Emergence The Connected Lives of Ants Brains Cities and


Emergence The Connected Lives of Ants Brains Cities and Software ❮Reading❯ ➷ Emergence The Connected Lives of Ants Brains Cities and Software Author Steven Johnson – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk In the tradition of Being Digital and The Tipping Point Steven Johnson acclaimed as a cultural critic with a poet's heart The Village Voice takes readers on an eye opening journey through emergence th In the tradition of Being Connected Lives Kindle Õ Digital and The Tipping Point Steven Johnson acclaimed as a cultural critic with a poet's heart The Village Voice takes Emergence The MOBI :Ê readers on an eye opening journey through emergence theory and its applications Explaining why the whole is sometimes smarter than the sum of its parts Johnson The Connected Lives PDF Í presents surprising examples of feedback self organization and adaptive learning How does a lively neighborhood evolve out of a disconnected group of shopkeepers bartenders and real The Connected Lives of Ants PDF \ estate developers How does a media event take on a life of its own How will new software programs create an intelligent World Wide Web In the coming years the power of self organization coupled with the connective technology of the Internet will usher in a revolution every bit as significant as the introduction of electricity Provocative and engaging Emergence puts you on the front lines of this exciting upheaval in science and thought.

  • Paperback
  • 288 pages
  • Emergence The Connected Lives of Ants Brains Cities and Software
  • Steven Johnson
  • English
  • 11 January 2015
  • 9780684868769

About the Author: Steven Johnson

Steven Johnson is the bestselling Connected Lives Kindle Õ author of twelve books including Enemy of All Mankind Farsighted Wonderland How We Got to Now Where Good Ideas Come Emergence The MOBI :Ê From The Invention of Air The Ghost Map and Everything Bad Is Good for YouHe's the host of the podcast American Innovations and the host and The Connected Lives PDF Í co creator of the PBS and BBC series How We Got to Now Johnson lives in Marin County California.



10 thoughts on “Emergence The Connected Lives of Ants Brains Cities and Software

  1. carol. carol. says:

    Every now and then I start reading and realize this book is going to change how I thinkIts a little bit scary and a lot of bit excitingWhile I know I know I picked this up because I thought it was about disease Emergence has proved far interesting and satisfying than I could hope Emergence's premise is about networks and 'organized' behavior that develops from a lower level to a sophisticated one In one sense this is a very real snapshot of the history of thinkingscience captured in a book no less pertinent for its publication date We have been coming out of the ages of hierarchy and webs from how we explain and understand the universe from biology to political systems Now there is a new type of explanation From looking at how disorganized individuals spring up into a larger organized whole he explains slime mold ants selecting new colony sites video games and grassroots political revolutionsHe is one of those rare science writers that sees across disciplines and speaks intelligibly about all of them

  2. Chrissy Chrissy says:

    In my mind I've split this book into two halves the half that is severely fascinating opening doors for me to think about emergence on new scales and inspiring me to contemplate how I could build a model of memory with the principle at its core memory as a decentralized locally interconnected self organizing network of instances I could do that And I owe the complete absorption of my thoughts with the idea to Johnson and his fascinating first few chaptersThe other half of the book is a reiteration of clever metaphors the author uses so persistently that they cease to be clever a lacklustre tour of the tech industry in the early 2000's filled with the embarrassing techno web whatever buzzwords that permeated the scene at the time and a set of altogether too optimistic predictions for the internet media and emergence by 2005The four star rating is for that first half of the book which I will pretend is the entire bookJohnson explores the phenomenon of emergence on scales as diverse as ant colonies cities over centuries the internet news and media corporations media consumption trends and communities video games and of course the brainThe fifth star for the half of this book that I am treating as the imaginary whole was forfeited to bad sloppy lazy neuroscience Infinitely could have been done in this section and done better if the reader is to accept the proposition that the human brain is an example of emergence Johnson flirts with Hofstadter esue notions of consciousness again sloppily without ever getting up the balls to propose them outright And then he just finishes and moves onThe single most interesting application of the idea of emergence that for all our sense of a unified self controlling our thoughts and actions we are little than a colony of neurons connected on very local scales to which he devotes maybe 10 pages before talking for an entire chapter about Will Wright and the Sims gamesThe cognitivist core of my heart is sad and disappointed But excited nevertheless ONWARDS TO MORE BOOKS ABOUT EMERGENCE

