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Self-Repair Networks: A Mechanism Design (by Yoshiteru Ishida)

This book describes the struggle to introduce a mechanism that enables next-generation information systems to maintain themselves. Our generation observed the birth and growth of information systems, and the Internet in particular. Surprisingly information systems are quite different from conventional (energy, material-intensive) artificial systems, and rather resemble biological systems (information-intensive systems). Many artificial systems are designed based on (Newtonian) physics assuming that every element obeys simple and static rules; however, the experience of the Internet suggests a different way of designing where growth cannot be controlled but self-organized with autonomous and selfish agents. This book suggests using game theory, a mechanism design in particular, for designing next-generation information systems which will be self-organized by collective acts with autonomous components. The challenge of mapping a probability to time appears repeatedly in many forms throughout this book.

The book contains interdisciplinary research encompassing game theory, complex systems, reliability theory and particle physics. All devoted to its central theme: what happens if systems self-repair themselves?

 

 

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Sean Carroll's upcoming complexity-related book The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself

Sean Carroll's upcoming complexity-related book The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself | CxBooks | Scoop.it
Physicist Sean Carroll has a forthcoming book entitled The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself (Dutton, May 10, 2016)
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The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution (by David Wootton)

The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution

~ David Wootton (author) More about this product
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A companion to such acclaimed works as The Age of Wonder, A Clockwork Universe, and Darwin’s Ghosts—a groundbreaking examination of the greatest event in history, the Scientific Revolution, and how it came to change the way we understand ourselves and our world.

We live in a world transformed by scientific discovery. Yet today, science and its practitioners have come under political attack. In this fascinating history spanning continents and centuries, historian David Wootton offers a lively defense of science, revealing why the Scientific Revolution was truly the greatest event in our history.

The Invention of Science goes back five hundred years in time to chronicle this crucial transformation, exploring the factors that led to its birth and the people who made it happen. Wootton argues that the Scientific Revolution was actually five separate yet concurrent events that developed independently, but came to intersect and create a new worldview. Here are the brilliant iconoclasts—Galileo, Copernicus, Brahe, Newton, and many more curious minds from across Europe—whose studies of the natural world challenged centuries of religious orthodoxy and ingrained superstition.

From gunpowder technology, the discovery of the new world, movable type printing, perspective painting, and the telescope to the practice of conducting experiments, the laws of nature, and the concept of the fact, Wotton shows how these discoveries codified into a social construct and a system of knowledge. Ultimately, he makes clear the link between scientific discovery and the rise of industrialization—and the birth of the modern world we know.

 

 

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Simplicity in Vision: A Multidisciplinary Account of Perceptual Organization (by Peter A. van der Helm)

Perceptual organization is the neuro-cognitive process that enables us to perceive scenes as structured wholes consisting of objects arranged in space. Simplicity in Vision explores the intriguing idea that these perceived wholes are given by the simplest organizations of the scenes. Peter A. van der Helm presents a truly multidisciplinary approach to answer fundamental questions such as: Are simplest organizations sufficiently reliable to guide our actions? What is the nature of the regularities that are exploited to arrive at simplest organizations? To account for the high combinatorial capacity and speed of the perceptual organization process, he proposes transparallel processing by hyperstrings. This special form of distributed processing not only gives classical computers the extraordinary computing power that seemed reserved for quantum computers, but also explains how neuronal synchronization relates to flexible self-organizing cognitive architecture in between the relatively rigid level of neurons and the still elusive level of consciousness.

 

 

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Cybernetics: From Past to Future

Cybernetics: From Past to Future | CxBooks | Scoop.it
This book is a concise navigator across the history of cybernetics, its state-of-the-art and prospects. The evolution of cybernetics (from N. Wiener to the present day) and the reasons of its ups and downs are presented. The correlation of cybernetics with the philosophy and methodology of control, as well as with system theory and systems analysis is clearly demonstrated. The book presents a detailed analysis focusing on the modern trends of research in cybernetics. A new development stage of cybernetics (the so-called cybernetics 2.0) is discussed as a science on general regularities of systems organization and control. The author substantiates the topicality of elaborating a new branch of cybernetics, i.e. organization theory which studies an organization as a property, process and system. The book is intended for theoreticians and practitioners, as well as for students, postgraduates and doctoral candidates. In the first place, the target audience includes tutors and lecturers preparing courses on cybernetics, control theory and systems science.


