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Complex Systems Conference Attendee James P. Crutchfield Publishes Essay


According to Crutchfield’s essay, short-term survival and an exuberant plunge into building our future are generating a new kind of unintended consequence – hidden fragility. Crutchfield believes this is a direct effect of the sophistication and structural complexity of the socio-technical systems humans create, and that it is inevitable – in all complex systems ranging from the world economy, financial markets and air transportation to pandemic disease spread, climate change, and insect-driven deforestation. The challenge he proposes is, “How much can we understand and predict about these systems and about the social dynamics that lead to their construction?”