25–6, 53–4, 244–5, 247, 248, 258n25, 258n27 structural forces 54 Sun, the 51 support factors 194 Surfers Against Sewage 70–1 surgeons, skills 73–4 system 1 thinking 149 systematic forces 54 systems-level thinking 153 Tamil Nadu 79–82, 101–2 Tangiers, Morocco 84 technology, changing 108 Teen Mom (TV show) 193 teenage pregnancy rate decline in 184, 188–96 estimates 275n3 terrible simplifiers 255n20 Tesco 77, 211 Thaler, Richard 157 theories 140–59 analytic validity 158 arguments about 150–4 of crime 142–6, 143 development economics 150–3 fitness 157 implementation 152 limitations 157 and practice 141 refining 156–7 relevance 157–8 social science 146–50 tension in 154–9 using 156–7 ‘thick’ description 86 time, validity across 107–10 Time magazine 193 time variations, and knowledge 87–100, 91, 93, 94, 95 The Times 63 toilets 225–9 Toshiba 211 trade-offs 190–1 trends 54 trials 156 triangulation 138, 233–4 Triple-P parenting programme 206–7 trivia, importance of 84–5 true uncertainty 107 Trump, Donald 20, 218, 222, 223–4 trust 238 trust deficit 218 trustworthiness 238 Tufte, Edward 139 turning points, variety 49–54 TV crime shows 143, 143 twins and twin studies conjoined 39–42 identical 34–7, 39, 256n10 Tyson, Mike 23, 23–6 Tyson, Rodney 24–5, 255n3 Uhlmann, Eric 125–6 uncertainty 89–90, 100, 209– 12, 254n14 admitting 238 communicating 237–9 data 89–91 embracing 234–6 erratic 93 governing for 239–41 Knightian 107 language of 238 managing for 241–2 in medicine 167–9, 169, 170–4 perpetual 230 radical 106, 107 true 107 uncertainty laundering 268n33 understanding hidden half of 13 limiting effects on 14 limits of 54 unemployment 221–2, 263n17 unintended consequences 105, 229 United States of America China trade 220–3 incarceration rates 222, 240, 280n10 labour market 221 minimum wage 266–7n10 unemployment 221–2 universal gravitational attraction, theory of 140–1 unknowns 85–7, 206 unusual, the 195 upbringing 23–5 Uyeno, Lori 47 validity across time 107–10 analytic 158, 263n18 ecological 263n18 external 101, 158, 263n18, 264n19 internal 101–2, 158 knowledge 100–2, 107–10 population 263n18 research 101–2 samples 100–2 values 59, 232 variation, sources of 5–8 Volkswagen, diesel emissions scandal 211 Wall Street Journal 219 Wallace, Alfred Russel 259n33 Walmart 77 Watts, Duncan 68, 69, 147–50 weakest-link principle 79–82 Wedgwood, Josiah 50–1 Wellington, Duke of 51 Wesfarmers 76–7 West Germany, motorcycle thefts 142–4 Western, Bruce 54 Wilson, Harold 99 World Bank Independent Evaluation Group 79 World Health Organization 162 world picture 63–4 Wright, Sewall 253n11


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Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

affirmative action, airport security, Albert Einstein, complexity theory, David Brooks, East Village, haute couture, Kevin Kelly, lateral thinking, medical malpractice, medical residency, Menlo Park, Nelson Mandela, new economy, pattern recognition, phenotype, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, theory of mind, young professional

The point of Millennium Challenge was to show that, with the full benefit of high-powered satellites and sensors and supercomputers, that fog could be lifted. This is why, in many ways, the choice of Paul Van Riper to head the opposing Red Team was so inspired, because if Van Riper stood for anything, it was the antithesis of that position. Van Riper didn’t believe you could lift the fog of war. His library on the second floor of his house in Virginia is lined with rows upon rows of works on complexity theory and military strategy. From his own experiences in Vietnam and his reading of the German military theorist Carl von Clausewitz, Van Riper became convinced that war was inherently unpredictable and messy and nonlinear. In the 1980s, Van Riper would often take part in training exercises, and, according to military doctrine, he would be required to perform versions of the kind of analytical, systematic decision making that JFCOM was testing in Millennium Challenge.

Do you find it plausible that we, like car salesmen who unconsciously discriminate against certain groups of potential customers, or businesses that appear to favor tall men for CEOs, are not accountable for certain actions because they are a result of social influences rather than our personal beliefs? 16. Do you accept the argument that we are completely oblivious to our unconsciously motivated behavior (like the disturbing IAT results that show 80 percent of test takers have pro-white associations)? Is this just a convenient excuse to justify our biases? Chapter 4 / Paul Van Riper’s Big Victory 17. Van Riper believed that strategy and complex theory were inappropriate and futile in the midst of battle, “where the uncertainties of war and the pressures of time made it impossible to compare options carefully and calmly.” What other “work” situations discount rational analysis and demand immediate “battlefield” decision making? 18. Can one ever really prepare for decisive, rapid-fire scenarios? Is planning for the unpredictable worthwhile or a waste of time and energy?


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The Connected Company by Dave Gray, Thomas Vander Wal

A Pattern Language, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Atul Gawande, Berlin Wall, business cycle, business process, call centre, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, complexity theory, creative destruction, David Heinemeier Hansson, disruptive innovation, en.wikipedia.org, factory automation, Googley, index card, industrial cluster, interchangeable parts, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, loose coupling, low cost airline, market design, minimum viable product, more computing power than Apollo, profit maximization, Richard Florida, Ruby on Rails, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, software as a service, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tony Hsieh, Toyota Production System, Vanguard fund, web application, WikiLeaks, Zipcar

You are leading a company, but you are also leading a social network. Notes for Chapter Nineteen DISTRIBUTED LEADERSHIP Irving Wladawsky-Berger, “The MIT Distributed Leadership Forum,” blog post, November 23, 2009, http://blog.irvingwb.com/blog/2009/11/the-mit-distributed-leadership-forum.html. ADAPTIVE TENSIONS Bill McKelvey, “Improving Corporate IQ,” published in the Workshop on Managerial Implications of Complexity Theory in the Network Economy, July 14, 2001. JOHN BOYD & MORAL AUTHORITY A Vision So Noble: John Boyd, the OODA Loop, and America’s War on Terror, by Daniel Ford (CreateSpace, 2010). JOHN MACKEY & TRUST “John Mackey: Want trust? Let people be their whole selves,” MIX TV, http://www.managementexchange.com/video/john-mackey-want-trust-let-people-be-their-whole-selves. Chapter 20. Managing the connected company Life is like riding a bicycle—in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving

: How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business By Jason Bloomberg and Ronald Schmelzer, Wiley, 2006. The Service profit Chain: How Leading Companies Link Profit and Growth to Loyalty, Satisfaction, and Value By James L. Heskett, W. Earl Sasser, and Leonard A. Schlesinger, Free Press, 1997. The Seven-Day Weekend: Changing the Way Work Works By Ricardo Semler, Portfolio Hardcover, 2004. Simply Complexity: A Clear Guide to Complexity Theory By Neil Johnson, Oneworld, 2009. Steve Jobs By Walter Isaacson, Simon and Schuster, 2011. Structural Holes: The Social Structure of Competition By Ronald S. Burt, Harvard University Press, 1995. Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-Scale Production By Taiichi Ohno and Norman Bodek, Productivity Press, 1988. The Ultimate Question: How Net-Promoter Companies Thrive in a Customer-Driven World By Fred Reichheld, Harvard Business School Press, 2006.


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Strategy: A History by Lawrence Freedman

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Black Swan, British Empire, business process, butterfly effect, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, circulation of elites, cognitive dissonance, coherent worldview, collective bargaining, complexity theory, conceptual framework, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, defense in depth, desegregation, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, endowment effect, Ford paid five dollars a day, framing effect, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, lateral thinking, linear programming, loose coupling, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, mental accounting, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Nelson Mandela, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, oil shock, Pareto efficiency, performance metric, Philip Mirowski, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, shareholder value, social intelligence, Steven Pinker, strikebreaker, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Davenport, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Torches of Freedom, Toyota Production System, transaction costs, ultimatum game, unemployed young men, Upton Sinclair, urban sprawl, Vilfredo Pareto, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

From these he drew language and insights to describe the sort of conflicts that interested him. From Norbert Wiener’s cybernetics to Murray Gell-Mann’s complexity theory emerged some core themes about the interaction of parts within systems, adaptation to changing environments, and outcomes that seemed indeterminate but were not beyond explanation. The conclusions for practical strategists that emerged from these theories rarely did justice to the elegance of the originals, and could lead to the suspicion that the main result was to develop more impressive language for matters that were already well understood. Many of the emerging themes were present, for example, in Schelling’s writings. The most important contribution of complexity theory was to underline the importance of considering individual actors as part of complex systems, so that they must always be assessed in relation to their environment, which was adapting to them as they adapted to it.

“The numerative, rationalist approach to management is right enough to be dangerously wrong, and it has arguably already led us astray.”12 Waterman provided a slightly different, although not contradictory, account. In an article he coauthored, published in 1999, claims were made about the role of the book in translating the key themes in organizational studies, to the point of describing it as an accessible version of Weick.13 They addressed the issue of whether it was possible to simplify without being simplistic. Even if the situation demanded complex theories, managers would not find them interesting and so good theory would not affect practice. The article claimed immodestly that In Search of Excellence succeeded by saying “pretty much everything there was to say about behavior in organizations and got it right, by virtue of the experts cited.” Ideas of learning organizations, bounded rationality, narratives, and agenda-setting could all be found, with key theorists getting mentioned.

Minuscule changes in his initial input to mathematical calculations for weather predictions could have extraordinary and unpredictable effects on the outcomes. The butterfly effect comes from a 1972 paper by Lorenz to the American Association for the Advancement of Science entitled, “Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?” For a history of chaos theory, see James Gleick, Chaos: Making a New Science (London: Cardinal, 1987). On complexity theory, see Murray Gell-Man, The Quark and the Jaguar: Adventures in the Simple and the Complex (London: Little, Brown & Co., 1994); Mitchell Waldrop, Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993). On the relationship between scientific theories and military thought, see Antoine Bousquet, The Scientific Way of Warfare: Order and Chaos on the Battlefields of Modernity (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009); Robert Pellegrini, The Links Between Science, Philosophy, and Military Theory: Understanding the Past, Implications for the Future (Maxwell Air Force Base, AL: Air University Press, August 1997), http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/saas/pellegrp.pdf. 12.


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The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology by Ray Kurzweil

additive manufacturing, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Brewster Kahle, Brownian motion, business cycle, business intelligence, c2.com, call centre, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, coronavirus, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, David Brooks, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, factory automation, friendly AI, George Gilder, Gödel, Escher, Bach, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the telephone, invention of the telescope, invention of writing, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, linked data, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mitch Kapor, mouse model, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, premature optimization, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, remote working, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Rodney Brooks, scientific worldview, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, selection bias, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Coming Technological Singularity, Thomas Bayes, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Y2K, Yogi Berra

Furthermore, the idea that a completely deterministic process can produce results that are completely unpredictable is of great importance, as it provides an explanation for how the world can be inherently unpredictable while still based on fully deterministic rules.68 However, I am not entirely surprised by the idea that simple mechanisms can produce results more complicated than their starting conditions. We've seen this phenomenon in fractals, chaos and complexity theory, and self-organizing systems (such as neural nets and Markov models), which start with simple networks but organize themselves to produce apparently intelligent behavior. At a different level, we see it in the human brain itself, which starts with only about thirty to one hundred million bytes of specification in the compressed genome yet ends up with a complexity that is about a billion times greater.69 It is also not surprising that a deterministic process can produce apparently random results.

Simultaneously we are rapidly accumulating data on the precise characteristics and dynamics of the constituent parts and systems of the brain, ranging from individual synapses to large regions such as the cerebellum, which comprises more than half of the brain's neurons. Extensive databases are methodically cataloging our exponentially growing knowledge of the brain.3 Researchers have also shown they can rapidly understand and apply this information by building models and working simulations. These simulations of brain regions are based on the mathematical principles of complexity theory and chaotic computing and are already providing results that closely match experiments performed on actual human and animal brains. As noted in chapter 2, the power of the scanning and computational tools needed for the task of reverse engineering the brain is accelerating, similar to the acceleration in technology that made the genome project feasible. When we get to the nanobot era (see "Scanning Using Nanobots" on p. 163), we will be able to scan from inside the brain with exquisitely high spatial and temporal resolution.4 There are no inherent barriers to our being able to reverse engineer the operating principles of human intelligence and replicate these capabilities in the more powerful computational substrates that will become available in the decades ahead.

While there is a great deal of stochastic (random within carefully controlled constraints) process in every aspect of the brain, it is not necessary to model every "dimple" on the surface of every dendrite, any more than it is necessary to model every tiny variation in the surface of every transistor in understanding the principles of operation of a computer. But certain details are critical in decoding the principles of operation of the brain, which compels us to distinguish between them and those that comprise stochastic "noise" or chaos. The chaotic (random and unpredictable) aspects of neural function can be modeled using the mathematical techniques of complexity theory and chaos theory.16 ·The brain uses emergent properties. Intelligent behavior is an emergent property of the brain's chaotic and complex activity. Consider the analogy to the apparently intelligent design of termite and ant colonies, with their delicately constructed interconnecting tunnels and ventilation systems. Despite their clever and intricate design, ant and termite hills have no master architects; the architecture emerges from the unpredictable interactions of all the colony members, each following relatively simple rules.


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

The advent of smart cities with the promise of countless detectors on every street corner monitoring traffic will eventually provide sufficient data to carry out similar analyses on all cities to reveal the dynamical structure of their transportation system, much like the map here. This would provide a detailed quantitative valuation of traffic patterns and the attractiveness of specific locations as well as other metrics that are crucial for planning purposes such as in successfully developing new areas of a city or deciding on the placement of new malls or stadiums. The leading advocate for developing the concept of the fractal city and integrating ideas from complexity theory into traditional urban analysis and planning has been Mike Batty, who runs the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) at University College London. His work has focused primarily on computer models of the physicality of cities and urban systems. He is enthusiastic about the concept of cities as complex adaptive systems and has consequently become a major proponent of developing a science of cities.

These sorts of general properties, which are characteristic of social networks, lead to the result that the shortest path between nodes is on average a relatively small number and that this number is essentially independent of the size of the population, so that the six degrees of separation is approximately the same across all communities. Furthermore, it turns out that the modular structure is typically self-similar so that many characteristics of small-world networks satisfy power law scaling. Steve Strogatz is an eclectic applied mathematician at Cornell University who uses ideas from nonlinear dynamics and complexity theory to analyze and explain a broad range of fascinating problems. For example, he has done some lovely work showing how crickets, cicadas, and fireflies synchronize their behaviors and more recently extended it to show why London’s Millennium Bridge was dysfunctional.11 This latter problem has some interesting lessons for the science of cities, and I want to digress to explain it. As part of Britain’s celebration of the millennium, it was decided to build a new pedestrian bridge across the River Thames connecting landmark sites such as the Tate Modern Gallery and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on the south bank to St.

I feel extraordinarily fortunate and privileged to have been able to spend a number of very productive years in such a marvelous place, stimulated by like-minded colleagues from every possible corner of academia. The ambience and character of SFI are perhaps best captured by the British science writer John Whitfield, who in 2007 wrote: The institute was intended to be truly multidisciplinary—it has no departments, only researchers. . . . Santa Fe and complexity theory have become almost synonymous . . . the institute, now situated on a hill on the town’s outskirts, must be one of the most fun places to be a scientist. The researchers’ offices, and the communal areas they spill into for lunch and impromptu seminars, have picture windows looking out across the mountains and desert. Hiking trails lead out of the car park. In the institute’s kitchen, you can eavesdrop on a conversation between a paleontologist, an expert on quantum computing, and a physicist who works on financial markets.


pages: 340 words: 97,723

The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity by Amy Webb

Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Sanders, bioinformatics, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business intelligence, Cass Sunstein, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer vision, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, distributed ledger, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, Flynn Effect, gig economy, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Inbox Zero, Internet of things, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, job automation, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, New Urbanism, one-China policy, optical character recognition, packet switching, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart cities, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, uber lyft, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

Even though there were plenty of brilliant women already making significant contributions in engineering, computer science, mathematics, and physics, they were excluded.19 The invitees were all men, save for Marvin Minsky’s wife, Gloria. Without awareness of their own biases, these scientists—hoping to understand how the human mind works, how we think, and how machines might learn from all of humanity—had drastically limited their pool of data to those who look and sound just like them. The following year, the group gathered on the top floor of Dartmouth’s math department and researched complexity theory, natural language simulation, neural networks, the relationship of randomness to creativity, and learning machines. On the weekdays they met in the main math classroom for a general discussion before dispersing to tackle the more granular tasks. Professors Allen Newell, Herbert Simon, and Cliff Shaw came up with a way to discover proofs of logical theorems and simulated the process by hand—a program they called Logic Theorist—at one of the general sessions.

See also China Chinese Communist Revolution, Centennial of, 223 CHINOOK, 39 Clarke, Arthur, 35 Climate change: consequences of in catastrophic scenario of future, 228–229; G-MAFIA addressing in optimistic scenario of future, 171–172 Cloud: data storage, 88–89; hardware limitations and, 89; primary providers, 88. See also Azure Cloud Code of Conduct, call for establishment of AI worker, 256 Coinbase, 87 Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), 93 Complexity theory, 30 Congressional Research Service, 247 Construction and building industries: in optimistic scenario of future, 165 Consumerism, acceleration of AI projects and, 98 Conway, Melvin, 106 Conway’s Law, 106; Big Nine and, 107; examples, 103–108; negative effects, 107–108 Cook, Tim: on future of privacy, 95. See also Apple Cornell University, 60 Corpora: Big Nine biased, 252; Big Nine flawed, 252; G-MAFIA sharing costs of creating new, 253; problematic medical, 252; using AI to evaluate, 253; using AI to find biases in, 253; verification of data before use, 253 Coursera, Google machine-learning specialization and, 92–93 Crawford, Kate, 65 Creativity: machine in pragmatic scenario of future, 197; randomness and, 30.


pages: 414 words: 101,285

The Butterfly Defect: How Globalization Creates Systemic Risks, and What to Do About It by Ian Goldin, Mike Mariathasan

"Robert Solow", air freight, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, barriers to entry, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business cycle, butterfly effect, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, connected car, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of penicillin, diversification, diversified portfolio, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, energy security, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Gini coefficient, global pandemic, global supply chain, global value chain, global village, income inequality, information asymmetry, Jean Tirole, John Snow's cholera map, Kenneth Rogoff, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, mass immigration, megacity, moral hazard, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, open economy, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, regulatory arbitrage, reshoring, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, Toyota Production System, trade liberalization, transaction costs, uranium enrichment

Barkley Rosser Jr., 2009a, “Computational and Dynamic Complexity in Economics,” in Handbook of Research on Complexity, ed. J. Barkley Rosser Jr. (Chelten ham, UK: Edgar Elgar), 22–25. 27. John Horgan, 1997, The End of Science: Facing the Limits of Knowledge in the Twilight of the Scientific Age (New York: Broadway Books), 303; see also Neil Johnson, 2009, Simply Complexity: A Clear Guide to Complexity Theory (Oxford, UK: Oneworld Publications). 28. Paul Ormerod, 2012, Positive Linking: How Networks Can Revolutionise the World (London: Faber and Faber). 29. Ibid., x. 30. Ibid., xi. 31. Malcolm Gladwell catalogs numerous events and trends that occur for seemingly inexplicable reasons. Linking such diverse subjects as fashion trends or crime to the patterns with which epidemics develop, his work illustrates precisely the nonlinear and opaque nature of twenty-first-century risk that we intend to study in the course of this book.

Jaumotte, Florence, Subir Lall, and Chris Papageorgiou. 2008. “Rising Income Inequality: Technology, or Trade and Financial Globalization?” IMF Working Paper 185. International Monetary Fund, Washington, DC. Accessed 3 February 2013. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2008/wp08185.pdf. Jervis, Robert. 1997. System Effects. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Johnson, Neil. 2009. Simply Complexity: A Clear Guide to Complexity Theory. Oxford, UK: Oneworld Publications. Johnson, Simon. 2009. “The Quiet Coup.” Atlantic Magazine, May. Accessed 16 October 2012. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/05/the-quiet-coup/307364/. Jorgenson, Andrew K., J. Kelly Austin, and Christopher Dick. 2009. “Ecologically Unequal Exchange and the Resource Consumption / Environmental Degradation Paradox: A Panel Study of Less-Developed Countries, 1970–2000.”


pages: 321 words: 97,661

How to Read a Paper: The Basics of Evidence-Based Medicine by Trisha Greenhalgh

call centre, complexity theory, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, deskilling, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, New Journalism, p-value, personalized medicine, placebo effect, publication bias, randomized controlled trial, selection bias, the scientific method

Classical management theory: the notion that ‘mainstreaming’ a change within an organisation requires a systematic plan to make it happen. The vision for change must be shared amongst a critical mass of staff, and must be accompanied by planned changes to the visible structures of the organisation, to the roles and responsibilities of key individuals, and to information and communication systems. 6. Complexity theory: the notion that large organisations (such as the UK National Health Service) depend critically on the dynamic, evolving, and local relationships and communication systems between individuals. Supporting key interpersonal relationships, and improving the quality and timeliness of information available locally are often more crucial factors in achieving sustained change than ‘top-down’ directives or overarching national or regional programmes.