Cybernetics: From Past to Future

D.A. Novikov

Springer

https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=LbQvCwAAQBAJ 

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What Actually is a Living System Materially?

This book by philosophers of biology urges an organizational view of biological systems. They intend to contrast this materialist approach against the currently ascendant genetic (one might say, idealistic) perspective in biology. They claim as precursors Nicolas Rashevsky and Robert Rosen as well as Francisco Varela, and refer back as well to the antireductionist and holistic organicist tradition. The authors attempt an extension of this organizational view by way of laboriously constructing a ‘‘principled’’ understanding of autonomy, thus attempting to naturalize this concept by discovering its basic requirements—that is, to capture it in a net of logic. Their book could be placed in the systems science tradition as well. 


What Actually is a Living System Materially?

Review of:

Alvaro Moreno and Matteo Mossio: Biological Autonomy: A Philosophical
and Theoretical Enquiry (History, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences 12); Springer, Dordrecht, 2015, xxxiv + 221 pp., $129 hbk, ISBN 978-94-017-9836-5

Stanley N. Salthe

Biol Theory
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13752-015-0230-2 

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Ultrasociety: How 10, 000 Years of War Made Humans the Greatest Cooperators on Earth: Peter Turchin

Cooperation is powerful.
There aren’t many highly cooperative species–but they nearly cover the planet. Ants alone account for a quarter of all animal matter. Yet the human capacity to work together leaves every other species standing.
We organize ourselves into communities of hundreds of millions of individuals, inhabit every continent, and send people into space. Human beings are nature’s greatest team players. And the truly astounding thing is, we only started our steep climb to the top of the rankings–overtaking wasps, bees, termites and ants–in the last 10,000 years. Genetic evolution can’t explain this anomaly. Something else is going on. How did we become the ultrasocial animal?
In his latest book, the evolutionary scientist Peter Turchin (War and Peace and War) solves the puzzle using some astonishing results in the new science of Cultural Evolution. The story of humanity, from the first scattered bands of Homo sapiens right through to the greatest empires in history, turns out to be driven by a remorseless logic. Our apparently miraculous powers of cooperation were forged in the fires of war. Only conflict, escalating in scale and severity, can explain the extraordinary shifts in human society–and society is the greatest military technology of all.
Seen through the eyes of Cultural Evolution, human history reveals a strange, paradoxical pattern. Early humans were much more egalitarian than other primates, ruthlessly eliminating any upstart who wanted to become alpha male. But if human nature favors equality, how did the blood-soaked god kings of antiquity ever manage to claim their thrones? And how, over the course of thousands of years, did they vanish from the earth, swept away by a reborn spirit of human equality? Why is the story of human justice a chronicle of millennia-long reversals? Once again, the science points to just one explanation: war created the terrible majesty of kingship, and war obliterated it.
Is endless war, then, our fate? Or might society one day evolve beyond it? There’s only one way to answer that question. Follow Turchin on an epic journey through time, and discover something that generations of historians thought impossible: the hidden laws of history itself.

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The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health (by David R. Montgomery and Anne Biklé)

The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health

~ Anne Biklé (author) More about this product
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Prepare to set aside what you think you know about yourself and microbes. Good health―for people and for plants―depends on Earth’s smallest creatures. The Hidden Half of Nature tells the story of our tangled relationship with microbes and their potential to revolutionize agriculture and medicine, from garden to gut.