  3. Orton Family Foundation Orton Family Foundation says:

    Some would call me indecisive fickle foolish or a good candidate for Ritalin given my tendency to engage in many disciplines at once Even now with a masters degree in environmental science I am plotting an eventual return to school for an MFA or MBA or MEd or perhaps just some PhDs I prefer to think of myself as a generalist however in the great tradition of cockroaches crabgrass Leonardo DaVinci and Jesse The Body Ventura Indeed I love finding connections between elements as seemingly unrelated as spineless arthropods and politicians though perhaps that’s not the best example and in turn to connect those connections with important issues and strategies for changeGiven my penchant for unusual logic it was a no brainer to revisit Steven Johnson’s Emergence the connected lives of ants brains cities and software published by Scribner Press in 2001 These organisms and objects do indeed have connected lives and relate as well to planning community development and citizen participation The main connection as the title suggests is the concept of emergence which Johnson defines as what happens when you have a system of relatively simple minded component parts—often there are thousands or millions of them—and they interact in relatively simple ways And yet somehow out of all this interaction some higher level structure or intelligence appears usually without any master planner calling the shotsAnts create colonies that thrive by taking on specialized tasks though there is no top down control or even pre programmed genetic instruction on how to do so The Internet has grown to include millions of independent sites and connections without any grand plan for development and management Slime mold cells aimlessly slither across the forest floor until they all suddenly inexplicably join together and form one superorganism The millions perhaps billions of species on earth continue to evolve and specialize—one generation one organism one cell or even one protein at a time The phenomenon of emergence is as old as the universe itself and as young as each new website instance of mitosis or human decision As much as humans like to hold themselves above the laws of physics and nature urban development and other sophisticated endeavors are a matter of emergence as well “While actual cities are heavily shaped by top down forces such as zoning laws and planning commissions” Johnson writes “scholars have long recognized that bottom up forces play a critical role in city formation creating distinct neighborhoods and other unplanned demographic clusters Like any emergent system a city is a pattern in time”In a sense this theory bodes poorly for the planning field; we’ve worried for years that human skills and interactions may become obsolete with a rise in digital technology and robotics but perhaps we will instead be replaced by a simple and ancient concept If cities will self construct evolve learn and replicate without any help from master plans government officials zoning regulations and licensed planners the horror then what good are visioning documents charrettes ballot initiatives and public meetings? Resistance is futile according to the wisdom of emergence and Star Trek but could our tinkering go so far as to harm the development of communities we care so much about?It is indeed unlikely that we can excuse ourselves from a phenomenon shaping the universe and everything in it We can use emergence to our advantage however if we act a little less like planners and like 19th Century Augustinian monks Gregor Mendel spent hours examining pea plants in his garden and eventually came to realize that we are all products of natural selection Rather than attempting to subvert the process Mendel and generations to follow instead adopted it and adjusted it to further their own purposes Artificial selection first gave us sheep with extra wool then hardy varieties of corn and wheat and now fruit programmed to ripen and blush in coordination with shipping schedulesJohnson does not go into great depth on applications of emergence or the scientific and technical details behind it but with a little creativity and commitment to systems thinking we could begin to develop “artifical emergence” for the planning and citizen participation fields as web and software developers have done Johnson says at the close of the book “understanding emergence has always been about giving up control letting the system govern itself as much as possible letting it learn from the footprints” If we can draw connections between the eBay community and our home towns for example we might develop a “community feedback” system to mirror the online “user feedback” system which nearly effortlessly improves the uality and consistency of eBay If we can learn to see the similarities between ants and humans we might find a way for cities to run and operate without the bureaucracy and top down controls that dominate planning and management today If we can stomach the idea that we are linked to slime mold we might all learn to come together as well as the primitive cells that emerge as one from underneath our feetRead reviews by the Orton Family Foundation in our Scenarios e journal at Sanborn Stone