Index absolute risk reduction (ARR) absolutism absorptive capacity (organisations) academic detailing accessible standards ‘accountability culture’ accuracy ACP PIER additional risk adult learning advertising, DTCA advice for patients AGREE instrument allocation concealment, CONSORT checklist analysis of variance anecdotes DTCA anti-inflammatory drugs, non-steroidal anticoagulant therapy applicability clinical guidelines appraisal, critical, see critical appraisal ARR (absolute risk reduction) aspirin, meta-analyses assessment ‘blind’ clinical guidelines methodological quality needs assumptions, unquestioned avoidable suffering baseline data, CONSORT checklist baseline differences behavioural learning bias expectation selection systematic work-up (verification) biological markers of disease ‘blind’ assessment blinding, CONSORT checklist blobbogram, see forest plot bluffing, deliberate boundaries fuzzy organisational break-even point browsing, informal Caesarean section, see induced delivery CardioSource care, quality of care pathways, integrated (critical) case systematic bias case reports case studies ‘caseness’ causation tests for CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM) CHAIN (Contact, Help, Advice and Information Network) ‘champions’ cheating with statistical tests checklist CONSORT context-sensitive QADAS systematic reviews data sources choice, informed cholesterol hypercholesterolaemia Cinderella conditions citation chaining classical management theory clinical applicability clinical decision-making clinical disagreement clinical evidence clinical freedom clinical guidelines implementation clinical heterogeneity clinical prediction rules ‘clinical queries’ clinical questions clinical trials non-randomised controlled RCT, see randomised controlled trials CME (continuing medical education) Cochrane, Archie Cochrane Collaboration Cochrane EPOC, see EPOC group cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) cohort studies systematic bias collection of data collective knowledge common sense comparable groups COMPASEN format completeness of follow-up complex interventions complexity theory confidence intervals diagnostic tests conflict of interest consistency CONSORT statement RCTs Contact, Help, Advice and Information Network (CHAIN) context context-sensitive checklist context-specific psychological antecedents quality improvement case studies receptive context for change continuing medical education (CME) continuous results control group controlled clinical trials, non-randomised controlled trials, randomised, see randomised controlled trials correlation correlation coefficient Pearson cost analysis cost cost-minimisation ‘cost per case’ counting-and-measuring perspective covariables criteria, stringent critical appraisal pre-appraised sources qualitative papers critical care pathways cross-sectional surveys cumulative meta-analyses current practice cut-off point DALY (disability-adjusted life year) data baseline collection dredging paired pooled skewed databases DARE EPOC primary studies systematic reviews TRIP see also sources, resources decision-making evidence-based evidence-based practice shared therapy deduction deep venous thrombosis (DVT) deliberate bluffing delivery, induced design complex interventions RCT research studies ‘detailers’ detailing, academic diabetes qualitative research shared decision-making yoga control diagnosis diagnostic sequence diagnostic tests validation ‘dice therapy’ dichotomy qualitative direct costs direct-to-consumer-advertising (DTCA) disability-adjusted life year (DALY) disagreement, clinical discourse analysis ‘doing nothing’ Donald, Anna ‘dose dredging, data ‘drug reps’ drug treatments drugs, see also therapy, treatments duration of follow-up DVT (deep venous thrombosis) DynaMed EBM, see evidence-based medicine economic analyses editorial independence education for patients educational intervention, specific effective searching efficacy analysis eligibility criteria embodied knowledge endpoints, surrogate epilepsy EPOC Group ethical considerations drug trials QALYs RCTs ethnography Evans, Grimley evidence application on patients formalisation hierarchy of level of ‘methodologically robust’ evidence-based decision-making evidence-based guidelines evidence-based medicine (EBM) criticisms essential steps reading papers web-based resources ‘evidence-based organisation’ evidence-based policymaking evidence-based practice expectation bias ‘expert opinion’ harmful practices explanation of results surrogate endpoints explanatory variables explicit methods explicit standards external validity ‘eXtra’ material Eysenck, Hans F-test falsifiable hypotheses federated search engines ‘female hypoactive sexual desire’ focus groups focusing, progressive follow-up forest plot formalisation of evidence formulation of problems freedom, clinical fuzzy boundaries ‘geeks’ general health questionnaire, SF-36 general psychological antecedents generalisability CONSORT checklist GIDEON (Global Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology Network) GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) GOBSAT (good old boys sat around a table) ‘gold standard’ test good clinical questions Google Scholar Grimshaw, Jeremy Grol, Richard group relations theory groups comparable focus subgroups guidelines as formalised evidence implementation practice SQUIRE guiding principles Guyatt, Gordon hands-on information hanging comparative harmful practices ‘expert opinion’ health professionals evidence-based practice shared decision-making health-related lifestyle Helman, Cecil ‘here and now’ heterogeneity hierarchy of evidence pharmaceutical industry traditional histogram holistic perspective human factor human resources HYE (Healthy Years Equivalent) hypercholesterolaemia ‘hypoactive sexual desire’, female hypothesis, null ‘illness scripts’ implementation clinical guidelines guidelines IMRAD format inadequate optimisation inception cohort incremental cost independence, editorial indirect costs individualised approaches induced delivery inductive reasoning industry, pharmaceutical, see pharmaceutical industry infertility informal browsing information ‘jungle’ information needs informed choice ‘informed consent’ intangible costs integrated care pathways ‘integrated’ EBM teaching inter-rater reliability internet-accessible format interventions complex CONSORT checklist cost analysis effect of meta-analyses organisational simple specific educational interview qualitative research see also questionnaire invited review items (questionnaire) iterative approach journalistic review ‘jungle’, information Kappa score knowledge, collective knowledge managers laboratory experiments learning organisation least-squares methods ‘length of stay’ level of evidence lifestyle, health-related likelihood ratio nomogram literature searching long-term effects longitudinal survey looking for answers ‘lumpers and splitters’ mammogram management theory, classical Marinker, Marshall marketing masking, see blinding Maskrey, Neal McMaster Health Utilities Index Questionnaire mean inhibitory concentration (MIC) mean (statistical) measurements mechanistic approach mediator/moderator effect medicine evidence-based, see evidence-based medicine ‘narrative-based’ Medline systematic reviews meta-analyses aspirin interventions methodological quality assessment problematic descriptions systematic reviews ‘methodologically robust’ evidence mixed method case study motorcycle maintenance multiple interacting components n of 1 trial ‘narrative-based medicine’ narrative interview NAHA (National Association of Health Authorities and Trusts) National Guideline Clearinghouse needs assessment negative predictive value ‘negative’ trials neonatal respiratory distress syndrome NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) NNT (number needed to treat) nomogram, likelihood ratio non-diseases non-medical factors non-medical treatments non-normal data, see skewed data non-parametric tests non-randomised controlled clinical trials non-significant results, relevant non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) normal distribution ‘normal range’ normative orientation Nottingham Health Profile null hypothesis 30 objective of treatment one-stop shopping online material online tutorials, effective searching operational orientation opinion leader opportunity samples, questionnaire research option grids organisation, evidence-based organisational boundaries organisational case studies organisational interventions original studies original study protocol CONSORT checklist OSIRIS patient trial other-language studies outcome measures ‘outcomes research’ outliers p-value paired data papers economic analyses guidelines meta-analyses methodological quality qualitative research quality improvement case studies questionnaire research reading rejection systematic reviews ‘trashing’ participants qualitative research spectrum of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) patients advice or education for evidence application patient’s perspective ‘typical’ viewpoint withdrawal from studies Pearson correlation coefficient peer review per-protocol analysis personal digital assistants (PDAs) personal experiences perspective counting-and-measuring holistic patient’s researcher’s pharmaceutical industry evidence-based practice ‘grey literature’ pharmacokinetic measurements pharmacotherapy (PHA), see drug treatments philosophical-normative orientation PIER, see ACP PIER pilot trial piloting, questionnaire research ‘placebo’ effect clinical research studies methodological quality point-of-care resources policymaking evidence-based pooled data populations cohort studies guidelines qualitative research questionnaire research sub- positive predictive value post-test probability postal questionnaire practical-operational orientation practice, evidence-based practice guidelines pre-appraised sources pre-test probability precision prediction rules, clinical preliminary statistical questions prenatal steroid treatment press cutting prevalence primary studies PRISMA statement probability pre-/post-test problem formulation process evaluation professional behaviour prognosis progressive focusing PROMs (patient-reported outcome measures) prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test protocols original study protocol per-protocol analysis protocol-driven approach Psychiatry Online psychological antecedents, context-specific psychometric studies psychometric validity PubMed purposive sample Q-TWIST QADAS (Quality in Diagnostic and Screening tests) checklist QALY (quality-adjusted life year) QOF (Quality and Outcomes Framework) qualitative research quality methodological trial design quality improvement case studies quality improvement cycle ‘quality of care’ quality of life PROMs ‘queries’, clinical questionnaire ‘questionnaire mugger’ questionnaire research SF-36 general health questions good clinical preliminary statistical QUORUM statement quota sampling frame r-value random samples, questionnaire research randomised controlled trials (RCTs) checklist CONSORT statement cumulative meta-analyses hierarchy of evidence systematic bias rating scale measurements reading papers ‘real-life’ circumstances receptive context for change recruitment dates, CONSORT checklist reflexivity regression (statistical) rejection, papers relevant non-significant results reliability, inter-rater reporting format, structured reports, case reproducible tests research design ‘outcomes’ qualitative questionnaire research question researcher’s perspective secondary resources, Point-of-care respiratory distress syndrome, neonatal response rate retrospective subgroup analysis reviews clinical guidelines peer systematic Richard, Cliff risk, additional risk risk difference, see absolute risk reduction role preference safety improvement case studies sample size CONSORT checklist sciatica scientific jargon screening mammogram tests SD (standard deviation) search engines, federated searching effective literature secondary research clinical guidelines selection bias semi-structured interview sensitivity sensitivity analysis sequence generation, CONSORT checklist SF-36 general health questionnaire shared decision-making significance, statistical simple interventions skewed data snowball samples, questionnaire research social cognition social movement ‘social stigma’ ‘soft’ science Someren, Van sources pre-appraised synthesised specialised resources specific educational intervention specificity spectrum of participants ‘splitters and lumpers’ sponsors and stakeholders SQUIRE guidelines stages of change models stakeholders standard current practice standard deviation (SD) standard gamble measurements standardisation standards, explicit and accessible statin therapy statistical questions, preliminary statistical significance statistical tests appropriate evaluation statistics STEP (safety, tolerability, efficacy, price) steroid treatment, prenatal stratified random samples stringent criteria stroke anticoagulants meta-analyses methodological quality structured reporting format studies case cohort design in-/exclusion of participants organisational case original protocol other-language ‘patients’ primary process evaluation psychometric research question (un)original validation withdrawal of patients subgroups, complex interventions retrospective analysis subjective judgements subpopulations surfactant treatment surrogate endpoints surveys cross-sectional literature longitudinal Swinglehurst, Deborah synopses synthesised sources systematic bias systematic reviews databases evaluation evidence-based practice systematically skewed samples t-test table, two-by-two tails target population target variable X2-test tests diagnostic ‘gold standard’ non-parametric PSA reproducible screening statistical theoretical sampling therapy anticoagulant CBT decision-making ‘dice’ NSAID statin see also treatments therapy studies, trial design thrombosis, DVT time trade-off measurements traditional hierarchy of evidence transferable results ‘trashing’ papers Treasury’s viewpoint treatments drug non-medical objective of prenatal steroid see also therapy trials design n of ‘negative’ non-randomised controlled clinical pilot randomised controlled, see randomised controlled trials triangulation TRIP tutorials, online TWIST two-by-two table ‘typical’ patients underfunding ‘unoriginal’ studies unquestioned assumptions validation clinical guidelines diagnostic tests validity external psychometric variables explanatory statistical regression verification bias viewpoint of economic analyses ‘washout’ periods web-based resources, EBM Whole Systems Demonstrator work-up bias WTP/WTA (Willingness to Pay/Accept)


pages: 339 words: 112,979

Unweaving the Rainbow by Richard Dawkins

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Arthur Eddington, complexity theory, correlation coefficient, David Attenborough, discovery of DNA, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Mahatma Gandhi, music of the spheres, Necker cube, p-value, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Solar eclipse in 1919, Steven Pinker, Zipf's Law

Napoleon didn't have to shoot off James Morris's arm in order to seal young Desmond's fate, and yours and mine, too. Not just Napoleon but the humblest medieval peasant had only to sneeze in order to affect something which changed something else which, after a long chain reaction, led to the consequence that one of your would-be ancestors failed to be your ancestor and became somebody else's instead. I'm not talking about 'chaos theory', or the equally trendy 'complexity theory', but just about the ordinary statistics of causation. The thread of historical events by which our existence hangs is wincingly tenuous. When compared with the stretch of time unknown to us, O king, the present life of men on earth is like the flight of a single sparrow through the hall where, in winter, you sit with your captains and ministers. Entering at one door and leaving by another, while it is inside it is untouched by the wintry storm; but this brief interval of calm is over in a moment, and it returns to the winter whence it came, vanishing from your sight.

None of the three assists our understanding of any of the others. The author is drunk on metaphor, captivated by the idea of the helix, which misleads him into seeing connections which do not illuminate the truth in any way. Calling it poetic science is too kind: it is more like theological science. Recently my incoming mail has registered a sharp rise in the normal load of 'chaos theory', 'complexity theory', 'non-linear criticality' and similar phrases. Now I'm not saying that these correspondents lack the faintest, foggiest clue what they are talking about. But I will say it's hard to discover whether they do. New Age cults of all kinds cure swimming in bogus scientific language, regurgitated, half-understood (no, less than half) jargon: energy fields, vibration, chaos theory, catastrophe theory, quantum consciousness.


pages: 460 words: 107,712

A Devil's Chaplain: Selected Writings by Richard Dawkins

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller, butterfly effect, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, Desert Island Discs, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, epigenetics, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, gravity well, Necker cube, out of africa, phenotype, placebo effect, random walk, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, the scientific method

Quantum mechanics, that brilliantly successful flagship theory of modern science, is deeply mysterious and hard to understand. Eastern mystics have always been deeply mysterious and hard to understand. Therefore eastern mystics must have been talking about quantum theory all along. Similar mileage is made of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle (‘Aren’t we all, in a very real sense, uncertain?’), Fuzzy Logic (‘Yes, it’s OK for you to be fuzzy too’), Chaos and Complexity Theory (the butterfly effect, the platonic, hidden beauty of the Mandelbrot Set – you name it, somebody has mysticized it and turned it into dollars). You can buy any number of books on ‘quantum healing’, not to mention quantum psychology, quantum responsibility, quantum morality, quantum aesthetics, quantum immortality and quantum theology. I haven’t found a book on quantum feminism, quantum financial management or Afro-quantum theory, but give it time.

., (i)f, (ii) Climbing Mount Improbable, (i)f, (ii), (iii), (iv)f Cloning Human, see Ethics Placenta as clone of baby, (i) Studio discussion of, (i) Cobb, J. A., (i) Coevolutionary arms race, (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) Competition For opposite sex, (i), (ii) Survival of macromutations in absence of, (i) Within species, causing extinction, (i) Complexity (see also Genome: Information content of) As information content, (i) Increase in, (i) Complexity theory, Misuse of, (i) Computer, (i), (ii), 157 (see also Virus, Computer) Convergence Modern physics and eastern mysticism, (i) Science and religion, (i), (ii) Conway Morris, Simon, (i), (ii), (iii) Cooperation, Evolution of, (i) Copying, see Fidelity under Gene, Meme Creationism ‘Intelligent design’, (i), (ii) Young Earth Creationism, (i) Creationists Propaganda of, (i), (ii) Refusing to debate with, (i), (ii) Regrettable gift of punctuated equilibrists to, (i) Creator, The Added to later editions of Origin, (i)f Litters genomes with pseudogenes, (i) Treats genomes of newts capriciously, (i) Crick, Francis, (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii) Cronin, Helena, (i), (ii) Crow, James, (i)f Croze, Harvey, (i), (ii) Crystals Alleged magical properties of, (i) Self-assembly of, (i) Structure of lattices, (i) Cultural relativism, (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) Cultural Studies, (i) Culture, (i), 151 (see also Meme) Culturgen, (i), (ii) Cupitt, Don, (i) Curie brothers, (i) Cuvier, Georges, (i) Darwin, Charles, (i), (ii) His coining of ‘Devil’s Chaplain’, (i) His disagreement with Wallace, (i) His encyclopaedic knowledge, (i) His near anticipation of Fisher on sex ratios, (i) His near discovery of Mendelism, (i) His ‘other’ theory, see Sexual selection His timeless achievement, (i) His Victorian outlook, (i), (ii) His views on race, (i), (ii) Not against punctuationism, (i) On worms, (i) Darwinism Coining by Wallace, (i) Core, (i) Incompatibility with blending inheritance, (i) Moral implications of, (i) Opposing as human being, (i) Universal, (i), (ii), (iii) Data Compression of, (i) Independent, (i) Davies, Paul, (i) Dawkins, Juliet, (i), (ii), (iii) Dawkins’ Law of the Conservation of Difficulty, (i) Death, Forecasting, (i) Deleuze, Gilles, (i) Delius, Juan, (i) Dennett, Daniel, (i), (ii)f, (iii), (iv), (v) On memes, (i)f, (ii), (iii) Descent of Man, The, (i), (ii) Design, Illusion of, (i), (ii) Determinism, see ‘Genetic determinism’ Development (see also Embryology) Coding for complex life cycles, (i) Complex recipe-like effects of genes on, (i), (ii), (iii) Embryonic, Evolutionary change in terms of, (i) Point at which foetus ‘becomes human’, (i) Rubber band and blanket analogy for, (i) Devil’s Chaplain, A, (i), (ii) Diamond, (i), (ii) Diamond, Jared, (i) Diamond, John, (i), (ii), (iii) Digger wasp, (i) Disraeli, Benjamin (as typewriter transubstantiated), (i) DNA Duplicating, (i) Fingerprinting, (i) Information content of, (i), (ii) Junk, (i), (ii) National database, (i) Parasitic, (i), (ii) Selfish, (i)f, (ii) Sequencing, (i) Viral, (i), (ii) Dobzhansky, Theodosius, (i), (ii) Dog, (i) Dolly (sheep), (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi) Double-blind trials, (i), (ii), (iii) Double Helix, The, (i) Douglas-Hamilton, Iain and Oria, (i) Düsing, Carl, (i) Eberhard, W.


pages: 416 words: 112,268

Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control by Stuart Russell

3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Alfred Russel Wallace, Andrew Wiles, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, blockchain, brain emulation, Cass Sunstein, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, computer vision, connected car, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ernest Rutherford, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, Gerolamo Cardano, ImageNet competition, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of the wheel, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, Mark Zuckerberg, Nash equilibrium, Norbert Wiener, NP-complete, openstreetmap, P = NP, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, Pierre-Simon Laplace, positional goods, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit maximization, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart contracts, social intelligence, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, superintelligent machines, Thales of Miletus, The Future of Employment, Thomas Bayes, Thorstein Veblen, transport as a service, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, uranium enrichment, Von Neumann architecture, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, zero-sum game

If the program can add a new concept of doubles, defined by equality between the two dice, it can express the same predictive theory much more concisely. It is a straightforward process, using methods such as inductive logic programming,44 to create programs that propose new concepts and definitions in order to identify theories that are both accurate and concise. At present, we know how to do this for relatively simple cases, but for more complex theories the number of possible new concepts that could be introduced becomes simply enormous. This makes the recent success of deep learning methods in computer vision all the more intriguing. The deep networks usually succeed in finding useful intermediate features such as eyes, legs, stripes, and corners, even though they are using very simple learning algorithms. If we can understand better how this happens, we can apply the same approach to learning new concepts in the more expressive languages needed for science.

A good survey of research on negative capacitance by one of its inventors: Sayeef Salahuddin, “Review of negative capacitance transistors,” in International Symposium on VLSI Technology, Systems and Application (IEEE Press, 2016). 33. For a much better explanation of quantum computation, see Scott Aaronson, Quantum Computing since Democritus (Cambridge University Press, 2013). 34. The paper that established a clear complexity-theoretic distinction between classical and quantum computation: Ethan Bernstein and Umesh Vazirani, “Quantum complexity theory,” SIAM Journal on Computing 26 (1997): 1411–73. 35. The following article by a renowned physicist provides a good introduction to the current state of understanding and technology: John Preskill, “Quantum computing in the NISQ era and beyond,” arXiv:1801.00862 (2018). 36. On the maximum computational ability of a one-kilogram object: Seth Lloyd, “Ultimate physical limits to computation,” Nature 406 (2000): 1047–54. 37.


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Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown by Philip Mirowski

"Robert Solow", Alvin Roth, Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, barriers to entry, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, business cycle, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, constrained optimization, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, dark matter, David Brooks, David Graeber, debt deflation, deindustrialization, do-ocracy, Edward Glaeser, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Flash crash, full employment, George Akerlof, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Hernando de Soto, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, income inequality, incomplete markets, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, joint-stock company, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, l'esprit de l'escalier, labor-force participation, liberal capitalism, liquidity trap, loose coupling, manufacturing employment, market clearing, market design, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Naomi Klein, Nash equilibrium, night-watchman state, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shock, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, Philip Mirowski, Ponzi scheme, precariat, prediction markets, price mechanism, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, random walk, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, school choice, sealed-bid auction, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, Steven Levy, technoutopianism, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, The Myth of the Rational Market, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, Vilfredo Pareto, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, working poor

Of course, sometimes the natural sciences themselves encountered something commensurable to a crisis in their own fields of endeavor—think of dark matter and dark energy, or the breakdown of causality in the 1920s—but they didn’t respond by evasive maneuvers and suppressing its consideration, as did the economists. In retrospect, appeals to science will be seen to have proven a bit of a red herring in coming to terms with the current crisis. Physical complexity theory or neuromysticism or dark matter won’t save us now. In the heat of battle, economists purported to be defending “science’”when, in fact, they were only defending themselves and their minions. Lesson 4: The failure of the economics profession is a saga of social disfunction The completeness of the [orthodox] victory is something of a curiosity and a mystery. It must have been due to a complex of suitabilities in the doctrine to the environment into which it was projected.

“On the Political Economy of the Financial Crisis and Bailout 2008–9,” Public Choice 140 (2009): 287–317. Cook, Daniel, Elizabeth Boyd, Claudia Grossman, and Lisa Bero. “Reporting Science and Conflicts of Interest in the Lay Press,” PLoS One 12 (December 2007): e1266. Cooke, Kristina, and Emily Flitter. “Economists Display Little Interest in Ethics Code,” Reuters, July 8, 2011, at http://ca.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idCATRE7673XK20110708. Cooper, Melinda. “Complexity Theory after the Crisis: The Death of Neoliberalism or the Triumph of Hayek?” Journal of Cultural Economy 4 (2011): 371–85. Cooper, Melinda. “Foucault, Neoliberalism and the Iranian Revolution,” in Vanessa Lemm and Miguel Vatter, eds., The Government of Life: Michel Foucault and Neoliberalism (New York: Fordham University Press, 2012). Cooper, Melinda. Life as Surplus (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2008).

See also Vroman, “Allusions to Evolution,” and Mirowski, Machine Dreams, on the origins of the “cyborg sciences.” 76 Cooper, Life as Surplus; Nadesan, Governmentality, Biopower and Everyday Life. 77 See, for instance, McKinnon, Neo-liberal Genetics; Ridley, The Agile Gene and The Rational Optimist; Pickering, The Cybernetic Brain; and my review of the latter book in Technology and Culture, 2012. 78 Cooper, “Complexity Theory after the Crisis”; Walker and Cooper, “Genealogies of Resistance.” 79 This subtle ontological move and its relationship to political action is best illustrated by the neoliberal response to global warming, discussed in chapter 6. 80 Peck, Constructions of Neoliberal Reason, p. xiii. 81 Neoliberals tend to perceive democracy as desirable only insofar as democratic institutions encourage the development of the economic system they advocate.


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Understanding Sponsored Search: Core Elements of Keyword Advertising by Jim Jansen

AltaVista, barriers to entry, Black Swan, bounce rate, business intelligence, butterfly effect, call centre, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, correlation does not imply causation, en.wikipedia.org, first-price auction, information asymmetry, information retrieval, intangible asset, inventory management, life extension, linear programming, longitudinal study, megacity, Nash equilibrium, Network effects, PageRank, place-making, price mechanism, psychological pricing, random walk, Schrödinger's Cat, sealed-bid auction, search engine result page, second-price auction, second-price sealed-bid, sentiment analysis, social web, software as a service, stochastic process, telemarketer, the market place, The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Vickrey auction, Vilfredo Pareto, yield management

According to general systems theory, conceptions of reduction are incorrect, at least at times. Instead, in general systems theory, a system is characterized by the interactions of its components and the nonlinearity of those interactions. In other words, we take the totality and the complexity of interactions into account simultaneously. Potpourri: General systems theory has a lot in common with chaos theory and complexity theory. Chaos theory addresses the study of complex dynamical systems (i.e., systems that follow a fixed rule over time), where the system is highly dependent on Bringing It All Together initial conditions. This means that very slight fluctuations in the initial conditions can radically affect the end state of the system. So, a ball balancing on a hilltop (using the classic example) may fall in many directions depending on very slightly changing atmospheric conditions.

., 131 bounded rationality, 98, 100 Boyce, Rick, 10 brand, 6, 14–15, 25, 69–70, 74, 95, 103, 111–122, 126–127, 129–130, 140–142, 144, 201, 207, 221, 223, 225 brand advertising, 126 Brand attitude, 116 brand awareness, 113 brand equity, 114 brand familiarity, 116 brand image, 1, 14–15, 70, 103, 112–114, 117, 120, 141 Brand recall, 114, 117 Brand recognition, 113, 117 Brand relationship, 114–115, 117 273 274 Index Brand trust, 116–117 branded keyphrases, 119–120, 141, 183, 187 branded terms, 41, 69–70, 186 branding, xiii, 16, 65, 69, 103, 106, 111–114, 116–118, 120–121, 126, 128–129, 131, 135, 140–142, 149, 171, 177, 190, 199, 203, 207–209, 213, 227 Brewer, Jeffrey, 11 Brin, Sergey, 206, 217–218 Broder, Andrei, 44 Brooks, Nico, 76–77 Bullington, Brett, 12 butterfly effect, 205 buying decision, 98–99, 130 buying funnel, 86, 93–98, 101, 103–106, 129–130, 210, 213 Capitani, 74 Caples, John, 127 CA$HVERTISING, 125 causation, 153 caveat emptor, 179 chaos theory, 204 check-in applications, 224 choice set, 71, 79, 94, 120, 130 Choice uncertainty, 99 classic advertising appeals, 124 click fraud, 167–168, 170, 221 Click potential, 76 clickthrough lift, 124 click-through rate, 24, 74–75, 178, See€clickthrough rate, 14–15 The Cluetrain Manifesto, 129 Commercial Alert, 21 communication process, 32–33, 36, 54, 86, 101–103, 105–106, 111, 207, 210, 213 communication theory, 86 complexity theory, 204 comScore, 152 concept of chunking, 42 concept of technological innovation, 5 consumer behavior, xiii, 86, 89, 94, 96, 98, 101, 103, 105–106, 129 consumer buying behavior, 98, 103 consumer buying process, 94, 98, 100–101, 104, 106 consumer decision making, 86, 93–95, 101, 105, 208, 213 consumer purchasing behavior, 86 consumer search process, 48, 90, 93, 98 consumer searching, 41, 47, 63, 86–87, 90, 93, 95, 98–99, 210 consumer searching behavior, 41, 86, 95, 210 content targeting, 19 context, ix, x, xiii, xix, xx, xxi, 1, 11, 32–33, 36, 43, 69, 86, 88, 91–92, 97, 100–103, 106, 112, 114–115, 119, 126–128, 131, 157, 159–164, 166, 177, 187, 212, 217, 220, 224, 226 contextual advertising, xii, 19, 225 Conversion potential, 76 Corporate branding, 112 Correlation, 153 Credence goods, 39–40 creditability, 150 Culliton, James, 131 curiosity, i, ix, x, xiv, 46, 125 Customer brand image, 120 customer market segmentation, 120 Database of Intentions, 31 dayparting, 184, 186 Delhagen, Kate, 12 determinants, 92–93, 98, 118 Direct Hit Technologies, 21 direct response, 126 direct response advertising, 126 Doc Seals, 129 dominate, 125 east, 22, 24, 72 ebay, 179 Ebbinghaus, H., 74 economic theory, 49, 91 effectiveness, 24, 35, 113, 118, 145, 149, 151, 159, 170, 180, 210 efficiency, 62, 151, 170, 180, 210 empirical methods, xii erosion, 159–160 escape, 125 Esch, F.


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The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel J. Levitin

airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Anton Chekhov, Bayesian statistics, big-box store, business process, call centre, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer vision, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Eratosthenes, Exxon Valdez, framing effect, friendly fire, fundamental attribution error, Golden Gate Park, Google Glasses, haute cuisine, impulse control, index card, indoor plumbing, information retrieval, invention of writing, iterative process, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, life extension, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, more computing power than Apollo, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, phenotype, placebo effect, pre–internet, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, Rubik’s Cube, shared worldview, Skype, Snapchat, social intelligence, statistical model, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Turing test, ultimatum game, zero-sum game

Number 2 is random because there is no scheme we can come up with apart from simply listing every element, one at a time, as it is in the actual sequence. Kolmogorov complexity theory encapsulates it this way: Something is random when you cannot explain how to derive a sequence using any fewer than the number of elements in the sequence itself. This definition of complexity meshes with our everyday, lay use of the term. We say that a car is more complex than a bicycle, and surely it takes a far larger set of instructions to build a car than a bicycle. Information theory can be applied to organizational systems like the file and folder hierarchy on your computer, or to org charts in a company. And, according to Kolmogorov complexity theory, if the org chart can be described by a small number of simple rules, the company is said to be highly structured.