When David R. Montgomery and Anne Biklé decide to restore life into their barren yard by creating a garden, dead dirt threatens their dream. As a cure, they feed their soil a steady diet of organic matter. The results impress them. In short order, the much-maligned microbes transform their bleak yard into a flourishing Eden. Beneath their feet, beneficial microbes and plant roots continuously exchange a vast array of essential compounds. The authors soon learn that this miniaturized commerce is central to botanical life’s master strategy for defense and health.

They are abruptly plunged further into investigating microbes when Biklé is diagnosed with cancer. Here, they discover an unsettling truth. An armada of bacteria (our microbiome) sails the seas of our gut, enabling our immune system to sort microbial friends from foes. But when our gut microbiome goes awry, our health can go with it. The authors also discover startling insights into the similarities between plant roots and the human gut. We are not what we eat. We are all―for better or worse―the product of what our microbes eat.

This leads to a radical reconceptualization of our relationship to the natural world: by cultivating beneficial microbes, we can rebuild soil fertility and help turn back the modern plague of chronic diseases.

 

 

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Age of System: Understanding the Development of Modern Social Science (by Hunter Heyck)

Age of System: Understanding the Development of Modern Social Science

~ Hunter Heyck (author) More about this product
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Before the Second World War, social scientists struggled to define and defend their disciplines. After the war, "high modern" social scientists harnessed new resources in a quest to create a unified understanding of human behavior―and to remake the world in the image of their new model man.

In Age of System, Hunter Heyck explains why social scientists―shaped by encounters with the ongoing "organizational revolution" and its revolutionary technologies of communication and control―embraced a new and extremely influential perspective on science and nature, one that conceived of all things in terms of system, structure, function, organization, and process. He also explores how this emerging unified theory of human behavior implied a troubling similarity between humans and machines, with freighted implications for individual liberty and self-direction.

These social scientists trained a generation of decision-makers in schools of business and public administration, wrote the basic textbooks from which millions learned how the economy, society, polity, culture, and even the mind worked, and drafted the position papers, books, and articles that helped set the terms of public discourse in a new era of mass media, think tanks, and issue networks. Drawing on close readings of key texts and a broad survey of more than 1,800 journal articles, Heyck follows the dollars―and the dreams―of a generation of scholars that believed in "the system." He maps the broad landscape of changes in the social sciences, focusing especially intently on the ideas and practices associated with modernization theory, rational choice theory, and modeling. A highly accomplished historian, Heyck relays this complicated story with unusual clarity.

 

 

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Agent-based Models of the Economy

Agent-based Models of the Economy | CxBooks | Scoop.it

Agent-Based Models Of The Economy uses agent-based models for understanding a broad spectrum of economic phenomena.
This book aim is twofold. First, it introduces the reader to the methodology and to the technicalities and the tools necessary to master the creation of agent-based models. Second, it presents several examples of applications to different economic phenomena where agent-based models are crucial in answering the research question and in solving practical problems emerged in business and policy domains (e.g., financial markets, cooperation dynamics, public policy evaluation).
With this book, readers learn what agent-based models are and the advantages they can provide. Further, readers learn how to develop from scratch and with scientific rigor their own agent-based models for studying economic phenomena. Finally, readers find in the book several applications that can represent examples to be imitated and to be kept as reference.


Agent-based Models of the Economy
From Theories to Applications
Contributor
Riccardo Boero, Matteo Morini, Michele Sonnessa, Pietro Terna

http://www.palgrave.com/page/detail/agentbased-models-of-the-economy-/?K=9781137339805 

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Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe (by Lisa Randall)

Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe

~ Lisa Randall (author) More about this product
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In this brilliant exploration of our cosmic environment, the renowned particle physicist and New York Times bestselling author of Warped Passages and Knocking on Heaven’s Door uses her research into dark matter to illuminate the startling connections between the furthest reaches of space and life here on Earth.

Sixty-six million years ago, an object the size of a city descended from space to crash into Earth, creating a devastating cataclysm that killed off the dinosaurs, along with three-quarters of the other species on the planet. What was its origin? In Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs, Lisa Randall proposes it was a comet that was dislodged from its orbit as the Solar System passed through a disk of dark matter embedded in the Milky Way. In a sense, it might have been dark matter that killed the dinosaurs.

