With some interruption this month, I finished reading Steven Johnson‘s book “Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software“. I watched a Long Now Foundation Seminar About Long-term Thinking given by the author that I found interesting, and decided to read this book of his I’d previously heard of relating to Complexity Theory.
Steven Johnson is a popular-science author, who’s written for various scientific magazines. He’s also been involved with several nascent website services like online magazines and geo-aware search & communities. He writes on various loosely related subjects about modern scientific developments, both in subject and in community.
“Emergence” is about just that, emergent systems, or Complex Adaptive System( CAS ) that exhibit synergistic properties. The author uses various examples in the book, including:
- self-organizing “slime mold“
- ant-colony behaviour
- emergent cities, and neighbourhoods within cities
- cognitive abilities from neurons
- artificial intelligence techniques