Sustained concentration and effort is most effective not when fragmented into little pieces by multitasking, but when apportioned into big focused chunks separated by leisure, exercise, or other mentally restorative activities. Multitasking results from information overload, trying to attend to too many things at once. When the many things we’re attending to require a decision, how much information do we need to make optimal decisions? Optimal complexity theory states that there is an inverted U function for how much information or complexity is optimal. Too little is no good, but so is too much. In one study, experimenters simulated a military exercise. Players in the simulated game were college students in teams who were either invading or defending a small island country. Players were allowed to control the amounts of information with which to make their decisions—they received a document that read: The information you are receiving is prepared for you in the same way it would be prepared for real commanders by a staff of intelligence officers.


pages: 476 words: 120,892

Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology by Johnjoe McFadden, Jim Al-Khalili

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, bioinformatics, complexity theory, dematerialisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Ernest Rutherford, Gödel, Escher, Bach, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Louis Pasteur, New Journalism, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, theory of mind, traveling salesman, uranium enrichment, Zeno's paradox

Reflections on the motive force of life In chapter 2 we peered inside a steam engine to discover that its motive force involved capturing the random motion of the sea of billiard-ball-like molecules and directing the molecular turbulence toward driving the piston within the cylinder. We then asked whether life can be entirely accounted for by the same “order from disorder” thermodynamic principle that drives steam engines. Is life just an elaborate steam engine? Many scientists are convinced that it is, but in a subtle way that needs a little elaboration. Complexity theory studies the tendency of certain forms of random chaotic motion to generate order through the phenomenon of self-organization. For example, as we have already discussed, the molecules within liquids are moving entirely chaotically, yet when your bathtub is draining the water spontaneously flows around the drain in an orderly clockwise or counterclockwise direction. This macroscopic order can also be seen in the patterns of convection flow in a heated pot of water, in hurricanes, tornadoes, the red spot on Jupiter and many other natural phenomena.

clownfish, see anemonefish cockroaches collagen: biomolecule collagenase action, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 dinosaur fossil, 3.1, 9.1 role structure, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 tadpole tail, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4 collagenase: enzyme, 3.1, 3.2 how it works, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6 jaws, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4 role, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4 structure, 3.1, 3.2 tadpole tail compass, avian entanglement mechanism, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 6.1, 6.2, epl.1 magnetic sense, 1.1, 1.2, 6.1, 6.2 magnetite question radical pair reaction, 6.1, 6.2 role of light Schulten’s work Wiltschkos’ work compass, chemical, 1.1, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 compass, conventional compass, inclination, 1.1, 1.2, 6.1, 6.2 compass, quantum compass, radical pair, 6.1, 6.2 compass, sun, 6.1, 6.2 complexity theory computational theory of mind computers, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4 viruses Condon, Edward consciousness: binding problem, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4 emergence EM field theories explanations function hard problem ideas, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3 ion channels, 8.1, 8.2 mechanics of thought Penrose-Hameroff theory quantum mechanical phenomenon, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4 sense of “self,” what is it? Copernicus Crick, Francis, 2.1, 7.1, 7.2 cryptochrome, 1.1, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 cryptophytes crystals aperiodic cyanobacterium cytoplasm, 2.1, 4.1 cytoskeleton Darwin, Charles: evolution theory, 1.1, 1.2, 7.1, 7.2 Lamarck’s work, 7.1, 7.2 Mendel’s work, 2.1, 7.1 natural selection, 7.1, 7.2, 9.1 on origin of life, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3 On the Origin of Species, 7.1, 7.2 Darwin, Erasmus Datta, Abhijit Davies, Paul, 1.1 Davis, Captain John decaborane decoherence: enemy of quantum behavior kept at bay, 2.1, 3.1, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 8.1, 8.2, 10.1, 10.2 measurement process, 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 10.1 proto-self-replicator quantum computing, 8.1, 8.2 quantum waviness radical pair theory temperature, 2.1, 8.1 Delbrück, Max, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 density functional theory (DFT) Descartes, René, 2.1, 3.1, 8.1, 10.1 deuterium, 1.1, 3.1, 5.1, 7.1, 9.1 deuteron DeVault, Don, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4 de Vries, Hugo dice dinosaurs: ancestry Antarctica collagen and collagenase, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 9.1, 10.1 extinction fossil, 3.1, 3.2 quantum compasses dipentine, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5 Dixson, Daniella DNA: bases, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 9.1 Cairns’s E. coli experiment chemical bond (shared proton), 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 chromosome, 2.1, 2.2, 7.1, 9.1 copying errors (mutations), 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 discovery of structure, 2.1, 2.2 double helix, 2.1, 2.2, 7.1, 9.1 emergence genetic engineering genetic information, 2.1, 7.1, 9.1 magnetoreception mitochondrial quantum mechanics, 1.1, 7.1 quantum tunneling, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 9.1 reading process, 7.1, 7.2 replication, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 9.1 sequencing technology structure, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 synthesized tautomers, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5 transcription, 7.1, 7.2 translation Vostok study DNA polymerase, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 9.1 dogs double potential energy well double-slit experiment, see two-slit experiment dualism D-Wave Dyson, Malcolm, 5.1, 5.2 E. coli, 7.1, 9.1 Einstein, Albert: E = mc2 on entanglement, 1.1, 1.2, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 relativity theory work, 2.1, 10.1 electron microscope, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 electrons: creation of radical pair entangled pairs, 1.1, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6 enzyme activity, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 7.1, 9.1, 9.2 excitons, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle measurement oxidation, 3.1, 4.1, 10.1 photoelectric effect photosynthesis primordial quantum protocell protoenzyme, 9.1, 9.2 quantized orbits quantum heat engine quantum spin, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 quantum tunneling, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 5.1, 5.2, 7.1, 9.1, 9.2, epl.1 qubits wave function wave mechanics Emlen, John Emlen, Stephen, 6.1, 6.2 Emlen funnel, 6.1, 6.2 energy: barriers, 1.1, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 4.1, 7.1, 9.1 concept free frequency and industry kinetic landscape, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5 light quanta quantum protocell quantum tunneling respiration, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1 sunlight, 1.1, 1.2, 3.1, 4.1, 4.2, 10.1 thermodynamics transport, 4.1, 4.2, 8.1, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3 wave theory, 1.1, 2.1, 2.2 Engel, Greg, 1.1, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 10.1, 10.2 entanglement: Aspect’s experiment, 1.1, 1.2, 4.1 avian compass, 1.1, 1.2, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, epl.1 fast triplet reaction, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 “instantaneous action at a distance,” ion channels measurement, 1.1, 1.2, 6.1 olfactory receptor principle Penrose-Hameroff consciousness theory, 8.1, 8.2 proven quantum state, 1.1, 6.1 qubits, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4, 9.1 radical pairs, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 “spooky action at a distance,” 1.1, 6.1, 6.2 entrainment entropy enzymes: active sites, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 5.1 ADH, 3.1, 3.2 beliefs about, 3.1, 3.2 catalysis, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 collagenase, 1.1, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 3.8, 3.9 converting reactants to products, 3.1 DNA polymerase, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 9.1 electron transfer, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1 engines of life, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 7.1, 10.1 exploitation, 3.1, 3.2, 10.1 kinetic isotope effect, 3.1, 7.1, 9.1 myosin Pasteur’s work, 2.1, 3.1 photosynthesis, 4.1, 4.2 protocells, 10.1, 10.2 proto-enzyme proton transfer proton tunneling, 3.1, 3.2, 7.1, 7.2, 10.1 quantum hypothesis, 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4 quantum tunneling, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 5.1, 5.2, 7.1, 7.2 replication, 9.1, 9.2, 10.1 respiratory, 3.1, 4.1, epl.1 ribozymes, 9.1, 9.2, 10.1 RNA polymerase structure transition state theory, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 vibrations, 3.1, 10.1 Europa evening primrose evolution, 1.1, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 exciton: binary system, 4.1, 4.2 quantum coherence, 4.1, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3 quantum protocell transport to reaction center, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4 exponential growth extracellular matrix, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4 extremophiles FAD molecule, 6.1, 6.2 fast triplet reaction, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 Fenna-Matthews-Olson (FMO) protein, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 10.1 fermentation, 2.1, 3.1 Feynman, Richard: on atoms on exciton energy at MIT on nanotechnology on photosynthesis, 4.1, 4.2 on quantum computing on trees on two-slit experiment “what I can’t make, I don’t understand,” 2.1, 3.1, 10.1, 10.2 field, term flavors Fleming, Graham, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 10.1 fossils, 3.1, 3.2, 9.1 Foster, Norman Frankenstein Franklin, Rosalind free energy free radicals, 1.1, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 frequency Freud, Sigmund frogs, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6 Fromme, Hans fruit flies: circadian sense, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 creation of mutant magnetic sense, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 sense of smell “T maze” experiment trained, 5.1, 6.1 Galen Galileo Gamow, George gas laws genes Cairns’s work copying, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 cryptochrome development of technologies, 2.1, 10.1 DNA, 2.1, 9.1 heredity, 2.1, 2.2 Mendel’s work, 2.1, 7.1 mutations, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4 olfactory receptors, 5.1, 5.2 reading process, 7.1, 9.1 RNA Schrödinger’s work, 2.1, 2.2, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 Vostok sequences, 7.1, 7.2 genetic code, 7.1, 7.2, 9.1 genetic engineering genetics link with quantum mechanics, 7.1, 7.2, 10.1 genome: Cairns’s work, 7.1, 7.2 copying, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 DNA sequencing technology RNA Venter’s work, 2.1, 9.1, 10.1, 10.2 Gerlach, Gabriele, 5.1, 5.2, 6.1 Gilbert, Jim giraffes, 7.1, 7.2 Godbeer, Adam Gödel, Kurt, 8.1, 8.2 Gödelian statements, 8.1, 8.2 Goldilocks zone, 10.1, 10.2 gravity, 1.1, 2.1, 4.1n, 8.1 Great Barrier Reef Greenland, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3 Gribbins, John Gross, Jerome, 3.1, 3.2 Gurney, Ronald Haldane, J.


pages: 472 words: 117,093

Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future by Andrew McAfee, Erik Brynjolfsson

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, AI winter, Airbnb, airline deregulation, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, backtesting, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, British Empire, business cycle, business process, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centralized clearinghouse, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, cognitive bias, commoditize, complexity theory, computer age, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dean Kamen, discovery of DNA, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, double helix, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, family office, fiat currency, financial innovation, George Akerlof, global supply chain, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, information asymmetry, Internet of things, inventory management, iterative process, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, law of one price, longitudinal study, Lyft, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mitch Kapor, moral hazard, multi-sided market, Myron Scholes, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precision agriculture, prediction markets, pre–internet, price stability, principal–agent problem, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Snapchat, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, Ted Nelson, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas Davenport, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, transportation-network company, traveling salesman, Travis Kalanick, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, yield management, zero day

., they move in the right direction. . . . I am convinced that if [the price system] were the result of deliberate human design, and if the people guided by the price changes understood that their decisions have significance far beyond their immediate aim, this mechanism would have been acclaimed as one of the greatest triumphs of the human mind. Hayek’s paper, which anticipated many of the ideas of what would coalesce into complexity theory later in the twentieth century, highlighted that the actions of individual members could generate information that was highly valuable to the entire crowd. What’s more, this information often can’t be gleaned from observing a small number of members: you’ll never learn the price of tin by watching just a couple of miners or metalworkers. Markets are therefore called “emergent” systems: prices emerge from all members’ interactions and can’t be observed just by looking at a few.

., 310–11 as response to inherent incompleteness of contracts, 314–17 solutionism’s alternatives to, 297–99 TCE and, 312–15 and technologies of disruption, 307–9 Compass Fund, 267 complements (complementary goods) defined, 156 effect on supply/demand curves, 157–60 free, perfect, instant, 160–63 as key to successful platforms, 169 and open platforms, 164 platforms and, 151–68 and revenue management, 183–84 Stripe and, 173 complexity theory, 237 Composite Fund (D. E. Shaw), 267 composition, musical, 117 computational biology, 116–17 computer-aided design, 119–20 computers (generally) and Go, 3–6 origins of programming, 66–67 and standard partnership, 31 concentration, sales/profits, 311–12 confabulation, 45n conference venues, 189 confirmation bias, 57 Confucius, 1 connections, human, 122–24 consciousness, 120 construction sites, drones for mapping, 99 consumer loyalty and, 210–11 consumer surplus, 155–56, 159, 161, 164, 173 content, crowd-created, 8, 234 content platforms, 139 contracts blockchain and, 291–95 and failure mode of decentralized things, 317–19 inherent incompleteness of, 314–17 contributions, to open-source software, 242–43 coordination costs, 313–14 Cope, David, 117, 119 Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP), 147n core in centrally planned economies, 235, 236 as counterpart to the crowd, 15 crowd as, 230–31 crowd as independent of, 271–75 DAO vs., 303 handling of bad actors, 234 leveraging of crowd by, 260–70 libraries as, 230 mismatching of problem to, 256–58 Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory, 72 “Corporal Coles hand,” 273–74 counterfeit goods, 290 Cowen, Tyler, 208–9 Craigslist, 138–39 Crawford, Kate, 52 creative destruction, 330 creativity definitions of, 113 human connection in digitized world, 122–24 limits of computers’ contributions, 119–22 machines and, 110–19 other forms of computer-aided activity vs., 119–22 credit cards, 214–16 credit scores, 46–47 CRISPR, 258 CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool, 271–72 Crocker, F.


pages: 843 words: 223,858

The Rise of the Network Society by Manuel Castells

"Robert Solow", Apple II, Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Noyce, borderless world, British Empire, business cycle, capital controls, complexity theory, computer age, computerized trading, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, declining real wages, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, deskilling, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, edge city, experimental subject, financial deregulation, financial independence, floating exchange rates, future of work, global village, Gunnar Myrdal, Hacker Ethic, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, illegal immigration, income inequality, Induced demand, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, intermodal, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telephone, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, Leonard Kleinrock, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, moral panic, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, packet switching, Pearl River Delta, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, popular capitalism, popular electronics, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social software, South China Sea, South of Market, San Francisco, special economic zone, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson, the built environment, the medium is the message, the new new thing, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, urban renewal, urban sprawl, zero-sum game

For instance, he shows, mathematically, that if we represent systems of relations by a graph, the key to generating a small-world phenomenon (which epitomizes a networking logic) is the presence of a small fraction of very long-range, global edges, which contract otherwise distant parts of the graph, while most edges remain local, organized in clusters.100 This accurately represents the logic of local/global networking of innovation, as documented in this chapter. The important contribution of the complexity theory school of thought is its emphasis on non-linear dynamics as the most fruitful approach to understanding the behavior of living systems, both in society and in nature. Most of the work of the Santa Fe Institute researchers is of a mathematical nature, not an empirically based analysis of natural or social phenomena. But there are researchers in a number of fields of science using non-linear dynamics as their guiding principle, with increasingly important scientific results.

Capra shows how cutting-edge research in areas as diverse as cell development, global ecological systems (as represented by the controversial Gaia theory, and by Lovelock’s “Daisyworld” simulation model), neuroscience (as in the work of Gerald Edelman or Oliver Sacks), and studies on the origins of life based on emerging chemical network theory, are all manifestations of a non-linear dynamics perspective.102 Key new concepts, such as attractors, phase portraits, emergent properties, fractals, offer new perspectives in making sense of observations of behavior in living systems, including social systems – thus paving the way for a theoretical linkage between various fields of science. Not by reducing them to a common set of rules, but by explaining processes and outcomes from the self-generating properties of specific living systems. Brian Arthur, a Stanford economist with the Santa Fe Institute, has applied complexity theory to formal economic theory, proposing concepts such as self-reinforcing mechanisms, path dependency, and emergent properties, and showing their relevance in understanding the features of the new economy.103 In sum, the information technology paradigm does not evolve toward its closure as a system, but toward its openness as a multi-edged network. It is powerful and imposing in its materiality, but adaptive and open-ended in its historical development.

.), Innovation Networks: Spatial Perspectives, London: Belhaven Press. Cappelli, Peter (1997) Change at Work, New York: Oxford University Press. —— and Rogovsky, Nicolai (1994) “New work systems and skill requirements”, International Labour Review, 133(2): 205–20. Capra, Fritjof (1996) The Web of Life, New York: Random House. —— (1999a) Personal communication, Berkeley, October. —— (1999b) “Complexity theory”, unpublished presentation at the University of California, Berkeley, November. Carey, M. and Franklin, J.C. (1991) “Outlook: 1990–2005 industry output and job growth continues slow into next century”, Monthly Labor Review, November: 45–60. Carnoy, Martin (1989) The New Information Technology: International Diffusion and its Impact on Employment and Skills. A Review of the Literature, Washington, DC: World Bank, PHREE. —— (1993) “Multinational corporations in the global economy”, in Carnoy et al. (1993b). —— (1994) Faded Dreams: The Politics and Economics of Race in America, New York: Cambridge University Press. —— (2000) Sustaining Flexibility: Work, Family and Community in the Information Age, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. —— and Castells, Manuel (1996) “Sustainable flexibility: work, family, and society in the information age”, Berkeley: University of California, Center for Western European Studies. —— and Fluitman, Fred (1994) “Training and the reduction of unemployment in industrialized countries”, Geneva: International Labour Organization, unpublished report. —— and Levin, Henry (1985) Schooling and Work in the Democratic State, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. ——, Pollack, Seth and Wong, Pia L. (1993a) Labor Institutions and Technological Change: a Framework for Analysis and Review of the Literature, Stanford, CA: Stanford University International Development Education Center, report prepared for the International Labour Organization, Geneva. —— et al.


pages: 249 words: 45,639

Learn Python the Hard Way by Zed Shaw

complexity theory, finite state, index card, web application

This is the only time you are allowed to copy-paste. © Copyright 2010, Zed A. Shaw. Last updated on Jun 24, 2011. Exercise 27: Memorizing Logic Today is the day you start learning about logic. Up to this point you have done everything you possibly can reading and writing files, to the terminal, and have learned quite a lot of the math capabilities of Python. From now on, you will be learning logic. You won't learn complex theories that academics love to study, but just the simple basic logic that makes real programs work and that real programmers need every day. Learning logic has to come after you do some memorization. I want you to do this exercise for an entire week. Do not falter. Even if you are bored out of your mind, keep doing it. This exercise has a set of logic tables you must memorize to make it easier for you to do the later exercises.


The Kingdom of Speech by Tom Wolfe

Ada Lovelace, Alfred Russel Wallace, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, complexity theory, Copley Medal, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, failed state, Isaac Newton, Nelson Mandela, Norman Mailer, Steven Pinker, Thomas Malthus

It took him several years to work up the nerve to say publicly what he really thought.b The linguists William Stokoe of Gallaudet University (for the deaf), Gordon Hewes, and Roger Westcott edited one of the classics of late-twentieth-century liguistics, Language Origins, in 1974—with the proud claim that they had filled in a gap in Chomsky’s Syntactic Structures.c And on they came, linguists and anthropologists intent upon shoring up Chomsky’s great edifice with evidence…the gestural theory…the big brain theory…the social complexity theory…and…and… …and more and more scholars sat at their desks just like junior Chomskys trying to solve the mysteries of language with sheer brainpower. The results were not electrifying. Nevertheless, Chomsky had brought the field back to life. In February of 1967—bango!—Chomsky shot up clear through the roof of their little world of linguistics and lit up the sky…with a twelve-thousand-word excoriation of America’s role in the war in Vietnam entitled “The Responsibility of Intellectuals.”


pages: 461 words: 128,421

The Myth of the Rational Market: A History of Risk, Reward, and Delusion on Wall Street by Justin Fox

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, asset-backed security, bank run, beat the dealer, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, business cycle, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, card file, Cass Sunstein, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discovery of the americas, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Glaeser, Edward Thorp, endowment effect, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, fixed income, floating exchange rates, George Akerlof, Henri Poincaré, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, impulse control, index arbitrage, index card, index fund, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, libertarian paternalism, linear programming, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, market design, Myron Scholes, New Journalism, Nikolai Kondratiev, Paul Lévy, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, performance metric, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, pushing on a string, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk/return, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, side project, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, stocks for the long run, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Predators' Ball, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, transaction costs, tulip mania, value at risk, Vanguard fund, Vilfredo Pareto, volatility smile, Yogi Berra

., 248–49 Chaos (Gleick), 70, 234 chaos theory, 67, 134, 301–2, 304 Chase Financial Policy, 163–64 Chicago Board of Options Exchange, 145 Chicago Board of Trade, 40 Chicago Mercantile Exchange, 145, 194, 219,227–28, 230 Chicago Tribune, 35–36 Cisco Systems, 261–62, 262–63, 278, 284 Citrin, Robert, 362n. 17 Clinton, Bill, 244 CNA Financial, 125 Coca-Cola, 270–71 coin-flip game, 26, 212–13 collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), 314 Collins, Jim, 284 Colorado Springs, Colorado, 35–36 Columbia Business School, 211 Columbia University, 47–48 Commodities Corp., 223–24 commodities market, 20, 39–40, 69–72, 133, 145, 194–95 Commodity Futures Trading Commission, 244 Common Stocks as Long-Term Investments (Smith), 22 competition, 160, 181, 353–54n. 25 complexity theory, 134, 301–2, 304 Complexity (Waldrop), 302 computers, 29, 86–87, 99–101, 204, 219, 224, 232, 234, 303–4 The Condition of the Working-Class in England in 1844 (Engels), 369n. 1 conglomerates, 120, 166 Convertible Hedge Associates, 218 Cootner, Paul, 71, 134, 223 corporations, 4, 14, 66, 137, 153–55, 159–61, 351–52n. 2 Corrigan, Gerald, 243 Council of Institutional Investors, 272–73 Cowles, Alfred, III, 35–39, 42, 43, 51–52, 55, 68, 70, 98, 111, 323 Cowles Commission for Research in Economics, 37, 51–53, 65, 76–78, 89, 341n. 9 Cowles Foundation, 55, 58 credit default swaps, 314 credit markets, xii, 317 currency markets, 92–93, 145, 236, 241, 250 Darwin, Charles, 9 De Bondt, Werner, 187, 201, 206, 296 Debreu, Gerard, 77–78, 150, 344n. 9 debt, 25, 170, 313–15 decision theory, 177–78 deflation, 11, 19–20 DeLong, Brad, 251 demand curves, 39 Department of Applied Economics (Cambridge), 64 deregulation, 152, 258, 320 derivatives, xii, xiv, 150–52, 220–21, 235, 236–37 dice games, 27.

See also rational market hypothesis and agency costs, 162 and behavioral finance, 299–300 and the Chicago School, xiii, 101–5 and contrary evidence, 224–25 and corporate finance, 355n. 38 described, 153 and Fama, 97, 206–7 and finance, 202–6 and Friedman, 93 and Graham, 119–20 and information availability, 182 and Jensen, 107 and market anomalies, 304 and market crashes, 228, 232 and Mills, 320 and mutual funds, 125, 130, 131 origin of, 43, 73 and portfolio theory, 54–55, 57 and psychology, 201–2 resistance to, 105–7, 269–70 and risk, 139 and Samuelson, 73 and security analysis, 366n. 29 and Shiller, 196–98 and Shleifer, 247 and stock market bubbles, 315 and takeovers, 166–68 taxonomy of, 101 testing, 190, 194–95 “Efficient Markets: Theory and Evidence” (Fama), 104 Einstein, Albert, 7, 50, 66 Ellis, Charley, 130, 131 Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 272, 290 Employee Retirement Security Act, 137–38 endogenous change, 305–6 endowment effect, 294 Engel, Louis, 97–98 Engels, Friedrich, 369n. 1 Engle, Robert, 139 Enron, 267, 283 environmental risk, 185 equilibrium theory and the Arrow-Debreu framework, 77–78 and asset pricing, 87 background of, 9–12 and behavioral finance, 301 and complexity theory, 304–6 and derivatives, 237 and intrinsic values, 193 and Keynesian economics, 35 and mathematics, 49–50 and Pareto’s Law, 349–50n. 2 and Reder, 89–90 and Samuelson, 61 equity risk premium, 141–43, 263–64 Erhard, Werner, 285, 319 Erhard Seminars Training (est), 285 event study method, 102 exchange rates, 92–93, 200, 250 executive compensation, 164–65, 274–79, 279–80, 284–85 expected utility, 51–52, 54, 75, 80, 176–77, 193 experimental economics, 188–90 Fallows, James, 365n. 8 Fama, Eugene, 323 and Alexander, 72 and Asness, 259–60 and behavioral finance, 295–96, 296–97, 298, 299–300 and the Chicago School of Economics, 96 and computing, 99–100 and the efficient market hypothesis, 101, 103–5, 193–94, 204, 206–8 and equity risk premium, 263 and experimental economics, 190 and the Journal of Financial Economics, 201 and Mandelbrot, 70, 134 and market crashes, 232 satirical depiction of, 287–88 and Shleifer, 248, 252 and stock price momentum, 209–10 and value stocks, 225 Fannie Mae, 313 Farmer, J.


The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

complexity theory, placebo effect

Let me share a secret. Putting your house in order is fun! The process of assessing how you feel about the things you own, identifying those that have fulfilled their purpose, expressing your gratitude, and bidding them farewell, is really about examining your inner self, a rite of passage to a new life. The yardstick by which you judge is your intuitive sense of attraction, and therefore there’s no need for complex theories or numerical data. All you need to do is follow the right order. So arm yourself with plenty of garbage bags and prepare to have fun. Start with clothes, then move on to books, papers, komono (miscellany), and finally things with sentimental value. If you reduce what you own in this order, your work will proceed with surprising ease. By starting with the easy things first and leaving the hardest for last, you can gradually hone your decision-making skills, so that by the end, it seems simple.


pages: 194 words: 49,310

Clock of the Long Now by Stewart Brand

Albert Einstein, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, Danny Hillis, Eratosthenes, Extropian, fault tolerance, George Santayana, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, life extension, longitudinal study, low earth orbit, Metcalfe’s law, Mitch Kapor, nuclear winter, pensions crisis, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, Robert Metcalfe, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, Thomas Malthus, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog

Another version of the discounting debate emerges around long-term planning. Many have noticed, these decades, that there seem to be fewer long-duration projects, even though there is growing wealth to invest in such work. Kevin Kelly once raised the question at a dinner with complexity scientists. In friendly but acerbic terms they mocked the ambitions of The Long Now Foundation. Kelly paraphrased their argument: Since complexity theory shows that even the fairly near future is inherently unpredictable, any polygenerational plan will guess wrong about what a future generation wants or needs. Suppose a previous generation had expended great effort planning for dirigible ports around the world in the year 2000! Inevitable technology obsolescence and economic discounting renders any long-term return of value impractical. Conservation makes sense for the long term, and so does science (because it is incremental and open-ended), but specific long-term plans will always be based on wrong long-term predictions, and it is best to avoid them.


pages: 496 words: 174,084

Masterminds of Programming: Conversations With the Creators of Major Programming Languages by Federico Biancuzzi, Shane Warden

Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), business intelligence, business process, cellular automata, cloud computing, commoditize, complexity theory, conceptual framework, continuous integration, data acquisition, domain-specific language, Douglas Hofstadter, Fellow of the Royal Society, finite state, Firefox, follow your passion, Frank Gehry, general-purpose programming language, Guido van Rossum, HyperCard, information retrieval, iterative process, John von Neumann, Larry Wall, linear programming, loose coupling, Mars Rover, millennium bug, NP-complete, Paul Graham, performance metric, Perl 6, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Renaissance Technologies, Ruby on Rails, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Silicon Valley, slashdot, software as a service, software patent, sorting algorithm, Steve Jobs, traveling salesman, Turing complete, type inference, Valgrind, Von Neumann architecture, web application

Engineers learn a variety of skills during their training, first in university classes and then in on-the-job training working on real-world projects. Most important is to learn general principles. In engineering that includes the laws of physics and engineering principles of a particular discipline. In computing that would mean computer science principles such as algorithms, data structures, and complexity theory, as well as the principles of software engineering. In any field, it is important to develop a feel for how things are done. If software applications follow expected norms and are consistently designed, the skillful developer can often intuit the structure and behavior of a new system without searching piles of manuals. It’s also important to provide guidance on how a system works. It’s not enough to list the constituent parts and assume someone can figure out how it is all supposed to work when put together.