Working through the background and consequences of this proposal, Randall shares with us the latest findings—established and speculative—regarding the nature and role of dark matter and the origin of the Universe, our galaxy, our Solar System, and life, along with the process by which scientists explore new concepts. In Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs, Randall tells a breathtaking story that weaves together the cosmos’ history and our own, illuminating the deep relationships that are critical to our world and the astonishing beauty inherent in the most familiar things.

 

 

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Body by Darwin: How Evolution Shapes Our Health and Transforms Medicine (by Jeremy Taylor)

We think of medical science and doctors as focused on treating conditions—whether it’s a cough or an aching back. But the sicknesses and complaints that cause us to seek medical attention actually have deeper origins than the superficial germs and behaviors we regularly fault. In fact, as Jeremy Taylor shows in Body by Darwin, we can trace the roots of many medical conditions through our evolutionary history, revealing what has made us susceptible to certain illnesses and ailments over time and how we can use that knowledge to help us treat or prevent problems in the future.
 
In Body by Darwin, Taylor examines the evolutionary origins of some of our most common and serious health issues. To begin, he looks at the hygiene hypothesis, which argues that our obsession with anti-bacterial cleanliness, particularly at a young age, may be making us more vulnerable to autoimmune and allergic diseases. He also discusses diseases of the eye, the medical consequences of bipedalism as they relate to all those aches and pains in our backs and knees, the rise of Alzheimer’s disease, and how cancers become so malignant that they kill us despite the toxic chemotherapy we throw at them. Taylor explains why it helps to think about heart disease in relation to the demands of an ever-growing, dense, muscular pump that requires increasing amounts of nutrients, and he discusses how walking upright and giving birth to ever larger babies led to a problematic compromise in the design of the female spine and pelvis.  Throughout, he not only explores the impact of evolution on human form and function, but he integrates science with stories from actual patients and doctors, closely examining the implications for our health.

 

 

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

As the world becomes ever more dominated by technology, John Brockman’s latest addition to the acclaimed and bestselling “Edge Question Series” asks more than 175 leading scientists, philosophers, and artists: What do you think about machines that think?

The development of artificial intelligence has been a source of fascination and anxiety ever since Alan Turing formalized the concept in 1950. Today, Stephen Hawking believes that AI “could spell the end of the human race.” At the very least, its development raises complicated moral issues with powerful real-world implications—for us and for our machines.

 

 

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Fractional Calculus View of Complexity: Tomorrow's Science (by Bruce J. West)

This book is not a text devoted to a pedagogical presentation of a specialized topic nor is it a monograph focused on the author's area of research. It accomplishes both these things while providing a rationale for why the reader ought to be interested in learning about fractional calculus. This book is for researchers who has heard about many of these scientifically exotic activities, but could not see how they fit into their own scientific interests, or how they could be made compatible with the way they understand science. It is also for beginners who have not yet decided where their scientific talents could be most productively applied. The book provides insight into the long-term direction of science and show how to develop the skills necessary to successfully do research in the twenty-first century.

 

 

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A Crude Look at the Whole: The Science of Complex Systems in Business, Life, and Society (by John H. Miller)

A Crude Look at the Whole: The Science of Complex Systems in Business, Life, and Society

~ John H. Miller (author) More about this product
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Imagine trying to understand a stained glass window by breaking it into pieces and examining it one shard at a time. While you could probably learn a lot about each piece, you would have no idea about what the entire picture looks like. This is reductionism—the idea that to understand the world we only need to study its pieces—and it is how most social scientists approach their work.

