By Bill Brantley
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Over a 100 researchers in the top European universities are launching a ten-year Big Science project to create a new science for the 21st Century: FuturICT. FuturICT is the merger of information and communication technologies (ICT), complexity science, and social science to create “socially-adaptive, self-organized ICT systems.” What does that mean and why should we care?
Simply put, our technological society is changing at an ever-increasing speed and complexity that we can no longer manager with our current scientific understanding and “collective experience from our simpler past.” Our best efforts to manage these complex networks often results in “counter-intuitive effects driven by positive feedbacks that lead to domino-like cascades of failures.” We need to create systems that can quickly recover from failures – predictable and unpredictable. We need to create sustainable solutions to our most pressing societal needs. And we need to accomplish in a future of constrained resources and increasing citizen demands.