A Crude Look at the Whole: The Science of Complex Systems in by John H. Miller

By John H. Miller

Imagine attempting to comprehend a stained glass window by way of breaking it into items and analyzing it one shard at a time. if you may most likely examine much approximately every piece, you are going to don't know approximately what the total photo feels like. this can be reductionism—the concept that to appreciate the area we basically have to research its pieces—and it really is how such a lot social scientists method their work.

In A Crude examine the Whole, social scientist and economist John H. Miller indicates why we have to commence taking a look at complete images. For something, even if we're speaking approximately inventory markets, desktop networks, or organic organisms, person elements simply make feel after we do not forget that they're a part of higher wholes. and maybe extra importantly, these wholes can tackle behaviors which are strikingly diversified from that in their pieces.
Miller, a number one specialist within the computational examine of advanced adaptive platforms, unearths outstanding international styles linking the association of differently greatly assorted constructions: it could look crude, yet a beehive’s temperature keep an eye on procedure may also help expect marketplace fluctuations and a mammal’s heartbeat will help us comprehend the “heartbeat” of a urban and adapt city making plans as a result. From enduring racial segregation to surprising inventory industry mess ups, when we begin drawing hyperlinks among advanced platforms, we will commence fixing what another way could be completely intractable problems.

Thanks to this progressive viewpoint, we will eventually go beyond the bounds of reductionism and detect an important new principles. Scientifically based and fantastically written, A Crude examine the Whole is a robust exploration of the demanding situations that we are facing as a society. because it unearths, taking the crude glance can be the single technique to actually see.

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

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Markets may create prices that transmit a vast array of critical information, resulting in the allocation of goods and services to their best use. At other times emergence works against us. The same markets may inadvertently start to feed on one another, creating a sequence of crashes and altered expectations that cripple a world economy and impact the lives of billions for years. So complexity abounds, and the same complex powers that gave us life on earth and the ability to think have also allowed us to create productive systems that, on occasion, go terribly wrong.

Finally, thanks to my family and the “Lower-Waldron Commune,” my friends and neighbors in Pittsburgh, who allow me to participate in a remarkable and vibrant community that demonstrates daily the right purpose and wonderful promise of complex social systems. J. H. Miller, August, 2014, Tesuque, New Mexico Prologue Humanity today is like a waking dreamer, caught between the fantasies of sleep and the chaos of the real world. The mind seeks but cannot find the precise place and hour. We have created a Star Wars civilization, with Stone Age emotions, medieval institutions, and godlike technology.

Suppose we are seeking, say, a novel drug cocktail to fight some disease. If each drug we add to the mix has an effect that is independent of the others, then we can quickly find the best cocktail just by adding the drugs one at a time and keeping only the ones that improve the cocktail’s overall efficacy. However, if the drugs interact with one another, this simple search strategy breaks down, as the various interactions no longer provide a clear signal on how best to proceed. It turns out that the introduction of randomness can greatly improve our ability to search on rugged landscapes.

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