I want to draw a parallel to some of the things you’ve already said about your background in physics, where there are lots of layers. What’s applicable and appropriate in one layer is not necessarily appropriate at the other layer, but you also can’t deny the reality of the other layers. James: That’s the whole concept of emergent systems. That’s what science is all about and language is all about. That’s one of the concepts from the concept of complexity theory. You get the sense of emergence, and there’s no one fundamental layer. Certainly people have understood that in computing for a long time. You have multiple layers, and no one of them is the true layer. When you say the pattern movement has left itself very narrow on purpose, do you think it’s stuck at one layer when it should address the whole stack? James: Let me be fair to the pattern movement; there are people that worked at different layers.

If you spend a lot of time generalizing one area, you may find out that’s not the area where the changes need to be. It’s just like optimization. I really think too many programmers have worried about making things run fast in the wrong places. It’s been an obsession in this field for years and years. Even though computers have gotten so much faster, that doesn’t matter. They’re still obsessed with what I’ll call the micro-optimizations. They don’t know complexity theory, they don’t understand the “order-of” stuff, but they’re worried about little, itty-bitty speed improvements. I wrote a subroutine package and then I went and profiled it. You can’t always guess where you need to optimize, you’ve got to go measure, and then you fix those problems. One subroutine took 30% of the time. I fixed that subroutine. People overoptimize. It makes the program more likely to fail, and it may not be a place where it matters.


pages: 185 words: 55,639

The Search for Superstrings, Symmetry, and the Theory of Everything by John Gribbin

Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, complexity theory, dark matter, Dmitri Mendeleev, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, Isaac Newton, Murray Gell-Mann, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Stephen Hawking

—Kirkus Reviews “From the author of In Search of Schrödinger's Cat and In Search of the Big Bang comes yet another enthusiastic exploration on and lucid explanation of scientific theory.… Gribbin's straightforward approach leads the layman through the maze of scientific babble and ideas without either complicating or oversimplifying matters.” —Katrina Dixon, The Scotsman (U.K.) “Writing in his clear prose style, Gribbin introduces the general reader to the mysterious world of high-energy physics—a formidable task because of the complex theories involved; nevertheless, he translates these ideas into a readable, enjoyable narrative. His extensive historical treatment of physics research from the foundation work done in the 19th century to the latest concepts of superstrings is remarkable. Gribbin takes the reader to a world of multidimensions—a fictionlike picture—where scientists are trying to merge the forces of the universe in a grand unified theory called supersymmetry.”


pages: 696 words: 143,736

The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence by Ray Kurzweil

Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, cellular automata, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, Danny Hillis, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Everything should be made as simple as possible, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, fudge factor, George Gilder, Gödel, Escher, Bach, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, information retrieval, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jacquard loom, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, ought to be enough for anybody, pattern recognition, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, the medium is the message, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Whole Earth Review, Y2K

Evolutionary algorithms are adept at handling problems with too many variables to compute precise analytic solutions. The design of a jet engine, for example, involves more than one hundred variables and requires satisfying dozens of constraints. Evolutionary algorithms used by researchers at General Electric were able to come up with engine designs that met the constraints more precisely than conventional methods. Evolutionary algorithms, part of the field of chaos or complexity theory, are increasingly used to solve otherwise intractable business problems. General Motors applied an evolutionary algorithm to coordinate the painting of its cars, which reduced expensive color changeovers (in which a painting booth is put out of commission to change paint color) by 50 percent. Volvo uses them to plan the intricate schedules for manufacturing the Volvo 770 truck cab. Cemex, a $3 billion cement company, uses a similar approach to determining its complex delivery logistics.

A $1,000 personal computer (in 1999 dollars) can perform about a trillion calculations per second.4 Supercomputers match at least the hardware capacity of the human brain—20 million billion calculations per second.5 Unused computes on the Internet are being harvested, creating virtual parallel supercomputers with human brain hardware capacity. There is increasing interest in massively parallel neural nets, genetic algorithms, and other forms of “chaotic” or complexity theory computing, although most computer computations are still done using conventional sequential processing, albeit with some limited parallel processing. Research has been initiated on reverse engineering the human brain through both destructive scans of the brains of recently deceased persons as well as noninvasive scans using high resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of living persons.


pages: 497 words: 144,283

Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization by Parag Khanna

"Robert Solow", 1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 9 dash line, additive manufacturing, Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Boycotts of Israel, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, British Empire, business intelligence, call centre, capital controls, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, complexity theory, continuation of politics by other means, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, data is the new oil, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, digital map, disruptive innovation, diversification, Doha Development Round, edge city, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy security, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, Ferguson, Missouri, financial innovation, financial repression, fixed income, forward guidance, global supply chain, global value chain, global village, Google Earth, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, Hyperloop, ice-free Arctic, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, industrial cluster, industrial robot, informal economy, Infrastructure as a Service, interest rate swap, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, Khyber Pass, Kibera, Kickstarter, LNG terminal, low cost airline, low cost carrier, low earth orbit, manufacturing employment, mass affluent, mass immigration, megacity, Mercator projection, Metcalfe’s law, microcredit, mittelstand, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, openstreetmap, out of africa, Panamax, Parag Khanna, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-oil, post-Panamax, private military company, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Rana Plaza, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, TaskRabbit, telepresence, the built environment, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transaction costs, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, WikiLeaks, young professional, zero day

Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet. Ecco, 2013. Blyth, Mark. Austerity: History of a Dangerous Idea. Oxford University Press, 2013. Bobbitt, Philip. The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace, and the Course of History. Anchor, 2003. Bodie, Zvi, Alex Kane, and Alan J. Marcus. Investments and Portfolio Management. McGraw-Hill/Irwin, 2011. Bousquet, Antoine, and Simon Curtis. “Beyond Models and Metaphors: Complexity Theory, Systems Thinking, and International Relations.” Cambridge Review of International Affairs 24, no. 1 (2011): 43–62. Boschma, Ron, and Ron Martin. “The Aims and Scope of Evolutionary Economic Geography. Utrecht University (Jan. 2010). Boyd, Danah. It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens. Yale University Press, 2014. Braithwaite, John. Regulatory Capitalism: How It Works, Ideas for Making It Work Better.

The Meaning of Truth. Prometheus Books, 1997. Jayakumar, Shashi, and Rahul Sagar, eds. The Big Ideas of Lee Kuan Yew. Straits Times Press, 2014. Jennings, Ken. Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks. Scribner, 2012. Jervis, Robert. System Effects: Complexity in Political and Social Life. Princeton University Press, 1999. Johnson, Neil. Simple Complexity: A Clear Guide to Complexity Theory. Oneworld, 2010. Kagan, Robert. Dangerous Nation: America’s Foreign Policy from Its Earliest Days to the Dawn of the Twentieth Century. Vintage, 2007. Kagan, Robert A. Adversarial Legalism: The American Way of Law. Harvard University Press, 2003. Kahn, Matthew E. Climatopolis: How Our Cities Will Thrive in the Hotter Future. Basic Books, 2010. Kaku, Michio. Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100.


pages: 207 words: 57,959

Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge From Small Discoveries by Peter Sims

Amazon Web Services, Black Swan, Clayton Christensen, complexity theory, David Heinemeier Hansson, deliberate practice, discovery of penicillin, endowment effect, fear of failure, Frank Gehry, Guggenheim Bilbao, Jeff Bezos, knowledge economy, lateral thinking, Lean Startup, longitudinal study, loss aversion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, PageRank, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ruby on Rails, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, theory of mind, Toyota Production System, urban planning, Wall-E

People were collapsing in the streets by the thousands, slowly dying, without cries or protests. Some sat so still, no one could tell whether they were alive or dead. Research institutions gathered statistics about the causes of the sudden migration, but soon the number of dead bodies exceeded the means to collect and bury them. Yunus began to dread his own lectures. “What good were all my complex theories when people were dying of starvation on the sidewalks and porches outside my lecture hall?” he asked himself. “Nothing in the economic theories I taught reflected the life around me.” It was Yunus’s opinion that “Economists spend their talents detailing the processes for development and prosperity, but rarely reflect the origin and development of poverty and hunger.” So he decided to do something quite unconventional, as Yunus the economist became Yunus the anthropologist.


pages: 243 words: 61,237

To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel H. Pink

always be closing, Atul Gawande, barriers to entry, business cycle, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, choice architecture, complexity theory, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, disintermediation, future of work, George Akerlof, information asymmetry, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, longitudinal study, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, out of africa, Richard Thaler, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, Upton Sinclair, Wall-E, zero-sum game

But fear not, those of you who prefer to salt your life’s stew with several shakes of negativity. Remember: Interrogative self-talk is the smart choice when preparing to move someone. And positivity during your efforts doesn’t mean coating yourself or others in a thick glaze of sugar. In fact, a particular recipe—a golden ratio of positivity—leads to the best results. In research she carried out with Marcial Losada, a Brazilian social scientist who uses mathematical models and complexity theory to analyze team behavior,12 Fredrickson had a group of participants record their positive and negative emotions each day for four weeks.* She and Losada calculated the ratio of positive to negative emotions of the participants—and then compared these ratios with the participants’ scores on a thirty-three-item measurement of their overall well-being. What they found is that those with an equal—that is, 1 to 1—balance of positive and negative emotions had no higher well-being than those whose emotions were predominantly negative.


pages: 244 words: 68,223

Isaac Newton by James Gleick

Albert Einstein, Astronomia nova, complexity theory, dark matter, Edmond Halley, Fellow of the Royal Society, fudge factor, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, Richard Feynman, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

These were almost impossible to find on the Continent, but anonymous reviews appeared in three young journals in the spring and summer of 1688, and the book’s reputation spread.13 When the Marquis de l’Hôpital wondered why no one knew what shape let an object pass through a fluid with the least resistance, the Scottish mathematician John Arbuthnot told him that this, too, was answered in Newton’s masterwork: “He cried out with admiration Good god what a fund of knowledge there is in that book?… Does he eat & drink & sleep? Is he like other men?”14 Its publication notwithstanding, he had never stopped working on the Principia. He was preparing a second edition. He scoured Greek texts for clues to his belief that the ancients had known about gravity and even the inverse-square law. He contemplated new experiments and sought new data for his complex theory of the moon’s motions. Besides correcting printer’s errors, he was drafting and redrafting whole new sections, refining his rules for philosophy. He struggled with the inescapable hole in his understanding of gravity’s true nature. He twisted and turned: “Tis inconceivable that inanimate brute matter should (without the mediation of something else which is not material) operate upon & affect other matter without mutual contact,” he wrote one correspondent.


pages: 208 words: 70,860

Paradox: The Nine Greatest Enigmas in Physics by Jim Al-Khalili

Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, anthropic principle, Arthur Eddington, butterfly effect, clockwork universe, complexity theory, dark matter, Edmond Halley, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Ernest Rutherford, Henri Poincaré, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, Laplace demon, luminiferous ether, Magellanic Cloud, Olbers’ paradox, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics, Wilhelm Olbers

There is also a fascinating and possibly even more important flip side of chaos: that the repeated application of the same simple rules which lead to chaotic behavior, starting from organized regular motion, can sometimes lead from bland, structureless form to the emergence of beautiful and complex patterns—that we can get order and complexity where there was none before. You start with something without structure, allow it to evolve, and you begin to see structure and patterns spontaneously emerging. This idea has led to the spawning of new academic disciplines known as emergence and complexity theory, which are beginning to play a major role in many diverse areas, from biology to economics to artificial intelligence. FREE WILL When it comes to what all this has to say about the nature of free will (and therefore about the Paradox of Laplace’s Demon), there are still many different philosophical views and the issue is far from resolved. All I can do is give you my opinion as a theoretical physicist.


pages: 391 words: 71,600

Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft's Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone by Satya Nadella, Greg Shaw, Jill Tracie Nichols

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Amazon Web Services, anti-globalists, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bretton Woods, business process, cashless society, charter city, cloud computing, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, equal pay for equal work, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, fault tolerance, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Mars Rover, Minecraft, Mother of all demos, NP-complete, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, place-making, Richard Feynman, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, special economic zone, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, telepresence, telerobotics, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Tim Cook: Apple, trade liberalization, two-sided market, universal basic income, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, young professional, zero-sum game

Most of my college friends all went on to specialize in chip design and work at places with real impact like Mentor Graphics, Synopsys, and Juniper. I became particularly interested in a theoretical aspect of computer science that was, at its heart, designed to make fast decisions in an atmosphere of great uncertainty and finite time. My focus was a computer science puzzle known as graph coloring. No, I wasn’t coloring graphs with crayons. Graph coloring is part of computational complexity theory in which you must assign labels, traditionally called colors, to elements of a graph within certain constraints. Think of it this way: Imagine coloring the U.S. map so that no state sharing a common border receives the same color. What is the minimal number of colors you would need to accomplish this task? My master’s thesis was about developing the best heuristics to accomplish complex graph coloring in nondeterministic polynomial time, or NP-complete.


On Nature and Language by Noam Chomsky

Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, complexity theory, dark matter, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Murray Gell-Mann, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, Turing test

So the representation of (49) is the following, with the original unpronounced occurrences within angled brackets: (51) a. Which picture of himself does John prefer <which picture of himself> b. Which picture of John does he prefer <which picture of John> The binding principles apply on these richer representations giving the right result: the anaphor is bound by the name in (51a), the name cannot enter into a coreference relation with the c-commanding pronoun in (51b). No complex theory of reconstruction is needed, and the empirically correct result is achieved by simply tracing “movement” back to its elementary computational components (on the adjustments needed to get appropriate operator-variable structures at LF see Chomsky (1993), Fox (2000), Rizzi (2001b); on the fact that it is 43 On nature and language apparently sufficient to bind only one occurrence of the anaphor in (51a) see the references just quoted, and also the discussion in Belletti and Rizzi (1988); on the different behavior of arguments and adjuncts under reconstruction, Lebeaux (1988)).


pages: 221 words: 67,514

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Albert Einstein, complexity theory, East Village, index card, means of production, rent control

The bet had been the sole reason for our visit, and the resulting insufferable tour of Buildings A through D taught us never again to express an interest in our father’s workplace. My own scientific curiosity eventually blossomed, but I knew enough to keep my freakish experiments to myself. When my father discovered my colony of frozen slugs in the basement freezer, I chose not to explain my complex theories of suspended animation. Why was I filling the hamster’s water beaker with vodka? “Oh, no reason.” If my experiment failed, and the drunken hamster passed out, I’d just put her in the deep freeze, alongside the slugs. She’d rest on ice for a few months and, once thawed and fully revived, would remember nothing of her previous life as an alcoholic. I also took to repairing my own record-player and was astonished by my ingenuity for up to ten minutes at a time — until the rubber band snapped or the handful of change came unglued from the arm, and the damned thing broke all over again.


pages: 242 words: 71,943

Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity by Charles L. Marohn, Jr.

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, A Pattern Language, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, bank run, big-box store, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, corporate governance, Detroit bankruptcy, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, facts on the ground, Ferguson, Missouri, global reserve currency, housing crisis, index fund, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, low skilled workers, mass immigration, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, pensions crisis, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, reserve currency, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, urban renewal, walkable city, white flight, women in the workforce, yield curve, zero-sum game

Through our success, however, we collectively developed a low tolerance for uncomfortable feedback and a reduction in our ability to adapt to stress. We’re more comfortable behaving as if our cities are merely complicated. Increasingly, they are not. Notes 1 Ann Sussman and Justin B. Hollander, Cognitive Architecture: Designing For How We Respond to the Built Environment (New York: Routledge, 2015). 2 Ibid. 3 Neil Johnson, Simply Complexity: A Clear Guide to Complexity Theory (London: Oneworld Publications, 2017). 2 Incremental Growth Take a tentative step in the dark. If you do not run into something, you just gained knowledge. If you hit a wall, the incremental nature of your advance gives you wisdom without much lost. Now take an abrupt leap in the dark. The gain may come at a more rapid pace, but the risk of breaking your nose is far greater. Even if successful, it is unlikely you can repeat this trick many times without serious calamity.


pages: 244 words: 76,192

Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy

Albert Einstein, business process, complexity theory, Iridium satellite, Long Term Capital Management, NetJets, old-boy network, shareholder value, six sigma, social software, Socratic dialogue, supply-chain management

To change a business’s culture, you need a set of processes—social operating mechanisms—that will change the beliefs and behavior of people in ways that are directly linked to bottom-line results. In this chapter, we present a new reality-based framework for cultural change that creates and reinforces a discipline of execution. This approach is practical and completely linked to measurable business results. The basic premise is simple: cultural change gets real when your aim is execution. You don’t need a lot of complex theory or employee surveys to use this framework. You need to change people’s behavior so that they produce results. First you tell people clearly what results you’re looking for. Then you discuss how to get those results, as a key element of the coaching process. Then you reward people for producing the results. If they come up short, you provide additional coaching, withdraw rewards, give them other jobs, or let them go.


pages: 254 words: 78,000

The Planet on the Table by Kim Stanley Robinson

complexity theory, Murano, Venice glass

“But could such an addition to the data banks be made?” “It would be easiest done on Earth,” Freya said. “But there is no close security guarding the banks containing old art books. No one expects them to be tampered with.” “It’s astonishing,” I said with a wave of my fork, “it is baroque, it is byzantine in its ingenuity!” “Yes,” she said. “Beautiful, in a way.” “However,” I pointed out to her, “you have no proof— only this perhaps over-complex theory. You have found no first edition of a book to confirm that the computer-generated volumes add Heidi’s painting, and you have found no physical anachronism in the painting itself.” Gloomily she clicked her fork against her empty salad bowl, then rose to refill it. “It is a problem,” she admitted. “Also, I have been working on the assumption that Sandor Musgrave discovered evidence of the forgery.


pages: 276 words: 78,094

Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty by David Kadavy

Airbnb, complexity theory, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Isaac Newton, John Gruber, Paul Graham, Ruby on Rails, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, web application, wikimedia commons, Y Combinator

You’re likely to find a few keywords you didn’t expect that you happen to rank pretty highly on. It’s a good idea to aim to build upon this success by targeting these keywords further, or targeting related keyphrases. Look for synonyms that you may not already be using (bump/lump, mouth/lip), and update your content accordingly. Ranking highly for your target keywords There are endless complex theories on just how a site ranks highly on search engines. Some of those theories have no basis at all. The truth is, nobody except little robots at Google knows just how a site ranks higher than another. What we do know is that the content of a page, how the page is coded, and the authority of other pages that link to a page – especially for the topic in question – are the most powerful dictators of how well a page ranks on search engines.


pages: 286 words: 79,305

99%: Mass Impoverishment and How We Can End It by Mark Thomas

"Robert Solow", 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, additive manufacturing, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, autonomous vehicles, bank run, banks create money, bitcoin, business cycle, call centre, central bank independence, complexity theory, conceptual framework, creative destruction, credit crunch, declining real wages, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, fiat currency, Filter Bubble, full employment, future of work, Gini coefficient, gravity well, income inequality, inflation targeting, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, light touch regulation, Mark Zuckerberg, market clearing, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Nelson Mandela, North Sea oil, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Own Your Own Home, Peter Thiel, Piper Alpha, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit maximization, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Steve Jobs, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, wealth creators, working-age population

Part Two demonstrated that the notion – based on the narrative of unaffordability – that There Is No Alternative to our current approach to running society is not consistent with the facts – it is a mental construct buttressed by myths and metaphors, flawed models and misleading rhetoric. But it is not true. Part Three shows that if we discard the narrative of unaffordability and take steps now to accelerate economic growth and to ensure that the benefits of that growth are shared more fairly, we can create an attractive future for coming generations. Seeing the solutions doesn’t need any complex theory. It just needs us to open our eyes to the facts. We can see what works and what doesn’t work, both in our own history and by looking around the world. Then we just need to make sure we do what works. Far from there being no alternative to our current plight, there is a wide spectrum of different forms of capitalism available to us – and some of them work much better than others. The choices we make as societies have consequences in terms of median income, percentage of the population living in poverty, life expectancy and social mobility, and all of these things have an impact on the happiness of the population.


pages: 298 words: 81,200

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

The amplification and adoption of useful innovation exist throughout natural history as well. Coral reefs are sometimes called the “cities of the sea,” and part of the argument of this book is that we need to take the metaphor seriously: the reef ecosystem is so innovative in its exploitation of those nutrient-poor waters because it shares some defining characteristics with actual cities. In the language of complexity theory, these patterns of innovation and creativity are fractal: they reappear in recognizable form as you zoom in and out, from molecule to neuron to pixel to sidewalk. Whether you’re looking at the original innovations of carbon-based life, or the explosion of new software tools on the Web, the same shapes keep turning up. When life gets creative, it has a tendency to gravitate toward certain recurring patterns, whether those patterns are emergent and self-organizing, or whether they are deliberately crafted by human agents.


pages: 291 words: 81,703

Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen

Amazon Mechanical Turk, Black Swan, brain emulation, Brownian motion, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, computerized trading, cosmological constant, crowdsourcing, dark matter, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deliberate practice, Drosophila, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, Flynn Effect, Freestyle chess, full employment, future of work, game design, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, Khan Academy, labor-force participation, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, Myron Scholes, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, P = NP, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, reshoring, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, upwardly mobile, Yogi Berra

But those are old theories and the real action and value-add comes from the data and its handling, including data from field experiments, laboratory experiments, and from randomized control trials. The underlying models just aren’t getting that much better, and when the underlying models are more complicated, they very often are not more persuasive to the typical research economist. I would sum up the blend as follows: (a) much better data, (b) higher standards for empirical tests, and (c) lots of growth in complex theory but not matched by a corresponding growth in impact. Mathematical economics, computational economics, complexity economics, and game theory continue to grow, as we would expect of a diverse and specialized discipline, but they are if anything losing relative ground in terms of influence. Economics is becoming less like Einstein or Euclid, and more like studying the digestive system of a starfish.


Rethinking Money: How New Currencies Turn Scarcity Into Prosperity by Bernard Lietaer, Jacqui Dunne

3D printing, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, BRICs, business climate, business cycle, business process, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, clockwork universe, collapse of Lehman Brothers, complexity theory, conceptual framework, credit crunch, different worldview, discounted cash flows, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, fiat currency, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, German hyperinflation, happiness index / gross national happiness, job satisfaction, liberation theology, Marshall McLuhan, microcredit, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, more computing power than Apollo, new economy, Occupy movement, price stability, reserve currency, Silicon Valley, the payments system, too big to fail, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, urban decay, War on Poverty, working poor

It would be some two centuries later, with the development of computers with massive computational prowess, until equations that would have taken a stadium full of people working for hundreds of years to solve could be solved in a matter of seconds. Relatively precise solutions to the three-body problem were demonstrated. A new field known by various names, including nonlinear dynamics, fractals, chaos, or complexity theory, began to emerge. The concept of the butterfly effect, whereby a flutter of a butterfly wing might cause a massive change in the weather countries away, became common knowledge. In short, it was now understood that everything affects everything else in multifaceted, often unpredictable ways. The critical middle, the stuff in between, as it were, is the infinite complexity of systems that are totally interactive, interconnected, and interdependent.


Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang, Nate Pedersen

Albert Einstein, complexity theory, germ theory of disease, helicopter parent, Honoré de Balzac, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, Louis Pasteur, placebo effect, stem cell, the scientific method, traveling salesman, Upton Sinclair, wikimedia commons, Y2K

The shipment was destroyed, and Dr. Young’s Ideal Rectal Dilators ceased production. Don’t worry, though, you can still find reproductions on the Internet. The Orgone Box Not long after the downfall of rectal dilators, a psychologist with an entrancing philosophy about sexual energy emerged to influence Western culture. Dr. Wilhelm Reich, a member of the second wave of post-Freud psychoanalysts, developed a complex theory about a universal life force he called “orgone,” the same universal life force acupuncturists might refer to as “qi,” or simply “The Force” to Star Wars enthusiasts. Reich argued that orgone was present in all living matter and that many diseases were the result of orgone flow being either restricted or not available in sufficient quantities. The best way to build and share orgone energy?


pages: 294 words: 82,438

Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World by Donald Sull, Kathleen M. Eisenhardt

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, barriers to entry, Basel III, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, Checklist Manifesto, complexity theory, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, haute cuisine, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Kickstarter, late fees, Lean Startup, Louis Pasteur, Lyft, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, Network effects, obamacare, Paul Graham, performance metric, price anchoring, RAND corporation, risk/return, Saturday Night Live, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Startup school, statistical model, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, transportation-network company, two-sided market, Wall-E, web application, Y Combinator, Zipcar

Several of her former PhD students stand out as essential contributors to the simple rules ideas. Kathy’s simple rules journey began when she and Shona Brown began studying the strategies of technology-based companies as Shona worked on her dissertation. They were searching for fresh ideas that would break away from the stale paradigms of traditional strategy and organization theory. They found those ideas at the “edge of chaos” in complexity theory, and penned Competing on the Edge: Strategy as Structured Chaos. This project became a precursor to the simple rules research. Kathy is also indebted to another former PhD student, Professor Chris Bingham of the University of North Carolina. Chris was the perfect research partner, and together they pushed forward insights into how simple rules are learned and why they work so well. Nathan Furr, now a professor at Brigham Young University, pitched in with a thoughtful analysis showing the power of learning simple rules over simply accumulating experience.


