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

By John H. Miller

Imagine attempting to comprehend a stained glass window through breaking it into items and analyzing it one shard at a time. if you might most likely study much approximately every bit, you will don't know approximately what the full photo seems like. this is often reductionism—the concept that to appreciate the area we simply have to examine its pieces—and it's how so much social scientists procedure their work.

In A Crude examine the Whole, social scientist and economist John H. Miller exhibits why we have to begin entire photos. For something, no matter if we're speaking approximately inventory markets, desktop networks, or organic organisms, person elements purely make feel after we do not forget that they're a part of greater 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 learn of advanced adaptive platforms, finds surprising international styles linking the association of another way noticeably assorted buildings: it will probably appear crude, yet a beehive’s temperature regulate method will help are expecting marketplace 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 marketplace mess ups, after we begin drawing hyperlinks among complicated structures, we will commence fixing what differently will be absolutely intractable problems.

Thanks to this progressive point of view, we will eventually go beyond the boundaries of reductionism and observe the most 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 one solution 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

We have grown to a sheer size and degree of connectivity where local actions now have global consequences. We thrash about, with the potential of emergent bliss or disaster with every twitch. one Introduction: True Places It is not down in any map; true places never are. —Herman Melville, Moby Dick Science is about mapmaking. It’s about taking a complicated world and reducing it to some sparse set of markings on a map that provides new guidance across an otherwise incomprehensible, and potentially hostile, landscape.

Of course, knowing that something is possible doesn’t mean that it exists in nature or, even if it does, that it is important. However, in this case, such behavior appears to be an important part of our world. Consider a cone snail, a seemingly lowly species of sea snail. There are at least two surprises that make cone snails remarkable. The first is that they are potentially deadly, as they have a harpoon-like tooth (which comes out of the pointy end with surprising speed and dexterity) that is attached to a poison gland that contains some very effective neurotoxins.

As Jorge Luis Borges catalogs in his one-paragraph-long short story “On Exactitude in Science,” “The Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. ” Different maps—even of the same landscape—provide different insights into the world. A topographic map provides information on the various hills and dales in the world in just enough detail to be useful to a hiker. 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.

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