In A Crude Look at the Whole, social scientist and economist John H. Miller shows why we need to start looking at whole pictures. For one thing, whether we are talking about stock markets, computer networks, or biological organisms, individual parts only make sense when we remember that they are part of larger wholes. And perhaps more importantly, those wholes can take on behaviors that are strikingly different from that of their pieces.
Miller, a leading expert in the computational study of complex adaptive systems, reveals astounding global patterns linking the organization of otherwise radically different structures: It might seem crude, but a beehive’s temperature control system can help predict market fluctuations and a mammal’s heartbeat can help us understand the “heartbeat” of a city and adapt urban planning accordingly. From enduring racial segregation to sudden stock market disasters, once we start drawing links between complex systems, we can start solving what otherwise might be totally intractable problems.

Thanks to this revolutionary perspective, we can finally transcend the limits of reductionism and discover crucial new ideas. Scientifically founded and beautifully written, A Crude Look at the Whole is a powerful exploration of the challenges that we face as a society. As it reveals, taking the crude look might be the only way to truly see.

 

 

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Knowledge and Interaction: A Synthetic Agenda for the Learning Sciences (by Andrea A. diSessa et al.)

Decades of research in the cognitive and learning sciences have led to a growing recognition of the incredibly multi-faceted nature of human knowing and learning. Up to now, this multifaceted nature has been visible mostly in distinct and often competing communities of researchers. From a purely scientific perspective, "siloed" science―where different traditions refuse to speak with one another, or merely ignore one another―is unacceptable. This ambitious volume attempts to kick-start a serious, new line of work that merges, or properly articulates, different traditions with their divergent historical, theoretical, and methodological commitments that, nonetheless, both focus on the highly detailed analysis of processes of knowing and learning as they unfold in interactional contexts in real time.

Knowledge and Interaction puts two traditions in dialogue with one another: Knowledge Analysis (KA), which draws on intellectual roots in developmental psychology and cognitive modeling and focuses on the nature and form of individual knowledge systems, and Interaction Analysis (IA), which has been prominent in approaches that seek to understand and explain learning as a sequence of real-time moves by individuals as they interact with interlocutors, learning environments, and the world around them. The volume’s four-part organization opens up space for both substantive contributions on areas of conceptual and empirical work as well as opportunities for reflection, integration, and coordination.

 

 

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Humanity in a Creative Universe: Stuart A. Kauffman

Humanity in a Creative Universe

~ Stuart A. Kauffman (author) More about this product
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In the hard sciences, which can often feel out of grasp for many lay readers, there are "great thinkers" who go far beyond the equations, formulas, and research. Minds such as Stephen Hawking philosophize about the functions and nature of the universe, the implications of our existence, and other impossibly fascinating, yet difficult questions. Stuart A. Kauffman is one of those great thinkers. He has dedicated his lifetime to researching "complex systems" at prestigious institutions and now writes his treatise on the most complex system of all: our universe.

A recent Scientific American article claims that "philosophy begins where physics ends, and physics begins where philosophy ends," and perhaps no better quote sums up what Kauffman's latest book offers. Grounded in his rigorous training and research background, Kauffman is inter-disciplinary in every sense of the word, sorting through the major questions and theories in biology, physics, and philosophy. Best known for his philosophy of evolutionary biology, Kauffman coined the term "prestatability" to call into question whether science can ever accurately and precisely predict the future development of biological features in organisms. As evidenced by the title's mention of creativity, the book refreshingly argues that our preoccupation to explain all things with scientific law has deadened our creative natures. In this fascinating read, Kauffman concludes that the development of life on earth is not entirely predictable, because no theory could ever fully account for the limitless variations of evolution. Sure to cause a stir, this book will be discussed for years to come and may even set the tone for the next "great thinker."