Cognitive Gadgets: The Cultural Evolution of Thinking by Cecilia Heyes

Asperger Syndrome, complexity theory, epigenetics, intermodal, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, neurotypical, phenotype, social intelligence, the built environment, theory of mind, twin studies

Accuracy—copying with a minimum of random error or changes based on asocial learning—helps to ensure that small innovations proliferate intact to many agents within the population. There is always tension in Darwinian evolutionary models between variant generation and faithful retention (Campbell, 1974), but, to the extent that metacognitive social learning strategies support detailed and accurate copying, they are likely to help cultural evolution, rather than the smart choices of a succession of individual agents, to produce complex theories, artifacts, and practices.2 CONCLUSION In the first section, I surveyed evidence that information is encoded for long-term storage by the same cognitive processes when the learning is either social or asocial—that is, when learning is and is not influenced by contact with another agent. This view is no longer controversial. Instead, those who regard social learning as “special” are now primarily concerned with selective social learning.


pages: 245 words: 83,272

Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World by Meredith Broussard

1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, availability heuristic, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Buckminster Fuller, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, digital map, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, Firefox, gig economy, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, Joi Ito, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, life extension, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, mass incarceration, Minecraft, minimum viable product, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, natural language processing, PageRank, payday loans, paypal mafia, performance metric, Peter Thiel, price discrimination, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ross Ulbricht, Saturday Night Live, school choice, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Tesla Model S, the High Line, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, theory of mind, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, Uber for X, uber lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce

They write: Eugene Wigner’s article “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences” examines why so much of physics can be neatly explained with simple mathematical formulas such as f=ma or e=mc2. Meanwhile, sciences that involve human beings rather than elementary particles have proven more resistant to elegant mathematics. Economists suffer from physics envy over their inability to neatly model human behavior. An informal, incomplete grammar of the English language runs over 1,700 pages. Perhaps when it comes to natural language processing and related fields, we’re doomed to complex theories that will never have the elegance of physics equations. But if that’s so, we should stop acting as if or goal is to author extremely elegant theories, and instead embrace complexity and make use of the best ally we have: the unreasonable effectiveness of data.27 Data is unreasonably effective—seductively so, even. This explains why we can build a classifier that seems to predict with 97 percent accuracy whether a passenger survives the Titanic disaster and why a computer can defeat a human Go champion.


pages: 282 words: 92,998

Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It by Richard A. Clarke, Robert Knake

barriers to entry, complexity theory, data acquisition, Just-in-time delivery, MITM: man-in-the-middle, nuclear winter, packet switching, RAND corporation, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, trade route, undersea cable, Y2K, zero day

Deterrence theory was the underpinning of U.S., Soviet, and NATO nuclear strategy during the Cold War. The horror that could be caused by nuclear weapons (and the fear that any use would lead to extensive use) deterred nuclear-weapons nations from using their ultimate weapons against each other. It also deterred nations, both nuclear-armed and not, from doing anything that might provoke a nuclear response. Strategists developed complex theories about nuclear deterrence. Herman Kahn developed a typology with three distinct classes of nuclear deterrence in his works in the 1960s. His theories and analyses were widely studied by civilian and military leaders in both the United States and the Soviet Union. His clear, matter-of-fact writing about the likely scope of destruction in books like On Thermonuclear War (1960) and Thinking About the Unthinkable (1962) undoubtedly helped to deter nuclear war.


pages: 304 words: 87,702

The 100 Best Vacations to Enrich Your Life by Pam Grout

Albert Einstein, Buckminster Fuller, clean water, complexity theory, David Brooks, East Village, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, global village, Golden Gate Park, if you build it, they will come, Maui Hawaii, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, supervolcano, transcontinental railway, urban sprawl, Yogi Berra

In these three- to four-day programs for adults and seven- to eight-day programs for teens, stargazers find themselves observing, photographing, and electronically imaging various celestial objects through professional-grade telescopes, devising theories on globular clusters, and identifying near-Earth asteroids that only astronomy professors usually know about. The enthusiastic teacher, Don McCarthy, the University of Arizona professor who heads the programs, is so much fun (he has a whole collection of music about stars—for example, from Annie, Phantom of the Opera, and Cats) and has such a knack for explaining complex theories that past campers keep coming back year after year. In fact, Lisa Roubal, codirector of the program, jokes that she practically has to beg Astronomy Camp alumni to wait a year before returning so there will be room for new campers. Astronomy Camp, which has been going strong since 1988, takes place at Mount Lemmon, a mountaintop observatory just north of Tucson. Although the bulk of the programs are geared for teenagers, the adult programs are scheduled around the phases of the moon and are held several times a year in the spring through fall.


pages: 319 words: 90,965

The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere by Kevin Carey

Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, Berlin Wall, business cycle, business intelligence, carbon-based life, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, David Heinemeier Hansson, declining real wages, deliberate practice, discrete time, disruptive innovation, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Downton Abbey, Drosophila, Firefox, Frank Gehry, Google X / Alphabet X, informal economy, invention of the printing press, inventory management, John Markoff, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, low skilled workers, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, Network effects, open borders, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, pez dispenser, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Ruby on Rails, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, transcontinental railway, uber lyft, Vannevar Bush

He and two coauthors recently name-checked a well-known article called “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences,” which “examines why so much of physics can be neatly explained with simple mathematical formulas such as F = ma or E = mc2. Meanwhile, sciences that involve human beings rather than elementary particles have proven more resistant to elegant mathematics.” “Perhaps when it comes to natural language processing and related fields,” they wrote, “we’re doomed to complex theories that will never have the elegance of physics equations. But if that’s so, we should stop acting as if our goal is to author extremely elegant theories, and instead embrace complexity and make use of the best ally we have: the unreasonable effectiveness of data.” Learning and human cognition are definitely among the “related fields.” Theorists like Vygotsky, Piaget, and their intellectual descendants have improved our understanding of learning in many important ways.


pages: 442 words: 94,734

The Art of Statistics: Learning From Data by David Spiegelhalter

Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Bayesian statistics, Carmen Reinhart, complexity theory, computer vision, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, dark matter, Edmond Halley, Estimating the Reproducibility of Psychological Science, Hans Rosling, Kenneth Rogoff, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nate Silver, Netflix Prize, p-value, placebo effect, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, publication bias, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, replication crisis, self-driving car, speech recognition, statistical model, The Design of Experiments, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Malthus

An alternative is to apply the Bonferroni method, and demand a P-value of 0.05/25,000, or 1 in 500,000, for the most extreme GP; for Shipman this would have occurred in 1984, when he had 105 deaths compared to the 59.2 that would be expected, an excess of 46. But even this would not be a reliable procedure to apply to all the GPs in the country. For the second problem is that we are carrying out repeated significance tests, as each year’s new data are added on and another test performed. There is some remarkable but complex theory, known by the delightful term ‘the Law of the Iterated Logarithm’, that shows that if we carry out such repeated testing, even if the null hypothesis is true, then we are certain to eventually reject that null at any significance level we choose. This is very worrying, as it means that if we keep testing a doctor for long enough then we are guaranteed to eventually think we have found evidence of excess mortality, even if in reality their patients are not subject to any excess risk.


pages: 336 words: 93,672

The Future of the Brain: Essays by the World's Leading Neuroscientists by Gary Marcus, Jeremy Freeman

23andMe, Albert Einstein, bioinformatics, bitcoin, brain emulation, cloud computing, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, dark matter, data acquisition, Drosophila, epigenetics, global pandemic, Google Glasses, iterative process, linked data, mouse model, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, race to the bottom, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, speech recognition, stem cell, Steven Pinker, supply-chain management, Turing machine, twin studies, web application

The action of the circuit as a whole is fully determined by the sum total of these specific interactions. A corollary is that circuit function is fully decomposable (given complete data) into neat sequences of causes and effects. In this sense, circuits resemble Laplacian models of classical mechanics, with circuit elements exerting purely local effects on each other and with connections mediating specific causal roles. In contrast, modern approaches from complexity theory and network science emphasize that global outcomes are irreducible to simple localized causes, and that the functioning of the network as a whole transcends the functioning of each of its individual elements. One key concept is that of “emergence.” Emergence builds on the basic observation that collective interactions among the elements of complex networked systems often give rise to new properties that do not exist at lower levels of organization.


pages: 335 words: 95,280

The Greatest Story Ever Told—So Far by Lawrence M. Krauss

Albert Einstein, complexity theory, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, dark matter, Ernest Rutherford, Isaac Newton, Magellanic Cloud, Murray Gell-Mann, RAND corporation, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, the scientific method

But he always made explicitly clear to me the moment we started a discussion that whatever I might say, I didn’t understand things well enough. I always enjoyed the challenge. It is important to note that ’t Hooft would never have approached the problem if Veltman had not been obsessed with it, even as most others gave up. The notion that one might ultimately extend the techniques that Feynman and others had developed to tame quantum electrodynamics to try to understand more complex theories such as spontaneously broken Yang-Mills theory was simply viewed as naïve by many in the field. But Veltman stayed with the project, and he wisely found a graduate student who was also a genius to help him. It took a while for ’t Hooft’s and Veltman’s ideas to sink in and the new techniques ’t Hooft had developed to become universally adopted, but within a year or so physicists agreed that the theory that Weinberg, and later Salam, had proposed, made sense.


pages: 322 words: 89,523

Ecovillages: Lessons for Sustainable Community by Karen T. Litfin

active transport: walking or cycling, agricultural Revolution, back-to-the-land, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, collaborative consumption, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, corporate social responsibility, glass ceiling, global village, hydraulic fracturing, megacity, new economy, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, planetary scale, publish or perish, Silicon Valley, the built environment, the scientific method, The Spirit Level, urban planning, Zipcar

After all, we can have the community of our dreams only if we are willing to become the kind of person that community needs. 1 Through online research, I was aware of the accusation before my visit and even attempted to interview disgruntled former members. The only evidence I found for the accusation were some highly eccentric beliefs and a charismatic leader. I found, however, no coercion. 2 Dieter Duhm, The Sacred Matrix, Belzig, Germany: Verlag Meiga, 2008. 3 Rooted in complexity theory, sociocracy views social organizations as analogous to ecosystems: self-organizing and self-correcting through feedback loops. See John Buck and Sharon Villines, We the People: Consenting to a Deeper Democracy, Sociocracy.info, 2007. 4 Jeff Merrifield, Damanhur: The Story of the Extraordinary Artistic and Spiritual Community, Santa Cruz, CA: Hanford Mead Publishers, 2006, p. 121. 5 See Marshall B.


pages: 846 words: 232,630

Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life by Daniel C. Dennett

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, assortative mating, buy low sell high, cellular automata, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, Danny Hillis, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, finite state, Gödel, Escher, Bach, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John von Neumann, Murray Gell-Mann, New Journalism, non-fiction novel, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, QWERTY keyboard, random walk, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Schrödinger's Cat, selection bias, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, strong AI, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Turing machine, Turing test

That is the sin of greedy reductionism, but notice that it is only when overzealousness leads to falsification of the phenomena that we should condemn it. In itself, the desire to reduce, to unite, to explain it all in one big overarching theory, is no more to be condemned as immoral than the contrary urge that drove Baldwin to his discovery. It is not wrong to yearn for simple theories, or to yearn for phenomena that no simple (or complex!) theory could ever explain; what is wrong is zealous misrepresentation, in either direction. Darwin's dangerous idea is reductionism incarnate,9 promising to unite and explain just about everything in one magnificent vision. Its being the idea of an algorithmic process makes it all the more powerful, since the substrate neutrality it thereby possesses permits us to consider its application to just about anything.

Kauffman's new book, The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution (1993), summarizes and extends the research he has been engaged in for several decades, and lets us see for the first time how he himself places his ideas in the context of the history of the field. Many have heralded him as a Darwin-slayer, finally driving that oppressive presence from the scene, and doing it, moreover, with the flashing blade of {221} brand-new science: chaos theory and complexity theory, strange attractors and fractals. He himself has been tempted by that view in the past (Lewin 1992, pp. 40-43), but his book bristles with warnings, fending off the embrace of the anti-Darwinians. He begins the preface of his book (p. vii) by describing it as "an attempt to include Darwinism in a broader context": Yet our task is not only to explore the sources of order which may lie available to evolution.


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

Dawes (1999), in fact, makes the stronger argument that human “cognitive capacity shuts down in the absence of a story.” 16. For example, a preference for simplicity in explanations is deeply embedded in the philosophy of science. The famous Ockham’s razor—named for the fourteenth-century English logician William of Ockham—posits that “plurality ought never be posited without necessity,” meaning essentially that a complex theory ought never to be adopted where a simpler one would suffice. Most working scientists regard Ockham’s razor with something close to reverence—Albert Einstein, for example, once claimed that a theory “ought to be as simple as possible, and no simpler”—and the history of science would seem to justify this reverence, filled as it is with examples of complex and unwieldy ideas being swept away by simpler, more elegant formulations.


pages: 111 words: 1

Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, availability heuristic, backtesting, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, commoditize, complexity theory, corporate governance, corporate raider, currency peg, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, discounted cash flows, diversified portfolio, endowment effect, equity premium, fixed income, global village, hedonic treadmill, hindsight bias, Kenneth Arrow, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Myron Scholes, Paul Samuelson, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, QWERTY keyboard, random walk, Richard Feynman, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, selection bias, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, survivorship bias, too big to fail, Turing test, Yogi Berra

Bouvier, Alban, ed., 1999, Pareto aujourd’hui. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. Brent, Joseph, 1993, Charles Sanders Peirce: A Life. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Brocas, I., and J. Carillo, eds., 2003, The Psychology of Economic Decisions: Vol. 1: Rationality and Well-being. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Brock, W. A., and P.J.F. De Lima, 1995, “Nonlinear Time Series, Complexity Theory, and Finance.” University of Wisconsin, Madison—Working Papers 9523. Brock, W. A., D. A. Hsieh, and B. LeBaron, 1991, Nonlinear Dynamics, Chaos, and Instability: Statistical Theory and Economic Evidence, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. Brockman, John, 1995, The Third Culture: Beyond the Scientific Revolution. New York: Simon & Schuster. Buchanan, Mark, 2002, Ubiquity: Why Catastrophes Happen.


pages: 439 words: 104,154

The Clockwork Universe: Saac Newto, Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern WorldI by Edward Dolnick

Albert Einstein, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Arthur Eddington, clockwork universe, complexity theory, double helix, Edmond Halley, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, lone genius, music of the spheres, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Richard Feynman, Saturday Night Live, scientific worldview, Simon Singh, Stephen Hawking, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

“Newton’s geometry seems to shriek and groan under the strain, but it works perfectly.” There are almost no other historical examples of so strange a performance as this use/nonuse of calculus. To get something of its flavor, we have to imagine far-fetched scenarios. Think, for instance, of a genius who grew up using Roman numerals but then invented Arabic numerals. And then imagine that he conceived an incredibly complex theory that relied heavily on the special properties of Arabic numerals—the way they make calculations easy, for instance. Finally, imagine that when he presented that theory to the world he used no Arabic numerals at all, but only Roman numerals manipulated in obscure and never-explained ways. Decades after the Principia, Newton offered an explanation. In his own investigations, he said, he had used calculus.


pages: 311 words: 94,732

The Rapture of the Nerds by Cory Doctorow, Charles Stross

3D printing, Ayatollah Khomeini, butterfly effect, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, Credit Default Swap, dematerialisation, Drosophila, epigenetics, Extropian, gravity well, greed is good, haute couture, hive mind, margin call, negative equity, phenotype, plutocrats, Plutocrats, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, telepresence, Turing machine, Turing test, union organizing

Turns out he’s the doc’s son. Clone. I ’spect you knew that, though.” “Sam? Brick shithouse Sam?” There’s a distant, roaring sob and another crash. “Who’d have thought he had it in him?” “Whose side are you on, Ade? What have you been selling these bastards? I expect I’ll be dead by dusk, so you can tell me.” “I told you, but you didn’t listen. There is no conspiracy. The movement is an emergent phenomenon. It’s complexity theory, not ideology. The cloud wants to instantiate an ambassador, and events conspire to find a suitable host and get some godvomit down his throat.” Ade nods at him. “Now the cloud wants the ambassador to commune with something on the American continent, and there you are. How do I know the cloud wants this? Because you are there, on the American continent. QED. Maybe it wants to buy Manhattan for some beads.


pages: 370 words: 102,823

Rethinking Capitalism: Economics and Policy for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth by Michael Jacobs, Mariana Mazzucato

balance sheet recession, banking crisis, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Bretton Woods, business climate, business cycle, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collaborative economy, complexity theory, conceptual framework, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Detroit bankruptcy, double entry bookkeeping, Elon Musk, endogenous growth, energy security, eurozone crisis, factory automation, facts on the ground, fiat currency, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, forward guidance, full employment, G4S, Gini coefficient, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, investor state dispute settlement, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, low skilled workers, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, Mont Pelerin Society, neoliberal agenda, Network effects, new economy, non-tariff barriers, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, price stability, private sector deleveraging, quantitative easing, QWERTY keyboard, railway mania, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, the built environment, The Great Moderation, The Spirit Level, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, very high income

Governments should seek to use competitive private enterprise to deliver public utilities and services wherever possible. Getting the public finances into balance should be the overwhelming priority of fiscal policy. Taxation is necessary; but because it tends to disincentivise wealth creation and work, it should be kept as low as possible. Within each of these propositions lurks many a disagreement among academic economists, often informed by subtly complex theory and detailed empirical evidence. But it is not hard to find these views expressed in public debate; and they have dominated the practice of policy-making over recent years. The orthodox model provides an attractively simple framework for thinking about economics and policy. It combines the mathematical elegance of neoclassical microeconomics with plausible claims about the macroeconomy. The fact that many of the policy prescriptions which follow from it favour those in positions of incumbent economic power has given it a powerful grip on public discourse.


pages: 334 words: 100,201

Origin Story: A Big History of Everything by David Christian

Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, butterfly effect, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cepheid variable, colonial rule, Colonization of Mars, Columbian Exchange, complexity theory, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, demographic transition, double helix, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Ernest Rutherford, European colonialism, Francisco Pizarro, Haber-Bosch Process, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Marshall McLuhan, microbiome, nuclear winter, planetary scale, rising living standards, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, trade route, Yogi Berra

But curiously, when we see human history as part of the larger history of the biosphere and the universe, the distinctive features of our species stand out more clearly. Today, scholars in many different fields seem to be converging on similar answers to the question of what makes us different. When you see sudden, rapid changes like this, start looking for tiny changes that have huge consequences. Complexity theory and the related field of chaos theory are full of changes like this. Often, they are described as butterfly effects. The metaphor comes from the meteorologist Edward Lorenz, who pointed out that in weather systems, tiny events (the flapping of a butterfly’s wings, perhaps?) can get amplified by positive feedback cycles, generating a cascade of changes that may unleash tornadoes thousands of miles away.


pages: 358 words: 104,664

Capital Without Borders by Brooke Harrington

banking crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, British Empire, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, complexity theory, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, diversified portfolio, estate planning, eurozone crisis, family office, financial innovation, ghettoisation, haute couture, high net worth, income inequality, information asymmetry, Joan Didion, job satisfaction, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, liberal capitalism, mega-rich, mobile money, offshore financial centre, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, South Sea Bubble, the market place, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, upwardly mobile, wealth creators, web of trust, Westphalian system, Wolfgang Streeck, zero-sum game

Greta Krippner, “The Financialization of the American Economy,” Socio-Economic Review 3 (2005): 202. 6. William Robinson, “Social Theory and Globalization: The Rise of a Transnational State,” Theory and Society 30 (2001): 160. 7. Krippner, “The Financialization of the American Economy.” 8. Richard Deeg and Mary O’Sullivan, “The Political Economy of Global Finance Capital,” World Politics 61 (2009): 731–763. 9. Bill Maurer, “Complex Subjects: Offshore Finance, Complexity Theory, and the Dispersion of the Modern,” Socialist Review 25 (1995): 113–145. 10. Anthony Giddens, The Consequences of Modernity (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1990), 21. 11. Michael Parkinson, Certificate in International Trust Management, 4th ed. (Birmingham, UK: Central Law Training, 2004), 3. 12. George Connor and Christopher Hammons, The Constitutionalism of American States (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2008). 13.


pages: 571 words: 105,054

Advances in Financial Machine Learning by Marcos Lopez de Prado

algorithmic trading, Amazon Web Services, asset allocation, backtesting, bioinformatics, Brownian motion, business process, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, complexity theory, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, diversification, diversified portfolio, en.wikipedia.org, fixed income, Flash crash, G4S, implied volatility, information asymmetry, latency arbitrage, margin call, market fragmentation, market microstructure, martingale, NP-complete, P = NP, p-value, paper trading, pattern recognition, performance metric, profit maximization, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, RAND corporation, random walk, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, selection bias, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart meter, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, stochastic process, survivorship bias, transaction costs, traveling salesman

I have no doubt in my mind, econometrics is a primary reason economics and finance have not experienced meaningful progress over the past 70 years (Calkin and López de Prado [2014a, 2014b]). For centuries, medieval astronomers made observations and developed theories about celestial mechanics. These theories never considered non-circular orbits, because they were deemed unholy and beneath God's plan. The prediction errors were so gross, that ever more complex theories had to be devised to account for them. It was not until Kepler had the temerity to consider non-circular (elliptical) orbits that all of the sudden a much simpler general model was able to predict the position of the planets with astonishing accuracy. What if astronomers had never considered non-circular orbits? Well . . . what if economists finally started to consider non-linear functions?


pages: 299 words: 19,560

Utopias: A Brief History From Ancient Writings to Virtual Communities by Howard P. Segal

1960s counterculture, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, complexity theory, David Brooks, death of newspapers, dematerialisation, deskilling, energy security, European colonialism, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of journalism, G4S, garden city movement, germ theory of disease, Golden Gate Park, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge economy, liberation theology, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, means of production, Nelson Mandela, Nicholas Carr, Nikolai Kondratiev, out of africa, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, union organizing, urban planning, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog

In 1795 he managed to secure work as a clerk in a cloth-making concern and, a few years later, as a traveling salesman. In 1826 he finally settled in Paris. Fourier’s first book appeared in 1808; his second not until 1822. These as well as his subsequent works received little attention, thanks to his terrible writing style. Only late in life did he gain a following, but he remained a reclusive bachelor whose complex theories of passionate attraction were cosmically distant from his personal practices.25 Fourier persistently preached that his version of utopia could come about only in small communities whose inhabitants actually knew one another, not in big cities filled with anonymous masses. He asserted the economic and moral superiority of agriculture over manufacturing. Yet Fourier recognized that communal living in itself was no panacea.


pages: 362 words: 97,862

Physics in Mind: A Quantum View of the Brain by Werner Loewenstein

Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, complexity theory, dematerialisation, discovery of DNA, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Henri Poincaré, informal economy, information trail, Isaac Newton, Murray Gell-Mann, Necker cube, Norbert Wiener, Richard Feynman, stem cell, trade route, Turing machine

We saw those arrows radiating out from the initial information state, the cosmic singularity, engendering all manner of organizations (figure 2.2). We picked among the arrows—and it was out of sheer self-interest—the one bearing for our little perch in the universe. But all the others are made of the same gossamery stuff. And gossamery is the right word. No matter how physicists and information theorists dealt with it, whether by using Boltzmann’s statistical mechanics, Shannon’s equation, complexity theory, or Planck’s energy-frequency relationship, and no matter how exact the quantifications, it always was, and could not escape being, something ethereal. Well, no longer. The astonishing experiments with quantum-computing molecules dealt with in the preceding chapter give us an almost palpable experience. What is more, they give us a new perspective on the molecular world, where molecules engage in internal quantum information processing and computing as much as in exchanging with each other macroscopic chunks of information.


pages: 405 words: 103,723

The Government of No One: The Theory and Practice of Anarchism by Ruth Kinna

Berlin Wall, British Empire, complexity theory, creative destruction, David Graeber, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, friendly fire, ghettoisation, Kickstarter, late capitalism, means of production, moral panic, New Journalism, Occupy movement, post scarcity, Steven Pinker, Ted Kaczynski, union organizing, wage slave

A perennial anarchist complaint about party-approved forms of Marxism is that it presents socialism as scientific, encouraging abstruse theory that is difficult to understand and a technical approach to political argument; Marxism politicized science to use it as a tool to beat the bourgeoisie, but in Goodman’s terms, it promoted a concept of scientific objectivity or neutrality. The beauty of propaganda by the deed was that it did not rely on the mastery of complex theory. Burning land registry documents or refusing to respect a prohibition on a meeting in order to provoke an aggressive police response effectively taught hard lessons about the flimsiness of private property rights and legal bias and intolerance. Even if these lessons were inspired by heaps of written propaganda and a good amount of anarchist theory, the actions were hands-on, vivid and intelligible.


