It is about the questions that fascinate me and others in the complex systems community, past and present: How is it that those systems in nature we call complex and adaptive—brains, insect colonies, the immune system, cells, the global economy, biological evolution—produce such complex and adaptive behavior from underlying, simple rules? How can interdependent yet self-interested organisms come together to cooperate on solving problems that affect their survival as a whole? And are there any general principles or laws that apply to such phenomena? Can life, intelligence, and adaptation be seen as mechanistic and computational? If so, could we build truly intelligent and living machines? And if we could, would we want to? People in the field of complex systems talk about many vague and imprecise notions such as spontaneous order, self-organization, and emergence (as well as “complexity” itself ). A central purpose of this book is to provide a clearer picture of what these people are talking about and to ask whether such interdisciplinary notions and methods are likely to lead to useful science and to new ideas for addressing the most difficult problems faced by humans, such as the spread of disease, the unequal distribution of the world’s natural and economic resources, the proliferation of weapons and conflicts, and the effects of our society on the environment and climate.
Research Professor on society, culture, art, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, neuroscience, autopoiesis, self-organization, complexity, systems, networks, rhizomes, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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