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The Automation of Society is Next: How to Survive the Digital Revolution

The book that may have saved democracy [Version 1.0]


1 THE DIGITAL SOCIETY A better future or worse?
2 COMPLEXITY TIME BOMB When systems get out of control
3 SOCIAL FORCES Revealing the causes of success and disaster
4 GOOGLE AS GOD? The dangerous promise of Big Data
5 GENIE OUT OF THE BOTTLE Major socio-economic shifts ahead
6 DIGITALLY ASSISTED SELF-ORGANIZATION Making the invisible hand work
7 HOW SOCIETY WORKS Social order by self-organization
8 NETWORKED MINDS Where human evolution is heading
9 ECONOMY 4.0 A participatory market society is born
10 THE SELF-ORGANIZING SOCIETY Taking the future in our hands


The Automation of Society is Next: How to Survive the Digital Revolution

Dirk Helbing

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/283206311_The_Automation_of_Society_is_Next_How_to_Survive_the_Digital_Revolution 

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Why Scientists Need To Fail Better

Why Scientists Need To Fail Better | CxBooks | Scoop.it

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
—Samuel Beckett


I wrote this after being reminded, by English novelist Marina Lewycka, of this quote from one of Samuel Beckett’s lesser known, later short stories. Since starting it I have learned that the quote has become a staple of self-help and business books, headlined by one of the ubiquitous Timothy Ferriss manuals on how to be fabulous in no time at all with little or no effort. Then I found that, thanks to an article in Slate magazine, it has become the darling phrase of Silicon Valley and the so-called entrepreneurial set. My first thought was to accept having been scooped and jettison the chapter. But then I read the other pieces, mostly essays, out there that use this quote and realized that it was actually the perfect opportunity to illustrate how what virtually everyone else means by failure is different from what it means in science. And what better co-conspirator than Samuel Beckett.


http://nautil.us/issue/30/identity/why-scientists-need-to-fail-better

Complexity Digest's insight:

See Also: Failure: Why Science Is So Successful

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Complexity and Creative Capacity: Rethinking knowledge transfer, adaptive management and wicked environmental problems (by Kelly Chapman)

Complexity theories gained prominence in the 1990s with a focus on self-organising and complex adaptive systems. Since then, complexity theory has become one of the fastest growing topics in both the natural and social sciences, and touted as a revolutionary way of understanding the behaviour of complex systems.

This book uses complexity theory to surface and challenge the deeply held cultural assumptions that shape how we think about reality and knowledge. In doing so it shows how our traditional approaches to generating and applying knowledge may be paradoxically exacerbating some of the ‘wicked’ environmental problems we are currently facing. The author proposes an innovative and compelling argument for rejecting old constructs of knowledge transfer, adaptive management and adaptive capacity. The book also presents a distinctively coherent and comprehensive synthesis of cognition, learning, knowledge and organizing from a complexity perspective. It concludes with a reconceptualization of the problem of knowledge transfer from a complexity perspective, proposing the concept of creative capacity as an alternative to adaptive capacity as a measure of resilience in socio-ecological systems.

Although written from an environmental management perspective, it is relevant to the broader natural sciences and to a range of other disciplines, including knowledge management, organizational learning, organizational management, and the philosophy of science.

 

 

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The World the Game Theorists Made (by Paul Erickson)

The World the Game Theorists Made

~ Paul Erickson (author) More about this product
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In recent decades game theory—the mathematics of rational decision-making by interacting individuals—has assumed a central place in our understanding of capitalist markets, the evolution of social behavior in animals, and even the ethics of altruism and fairness in human beings. With game theory’s ubiquity, however, has come a great deal of misunderstanding. Critics of the contemporary social sciences view it as part of an unwelcome trend toward the marginalization of historicist and interpretive styles of inquiry, and many accuse its proponents of presenting a thin and empirically dubious view of human choice.
           
The World the Game Theorists Made seeks to explain the ascendency of game theory, focusing on the poorly understood period between the publication of John von Neumann and Oscar Morgenstern’s seminal Theory of Games and Economic Behavior in 1944 and the theory’s revival in economics in the 1980s. Drawing on a diverse collection of institutional archives, personal correspondence and papers, and interviews, Paul Erickson shows how game theory offered social scientists, biologists, military strategists, and others a common, flexible language that could facilitate wide-ranging thought and debate on some of the most critical issues of the day.