Data and the City by Rob Kitchin,Tracey P. Lauriault,Gavin McArdle

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, bike sharing scheme, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, clean water, cloud computing, complexity theory, conceptual framework, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, create, read, update, delete, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dematerialisation, digital map, distributed ledger, fault tolerance, fiat currency, Filter Bubble, floating exchange rates, global value chain, Google Earth, hive mind, Internet of things, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, lifelogging, linked data, loose coupling, new economy, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, open economy, openstreetmap, packet switching, pattern recognition, performance metric, place-making, RAND corporation, RFID, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, semantic web, sentiment analysis, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, smart contracts, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, software studies, statistical model, TaskRabbit, text mining, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, the medium is the message, the scientific method, Toyota Production System, urban planning, urban sprawl, web application

Helland, P. (2011) ‘If you have too much data, then “good enough” is good enough’, ACM Queue 9(5). Hezri, A.A. (2004) ‘Sustainability indicators system and policy processes in Malaysia: a framework for utilisation and learning’, Journal of Environmental Management 73(4): 357–371. Holden, M. (2006) ‘Urban indicators and the integrative ideals of cities’, Cities 23(3): 170–183. Innes, J. and Booher, D.E. (2000) ‘Indicators for sustainable communities: A strategy building on complexity theory and distributed intelligence’, Planning Theory & Practice 1(2): 173–186. Keim, D., Kohlhammer, J., Ellis, G. and Mansmann, F. (2010) Mastering the Information Age – Solving Problems with Visual Analytics. Eurographics Association. Available from: www.vismaster.eu/book [accessed 29 August 2016]. Kitchin, R. (2014a) The Data Revolution: Big Data, Open Data, Data Infrastructures and Their Consequences.


pages: 459 words: 103,153

Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure by Tim Harford

Andrew Wiles, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, car-free, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, charter city, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dava Sobel, Deep Water Horizon, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Fermat's Last Theorem, Firefox, food miles, Gerolamo Cardano, global supply chain, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, John Harrison: Longitude, knowledge worker, loose coupling, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Netflix Prize, New Urbanism, Nick Leeson, PageRank, Piper Alpha, profit motive, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, rolodex, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, the market place, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, trade route, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, web application, X Prize, zero-sum game

., 55, 59, 71 catastrophe experts, 184–6, 191, 194–5, 208 Cave-Brown-Cave, Air Commodore Henry, 81, 83, 85, 88, 114 centralised decision making, 70, 74–5, 226, 227, 228; warfare and, 46–7, 67–8, 69, 71, 76, 78–9 centrally planned economies, 11, 21, 23–6, 68–9, 70 Challenger shuttle disaster, 184 Charles, Prince, 154 Chernobyl disaster, 185 Chile, 3, 69–72, 76, 148 China, 11, 94, 131, 143, 147, 150, 152 Christensen, Clayton, 239–40, 242, 245 Chuquicamata mine (Chile), 3 Churchill, Winston, 41–2, 82, 85 Citigroup, 205131 Clay Mathematics Institute, 110 climate change, 4, 20; carbon dioxide emissions and, 132, 156, 159–65, 166–9, 173, 176, 178–80; ‘carbon footprinting’, 159–66; carbon tax/price idea, 167–9, 178–80, 222; environmental regulations and, 169–74, 176, 177; ‘food miles’ and, 159, 160–1, 168; governments/politics and, 157–8, 163, 169–74, 176, 180; greenhouse effect and, 154–6; individual behaviour and, 158–63, 164, 165–6; innovation prizes and, 109, 179; methane and, 155, 156, 157, 159–60, 173, 179, 180; new technologies and, 94–5; simplicity/complexity paradox, 156, 157–8; Thaler-Sunstein nudge, 177–8; uncertainty and, 156 Coca-Cola, 28, 243 Cochrane, Archie, 123–7, 129, 130, 140, 238, 256 cognitive dissonance, 251–2 Cold War, 6, 41, 62–3 Colombia, 117, 147 complexity theory, 3–4, 13, 16, 49, 72103, 237 computer games, 92–3 computer industry, 11–12, 69, 70–1, 239–42 corporations and companies: disruptive technologies and, 239–44, 245–6; environmental issues and, 157–8, 159, 161, 165, 170–1, 172–3; flattening of hierarchies, 75, 224–5, 226–31; fraud and, 208, 210, 212–13, 214; innovation and, 17, 81–2, 87–9, 90, 93–4, 95–7, 108–11, 112, 114, 224–30, 232–4; limited liability, 244; patents and, 95–7, 110, 111, 114; randomised experiments and, 235–9; skunk works model and, 89, 91, 93, 152, 224, 242–3, 245; strategy and, 16, 18, 27–8, 36, 223, 224–34; see also business world; economics and finance cot-death, 120–1 credit-rating agencies, 188, 189, 190 Criner, Roy, 252 Crosby, Sir James, 211, 214, 250, 256 Cuban Missile Crisis, 41, 63 Cudahy Packing, 9 dairy products, 158, 159–60, 164–5, 166 Darwin, Charles, 86 Dayton Hudson, 243 de Montyon, Baron, 107–8 Deal or No Deal (TV game show), 33–5, 253 decentralisation, 73, 74–8, 222, 224–5, 226–31; Iraq war and, 76–8, 79; trial and error and, 31, 174–5, 232, 234 decision making: big picture thinking, 41, 42, 46, 55; consistent standards and, 28–9; diversity of opinions, 31, 44–5, 46, 48–50, 59–63; doctrine of unanimous advice, 30–1, 47–50, 62–3, 64, 78; grandiosity and, 27–8; idealized hierarchy, 40–1, 42, 46–7, 49–50, 55, 78; learning from mistakes, 31–5, 78, 119, 250–1, 256–9, 261–2; local/on the ground, 73, 74, 75, 76–8, 79, 224–5, 226–31; reporting lines/chain of command, 41, 42, 46, 49–50, 55–6, 58, 59–60, 64, 77–8; supportive team with shared vision, 41, 42, 46, 56, 62–3; unsuccessful, 19, 32, 34–5, 41–2; see also centralised decision making Deepwater Horizon disaster (April 2010), 36, 216–19, 220 Democratic Republic of Congo, 139–40 Deng Xiaoping, 1 Denmark, 148 Department for International Development (DFID), 133, 137–8 development aid: charter cities movement, 150–3; community-driven reconstruction (CDR), 137–40; corruption and, 133–5, 142–3; economic ‘big push’ and, 143–5, 148–9; feedback loops, 141–3; fundamentally unidentified questions (FUQs), 132, 133; governments and, 118, 120, 143, 144, 148–9; identification strategies, 132–5; microfinance, 116, 117–18, 120; Millennium Development Villages, 129–30, 131; product space concept, 145–8; randomised trials and, 127–9, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135–6, 137–40, 141; randomistas, 127–9, 132, 133, 135–40, 258; selection principle and, 117, 140–3, 149; SouthWest project in China, 131; success and failure, 116, 118–20, 130–1; Muhammad Yunus and, 116, 117–18 digital photography, 240–1, 242 Dirks, Ray, 211–12, 213 disk-drive industry, 239–40, 242 Djankov, Simeon, 135 domino-toppling displays, 185, 200–1 Don Basin (Russia), 21–2, 24, 27 dot-com bubble, 10, 92 Dubai, 147, 150 Duflo, Esther, 127, 131, 135, 136 Dyck, Alexander, 210, 213 eBay, 95, 230 econometrics, 132–5 economics and finance: banking system as complex and tightly coupled, 185, 186, 187–90, 200, 201, 207–8, 220; bankruptcy contingency plans, 204; Basel III regulations, 195; bond insurance business, 189–90; bridge bank/rump bank approach, 205–6; capital requirements, 203, 204; centrally planned economiepos=0000032004 >11, 21, 23–6, 68–9, 70; CoCos (contingent convertible bonds), 203–4; complexity and, 3–4; decoupling of financial system, 202, 203–8, 215–16, 220; Dodd-Frank reform act (2010), 195; employees as error/fraud spotters, 210, 211, 212, 213, 215; energy crisis (1970s), 179; evolutionary theory and, 14–17, 18–19, 174–5; improvements since 1960s, 215; inter-bank payments systems, 207; latent errors and, 209–10, 215; ‘LMX spiral’, 183–4, 189; narrow banking approach, 206–7, 215; need for systemic heat maps, 195–6; reinsurance markets, 183; zombie banks, 201–2; see also business world; corporations and companies; financial crisis (from 2007) Edison, Thomas, 236, 238 Eliot, T.S., 260 Elizabeth House (Waterloo), 170–1, 172 Endler, John, 221–2, 223, 234, 239 Engineers Without Borders, 119 Enron, 197–8, 200, 208, 210 environmental issues: biofuels, 84, 173, 176; clean energy, 91, 94, 96, 245–6; corporations/companies and, 159, 161, 165, 170–1, 172–3; renewable energy technology, 84, 91, 96, 130, 168, 169–73, 179, 245; see also climate change Equity Funding Corporation, 212 Ernst and Young, 199 errors and mistakes, types of, 208–10; latent errors, 209–10, 215, 218, 220 European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), 188 European Union, 169, 173 Evans, Martin, 100 evolutionary theory, 6, 12–13, 15–17, 174, 258; business world and, 14–17, 174–5, 233–4; Darwin and, 86; digital world and, 13–14, 259–60; economics and, 14–17, 174–5; Endler’s guppy experiments, 221–2, 223, 239; fitness landscapes, 14–15, 259; Leslie Orgel’s law, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 180; problem solving and, 14–15, 16; selective breeding and, 175–6 expertise, limits of, 6–8, 16, 17, 19, 66 extinction events, biological, 18–19 Exxon (formerly Jersey Standard), 9, 12, 188, 245 F-22 stealth fighter, 93 Facebook, 90, 91 failure: in business, 8–10, 11–12, 18–19, 36, 148–9, 224, 239–46; chasing of losses, 32–5, 253–4, 256; in complex and tightly coupled systems, 185–90, 191–2, 200, 201, 207–8, 219, 220; corporate extinctions, 18–19; denial and, 32, 34–5, 250–3, 255–6; disruptive technologies, 239–44, 245–6; of established industries, 8–10; government funding and, 148–9; hedonic editing and, 254; honest advice from others and, 256–7, 258, 259; learning from, 31–5, 78, 119, 250–1, 256–9, 261–2; modern computer industry and, 11–12, 239–42; as natural in market system, 10, 11, 12, 244, 245–6; niche markets and, 240–2; normal accident theory, 219; recognition of, 36, 224; reinterpreted as success, 254–5, 256; shifts in competitive landscape, 239–46; ‘Swiss cheese model’ of safety systems, 186–7, 190, 209, 218; types of error and mistake, 208–10; willingness to fail, 249–50, 261–2; of young industries, 10 Fearon, James, 137, Federal Aviation Administration, 210 Federal Reserve Bank, 193–4 feedback, 25, 26, 42, 178, 240; in bureaucratic hierarchies, 30–1; development and, 141–3; dictatorships’ immunity to, 27; Iraq war and, 43–5, 46, 57–8, 59–62; market system and, 141; praise sandwich, 254; public services and, 141; self-employment and, 258; yes-men and, 30 Feith, Douglas, 44, 45 Ferguson, Chris ‘Jesus’, 32 Fermi nuclear reactor (near Detroit), 187 Festinger, Leon, 251 financial crisis (from 2007), 5, 11, 25; AIG and, 189, 193–5, 215–16, 228; bankers’ bonuses, 198; banking system as complex and tightly coupled, 185, 186, 187–90, 200, 201, 207–8, 220; bond insurance business and, 189–90; collateralised debt obligations (CDOs), 190, 209; credit default swaps (CDSs), 187–9, 190, 194; derivatives deals and, 198, 220; faulty information systems and, 193–5; fees paid to administrators, 197; government bail-outs/guarantees, 202, 214, 223; Lehman Brothers and, 193, 194, 196–200, 204–5, 208, 215–16; ‘LMX spiral’ comparisons, 183–4, 189; Repo 105 accounting trick, 199 Financial Services Authority (FSA), 214 Firefox, 221, 230 Fleming, Alexander, 83 Food Preservation prize, 107, 108 Ford Motor Company, 46–7 fossil record, 18 Fourier, Joseph, 155 fraud, corporate, 208, 210, 212–13, 214 Friedel, Robert, 80 Frost, Robert, 260 A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (musical), 248 Gage, Phineas, 21, 27 Galapagos Islands, 86, 87 Gale (US developer), 152 Galenson, David, 260 Galileo, 187 Galland, Adolf, 81 Gallipoli campaign (1915), 41–2 Galvin, Major General Jack, 62, 256 game theory, 138, 205 Gates, Bill, 110, 115 Gates, Robert, 59, 64, 78 Gates Foundation, 110 Geithner, Tim, 193–5, 196 GenArts, 13 General Electric, 9, 12, 95 Gilbert, Daniel, 255, 256 GlaxoSmithKline, 95 Glewwe, Paul, 127–8 Global Positioning System (GPS), 113 globalisation, 75 Google, 12, 15, 90, 91, 239, 245, 261; corporate strategy, 36, 231–4; Gmail, 233, 234, 241, 242; peer monitoring at, 229–30 Gore, Al, An Inconvenient Truth, 158 Göring, Hermann, 81 government and politics: climate change and, 157–8, 163, 169–74, 176, 180; development aid and, 118, 120, 143, 144, 148–9; financial crisis (from 2007) and, 193–5, 198–9, 202, 214, 215–16, 223; grandiosity and, 27–8; ideal hierarchies and, 46pos=00002pos=0000022558 >7, 49–50, 62–3, 78; innovation funding, 82, 88, 93, 97, 99–101, 102–3, 104, 113; lack of adaptability rewarded, 20; pilot schemes and, 29, 30; rigorous evaluation methods and, 29* Graham, Loren, 26 Grameen Bank, 116, 117 Greece, 147 Green, Donald, 29* greenhouse effect, 154–6 Gulf War, first, 44, 53, 65, 66, 67, 71; Battle of 73 Easting, 72–3, 74, 79 Gutenberg, Johannes, 10 Haldane, Andrew, 195, 258 Halifax (HBOS subsidiary), 211 Halley, Edmund, 105 Halliburton, 217 Hamel, Gary, 221, 226, 233, 234 Hanna, Rema, 135 Hannah, Leslie, 8–10, 18 Hanseatic League, 150 Harrison, John, 106–7, 108, 110, 111 Harvard University, 98–9, 185 Hastings, Reed, 108 Hausmann, Ricardo, 145 Hayek, Friedrich von, 1, 72, 74–5, 227 HBOS, 211, 213, 214 healthcare sector, US, 213–14 Heckler, Margaret, 90–1 Henry the Lion, 149, 150, 151–2, 153 Hewitt, Adrian, 169 Hidalgo, César, 144–7, 148 Higginson, Peter, 230 Hinkley Point B power station, 192–3, 230–1 Hitachi, 11 Hitler, Adolf, 41, 82, 83, 150 HIV-AIDS, 90–1, 96, 111, 113 Holland, John, 16, 103 Hong Kong, 150 Houston, Dame Fanny, 88–9, 114 Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), 101–3, 112 Hughes (computer company), 11 Humphreys, Macartan, 136, 137, 138–40 Hurricane aircraft, 82* IBM, 11, 90, 95–6 In Search of Excellence (Peters and Waterman, 1982), 8, 10 India, 135, 136, 143, 147, 169 individuals: adaptation and, 223–4, 248–62; climate change and, 158–63, 164, 165–6; experimentation and, 260–2; trial and error and, 31–5 Indonesia, 133–4, 142, 143 Innocentive, 109 innovation: corporations and, 17, 81–2, 87–9, 90, 93–4, 95–7, 108–11, 112, 114, 224–30, 232–4; costs/funding of, 90–4, 99–105; failure as price worth paying, 101–3, 104, 184, 215, 236; government funding, 82, 88, 93, 97, 99–101, 102–3, 104, 113; grants and, 108; in health field, 90–1, 96; large teams and specialisation, 91–4; market system and, 17, 95–7, 104; new technologies and, 89–90, 91, 94–5; parallel possibilities and, 86–9, 104; prize methodology, 106–11, 112, 113–14, 179, 222–3; randomistas and, 127–9, 132, 133, 135–40, 258; return on investment and, 83–4; skunk works model, 89, 91, 93, 152, 224, 242–3, 245; slowing down of, 90–5, 97; small steps and, 16, 24, 29, 36, 99, 103, 143, 149, 153, 224, 259–60; space tourism, 112–13, 114; specialisation and, 91–2; speculative leaps and, 16, 36, 91, 99–100, 103–4, 259–60; unpredictability and, 84–5 Intel, 11, 90, 95 International Christelijk Steunfonds (ICS), 127–9, 131 International Harvester, 9 International Rescue Committee (IRC), 137–8, 139 internet, 12, 15, 63, 90, 113, 144, 223, 233, 238, 241; randomised experiments and, 235–6, 237; see also Google Iraq war: al Anbar province, 56–7, 58, 64, 76–7; civil war (2006), 39–40; Commander’s Emergency Response Program (CERP), 77; counterinsurgency strategy, 43, 45, 55–6, 58, 60–1, 63–4, 65; decentralisation and, 76–8, 79; feedback and, 43–5, 46, 57–8, 59–62; FM 3–24 (counter-insurgency manual), 63; Forward Operating Bases (FOBs), 51–3, 57, 65; Haditha killings (19 November 2005), 37–9, 40, 42, 43, 52; new technologies and, 71, 72, 74, 78–9, 196; Samarra bombing (22 February 2006), 39; Tal Afar, 51, 52, 53–5, 61, 64, 74, 77, 79; trial and error and, 64–5, 66–7; US turnaround in, 35, 40, 46, 50–1, 53–6, 57–8, 59–61, 63–5, 78; US/allied incompetence and, 38, 39–40, 42–5, 46, 50, 64, 67, 79, 223; Vietnam parallels, 46 J&P Coats, 9 Jacobs, Jane, 87 James, Jonathan, 30 Jamet, Philippe, 192 Janis, Irving, 62 Japan, 11, 143, 176, 204, 208 Jay-Z, 119 Jo-Ann Fabrics, 235 Jobs, Steve, 19 Joel, Billy, 247–8, 249 Johnson, President Lyndon, 46, 47, 49–50, 60, 62, 64, 78 Jones, Benjamin F., 91–2 Joyce, James, 260 JP Morgan, 188 Kahn, Herman, 93 Kahneman, Daniel, 32, 253 Kantorovich, Leonid, 68–9, 76 Kaplan, Fred, 77 Karlan, Dean, 135 Kauffmann, Stuart, 16, 103 Kay, John, 206–7, 208, 215, 259 Keller, Sharon, 252 Kelly, Terri, 230 Kennedy, President John F., 41, 47, 62–3, 84, 113 Kenya, 127–9, 131 Kerry, John, 20 Keynes, John Maynard, 181 Kilcullen, David, 57, 60–1 Klemperer, Paul, 96, 205 Klinger, Bailey, 145 Kotkin, Stephen, 25 Kremer, Michael, 127–8, 129 Krepinevich, Andy, 45 Lanchester, John, 188 leaders: decision making and, 40–2; failure of feedback and, 30–1, 62; grandiosity and, 27–8; ignoring of failure, 36; mistakes by, 41–2, 56, 67; need to believe in, 5–6; new leader as solution, 59 Leamer, Ed, 132* Leeson, Nick, 184–5, 208 Lehman Brothers, 193, 194, 196–200, 204–5, 208, 215–16 Lenin Dam (Dnieper River), 24 Levine, John, 48–9 Levitt, Steven, 132–3 Liberia, 136–9 light bulbs, 162, 177 Lind, James, 122–3 Lindzen, Richard, 156 Livingstone, Ken, 169 Lloyd’s insurance, 183 Lloyds TSB, 214 Local Motors, 90 Lockheed, Skunk Works division, 89, 93, 224, 242 Lomas, Tony, 196, 197–200, 204, 205, 208, 219 Lomborg, Bjorn, 94 longitude problem, 105–7, 108 Lu Hong, 49 Lübeck, 149–50, 151–2, 153 Luftwaffe, 81–2 MacFarland, Colonel Sean, 56–7, 64, 74, 76–7, 78 Mackay, General Andrew, 67–8, 74 Mackey, John, 227, 234 Madoff, Bernard, 208212–13 Magnitogorsk steel mills, 24–5, 26, 153 Malawi, 119 Mallaby, Sebastian, 150, 151 management gurus, 8, 233 Manhattan Project, 82, 84 Manso, Gustavo, 102 Mao Zedong, 11, 41 market system: competition, 10–11, 17, 19, 75, 95, 170, 239–46; ‘disciplined pluralism’, 259; evolutionary theory and, 17; failure in as natural, 10, 11, 12, 244, 245–6; feedback loops, 141; innovation and, 17, 95–7, 104; patents and, 95–7; trial and error, 20; validation and, 257–8 Markopolos, Harry, 212–13 Marmite, 124 Maskelyne, Nevil, 106 mathematics, 18–19, 83, 146, 247; financial crisis (from 2007) and, 209, 213; prizes, 110, 114 Mayer, Marissa, 232, 234 McDonald’s, 15, 28 McDougal, Michael, 252 McGrath, Michael, 252 McMaster, H.R.


pages: 411 words: 108,119

The Irrational Economist: Making Decisions in a Dangerous World by Erwann Michel-Kerjan, Paul Slovic

"Robert Solow", Andrei Shleifer, availability heuristic, bank run, Black Swan, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, conceptual framework, corporate social responsibility, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cross-subsidies, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, endowment effect, experimental economics, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, George Akerlof, hindsight bias, incomplete markets, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Kenneth Arrow, Loma Prieta earthquake, London Interbank Offered Rate, market bubble, market clearing, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, placebo effect, price discrimination, price stability, RAND corporation, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, source of truth, statistical model, stochastic process, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, transaction costs, ultimatum game, University of East Anglia, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto

If the NSF is going to significantly increase its support for interdisciplinary decision sciences, risk management, and disaster research, integrated social/ economic/ecological/geo-science data are needed. Suppose we had these data? What do we do then? How do we aggregate? Traditional probabilistic risk assessment has obvious limitations for understanding extreme events, but what are the alternatives? Are new approaches such as complexity theory part of the answer? What can we learn from these data that will help us better understand individual and collective behaviors in the face of catastrophes? The NSF itself will not answer these questions, but it is likely to fund leading scholars who will. Their work, informed by both disciplinary and interdisciplinary learning, will ultimately change the way many people think of the world and affect their daily decisions.


pages: 392 words: 104,760

Babel No More: The Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Language Learners by Michael Erard

Asperger Syndrome, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, complexity theory, European colonialism, pattern recognition, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Skype, Steven Pinker, theory of mind

Why should someone have a good memory for sounds and words but not for other things? In music, he was average; tests of visuospatial ability stumped him; he said he couldn’t read maps or figure out new routes. This intrigued her, since it’s often thought that exceptional verbal abilities are associated with limited visuospatial abilities, or vice versa. To give these overlaps some order, she looked to a complex theory known as the Geschwind-Galaburda hypothesis, which links co-occurrences among dyslexia, gender, handedness, and other traits. As examples, there’s a predominance of left-handers among talented visual artists, and males are overwhelmingly more often dyslexic and autistic. In the 1980s, neurologists Norman Geschwind and Albert Galaburda looked to brain development for an answer. They observed that the left hemispheres of the brains of fetal rats developed more slowly if testosterone spiked at certain developmental moments.


pages: 366 words: 107,145

Fuller Memorandum by Stross, Charles

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Beeching cuts, British Empire, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, congestion charging, dumpster diving, finite state, Firefox, HyperCard, invisible hand, land reform, linear programming, MITM: man-in-the-middle, peak oil, post-work, security theater, sensible shoes, side project, Sloane Ranger, telemarketer, Turing machine

For seconds, blame Trofim Lysenko for corrupting their science faculty's ability to cope with new findings that contradicted received political doctrine. For thirds, blame the Politburo, which, in the 1950s, looked at the embryonic IT industry, thought "tools of capitalist profit-mongers," and denounced computer science as un-Communist. Proximate results: they got into orbit using hand calculators, but completely dropped the ball on anything that required complexity theory, automated theorem proving, or sacrificial goats. But that was then, and this is now, and we're not dealing with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, we're dickering with the Russian Federation. (When we're not trying to save ourselves from the end of the world, that is.) The Russians are no longer dragged backwards by the invisible hand of Lenin. Their populace have taken with gusto to god-bothering and hacking, their official government ideology is "hail to the chief," and Moscow is the number one place on the planet to go if you want to rent a botnet.


The Future of Money by Bernard Lietaer

agricultural Revolution, banks create money, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, business cycle, clean water, complexity theory, corporate raider, dematerialisation, discounted cash flows, diversification, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Gilder, German hyperinflation, global reserve currency, Golden Gate Park, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invention of the telephone, invention of writing, Lao Tzu, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, microcredit, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Norbert Wiener, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, post-industrial society, price stability, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, The Future of Employment, the market place, the payments system, Thomas Davenport, trade route, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, working poor

'Show me the Chairman of the Board of the forest, show me the chief financial fish in the pond, show me' (tapping his head) 'the Chief Executive neuron of the brain.' It is indeed true that all this is not applicable just to monetary or business matters. The work pioneered by the Santa Fe Institute on complex adaptive systems has verified these principles in all types of systems physical, biological, social, economic, etc.) which are reaching a certain level of complexity. Complexity theory predicts that contrary to Newtonian logic, complexity does not grow linearly, but occurs in non-linear jumps in episodic stages of 'surfing at the edge of chaos'. These 'near-chaos' periods are when systems regenerate and restructure at the next level of complexity, according to Nobel Prize-winners Ilya Prigogine. I believe we have now started to 'surf at the edge of chaos', that the current crisis of the dominant institutions of modern society is the sign that humanity has started to reorganise at the next level of complexity (see sidebar on the butterfly metaphor).


