Blog

A New Kind of Economy is Born

Posted by on Oct 7th, 2013 in Blog, Social | 0 comments

Social Decision-Makers Beat the “Homo Economicus” By Dirk Helbing The Internet and Social Media change our way of decision-making. We are no longer the independent decision makers we used to be. Instead, we have become networked minds, social decision-makers, more than ever before. This has several fundamental implications. First of all, our economic theories must change, and second, our economic institutions must be adapted to support the social decision-maker, the “homo socialis”, rather be tailored to the perfect...

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What to make of the complexity paradigm?

Posted by on Oct 7th, 2013 in Blog, General Complexity Thoughts | 6 comments

by Ben King I would like to thank Greg Fisher for inviting me to write this blog, and also thanks to Rhett Gayle and Torben Kaas for commenting on earlier drafts. My primary interest is identity and cultural evolution as a complex adaptive system, a focus that has led me through multiple disciplines both objective and subjective. These all seemed to point in the same direction, to the conclusion that the emerging complexity paradigm holds revolutionary potential of unprecedented breadth. I wanted to use this opportunity to share some thoughts...

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People Are Not Billiard Balls

Posted by on Aug 19th, 2013 in Blog, Social | 5 comments

The Idea of Semi-Permeable Agents By Greg Fisher A couple of months ago I attended a fascinating workshop organised by my colleagues David Hales, Jeff Johnson and Jerey Pitt, on the subject of ‘agents’ and ‘agency’ within the context of complex systems and computer simulations.  The discussion was excellent in part because of its content but also because of the people I met and the work they’re doing. During the discussions, something kept jarring within me – a quiet voice was telling me there was something not quite right with...

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Beyond the plc

Posted by on Jun 7th, 2013 in Blog, Economics, Government, Hayek | 1 comment

On Monday Civitas published a book written by me and Paul Ormerod entitled “Beyond the plc”.  A press release and summary can be found on Civitas’ website here. In this article I want to provide some background to this work in two broad ways.  First, I will frame our thinking in the context of collective action (helping distinguish it from any political ideology).  And, second, I’ll mention how our approach takes an evolutionary (or ‘complex’) view of the economy.  When discussing political ideologies, I will use libertarianism...

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Whatever happened to all those miners? Shocks and economic resilience

Posted by on Apr 19th, 2013 in Blog, Economics | 2 comments

Where have all the miners gone?  To judge by the rhetoric of the BBC and other media outlets, whole swathes of Britain lie devastated, plagued by rickets, unemployment and endemic poverty – nearly thirty years after the pit closures under Lady Thatcher! The reality is different.  There is indeed a small number of local authority areas where employment has never really recovered from the closures in the 1980s.  But, equally, there are former mining areas which have prospered. Thirty years ago, in 1983, there were 29 local authority areas...

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Google as God?

Posted by on Apr 4th, 2013 in Blog, Social | 1 comment

Opportunities and Risks of the Information Age by Dirk Helbing (ETH Zurich) “You’re already a walking sensor platform… You are aware of the fact that somebody can know where you are at all times because you carry a mobile device, even if that mobile device is turned off. You know this, I hope? Yes? Well, you should… Since you can’t connect dots you don’t have, it drives us into a mode of, we fundamentally try to collect everything and hang on to it forever… It is really very nearly within our grasp to be able to...

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Innovation in Dynamic Networks

Posted by on Mar 26th, 2013 in Blog, Networks | 0 comments

By Greg Fisher This is the second of two blog articles that follow on from NESTA’s roundtable on Systemic Innovation.  The previous blog focused on systems, whereas this one is about innovation. How we view social systems has been fundamentally challenged in recent decades by the emerging science of complex systems.  Stuart Kauffman described this well in his book Re-Inventing the Sacred where he contrasted the Laplace view of a clockwork universe with one of an inherently creative and uncertain universe. In the Laplace-inspired view,...

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Dynamic Versus Static Systems

Posted by on Mar 26th, 2013 in Blog, Networks | 2 comments

By Greg Fisher Recently, Paul Ormerod and I were invited to a round-table at NESTA to discuss systemic innovation.  After that meeting, we were invited to write a blog reflecting on this issue.  I thought I might be neat to write two articles, one on systems and one on innovation.  Here I will tackle systems and, more specifically, I want to draw attention to the differences between static and dynamic systems.  This is often under-emphasised when thinking about whole systems. How we make sense of, or cognitively frame, a problem is...

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The Emergence of Niceness

Posted by on Mar 19th, 2013 in Blog, Networks | 1 comment

By Thomas Grund, Christian Waloszek, and Dirk Helbing The body of economic literature will have to change, suggests new research.  In their computer simulations of human evolution, scientists at ETH Zurich find the emergence of the “homo socialis” with “other-regarding” preferences.  The results explain some intriguing findings in experimental economics and they call for a new economic theory of “networked minds”. Economics has a beautiful body of theory. But does it describe real markets? Doubts have come up not only in the...

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Chinese Thinking and Complexity

Posted by on Mar 14th, 2013 in Blog, General Complexity Thoughts, Taoism | 2 comments

By Greg Fisher Last week I attended an excellent conference in Singapore, which had the intriguing title of “A Crude Look at the Whole”.  The title was attributable to Murray Gell-Man who was one of the founding fathers of the Santa Fe Institute and also the winner of the 1969 Nobel Prize in Physics.  Gell-Man is famous for a few things, including being the first to postulate the existence of quarks.  Another is the idea of coarse-grained cognition.  This is the (to me sensible) idea that reality is extremely fine-grained in terms of...

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