  4. Aaron Aaron says:

    I enjoyed this book and then I didn’t Emergence starts out as a field guide to the idea of emergence and how it crosses all kinds of disciplines This is the best part But the bulk of the book written in Wired Magazine style gee whiz techster prose is devoted to computer programming and the author going on and on about what he thinks is and isn’t emergence Tedious Also if any book could benefit from a thorough soaking in Austrian economics this is it Hayekian notions of dispersed information decentralized order and relatively simple decisions by individuals about prices of goods for example giving rise to macro structures like the flow of goods in and out of a city regulated by no one are emergent mechanisms Johnson has little interest in econ tho beyond a few silly digs at libertarians and the favorable uoting of Naomi Klein Sigh Anything to keep one’s progressive bona fides intact I guess It’s too bad because Johnson something of a technocrat keeps trying to shoehorn emergent orders into the central planner’s toolbox I think he missed the point

  5. Bob Nichols Bob Nichols says:

    The inside flap of the book cover summarizes the book well Emergence is what happens when an interconnected system of relatively simple elements self organizes to form intelligent adaptive higher level behavior It's a bottom up model; rather than being engineered by a general or a master planner emergence begins at the ground level Johnson's book identifies this phenomenon as the principle of emergence It operates like Adam Smith's invisible hand or otherwise like some sort of life field theory local plus local etc produces an intelligent works for everyone global resultJohnson opens his book with a description of ant colonies that express this principle We see emergent behavior in systems like ant colonies when the individual agents in the system pay attention to their immediate neighbors rather than wait for orders from above They think locally and act locally but their collective action produces global behavior The principle applies to human evolution We are the products of individual cells whose self interest it was to fuse into the collectivity of the human body Johnson acknowledges those who might uestion the bottoms up argument when it comes to our evolution Some might argue he says that we are merely following the dictates of our DNA which is the ultimate in centralization But he responds cells do than just follow the dictates of DNA They also learn from their neighbors And without that local interaction the master plan of our genetic code would be utterly useless Moving forward a few million years the same principle is at work organizing human affairs At the apex of this bottoms up emergence principle is the internet Everybody does their own thing and somehow organically it all works out even though there's no world czar running the showJohnson wants to convey a somewhat mystical self organizing property like crystal formation just taking off and taking over But slipped in throughout the book and in all of Johnson's examples are words like create designed the goal etc In the examples he uses there is always a creator a something at the top at whatever scale that sets the tone for what follows These are structures where parts are governed by the whole For ant colonies it's true there is no ant czar But there is a mutation natural selection principle at work that imposes an overall design to ensure that there's adaptation and hence survival Ditto for DNA's role in human evolution Johnson casts aside DNA's tyranny because our cells obviously came together to form bodies But what was it exactly that allowed such cooperation? The capacity or necessity for cooperation developed via mutation and natural selection because it provided survival benefit and this principle of cooperation got embedded in the DNAFor humans it might be best to look at these self organizing occurrences through their different levels or scales of operation with each being driven by goal driven processes that benefit each level of organization Individuals pursue their self interest just as Adam Smith highlighted and overall patterns have emerged as a result This is Johnson's argument to be sure but that's not to say that top down processes are not also working to regulate such invisible hand phenomena Market economies as well as socialist economies have significant top down hierarchical design principles that guide or mold local emergence It is the same with the internet While local groups and people do their thing but the table is also set by designers and decision makers who also have their own top down agendas Johnson's emphasis is exclusively? on the bottoms up part as if the top down governing structures are not really applicable Also there is ample room for variability degrees where locals have freedom or where overarching structures pretty much dominate what happens below The overall patterns that emerge provide Johnson implies thought the notion of self organization benefits for the whole In other words what emerges is good Sometimes yes sometimes no The results of locals doing their thing reflect who people are That's what is happening with the internet It's no different at the top level where internet executives run their respective systems for their own benefit making money by algorithms that manipulate local users The wholes are an extension of what lies below and that may be good or not so goodJohnson's emergence focus is on self organizing systems He does not discuss another form of emergence that I was looking for when I picked up this book This is the rise of new phenomena that causally could not have occurred prior to certain other conditions In turn these themselves could not have occurred without prior conditions etc Events that are the products of what occurred before could never have been predicted They could only be seen retrospectively For example the formation of life on Earth perhaps uniue in the cosmos because the conditions for life formation were just right Earth's position relative to the sun and Jupiter allowed life to emerge As another example humans probably could not have emerged without the extinction of the dinosaurs by the meteor strike in the Yucatan Peninsula 70 million years ago That strike cleaned the slate so to say allowing for the rise of the mammals Now that kind of stuff is emergence