 

 

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Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath (by Ted Koppel)

Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath

~ Ted Koppel (author) More about this product
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In this book, Ted Koppel reveals that a major cyberattack on America’s power grid is not only possible but likely, that it would be devastating, and that the United States is shockingly unprepared.
 
Imagine a blackout lasting not days, but weeks or months. Tens of millions of people over several states are affected. For those without access to a generator, there is no running water, no sewage, no refrigeration or light. Food and medical supplies are dwindling. Devices we rely on have gone dark. Banks no longer function, looting is widespread, and law and order are being tested as never before. 

It isn’t just a scenario. A well-designed attack on just one of the nation’s three electric power grids could cripple much of our infrastructure—and in the age of cyberwarfare, a laptop has become the only necessary weapon. Several nations hostile to the United States could launch such an assault at any time. In fact, as a former chief scientist of the NSA reveals, China and Russia have already penetrated the grid. And a cybersecurity advisor to President Obama believes that independent actors—from “hacktivists” to terrorists—have the capability as well. “It’s not a question of if,” says Centcom Commander General Lloyd Austin, “it’s a question of when.” 

 

 

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

The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge

~ Matt Ridley (author) More about this product
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The Evolution of Everything is about bottom-up order and its enemy, the top-down twitch—the endless fascination human beings have for design rather than evolution, for direction rather than emergence. Drawing on anecdotes from science, economics, history, politics and philosophy, Matt Ridley’s wide-ranging, highly opinionated opus demolishes conventional assumptions that major scientific and social imperatives are dictated by those on high, whether in government, business, academia, or morality. On the contrary, our most important achievements develop from the bottom up. Patterns emerge, trends evolve. Just as skeins of geese form Vs in the sky without meaning to, and termites build mud cathedrals without architects, so brains take shape without brain-makers, learning can happen without teaching and morality changes without a plan.

Although we neglect, defy and ignore them, bottom-up trends shape the world. The growth of technology, the sanitation-driven health revolution, the quadrupling of farm yields so that more land can be released for nature—these were largely emergent phenomena, as were the Internet, the mobile phone revolution, and the rise of Asia. Ridley demolishes the arguments for design and effectively makes the case for evolution in the universe, morality, genes, the economy, culture, technology, the mind, personality, population, education, history, government, God, money, and the future.

 

 

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Soul Machine: The Invention of the Modern Mind (by George Makari)

Soul Machine: The Invention of the Modern Mind

~ George Makari (author) More about this product
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Soul Machine takes us back to the origins of modernity, a time when a crisis in religious authority and the scientific revolution led to searching questions about the nature of human inner life. This is the story of how a new concept―the mind―emerged as a potential solution, one that was part soul and part machine, but fully neither.

In this groundbreaking work, award-winning historian George Makari shows how writers, philosophers, physicians, and anatomists worked to construct notions of the mind as not an ethereal thing, but a natural one. From the ascent of Oliver Cromwell to the fall of Napoleon, seminal thinkers like Hobbes, Locke, Diderot, and Kant worked alongside often-forgotten brain specialists, physiologists, and alienists in the hopes of mapping the inner world. Conducted in a cauldron of political turmoil, these frequently shocking, always embattled efforts would give rise to psychiatry, mind sciences such as phrenology, and radically new visions of the self. Further, they would be crucial to the establishment of secular ethics and political liberalism. Boldly original, wide-ranging, and brilliantly synthetic, Soul Machine gives us a masterful, new account of the making of the modern Western mind.

 

 

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Robotics: Countering singularity sensationalism

Robotics: Countering singularity sensationalism | CxBooks | Scoop.it

Surprising advances are being achieved, for example in 'deep learning' — a method for approximating complex functions using thousands of numerical parameters. And robots are evolving, with advances in 3D sensing and mapping. But progress is not nearly as steady as some claim. Three books explore the topic from different perspectives. All suggest that robot superiority faces a formidable obstacle: human psychology.


Robotics: Countering singularity sensationalism

Ken Goldberg
Nature 526, 320–321 (15 October 2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/526320a ;

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