The Deep Learning Revolution (The MIT Press) by Terrence J. Sejnowski

AI winter, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bioinformatics, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, complexity theory, computer vision, conceptual framework, constrained optimization, Conway's Game of Life, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, delayed gratification, discovery of DNA, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, Frank Gehry, future of work, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Guggenheim Bilbao, Gödel, Escher, Bach, haute couture, Henri Poincaré, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Mark Zuckerberg, Minecraft, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Norbert Wiener, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, PageRank, pattern recognition, prediction markets, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Socratic dialogue, speech recognition, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize, Yogi Berra

Cellular Automata Another colorful character with a scientifically serious approach to complexity, Stephen Wolfram (figure 13.1) was a wunderkind, the youngest person ever to earn a doctorate in physics from Caltech at the age of 20, and the founder of the Center for Complex Systems Research at the University of Illinois in 1986. Wolfram thought that neural networks were too complex and decided instead to explore cellular automata. The Age of Algorithms 197 Figure 13.1 Stephen Wolfram at his home in Concord, Massachusetts, standing on an algorithmically generated floor. Wolfram was a pioneer in complexity theory and showed that even simple programs can give rise to the complexities of the kind we encounter in the world. Courtesy of Stephen Wolfram. Cellular automata typically have only a few discrete values that evolve in time, depending on the states of the other cells. One of the simplest cellular automata is a one-dimensional array of cells, each with value of 0 or 1 (box 13.1). Perhaps the most famous cellular automaton is called the “Game of Life,” which was invented by John Conway, the John von Neumann professor of mathematics at Princeton, in 1968, popularized by Martin Gardner in his “Mathematical Games” column in Scientific American, and is illustrated in figure 13.2.


pages: 323 words: 107,963

Ask Me About My Uterus: A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women's Pain by Abby Norman

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, complexity theory, correlation does not imply causation, double helix, Downton Abbey, feminist movement, financial independence, Kickstarter, period drama, phenotype, Saturday Night Live, the scientific method, women in the workforce

But because it so directly challenges Sampson’s theory of retrograde menstruation, which has been the primary explanation for nearly a century, whether it will sit well with clinicians (who are not always researchers) is another matter entirely. For doctors who have been using Sampson’s theory (which is straightforward, easy to explain, and fairly simple for patients to comprehend) as an explanation for patients, having to grasp a more complex theory, and in turn distill it down for patient consumption, may seem a particularly daunting task. I don’t know how long it typically takes for these high-level theories that exist in the realm of scientific research to trickle down into clinical practice and eventually the public consciousness—but a lack of research funding and scientific consensus certainly hasn’t served to expedite what I can only assume is, at best, a somewhat lethargic process.


pages: 325 words: 110,330

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull, Amy Wallace

Albert Einstein, business climate, buy low sell high, complexity theory, fear of failure, Golden Gate Park, iterative process, Johannes Kepler, Menlo Park, rolodex, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, Wall-E

One truly influential idea in physics is the famous principle known as Occam’s Razor, attributed to William of Ockham, a fourteenth-century English logician. On the most basic level, it says that if there are competing explanations for why something occurs the way it does, you should pick the one that relies on the fewest assumptions and is thus the simplest. When Renaissance astronomers were trying to explain the movement of the planets, for example, there were many complex theories. The prevailing belief was that orbits were perfect circles, or epicycles, but as planetary observation improved, the models based on circles had to be made extremely complex in order to work. Then, Johannes Kepler hit upon the comparatively simple idea that the orbit of every planet is an ellipse, with the sun at one of two foci within it. The explanation’s simplicity seemed proof that it was the right one—and with that simplicity came great power.


pages: 403 words: 111,119

Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Asian financial crisis, bank run, basic income, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, clean water, cognitive bias, collapse of Lehman Brothers, complexity theory, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, dematerialisation, disruptive innovation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, full employment, global supply chain, global village, Henri Poincaré, hiring and firing, Howard Zinn, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, land reform, land value tax, Landlord’s Game, loss aversion, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, megacity, mobile money, Mont Pelerin Society, Myron Scholes, neoliberal agenda, Network effects, Occupy movement, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, price mechanism, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, smart cities, smart meter, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, the market place, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Torches of Freedom, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, Vilfredo Pareto, wikimedia commons

Beyond the realm of starlings and chickens, bathtubs and showers, it soon becomes clear just how powerful systems thinking can be for understanding our ever-evolving world, from the rise of corporate empires to the collapse of ecosystems. Many events that first appear to be sudden and external – what mainstream economists often describe as ‘exogenous shocks’ – are far better understood as arising from endogenous change. In the words of the political economist Orit Gal, ‘complexity theory teaches us that major events are the manifestation of maturing and converging underlying trends: they reflect change that has already occurred within the system’.11 From this perspective, the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers and the imminent collapse of the Greenland ice sheet have much in common. All three are reported in the news as sudden events but are actually visible tipping points that result from slowly accumulated pressure in the system – be it the gradual build-up of political protest in Eastern Europe, the build-up of sub-prime mortgages in a bank’s asset portfolio, or the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.


pages: 407 words: 116,726

Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe by Steven Strogatz

Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, Astronomia nova, Bernie Sanders, clockwork universe, complexity theory, cosmological principle, Dava Sobel, double helix, Edmond Halley, Eratosthenes, four colour theorem, fudge factor, Henri Poincaré, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Johannes Kepler, John Harrison: Longitude, Khan Academy, Laplace demon, lone genius, music of the spheres, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, Pierre-Simon Laplace, precision agriculture, retrograde motion, Richard Feynman, Socratic dialogue, Solar eclipse in 1919, Steve Jobs, the rule of 72, the scientific method

This is a lot of ground to cover. Rather than saying a little about each of the topics mentioned here, I’ll focus on a few of them. After a brief foray into the differential geometry of DNA, where the mystery of curves meets the secret of life, we’ll consider some case studies that I hope you’ll find philosophically provocative. These include the challenges to insight and prediction caused by the rise of chaos, complexity theory, computers, and artificial intelligence. For all of that to make sense, however, we will need to review the fundamentals of nonlinear dynamics. Examining that context will allow us to better appreciate the challenges ahead. The Writhing Number of DNA Calculus has traditionally been applied in the “hard” sciences like physics, astronomy, and chemistry. But in recent decades, it has made inroads into biology and medicine, in fields like epidemiology, population biology, neuroscience, and medical imaging.


pages: 336 words: 113,519

The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis

Albert Einstein, availability heuristic, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, complexity theory, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, endowment effect, feminist movement, framing effect, hindsight bias, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, loss aversion, medical residency, Menlo Park, Murray Gell-Mann, Nate Silver, New Journalism, Paul Samuelson, Richard Thaler, Saturday Night Live, Stanford marshmallow experiment, statistical model, the new new thing, Thomas Bayes, Walter Mischel, Yom Kippur War

Still, it wasn’t obvious how to weave what amounted to a collection of insights about an emotion into a theory of how people make risky decisions. They were groping. Amos liked to use an expression he’d read someplace: “carving nature at its joint.” They were trying to carve human nature at its joint, but the joints of an emotion were elusive. That was one reason Amos didn’t particularly like to think or talk about emotion; he didn’t like things that were hard to measure. “This is indeed a complex theory,” Danny confessed one day in a memo. “In fact it consists of several mini-theories, which are rather loosely connected.” In reading about expected utility theory, Danny had found the paradox that purported to contradict it not terribly puzzling. What puzzled Danny was what the theory had left out. “The smartest people in the world are measuring utility,” he recalled. “As I’m reading about it, something strikes me as really, really peculiar.”


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

As I describe in chapter 7, many different measures of complexity have been proposed; however, none has been universally accepted by scientists. Several of these measures and their usefulness are described in various chapters of this book. But how can there be a science of complexity when there is no agreed-on quantitative definition of complexity? I have two answers to this question. First, neither a single science of complexity nor a single complexity theory exists yet, in spite of the many articles and books that have used these terms. Second, as I describe in many parts of this book, an essential feature of forming a new science is a struggle to define its central terms. Examples can be seen in the struggles to define such core concepts as information, computation, order, and life. In this book I detail these struggles, both historical and current, and tie them in with our struggles to understand the many facets of complexity.


pages: 408 words: 114,719

The Swerve: How the Renaissance Began by Stephen Greenblatt

Albert Einstein, Bonfire of the Vanities, complexity theory, Eratosthenes, George Santayana, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton

CHAPTER EIGHT THE WAY THINGS ARE ON THE NATURE of Things is not an easy read. Totaling 7,400 lines, it is written in hexameters, the standard unrhymed six-beat lines in which Latin poets like Virgil and Ovid, imitating Homer’s Greek, cast their epic poetry. Divided into six untitled books, the poem yokes together moments of intense lyrical beauty, philosophical meditations on religion, pleasure, and death, and complex theories of the physical world, the evolution of human societies, the perils and joys of sex, and the nature of disease. The language is often knotty and difficult, the syntax complex, and the overall intellectual ambition astoundingly high. The difficulty would not in the least have fazed Poggio and his learned friends. They possessed wonderful Latin, rose eagerly to the challenge of solving textual riddles, and had often wandered with pleasure and interest through the still more impenetrable thickets of patristic theology.


pages: 405 words: 117,219

In Our Own Image: Savior or Destroyer? The History and Future of Artificial Intelligence by George Zarkadakis

3D printing, Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, animal electricity, anthropic principle, Asperger Syndrome, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, British Empire, business process, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, continuous integration, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological principle, dark matter, dematerialisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Snowden, epigenetics, Flash crash, Google Glasses, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, index card, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kickstarter, liberal capitalism, lifelogging, millennium bug, Moravec's paradox, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, off grid, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, packet switching, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, post-industrial society, prediction markets, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y2K

Studying the behaviour of complex phenomena assumes the existence of a mysterious, hitherto undetected ‘force’ that lies beyond the constituent parts of the system. The emergentists’ counterargument is that interactions between the constituent parts of the system are also important for the behaviour of the system as a whole. However, if interactions are so important, what is the nature of these interactions? And how can we test whether they exist or not? For many scientists, emergentist theories that spring from cybernetics and complexity theory do not seem falsifiable, and are therefore suspiciously non-scientific. Suspicion about theories of emergence reflects the ideological divide between traditional scientific methods of reductionism versus alternative systemic, or holistic, methods. Reductionism is the very successfully applied idea in science whereby one tries to reduce a natural phenomenon to an irreducible level that can be then studied.


pages: 413 words: 117,782

What Happened to Goldman Sachs: An Insider's Story of Organizational Drift and Its Unintended Consequences by Steven G. Mandis

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, algorithmic trading, Berlin Wall, bonus culture, BRICs, business process, buy and hold, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, complexity theory, corporate governance, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, disintermediation, diversification, Emanuel Derman, financial innovation, fixed income, friendly fire, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, high net worth, housing crisis, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, merger arbitrage, Myron Scholes, new economy, passive investing, performance metric, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Satyajit Das, shareholder value, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, The Nature of the Firm, too big to fail, value at risk

As Harvard Business School professor Scott Snook argues, detecting organizational drift requires a sensitivity to the passage of time; single snapshots won’t do.1 To understand what’s happened to Goldman since the writing of the business principles in 1979, then, we have to look back to its performance over time, how its interpretation of the principles has changed, and the conditions in which it operates. But before we get to that analysis, it’s worth developing a deeper understanding of organizational drift and its implications. Drift into Failure Sidney Dekker, a professor who specializes in understanding human error and safety, has used complexity theory and systems thinking to better understand how complex systems “drift into failure” over an extended period of time. His theories are worth exploring because they, and the ideas of other researchers, provide us with a clear understanding of how systems interact and drift away from intended goals. In some cases, this can end in disaster. In the case of Goldman, it means that there’s a distinct gap between the principles by which the firm purports to steer itself and what it’s actually doing in the world.


pages: 481 words: 125,946

What to Think About Machines That Think: Today's Leading Thinkers on the Age of Machine Intelligence by John Brockman

agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, constrained optimization, corporate personhood, cosmological principle, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, dark matter, discrete time, Douglas Engelbart, Elon Musk, Emanuel Derman, endowment effect, epigenetics, Ernest Rutherford, experimental economics, Flash crash, friendly AI, functional fixedness, global pandemic, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, information trail, Internet of things, invention of writing, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, loose coupling, microbiome, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, planetary scale, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, RFID, Richard Thaler, Rory Sutherland, Satyajit Das, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, social intelligence, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y2K

The smartest person is not always the most successful; the wisest policies are not always those adopted. Recently I spent an hour reading about the Middle East situation, and thinking. I didn’t come up with a solution. Now imagine a hypothetical Speedup SuperIntelligence Machine (as described by Nick Bostrom) that can think as well as the smartest human but 1,000 times faster. I doubt if it would come up with a solution either. Computational complexity theory reveals a wide class of problems immune to intelligence, in the sense that no matter how clever you are, no approach is any better than trying all possible solutions; no matter how much computing power you have, it won’t be enough. There are of course many problems where computing power does help. If I want to simulate the movements of billions of stars in a galaxy or compete in high-frequency stock trading, I’ll appreciate the help of a computer.


pages: 428 words: 121,717

Warnings by Richard A. Clarke

active measures, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, anti-communist, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, Bernie Madoff, cognitive bias, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, discovery of penicillin, double helix, Elon Musk, failed state, financial thriller, fixed income, Flash crash, forensic accounting, friendly AI, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge worker, Maui Hawaii, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, mouse model, Nate Silver, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart grid, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Stuxnet, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Tunguska event, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, Y2K

The accelerating growth of technology makes it increasingly difficult for scientists, let alone bureaucrats, to decipher the risks. Many new technologies have proven the limits of government regulators’ ability to understand: genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, high-frequency trading, deep water drilling, and others. Mathematicians, system engineers, and social scientists have written extensively about complexity theories for decades. In recent years, however, we have seen a particular aspect of complexity emerging more clearly in the real world. Increasingly, we are operating or planning systems, software, or networks that no one person understands. It takes a team, one of many diverse talents. That team, however, is sometimes so large that it cannot be assembled in a conference room, auditorium, or even in a stadium.


pages: 396 words: 124,665

The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker

complexity theory

But Rank could have helped his own work enormously by putting conceptual order into his insights on mental illness. If a thinker throws off too many unsystematic and rich insights, there is no place to grab onto his thought. The thing he is trying to illuminate seems as elusive as before. It is certain that Freud’s prominence is due to no small extent to his ability to make clear, simple, and systematic all of his insights and always to reduce the most complex theory to a few fundamentals. You can do this with Rank too, but the rub is that you must do it yourself by putting your own order into the broadside of Rank’s work. Although Rank knew that this requirement wasn’t fair either to the reader or to himself, he never did find anyone to rewrite his books; and so we ourselves have to try to go beyond the confusion of insights and penetrate to the heart of the problem.


Building and Dwelling: Ethics for the City by Richard Sennett

Buckminster Fuller, car-free, clean water, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, creative destruction, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, double helix, Downton Abbey, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, Frank Gehry, ghettoisation, housing crisis, illegal immigration, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, Masdar, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, open borders, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Richard Florida, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the High Line, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, urban planning, urban renewal, Victor Gruen

A good general overview of this complex subject is François Gemenne, ‘The Anthropocene and Its Victims’, in Clive Hamilton, Christophe Bonneuil and François Gemenne (eds), The Anthropocene and the Global Environmental Crisis: Rethinking Modernity in a New Epoch (New York: Routledge 2015). 7. Philipp Rode and Ricky Burdett, ‘Cities: Investing in Energy and Resource Efficiency’, in Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication (United Nations Environment Programme, 2011), pp. 331–73. 8. Neil Johnson, Simply Complexity: A Clear Guide to Complexity Theory (London: Oneworld, 2009), pp. 39–40. Originally published as Two’s Company, Three is Complexity in 2007. 9. Geert Mak, Amsterdam: A Brief Life of the City, trans. Philipp Blom (New York: Vintage, 1999), p. 5. 10. Quoted in Richard Sennett, ‘The Public Realm’, lecture delivered at the Quant Foundation, July colloquium, 2002. 11. See Michael Hough, Cities and Natural Process: A Basis for Sustainability, 2nd edn (London: Routledge, 2004), p. 31. 12.


pages: 412 words: 128,042

Extreme Economies: Survival, Failure, Future – Lessons From the World’s Limits by Richard Davies

agricultural Revolution, air freight, Anton Chekhov, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, big-box store, cashless society, clean water, complexity theory, deindustrialization, eurozone crisis, failed state, financial innovation, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, James Hargreaves, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, large denomination, Livingstone, I presume, Malacca Straits, mandatory minimum, manufacturing employment, means of production, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, pension reform, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, school choice, school vouchers, Scramble for Africa, side project, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, spinning jenny, The Chicago School, the payments system, trade route, Travis Kalanick, uranium enrichment, urban planning, wealth creators, white picket fence, working-age population, Y Combinator, young professional

Two Chicago School academics stood out as the preeminent influences on the exchange students and, later, Chile. One was Milton Friedman, who by the mid-1950s was in his late forties and had been a leading light in the economics department for a decade. All the Chilean exchange students took classes with him and say that he was respected and liked, but that he was aloof and scary too. Mr Lüders had Friedman as a thesis adviser and recalls lectures of a striking clarity, with complex theory often explained through simple everyday stories. The other influence was Arnold Harberger who, like Friedman, was interested in practical economic questions, from the regulation of monopolies to the taxation of companies. Mr Harberger – who became known as ‘Alito’ – was the Chicago Boys’ day-to-day adviser, adopted uncle and drinking companion. The first group of exchange students trained in Chicago returned to Santiago in 1958.


pages: 481 words: 121,300

Why geography matters: three challenges facing America : climate change, the rise of China, and global terrorism by Harm J. De Blij

agricultural Revolution, airport security, Anton Chekhov, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, colonial exploitation, complexity theory, computer age, crony capitalism, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Eratosthenes, European colonialism, F. W. de Klerk, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, illegal immigration, Internet Archive, John Snow's cholera map, Khyber Pass, manufacturing employment, megacity, Mercator projection, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Nelson Mandela, out of africa, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, special economic zone, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, UNCLOS, UNCLOS

Geography, unlike its public image, is an entertaining as well as enlightening field, but what follows is also serious—dead serious. READING MAPS AND FACING THREATS It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. If that is true, then a map is worth a million, and maybe more. Even at just a glance, a map can reveal what no amount of description can. Maps are the language of geography, often the most direct and effective way to convey grand ideas or complex theories. The mother of all maps is the globe, and no household, especially one with school-age children, should be without one. A globe reminds us of the limits of our terrestrial living space when about 70 percent of its surface is water or ice, and much of the land is mapped as mountains or desert. A globe shows us that the shortest distance between the coterminous United States and China is not across the Pacific Ocean but over Alaska and the Bering Sea.


pages: 349 words: 134,041

Traders, Guns & Money: Knowns and Unknowns in the Dazzling World of Derivatives by Satyajit Das

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, beat the dealer, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, BRICs, Brownian motion, business process, buy and hold, buy low sell high, call centre, capital asset pricing model, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, complexity theory, computerized trading, corporate governance, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cuban missile crisis, currency peg, disintermediation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Thorp, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Everything should be made as simple as possible, financial innovation, fixed income, Haight Ashbury, high net worth, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index card, index fund, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, John Meriwether, locking in a profit, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, Marshall McLuhan, mass affluent, mega-rich, merger arbitrage, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, money market fund, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Myron Scholes, new economy, New Journalism, Nick Leeson, offshore financial centre, oil shock, Parkinson's law, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, purchasing power parity, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, Right to Buy, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Satyajit Das, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, technology bubble, the medium is the message, the new new thing, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, Vanguard fund, volatility smile, yield curve, Yogi Berra, zero-coupon bond

The unsustainable inflation in value was incomprehensible to the few that believed in rationality and efficiency. Trend chasers, ‘mo’ (momentum) buyers, kept buying because they kept making money; nobody could explain the overvaluation; the doomsayer’s position became untenable and, puzzled by the duration of overvaluation, even intelligent and honest analysts eventually succumbed, evolving complex theories of why it was different this time. The overvaluation was sustainable after all. Theories of the ‘new economy’ and the good returns allowed suspension of reality for a little longer but eventually, the Ponzi scheme collapsed.3 Every rising market is driven by a new paradigm, every crash is the same as the last crash. In 2001, the Internet bubble burst. The NASDAQ index fell 80%. Eliot Spitzer and the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) belatedly took up the issue of the analysts and some were banned from the securities industry.


pages: 422 words: 131,666

Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back by Douglas Rushkoff

addicted to oil, affirmative action, Amazon Mechanical Turk, anti-globalists, banks create money, big-box store, Bretton Woods, car-free, Charles Lindbergh, colonial exploitation, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, computer age, corporate governance, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, death of newspapers, don't be evil, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, easy for humans, difficult for computers, financial innovation, Firefox, full employment, global village, Google Earth, greed is good, Howard Rheingold, income per capita, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, loss aversion, market bubble, market design, Marshall McLuhan, Milgram experiment, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, negative equity, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, peak oil, peer-to-peer, place-making, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, price stability, principal–agent problem, private military company, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, RFID, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, short selling, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, social software, Steve Jobs, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trade route, trickle-down economics, union organizing, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, Victor Gruen, white flight, working poor, Works Progress Administration, Y2K, young professional, zero-sum game

But as profits and stock indexes rose, the stars themselves seemed to be aligning, and systems theory was as good a way as any of justifying the same options packages that young programmers would have been embarrassed by just a few years before, when they were antiestablishment hackers. While computer programmers were finding jobs in Silicon Valley, social scientists and chaos mathematicians won contracts at corporate-funded think tanks. The Santa Fe Institute studied complexity theory, and applied its findings to the market. The “four Cs,” as they came to be known—complexity, chaos, catastrophe, and cybernetics—now dominated economic thought. Building on the work of Hayek, the new science of economics held that there was no global, central controller in an economy—only a rich interaction between competing agents. Order, such as it was, emerged naturally and spontaneously from the system—the same way life evolved from atoms or organization emerges from an anthill.


pages: 494 words: 132,975

Keynes Hayek: The Clash That Defined Modern Economics by Nicholas Wapshott

"Robert Solow", airport security, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, collective bargaining, complexity theory, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Gunnar Myrdal, if you build it, they will come, Isaac Newton, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, means of production, Mont Pelerin Society, mortgage debt, New Journalism, Northern Rock, Paul Samuelson, Philip Mirowski, price mechanism, pushing on a string, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trickle-down economics, War on Poverty, Yom Kippur War

MacDonald invited him to lunch three times between November and December 1929 to ask for advice, and appointed Keynes to his Economic Advisory Council. But it soon dawned on Keynes that the timorous MacDonald, for all his radical credentials, was no progressive and in many respects was far less “socialist” than he was. Keynes provided the Macmillan Committee with a bravura performance at which he expostulated at length, and with extraordinary eloquence, his complex theories in language the layman could understand. The chairman, Lord Macmillan, a passionless judge, was so enamored with Keynes’s hypnotic daily lectures that he told him, “We hardly notice the lapse of time when you are speaking.”43 For those who find the ideas in A Treatise hard to grasp, Keynes’s exposition of them in plain language makes for hugely enjoyable reading, not least when he explains the effects of a disparity between savings and investment by invoking the workings of an imaginary banana republic.44 Along with the principles established in A Treatise, Keynes described his views on a number of elements in the economy that would become important in advancing the Keynesian Revolution and would define the difference between his ideas and those of the Austrian School in the impending duel with Hayek.


Science Fictions: How Fraud, Bias, Negligence, and Hype Undermine the Search for Truth by Stuart Ritchie

Albert Einstein, anesthesia awareness, Bayesian statistics, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, citation needed, Climatic Research Unit, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, coronavirus, correlation does not imply causation, COVID-19, Covid-19, crowdsourcing, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Estimating the Reproducibility of Psychological Science, Growth in a Time of Debt, Kenneth Rogoff, l'esprit de l'escalier, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, Milgram experiment, mouse model, New Journalism, p-value, phenotype, placebo effect, profit motive, publication bias, publish or perish, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, replication crisis, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Stanford prison experiment, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Pinker, Thomas Bayes, twin studies, University of East Anglia

Once we correct all the problems described in this book, it’ll be time to move on to bigger concerns. Ultimately, we want to build our scientific findings into strong theories that explain the world and predict future observations. See Michael Muthukrishna & Joseph Henrich, ‘A Problem in Theory’, Nature Human Behaviour 3, no. 3 (Mar. 2019): pp. 221–29; https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-018-0522-1. But in a world where any given finding could fall to pieces after a replication attempt, complex theories could end up leading us down completely the wrong avenues. See Ian J. Deary, Looking Down on Human Intelligence: From Psychometrics to the Brain, Oxford Psychology Series, no. 34 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), particularly pp. 108–109. A more sublunary goal than theory-building, but still one we might want to consider, is triangulation: coming at a question from many different angles, using studies of different kinds with different underlying assumptions, checking whether they all converge on a single answer.


pages: 468 words: 150,206

The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World by John Robbins

Albert Einstein, carbon footprint, clean water, complexity theory, double helix, Exxon Valdez, food miles, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), laissez-faire capitalism, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, profit motive, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Rosa Parks, telemarketer

I'd advise people to consider it for its entertainment value."" IS THAT SO? "Eat Right For Your Type is the diet solution to staying healthy, living longer, and achieving your ideal weight." -Peter D'Adamo86 "Eat Right For Your Type is not only one of the most preposterous books on the market, but also one of the most frightening. It contains just enough scientificsounding nonsense, carefully woven into a complex theory, to actually seem convincing to the uninitiated. Based on his and his father's 'research' and observation of patients, D'Adamo has pieced together the outrageous hypothesis that blood type determines which foods an individual should or should not eat.... Browsing through what at first glance appears to be a fairly impressive list of references, we found none that seem to support a connection between diet and blood type....


pages: 550 words: 154,725

The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation by Jon Gertner

Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, Black Swan, business climate, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, complexity theory, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, Edward Thorp, horn antenna, Hush-A-Phone, information retrieval, invention of the telephone, James Watt: steam engine, Karl Jansky, knowledge economy, Leonard Kleinrock, Metcalfe’s law, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Picturephone, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Telecommunications Act of 1996, traveling salesman, undersea cable, uranium enrichment, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

THE MATH DEPARTMENT at Bell Laboratories had grown up around a single man, Thornton Fry, the son of a poor Ohio carpenter who was working on a PhD at the University of Wisconsin when Harold Arnold came through town on a recruiting trip in 1916. It was still a few years before the creation of Bell Labs, and Arnold, Western Electric’s research chief, was looking for a young mathematician who could assist the engineers with the complex theory that often accompanied their switching and transmission plans. In a job interview, Arnold asked Fry a number of questions to test his knowledge about the era’s most influential communications engineers. Did the young man know the work of Heaviside, Campbell, or Molina?17 Fry shook his head. He didn’t know a single one. Arnold must have nonetheless seen something encouraging in Fry. He gave him a job offer—$36 a week—and Fry immediately accepted.


pages: 523 words: 143,139

Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian, Tom Griffiths

4chan, Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, anthropic principle, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, Bayesian statistics, Berlin Wall, Bill Duvall, bitcoin, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, constrained optimization, cosmological principle, cryptocurrency, Danny Hillis, David Heinemeier Hansson, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, diversification, Donald Knuth, double helix, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, Firefox, first-price auction, Flash crash, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, global supply chain, Google Chrome, Henri Poincaré, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, knapsack problem, Lao Tzu, Leonard Kleinrock, linear programming, martingale, Nash equilibrium, natural language processing, NP-complete, P = NP, packet switching, Pierre-Simon Laplace, prediction markets, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Robert X Cringely, Sam Altman, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, sorting algorithm, spectrum auction, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, stochastic process, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Malthus, traveling salesman, Turing machine, urban planning, Vickrey auction, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

Part of the reason, he suspects, is just their “failure to communicate what they can add to philosophy’s conceptual arsenal.” He elaborates: One might think that, once we know something is computable, whether it takes 10 seconds or 20 seconds to compute is obviously the concern of engineers rather than philosophers. But that conclusion would not be so obvious, if the question were one of 10 seconds versus 101010 seconds! And indeed, in complexity theory, the quantitative gaps we care about are usually so vast that one has to consider them qualitative gaps as well. Think, for example, of the difference between reading a 400-page book and reading every possible such book, or between writing down a thousand-digit number and counting to that number. Computer science gives us a way to articulate the complexity of evaluating all possible social provisions for something like an injured shin.


