The Hidden Fragility of Complex Systems – Consequences of Change, Changing Consequences

“In short, fragility emerges due to increasing structural correlation that spans system degrees of freedom and system degrees of abstraction. Fragility is hidden from us because it is emergent.”

Short-term survival and an exuberant plunge into building our future are generating a new kind of unintended consequence—hidden fragility. This is a direct effect of the sophistication and structural complexity of the socio-technical systems humans create. It is inevitable. And so the challenge is, How much can we understand and predict about these systems and about the social dynamics that lead to their construction?

Faced with the increasingly complex socio-technical systems that we collectively build, it is perhaps not hopeful to conclude that fragility is endemic and, worse, that the process which creates it, hides it. Nonetheless, I am hopeful, since the concepts and techniques of complex systems are up to the task of understanding and analyzing hidden fragility.


Read also – A Complexity Manifesto


About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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