  6. Henry Henry says:

    More stuff emerges from the cloud of gasSometimes the cloud turns into an insectSometimes the insects turn into brainsSometimes the brains go to French raves

  7. Anbu Anbu says:

    Once in a while i come across books that challenge you to think differently and connect the dots between seemingly unrelated subjects This book is one among them I like the way how ants slime mold cities and distributed software are related I like the idea of how simple systems by following simple rules can become complex organized systems It gives a good idea about how feedback loops will change or already changing the software industry and AI One minor setback on the book is some stories are really long the chapter about cities and sidewalk

  8. Ade Bailey Ade Bailey says:

    See my brief review of Complexity the emerging science at the edge of order and chaos This book began to flesh out for me the fascinating area of emergence as a phenomenon This shows how individual items eg ants combine to make a super organism that 'has a mind of its own' and how in our human lives such a thing as a city emerges as the product less of planning than of dynamic interaction Recommended as a fertile introduction to complexity theory and emergence

  9. Florin Pitea Florin Pitea says:

    Superb Recommended

  10. B. Rule B. Rule says:

    Johnson selects really interesting topics for his books Both this and his book on neuroscience Mind Wide Open are about fundamentally important and fascinating subjects with far reaching implications However in both cases the finished product remains somewhat dissatisfyingThis volume starts with a lot of promise as Johnson describes the results of emergence in various contexts like ant colonies slime mold aggregation the organic growth of cities SimCity and neuroscience I got excited because I expected this was a prelude to a formal description of emergence or at least a sketch of how emergence generally operates I remained largely disappointed Johnson tosses off a few high level signifiers of emergence simple behaviors enhanced by local feedback positive feedback loops complexity random encounters pattern detection etc but he does little work to tease out a detailed anatomy of emergence His examples are all interesting but the explanation often consists of that's a complex system without a pacemaker but order emerges; how about that He's providing descriptions not explanations and not very detailed ones at thatThe book grows progressively worse as it goes along with the feedback loop of Johnson's breezy anecdotalism magnified into an increasingly frustrating pile on of examples gleaned from whichever scientist would talk to him about their projects or whichever books he's read recently We get little snippets on mirror neurons on the development of theory of mind in children apparently happens between 3 and 4 years of age and on the spat between Jane Jacobs and Lewis Mumford on the theories set forth in her The Death and Life of Great American Cities Most of this stuff is interesting but not insightful I began to despair as it became apparent that no deep theory of emergence would emerge from Johnson's account I do have to give credit to this book for arousing my curiosity It was fun to think about emergence and how disparate systems produce order from chaos Trying to catalog the similarities behind emergent systems is a useful exercise while reading through the case studies here even if Johnson won't do the heavy lifting for you It's also funny to read this 20 years later as many of Johnson's prognostications on the future of the internet are laughable but many are actually uite spot on in terms of algorithmic learning the fragmentation of news and advertising feeds and the curating of individual online experiences through feedback loops generated by massive datasets of aggregate choices Johnson saw something coming even if he couldn't know the details

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