pages: 537 words: 158,544

Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order by Parag Khanna

"Robert Solow", Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, Bartolomé de las Casas, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, central bank independence, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, complexity theory, continuation of politics by other means, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, different worldview, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, energy security, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, flex fuel, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, friendly fire, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, global supply chain, haute couture, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Islamic Golden Age, Khyber Pass, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, land reform, low cost airline, low skilled workers, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, Monroe Doctrine, Nelson Mandela, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open borders, open economy, Parag Khanna, Pax Mongolica, Pearl River Delta, pirate software, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, Potemkin village, price stability, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, reserve currency, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, South China Sea, special economic zone, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Thomas L Friedman, trade route, trickle-down economics, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce

See Gearoid O’Tuathail, Critical Geopolitics: The Politics of Writing Global Space (London: Routledge, 1996). 20. Arnold Toynbee, Civilization on Trial (London: Oxford University Press, 1948), 8–9. 21. Technically defined, globalization comprises all cross-border interactions—economic, political, or cultural. Peter Marber, “Globalization and Its Contents,” World Policy Journal, Winter 2004–05, 29. 22. For a discussion of system dynamics and complexity theory, see Robert Jervis, System Effects: Complexity in Political and Social Life (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1997), ch. 1. 23. See Michael M. Weinstein, ed., Globalization: What’s New? (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005). Weinstein, as editor, shows no bias in favor of any particular definition of globalization. 24. See Pietra Rivoli, The Travels of a T-shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Explores the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2005). 25.


pages: 553 words: 151,139

The Teeth of the Tiger by Tom Clancy

airport security, centralized clearinghouse, complexity theory, forensic accounting, illegal immigration, Occam's razor, sensible shoes

The Marines were now investing considerable time, money, and effort in learning city fighting, and the hardest part of it was avoiding civilians, women with kids in strollers-even knowing that some of those women had weapons stashed next to little Johnny, and that they'd love to see the back of a United States Marine, say two or three meters away, just to be sure of bullet placement. Playing by the rules had its limitations. But for Brian that was a thing of the past. No, he and his brother were playing the game by the enemy's rules, and as long as the enemy didn't know it would be a profitable game. How many lives might they have saved already by taking down a banker, a recruiter, and a courier? The problem was that you could never know. That was complexity theory as applied to real life, and it was a priori impossible. Nor would they ever know what good they'd be doing and what lives they might be saving when they got this 56MoHa bastard. But not being able to quantify it didn't mean it wasn't real, like that child killer his brother had dispatched in Alabama. They were doing the Lord's work, even if the Lord was not an accountant. At work in the field of the Lord, Brian thought.


pages: 533 words: 145,887

Schismatrix Plus by Bruce Sterling

back-to-the-land, complexity theory, gravity well, industrial robot, informal economy, life extension, plutocrats, Plutocrats, the map is not the territory, the scientific method

A tall gangling boy in baggy clothing was running headlong beside the woven-wire fence surrounding the Sours, tugging a large box kite into flight. “You’re not the first I’ve cured,” Juliano said as they walked toward it. “I always said my Superbright students had promise. Some of them work here. A pilot project. I want to show you what they’ve done. They’ve been tackling botany from a perspective of Prigoginic complexity theory. New species, advanced chlorophylls, good solid constructive work.” “Wait,” said Lindsay. “I want to talk to this youngster.” He had noticed the boy s kite. Its elaborate paint job showed a nude man crammed stiflingly within the rigid planes of the box kite’s lifting surfaces. A woman in mud-smeared corduroy leaned over the woven fence, waving a pair of shears. “Margaret! Come see!” “I’ll be back for you,” Juliano said.


pages: 742 words: 166,595

The Barbell Prescription: Strength Training for Life After 40 by Jonathon Sullivan, Andy Baker

complexity theory, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, experimental subject, Gary Taubes, indoor plumbing, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral panic, phenotype, publication bias, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), the scientific method, Y Combinator

I learned that what you do for training needs to be separate from what you do for pleasure. I enjoy hiking, walking, ocean swimming, riding my bicycle, that sort of things; but I have no illusion that these activities will make me stronger. They may be necessary, but for other reasons than the attainment of strength. I just consider walking necessary therapy, like sleeping. It also happened that part of my research in risk overlaps with complexity theory. The first thing one learns about complex systems is that they are not a sum of body parts: a system is a collection of interactions, not an addition of individual responses. Your body cannot be trained with specific and local muscle exercises. When you try to lift a heavy object, you recruit every muscle in your body, though some more than others. You also produce a variety of opaque interactions between these muscles.


The Art of Computer Programming by Donald Ervin Knuth

Brownian motion, complexity theory, correlation coefficient, Donald Knuth, Eratosthenes, G4S, Georg Cantor, information retrieval, Isaac Newton, iterative process, John von Neumann, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, Menlo Park, NP-complete, P = NP, Paul Erdős, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, RAND corporation, random walk, sorting algorithm, Turing machine, Y2K

Symbolic Logic 58 A993), 1102-1103] refined the methods of that paper by introducing and analyzing Algorithm L. Many other authors have contributed to the theory — notably Impagliazzo, Levin, Luby, and Hastad, who showed [STOC 21 A989), 12-24; 22 A990), 395-404] that pseudorandom sequences can be constructed from any one-way function — but such results are not surveyed here because they apply primarily to abstract complexity theory rather than to practical random number generation. The practical implications of theoretical work on pseudorandomness were first investigated empirically by P. L'Ecuyer and R. Proulx, Proc. Winter Simulation Conf. 22 A989), 467-476. If the numbers are not random, they are at least higgledy-piggledy. — GEORGE MARSAGLIA A984) EXERCISES 1. [10] Can a periodic sequence be equidistributed? 2. [10] Consider the periodic binary sequence 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, ....

In this section we have barely scratched the surface of a very large subject in which many beautiful theories are emerging. Considerably more comprehensive treatments can be found in the books Computational Com- Complexity of Algebraic and Numeric Problems by A. Borodin and I. Munro (New York: American Elsevier, 1975); Polynomial and Matrix Computations 1 by D. Bini and V. Pan (Boston: Birkhauser, 1994); Algebraic Complexity Theory by P. Biirgisser, M. Clausen, and M. Amin Shokrollahi (Heidelberg: Springer, 1997). EXERCISES . 1. [15] What is a good way to evaluate an "odd" polynomial / \ 2n+l , In—1 , , o U(x) - U2n+lX + +U2n-\X -\ \-UiX! 2. [M20] Instead of computing u(x + xo) by steps HI and H2 as in the text, discuss the application of Homer's rule B) when polynomial multiplication and addition are used instead of arithmetic in the domain of coefficients. 3. [20] Give a method analogous to Homer's rule, for evaluating a polynomial in two variables Yli+ ¦<nUiJx%y:''¦ (This polynomial has (n + l)(n + 2)/2 coefficients, and its "total degree" is n.)


pages: 654 words: 191,864

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, availability heuristic, Bayesian statistics, Black Swan, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, choice architecture, cognitive bias, complexity theory, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, demand response, endowment effect, experimental economics, experimental subject, Exxon Valdez, feminist movement, framing effect, hedonic treadmill, hindsight bias, index card, information asymmetry, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, libertarian paternalism, loss aversion, medical residency, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, nudge unit, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, pre–internet, price anchoring, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Shai Danziger, Supply of New York City Cabdrivers, The Chicago School, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, transaction costs, union organizing, Walter Mischel, Yom Kippur War

Because Bernoulli’s model lacks the idea of a reference point, expected utility theory does not represent the obvious fact that the outcome that is good for Anthony is bad for Betty. His model could explain Anthony’s risk aversion, but it cannot explain Betty’s risk-seeking preference for the gamble, a behavior that is often observed in entrepreneurs and in generals when all their options are bad. All this is rather obvious, isn’t it? One could easily imagine Bernoulli himself constructing similar examples and developing a more complex theory to accommodate them; for some reason, he did not. One could also imagine colleagues of his time disagreeing with him, or later scholars objecting as they read his essay; for some reason, they did not either. The mystery is how a conception of the utility of outcomes that is vulnerable to such obvious counterexamples survived for so long. I can explain it only by a weakness of the scholarly mind that I have often observed in myself.


pages: 537 words: 200,923

City: Urbanism and Its End by Douglas W. Rae

agricultural Revolution, barriers to entry, business climate, City Beautiful movement, complexity theory, creative destruction, desegregation, edge city, ghettoisation, Gunnar Myrdal, income per capita, informal economy, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, manufacturing employment, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, Peter Calthorpe, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Saturday Night Live, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, urban planning, urban renewal, War on Poverty, white flight, Works Progress Administration

Contact with strangers, handled with responses that allow civil cooperation well short of personal intimacy, is at the heart of Jane Jacobs’ justly celebrated work on urbanism. See Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (New York: Random House, 1961). See also Lyn H. Lofland, A World of Strangers (New York: Basic Books, 1973). For a more developed theoretical treatment of contact with diversity, see Richard Sennett, The Uses of Disorder (New York: Norton, 1970). Gerald Frug has constructed an inspiring and complex theory of urban change that hinges to a considerable degree on overcoming the sorting processes of late twentieth-century urban regions. See Frug, City Making: Building Cities Without Building Walls (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999). 46. By way of counterpoint, the explicit idea of urbanism was quite commonly used in a positive, normative vein. Thus, in 1934, Columbia University established an Institute of Urbanism.


pages: 789 words: 207,744

The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity's Search for Meaning by Jeremy Lent

"Robert Solow", Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Atahualpa, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, complexity theory, conceptual framework, dematerialisation, demographic transition, different worldview, Doomsday Book, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, failed state, Firefox, Francisco Pizarro, Georg Cantor, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of gunpowder, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johannes Kepler, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, mandelbrot fractal, mass immigration, megacity, Metcalfe's law, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, peak oil, Pierre-Simon Laplace, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Kurzweil, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Scientific racism, scientific worldview, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, social intelligence, South China Sea, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, technological singularity, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, ultimatum game, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, wikimedia commons

In neither case was Euclid or Newton proved wrong; rather, the scope of their laws, once thought to be universal, was constrained by new findings.58 Some mathematicians point out that, in spite of its “unreasonable effectiveness,” there are domains where mathematics is far less effective, particularly those that exhibit self-organized behavior, such as biological systems, human interactions, weather patterns, and stock market fluctuations. Pioneering branches of modern science, such as systems biology and complexity theory, use mathematics to investigate these domains while rejecting the notion of an eternally fixed mathematical truth waiting to be discovered.59 The question of whether mathematics leads to the ultimate Truth has profound implications for how humanity can find meaning from the universe. If, instead of being the gateway to “the mind of God,” mathematics is a specific language constructed by the human mind, there may be other constructions of meaning offering alternative truths that are no less valid.


pages: 828 words: 205,338

Write Great Code, Volume 2 by Randall Hyde

complexity theory, Donald Knuth, G4S, locality of reference, NP-complete, premature optimization

For this reason, the optimization process is usually a case of compromise management, where you make tradeoffs and sacrifice certain subgoals (for example, running certain sections of the code a little slower) in order to create a reasonable result (for example, creating a program that doesn’t consume too much memory). 5.4.4.2 Optimization’s Effect on Compile Time You might think that it’s possible to choose a single goal (for example, highest possible performance) and optimize strictly for that. However, the compiler must also be capable of producing an executable result in a reasonable amount of time. The optimization process is an example of what complexity theory calls an NP-complete problem. These are problems that are, as far as we know, intractable. That is, a guaranteed correct result cannot be produced (for example, an optimal version of a program) without computing all possibilities and choosing the best result from those possibilities. Unfortunately, the time generally required to solve an NP-complete problem increases exponentially with the size of the input, which in the case of compiler optimization means roughly the number of lines of source code.


pages: 691 words: 203,236

Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration and the Future of White Majorities by Eric Kaufmann

4chan, affirmative action, Amazon Mechanical Turk, anti-communist, anti-globalists, augmented reality, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, British Empire, centre right, Chelsea Manning, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, deindustrialization, demographic transition, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, first-past-the-post, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Haight Ashbury, illegal immigration, immigration reform, imperial preference, income inequality, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, liberal capitalism, longitudinal study, Lyft, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral panic, Nate Silver, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, open borders, phenotype, postnationalism / post nation state, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Republic of Letters, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Steven Pinker, the built environment, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, transcontinental railway, twin studies, uber lyft, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Washington Consensus, white flight, working-age population, World Values Survey, young professional

The recent liberalization of attitudes to homosexuality in America is a case in point: liberalization made people aware that attitudes were changing, which convinced fence-sitters, who in turn shifted the cultural landscape, which helped change the minds of other waverers, and so on. Psychological authoritarians who resolutely oppose homosexuality will nonetheless accept its legitimacy if this is viewed as the ‘normal’ social consensus. Complexity theory tells us that large changes may make no difference while small changes, the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back, do. Likewise, small shifts in cultural sensibilities at the margins can produce sudden swings in cultural mood. Consider the anti-racism norm as it pertains to immigration. The rise in immigration throughout the 2000s initially seemed to have little effect on the location of the anti-racism boundary in public life.


pages: 829 words: 229,566

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein

1960s counterculture, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bilateral investment treaty, British Empire, business climate, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, Climategate, cognitive dissonance, coherent worldview, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, crony capitalism, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, different worldview, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, energy security, energy transition, equal pay for equal work, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, financial deregulation, food miles, Food sovereignty, global supply chain, hydraulic fracturing, ice-free Arctic, immigration reform, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet Archive, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jones Act, Kickstarter, light touch regulation, market fundamentalism, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, new economy, Nixon shock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open borders, patent troll, Pearl River Delta, planetary scale, post-oil, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rana Plaza, renewable energy transition, Ronald Reagan, smart grid, special economic zone, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, structural adjustment programs, Ted Kaczynski, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, wages for housework, walkable city, Washington Consensus, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

These types of systems have emergent properties that simply cannot be predicted. We all know this! Yet proponents of geoengineering research leave that out of the discussion.”22 Indeed in my time spent among the would-be geoengineers, I have been repeatedly struck by how the hard-won lessons about humility before nature that have reshaped modern science, particularly the fields of chaos and complexity theory, do not appear to have penetrated this particular bubble. On the contrary, the Geoclique is crammed with overconfident men prone to complimenting each other on their fearsome brainpower. At one end you have Bill Gates, the movement’s sugar daddy, who once remarked that it was difficult for him to decide which was more important, his work on computer software or inoculations, because they both rank “right up there with the printing press and fire.”


pages: 734 words: 244,010

The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution by Richard Dawkins

agricultural Revolution, Alfred Russel Wallace, complexity theory, delayed gratification, double helix, Drosophila, Haight Ashbury, invention of writing, lateral thinking, Louis Pasteur, mass immigration, nuclear winter, out of africa, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steven Pinker, the High Line, urban sprawl

It is not a trivial consideration. We are capable of walking on all fours like a typical mammal, but it is uncomfortable: hard work, because of our altered body proportions. Those proportional changes which now make us feel comfortable on two legs originally came about, Kingdon suggests, in the service of a minor shift in food habits -- to squat feeding. There is much more in Jonathan Kingdon's subtle and complex theory, but I will now recommend his book, Lowly Origin, and move on. My own slightly way-out theory of bipedality is very different but not incompatible with his. Indeed, most of the theories of human bipedality are mutually compatible, with the potential to assist rather than oppose one another. As in the case of the enlargement of the human brain, my tentative suggestion is that bipedality may have evolved through sexual selection, so again I postpone the matter to the Peacock's Tale.


Global Catastrophic Risks by Nick Bostrom, Milan M. Cirkovic

affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, anthropic principle, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, availability heuristic, Bill Joy: nanobots, Black Swan, carbon-based life, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer age, coronavirus, corporate governance, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, death of newspapers, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, distributed generation, Doomsday Clock, Drosophila, endogenous growth, Ernest Rutherford, failed state, feminist movement, framing effect, friendly AI, Georg Cantor, global pandemic, global village, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hindsight bias, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, Kevin Kelly, Kuiper Belt, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, P = NP, peak oil, phenotype, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, scientific worldview, Singularitarianism, social intelligence, South China Sea, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, Tunguska event, twin studies, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, War on Poverty, Westphalian system, Y2K

Such log-log negative linear plots correspond to inverse power probability density functions (pdfs) ( Sornette, 2004), and this behaviour is quite typical of many complex systems as popularized in the book Ubiquity by Mark Buchanan (see Suggestions for further reading). 8 . 1 0 . 3 Ext re m e value statistics In extreme value statistics similar regularities have emerged in the most surprising of areas - the extreme values we might have historically treated as awkward outliers. Can it be coincidence that complexity theory predicts inverse power law behaviour, extreme value theory predicts an inverse power pdf, and that empirically we find physical extremes of tides, rainfall, wind, and large losses in insurance showing pareto (inverse power pdf) distribution behaviour? 8. 1 1 Conclusion: against the gods? Global catastrophic risks are extensive, severe, and unprecedented. I nsurance and business generally are not geared up to handling risks of this scale or type.


pages: 904 words: 246,845

A History of the Bible: The Story of the World's Most Influential Book by John Barton

complexity theory, feminist movement, invention of the printing press, Johannes Kepler, lateral thinking, liberation theology, Republic of Letters, source of truth, the market place, trade route

Even comparatively conservative readers are not always convinced that the stories are historical, and are sometimes willing to see them more as parables or edifying tales rather than as history – though there are still many who continue to take an interest in supposed enormous fish in the Mediterranean, capable of swallowing a man. Current scholarly study of the narrative books is polarized. Some scholars, especially in the German-speaking world, though also in North America and Israel, still concentrate on questions of origin and development, producing highly complex theories about the way oral and written materials have come together to form the books as we now have them.27 Others, particularly in North America, are much more interested in literary aspects of these texts, and tend to read them synchronically, that is, as finished wholes and as great literature, without any regard to questions of origin or development.28 In neither camp is there anything like consensus on the most fruitful conclusions these two approaches can achieve.


Growth: From Microorganisms to Megacities by Vaclav Smil

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, agricultural Revolution, air freight, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, autonomous vehicles, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, colonial rule, complexity theory, coronavirus, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, endogenous growth, energy transition, epigenetics, happiness index / gross national happiness, hydraulic fracturing, hydrogen economy, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, Law of Accelerating Returns, longitudinal study, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, mass immigration, McMansion, megacity, megastructure, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, old age dependency ratio, optical character recognition, out of africa, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, Productivity paradox, profit motive, purchasing power parity, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Republic of Letters, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South China Sea, technoutopianism, the market place, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, trade route, urban sprawl, Vilfredo Pareto, yield curve

Human height since 1820. In J. L. van Zanden et al., eds., How Was Life? Global Well-Being since 1820, Paris: OECD, pp. 117–137. Bates, K. T., et al. 2015. Downsizing a giant: Re-evaluating Dreadnoughtus body mass. Biology Letters 11:20150215. Batt, R. A. 1980. Influences on Animal Growth and Development. London: Edward Arnold. Batty, M. 2006. Rank clocks. Nature 444:592–596. Batty, M. 2013. An outline of complexity theory. http://www.spatialcomplexity.info/files/2013/02/Complexity-Lecture-1.pdf. Bazzaz, F., and W. Sombroek, eds. 1996. Global Climate Change and Agricultural Production. Chichester: Wiley. BCRC (Beef Cattle Research Council). 2016. Optimizing feedlot feed efficiency. http://www.beefresearch.ca/research-topic.cfm/optimizing-feedlot-feed-efficiency-8. Beard, A. S., and M. J. Blaser. 2001. The ecology of height.


pages: 893 words: 282,706

The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales From a Strange Time by Hunter S. Thompson

anti-communist, back-to-the-land, buy low sell high, complexity theory, computer age, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Francisco Pizarro, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, job automation, land reform, Mason jar, New Journalism, non-fiction novel, Norman Mailer, Ronald Reagan, urban decay, urban renewal, urban sprawl

The problem becomes more and more serious as the stakes get higher, and by the time a candidate has survived enough primaries to convince himself and his staff that they will all be eating their lunches in the White House Mess for the next four years, he is long past the point of having either the time or the inclination to treat any journalist who doesn't already know him personally as anything but just another face in the campaign "press corps." There are many complex theories about the progressive stages of a presidential campaign, but for the moment let's say there are three: Stage One is the period between the decision to run for president and the morning after the New Hampshire primary when the field is still crowded, the staff organizations are still loose and relaxed, and most candidates are still hungry for all the help they can get -- especially media exposure, so they can get their names in the Gallup Poll; Stage Two is the "winnowing out," the separating of the sheep from the goats, when the two or three survivors of the early primaries begin looking like long-distance runners with a realistic shot at the party nomination; and Stage Three begins whenever the national media, the public opinion polls and Mayor Daley of Chicago decide that a candidate has picked up enough irreversible momentum to begin looking like at least a probable nominee, and a possible next president.


pages: 961 words: 302,613

The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin by H. W. Brands

always be closing, British Empire, business intelligence, colonial rule, complexity theory, Copley Medal, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, music of the spheres, Republic of Letters, scientific mainstream, South Sea Bubble, Thomas Malthus, trade route

But plenty of history’s commonplace ideas—from the flatness of the earth to the faster falling of heavy objects—had proven, on closer examination, to be wrong; what remained in the puzzle of the lightning was for the electrical conjecture to be tested. This was precisely what Franklin proposed to do. In April 1749 Franklin wrote a long letter to John Mitchell, a colleague of Peter Collinson and likewise a fellow of the Royal Society. In this letter he put forward a complex theory of lightning with a fairly simple essence: that particles of water in thunderclouds became electrically charged by their wind-borne jostling, and that lightning was nothing more than the discharge of the pent-up electrical force. This theory supported certain recommendations, which in turn comported with observation. For instance, a person caught out in a thunderstorm ought not to seek shelter beneath a lone tree, for the tree would tend to channel the electrical discharge to the ground—and to whoever happened to be at the base of the tree.


Debt of Honor by Tom Clancy

airport security, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, buttonwood tree, complexity theory, cuban missile crisis, defense in depth, job satisfaction, low earth orbit, margin call, New Journalism, oil shock, Silicon Valley, tulip mania, undersea cable

Had he known that fact earlier in the day, he might have sought permission to give in on the point, but he hadn't and he didn't. To change now would be an admission of error, and Nagumo didn't like to do that any more than anyone else in the world. He decided that he'd suggest an improved offer for licensing rights, instead—not knowing that by failing to accept a personal loss of face, he'd bring closer something that he would have tried anything to avoid. 5—Complexity Theory Things rarely happen for a single reason. Even the cleverest and most skillful manipulators recognize that their real art lies in making use of that which they cannot predict. For Raizo Yamata the knowledge was usually a comfort. He usually knew what to do when the unexpected took place—but not always. "It has been a troublesome time, that is true, but not the worst we have experienced," one of his guests pronounced.


The Sum of All Fears by Tom Clancy

accounting loophole / creative accounting, airport security, Benoit Mandelbrot, British Empire, colonial exploitation, complexity theory, cuban missile crisis, demand response, financial independence, index card, mandelbrot fractal, trade route, uranium enrichment

They all learned eventually that intelligence agencies pay poorly (except for CIA, which rewarded treason with real money), but by then it was always too late to turn back. From Walker the Russians had learned how American cipher machines were designed and how their keying systems worked. The basics of the cipher machines hadn't really changed all that much in the preceding ten years. Improved technology had made them more efficient and much more reliable than their stepping-switch and pin-disc ancestors, but they all worked on a mathematical area called Complexity Theory, which had been developed by telephone engineers sixty years earlier to predict the working of large switching systems. And the Russians had some of the best mathematical theorists in the world. It was believed by many that knowledge of the structure of cipher machines might enable a really clever mathematician to crack a whole system. Had some unknown Russian made a theoretical breakthrough?


The Art of Computer Programming: Sorting and Searching by Donald Ervin Knuth

card file, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, correlation coefficient, Donald Knuth, double entry bookkeeping, Eratosthenes, Fermat's Last Theorem, G4S, information retrieval, iterative process, John von Neumann, linked data, locality of reference, Menlo Park, Norbert Wiener, NP-complete, p-value, Paul Erdős, RAND corporation, refrigerator car, sorting algorithm, Vilfredo Pareto, Yogi Berra, Zipf's Law

Seward introduced the ideas of distribution counting and replacement selection; he showed that the first run in a random permutation has an average length of e — 1; and he analyzed external sorting as well as internal sorting, on various types of bulk memories as well as tapes. An even more noteworthy thesis—a Ph.D. thesis in fact — was written by Howard B. Demuth in 1956 ["Electronic Data Sorting" (Stanford University, October 1956), 92 pages; IEEE Trans. C-34 A985), 296-310]. This work helped 388 SORTING 5.5 to lay the foundations of computational complexity theory. It considered three abstract models of the sorting problem, using cyclic, linear, and random-access memories; and optimal or near-optimal methods were developed for each model. (See exercise 5.3.4-68.) Although no practical consequences flowed immediately from Demuth's thesis, it established important ideas about how to link theory with practice. Thus the history of sorting has been closely associated with many "firsts" in computing: the first data-processing machines, the first stored programs, the first software, the first buffering methods, the first work on algorithmic analysis and computational complexity.


pages: 1,386 words: 379,115

Judas Unchained by Peter F. Hamilton

car-free, complexity theory, forensic accounting, gravity well, megacity, megastructure, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, planetary scale, trade route, trickle-down economics

‘If you believe the source of those memories,’ Bradley said. ‘We were with the Bose motile for weeks,’ Morton said. ‘For what it’s worth, I believe it was a genuine copy of Dudley Bose’s memories and personality.’ ‘But you don’t know that for certain.’ ‘If it’s not a copy of Bose, then what the hell is it?’ ‘Boys, boys,’ The Cat said. ‘Please. The smell of testosterone is getting foul back here. This is all sounding like a very dull lecture on complexity theory to me. You don’t have anything like enough real evidence to point the finger at any of them. If it was obvious who the Starflyer agent was, then we’d have realized by now.’ Despite his irritation at her tone, Stig had to admit she’d got a point. There was some memory about The Cat worrying away at the back of his brain, something he’d heard back in the Commonwealth. Her crimes had given her widespread notoriety; she’d committed them a long time ago, long enough for them to have passed into urban lore.