Tag Archives | complexity

Is Technology Making The World Too Complex?

Pic: Theon (CC)

Pic: Theon (CC)

Can Moore’s law abet neutralization of Buckminster Fuller’s ephemeralization? Will Georges Anderla’s statistical model (coined the information explosion by Robert Anton Wilson) equalize the complexity?

via Aeon

Human ingenuity has created a world that the mind cannot master. Have we finally reached our limits?

Despite the vastness of the sky, airplanes occasionally crash into each other. To avoid these catastrophes, the Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) was developed. TCAS alerts pilots to potential hazards, and tells them how to respond by using a series of complicated rules. In fact, this set of rules — developed over decades — is so complex, perhaps only a handful of individuals alive even understand it anymore. When a TCAS is developed, humans are pushed to the sidelines and, instead, simulation is used. If the system responds as expected after a number of test cases, it receives the engineer’s seal of approval and goes into use.

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Evolutionary Complexity: The Development of Elaborate Structures Without Darwinian Selection

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Derp.

Nice little piece at Scientific American about the evolution of odd-ball structures like the human eyeball:

Charles Darwin was not yet 30 when he got the basic idea for the theory of evolution. But it wasn’t until he turned 50 that he presented his argument to the world. He spent those two decades methodically compiling evidence for his theory and coming up with responses to every skeptical counterargument he could think of. And the counterargument he anticipated most of all was that the gradual evolutionary process he envisioned could not produce certain complex structures.

Consider the human eye. It is made up of many parts—a retina, a lens, muscles, jelly, and so on—all of which must interact for sight to occur. Damage one part—detach the retina, for instance—and blindness can follow. In fact, the eye functions only if the parts are of the right size and shape to work with one another.

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