complexity theory

94 results back to index

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, 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, labour mobility, 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: 265 words: 15,515

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


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.

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 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, distributed ledger, diversification, double entry bookkeeping, 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, labour market flexibility, large denomination, liquidity trap, London Whale, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, 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: 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, 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, labour mobility, 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, 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


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, 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,, 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, 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-value, RAND corporation, Richard Feynman, 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, John von Neumann, linear programming, new economy, NP-complete, Occam's razor, P = NP, Paul Erdős, Richard Feynman, 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).

pages: 297 words: 98,506

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, V2 rocket

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.

pages: 329 words: 88,954

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, 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, 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.

pages: 339 words: 57,031

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, 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, 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, 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.

pages: 370 words: 94,968

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, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Skype, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, 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.

pages: 913 words: 265,787

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, Henri Poincaré, income per capita, information retrieval, invention of agriculture, invention of the wheel, John von Neumann, lake wobegon effect, 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, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Saturday Night Live, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, sexual politics, 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: 313 words: 84,312

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


1960s counterculture, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, bioinformatics,, call centre, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, complexity theory, congestion charging, death of newspapers, Debian, digital Maoism, 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, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lone genius, M-Pesa, Mark Shuttleworth, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, microcredit, 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:// 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 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’,

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, 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: 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, 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: 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, life extension, moral panic, Murray Gell-Mann, out of africa, Richard Feynman, 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, 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.

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


Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, 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, labour market flexibility, late capitalism, 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,, 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 Death and Life of Great American Cities, 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.

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 intelligence,, call centre, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, David Brooks, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter,, 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, Isaac Newton, 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, Mikhail Gorbachev, 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, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Rodney Brooks, 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: 829 words: 186,976

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


airport security, availability heuristic, Bayesian statistics, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, 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,, 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, haute cuisine, Henri Poincaré, high batting average, housing crisis, income per capita, index fund, 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, 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,, 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, 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: 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, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, 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: 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, 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: 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, 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: 264 words: 90,379

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, medical malpractice, medical residency, Menlo Park, 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?

pages: 372 words: 89,876

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 process, call centre, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, complexity theory, creative destruction, David Heinemeier Hansson,, factory automation, Googley, index card, industrial cluster, interchangeable parts, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, loose coupling, 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, 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, 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.

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: 685 words: 203,949

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,, 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, 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, Skype, Snapchat, 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: 843 words: 223,858

The Rise of the Network Society by Manuel Castells


Apple II, Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Noyce, borderless world, British Empire, 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, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, laissez-faire capitalism, Leonard Kleinrock, 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: 662 words: 180,546

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


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, 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, 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, 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 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.

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 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: 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, 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, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, 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: 298 words: 43,745

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,, first-price auction, information asymmetry, information retrieval, intangible asset, inventory management, life extension, linear programming, 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.

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, 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: 497 words: 144,283

Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization by Parag Khanna


1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, 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, diversification, Doha Development Round, edge city, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy security, 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, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, LNG terminal, low cost carrier, 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: 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, 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, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, 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.

pages: 472 words: 117,093

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

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, book scanning, British Empire, 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, distributed ledger, double helix, Elon Musk,, Erik Brynjolfsson, 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, 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, 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 L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, transportation-network company, traveling salesman, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, 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: 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.

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, 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.”

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, Metcalfe’s law, 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: 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, 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, 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: 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, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, 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: 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: 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, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, Richard Feynman, 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: 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, 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,, 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, 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, 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.

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: 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,, 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.

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, 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.

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)).

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 process, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, clockwork universe, collapse of Lehman Brothers, complexity theory, conceptual framework, credit crunch, discounted cash flows,, 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.

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, 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: 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, nuclear winter, packet switching, RAND corporation, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, trade route, 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: 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, butterfly effect, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, 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,, 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, 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, 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: 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, 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: 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: 411 words: 108,119

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


Andrei Shleifer, availability heuristic, bank run, Black Swan, 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: 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, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley,, 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: 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, 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: 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, Google Glasses, iterative process, linked data, mouse model, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, race to the bottom, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, speech recognition, stem cell, Steven Pinker, supply-chain management, Turing machine, 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: 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, peak oil, 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.

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, 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, 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: 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, 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: 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, lone genius, music of the spheres, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Saturday Night Live, 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: 370 words: 102,823

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


3D printing, balance sheet recession, banking crisis, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Bretton Woods, business climate, 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, 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: 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, 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.”

The Future of Money by Bernard Lietaer


agricultural Revolution, banks create money, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, 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, 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).

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 intelligence, carbon-based life, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, David Heinemeier Hansson, declining real wages, deliberate practice, discrete time, 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, 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: 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, 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: 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, 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, 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: 403 words: 111,119

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

3D printing, Asian financial crisis, bank run, basic income, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, Buckminster Fuller, 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, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart,, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, 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, 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, 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: 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, 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: 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, 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: 468 words: 150,206

Food Revolution, The: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World by John Robbins, Dean Ornish M. D.


Albert Einstein, carbon footprint, clean water, complexity theory, double helix, Exxon Valdez, food miles, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), laissez-faire capitalism, 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, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Telecommunications Act of 1996, traveling salesman, 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: 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 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: 481 words: 125,946

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


3D printing, 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, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, information trail, Internet of things, invention of writing, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, 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, 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: 553 words: 151,139

The Teeth of the Tiger by Tom Clancy


airport security, book scanning, 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: 422 words: 131,666

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


affirmative action, Amazon Mechanical Turk, banks create money, big-box store, Bretton Woods, car-free, 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, 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: 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, 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: 494 words: 132,975

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


airport security, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, British Empire, 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, 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.

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, 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, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, 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, 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: 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, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, 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, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, sorting algorithm, spectrum auction, 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


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, 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, knowledge economy, land reform, low skilled workers, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, Monroe Doctrine, 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: 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.

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, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, 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.

The Art of Computer Programming by Donald Ervin Knuth


Brownian motion, complexity theory, correlation coefficient, Donald Knuth, Eratosthenes, 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, 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, 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: 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, Louis Pasteur, mass immigration, nuclear winter, out of africa, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, Richard Feynman, 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.

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, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, crony capitalism, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, 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, 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, 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, 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: 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, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, manufacturing employment, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, 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: 828 words: 205,338

Write Great Code, Volume 2 by Randall Hyde


complexity theory, Donald Knuth, 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). 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.

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?

Debt of Honor by Tom Clancy


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

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.

pages: 1,386 words: 379,115

Judas Unchained by Peter F. Hamilton

car-free, complexity theory, forensic accounting, gravity well, megacity, megastructure, 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.