Sustainability and Complexity: Are We Doomed to Repeat History? CSRwire.com (press release) (blog) Complex adaptive systems can be more or less stable and robust, but in general, the greater the complexity, the greater the criticality.
This book, edited and authored by a closely collaborating network of social scientists and psychologists, recasts typical research topics in these fields into the language of nonlinear, dynamic and complex systems. The aim is to provide scientists with different backgrounds - physics, applied mathematics and computer sciences - with the opportunity to apply the tools of their trade to an altogether new range of possible applications. At the same time, this book will serve as a first reference for a new generation of social scientists and psychologists wishing to familiarize themselves with the new methodology and the "thinking in complexity".
You’re a smart person: a believer in science, an acolyte of technology, a 21st century citizen. So answer this: Could you, and you alone, make something as simple as a pencil?
Mark Pagel doesn’t think so. In a presentation at the Falling Walls Conference in Berlin, the evolutionary biologist offered this very thought experiment – pencil manufacturing, after all, involves graphite mining and refining, wood harvesting and processing, machining, rubber harvesting, and many other intricate processes.
His conclusion: “In our everyday lives, we’re asked to make decisions about things about which we have very little understanding and very little knowledge.” From writing utensils to mortgages and cars or frozen chicken, we’re largely disconnected from the processes that generate the things we use. “If we’re honest with ourselves,” Pagel continued, “most of us are just glorified karaoke singers in most aspects of our lives, using things that other people have made and we don’t really understand.”
The secret to why some cultures thrive and others disappear may lie in our social networks and our ability to imitate, rather than our individual smarts, according to a new University of British Columbia study.
The study, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Academy: Biological Sciences (open access), shows that when people can observe and learn from a wider range of teachers, groups can better maintain technical skills and even increase the group’s average skill over successive generations.
The findings show that a larger population size and social connectedness are crucial for the development of more sophisticated technologies and cultural knowledge, says lead author Michael Muthukrishna, a PhD student in UBC’s Dept. of Psychology.
“This is the first study to demonstrate in a laboratory setting what archeologists and evolutionary theorists have long suggested: that there is an important link between a society’s sociality and the sophistication of its technology,” says Muthukrishna, who co-authored the research with UBC Prof. Joseph Henrich.
An algorithm that extends an artificial-intelligence technique to new tasks could aid in analysis of flight delays and social networks.
Much artificial-intelligence research is concerned with finding statistical correlations between variables: What combinations of visible features indicate the presence of a particular object in a digital image? What speech sounds correspond with instances of what words? What medical, genetic, and environmental factors are correlated with what diseases?
Over the past few decades, a growing body of research has emerged from a variety of disciplines to highlight the importance of cultural evolution in understanding human behavior. Wider application of these insights, however, has been hampered by traditional disciplinary boundaries. To remedy this, in this volume leading researchers from theoretical biology, developmental and cognitive psychology, linguistics, anthropology, sociology, religious studies, history, and economics come together to explore the central role of cultural evolution in different aspects of human endeavor.
If you look at our planet from space, what you see is something like a neural network with the cities as its nodes, and that is as good an image of the planet as a complex system of systems as one could hope for.
With the emergence of the internet in the mid-90's, the world became one global commons. In the past, we could understand that there was some mysterious unity to the various dimensions of life but we couldn't understand its dynamics, we couldn't observe and measure their interactions. We basically operated like the drunk who looks under the streetlight for his keys because that's where he can see.
Video featuring, from IBM: Mike Wing, Irving Wladawsky-Berger and Julia Grace.
We are transitioning to an era in which the authority of previously dependable sources of understanding is increasingly called into question, in tandem with soc (On Social Learning, Sensemaking Capacity, and Collective Intelligence
Khaleej Times Affective Computing: The next big ticket Khaleej Times This is a complex science which spans across various fields such as general science, computer science, cognitive science and psychology and traces its evolution to the need to...
"In this book, I suggest that to understand cities we must view them not simply as places in space but as systems of networks and flows. To understand space, we must understand flows, and to understand flows, we must understand networks—the relations between objects that comprise the system of the city. Drawing on the complexity sciences, social physics, urban economics, transportation theory, regional science, and urban geography, , I introduce theories and methods that reveal the deep structure of how cities function. (...)" Michael Batty
The simplest welfare program imaginable: an income for everyone, no strings attached.
This fall, a truck dumped eight million coins outside the Parliament building in Bern, one for every Swiss citizen. It was a publicity stunt for advocates of an audacious social policy that just might become reality in the tiny, rich country. Along with the coins, activists delivered 125,000 signatures — enough to trigger a Swiss public referendum, this time on providing a monthly income to every citizen, no strings attached. Every month, every Swiss person would receive a check from the government, no matter how rich or poor, how hardworking or lazy, how old or young. Poverty would disappear. Economists, needless to say, are sharply divided on what would reappear in its place — and whether such a basic-income scheme might have some appeal for other, less socialist countries too.
Excellent idea! It seems this is the only viable way to ensure income for all as information technologies replace more and more jobs, leaving many without a source of income eventhough productivity and efficiency are increasing.
A hypothetical Watson medical health app (credit: IBM) IBM announced today that it will make its IBM Watson technology available to developers in the cloud
IBM announced today that it will make its IBM Watson technology available to developers in the cloud so they can build apps using Watson.
IBM will be launching the IBM Watson Developers Cloud, a cloud-hosted marketplace for resources including a developer toolkit, educational materials, and access to Watson’s application programming interface (API).
(Credit: Stephen Wolfram) In a blog post Wednesday, Stephen Wolfram said that recently something amazing has happened that is profoundly important in the
In a blog post Wednesday, Stephen Wolfram said that “recently something amazing has happened” that is “profoundly important in the technological world, and beyond.”
He said he and his team have figured out how to take all the things they have been working on in the context of Wolfram|Alpha, Mathematica, CDF and so on — computational knowledge, symbolic programming, algorithm automation, dynamic interactivity, natural language, computable documents, the cloud, connected devices, symbolic ontology, algorithm discovery — and all the technology they’ve built, to create something at a whole different level.
“If we’re forming a kind of global brain with all our interconnected computers and devices, then the Wolfram Language is the natural language for it.”