System Theory

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

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By John H. Miller

Imagine attempting to comprehend a stained glass window via breaking it into items and interpreting it one shard at a time. when you may most likely research much approximately every bit, you'll do not know approximately what the complete photo appears like. this can be reductionism—the concept that to appreciate the area we in basic terms have to learn its pieces—and it truly is how such a lot social scientists process their work.

In A Crude examine the Whole, social scientist and economist John H. Miller indicates why we have to begin taking a look at entire photos. For something, even if we're speaking approximately inventory markets, laptop networks, or organic organisms, person elements basically make experience once we keep in mind that they're a part of higher wholes. and maybe extra importantly, these wholes can tackle behaviors which are strikingly various from that in their pieces.
Miller, a number one specialist within the computational examine of complicated adaptive structures, finds staggering worldwide styles linking the association of another way noticeably assorted constructions: it can look crude, yet a beehive’s temperature regulate method will help expect industry fluctuations and a mammal’s heartbeat will help us comprehend the “heartbeat” of a urban and adapt city making plans consequently. From enduring racial segregation to surprising inventory industry mess ups, after we begin drawing hyperlinks among advanced structures, we will be able to begin fixing what another way could be absolutely intractable problems.

Thanks to this innovative point of view, we will eventually go beyond the boundaries of reductionism and notice the most important new principles. Scientifically based and wonderfully written, A Crude examine the Whole is a strong exploration of the demanding situations that we are facing as a society. because it unearths, taking the crude glance can be the one method to actually see.

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

Example text

This has come about through new communication links, the rise of derivative securities, and the use of high-speed, computer-automated trading. Indeed, these changes have easily outpaced our ability to truly understand their implications, and financial markets have become an unintentional Promethean experiment upon which we now base our economic livelihood. An example is the “flash crash” of May 6, 2010, when a simple oversight in the programming of a trading computer in a suburb of Kansas City, Kansas, caused a temporary collapse of global markets.

A road map, with its sparse set of major cities and the roads that connect them, provides just enough information for a cross-country drive. Divorcing a map from its purpose inevitably leads to frustration. Too little of the right kind of detail, or too much of the wrong kind, encumbers our ability to understand the world. Science has proceeded by developing increasingly detailed maps of decreasingly small phenomena. At the heart of this reductionist strategy is a hope that once we have detailed maps of the smallest of parts, we can paste the mosaic together and have a useful map of Borges’s Empire.

Thus, if we can fully understand atoms, we will then understand chemistry, as chemistry just studies collections of atoms, and from there we will know biology, as it relies on chemistry, and on and on. Similarly, in social systems, if we can understand a neuron, we will understand the brain, and thus know individual decision making, which allows us to understand group decision making, which gives us deep knowledge of governments and firms, and ultimately a full understanding of economics, politics, and society at large.

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