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Preview — Emergence by Steven Johnson
Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software
A VOICE LITERARY SUPPLEMENT TOP 25 FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR
AN ESQUIRE MAGAZINE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
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 theory and its applications. Explai...more
Its a little bit scary and a lot of bit exciting.
While I know--I know--I picked this up because I thought it was about disease, Emergence has proved far more interesting and satisfying than I could hope. Emergence's premise is about networks and 'organized' behavior that develops from a lower-level to a more sophisticated one. In one sense, this is a very real snapshot of the history of thinking/science cap ...more
The other half of the book is a ...more
Also, if any book could benefit from a thorough soaking in Austrian economics, this is it. Hayekian notions of dispersed inform ...more
Why this book is awesome: "In the simplest of terms, [emergent systems] solve problems by drawing on masses of relatively stupid elements, rather than a single, intelligent 'executive branch.'" It's an entire argument for why it's okay to be stupid because together we can do smart things.
For example, contrary to popular belief, ant ...more
The author uses a number of examples that are interesting, but he does not expand enough (for me) on the theories of complexity and emergence. It's more of a light, but interesting, read than a truly informative book for someone who wants to learn more about complexity theory and emergent properties of systems.
I'm not suggesting it should have been a complexity theory textbook, but a little more description of th ...more
2) ''There are manifest purposes to a city---reasons for being that its citizens are usua ...more
The best way to describe it is via his first example. He describes how ants follow a simple set of rules. The are as thick as pig shit, yet ant colonies manage to function in an incredibly sophisticated and highly organised fashion. This is because the individual ants have evolved to follow a simple set of rules which, when thousands of them are all following them, amou ...more
climax stage == carrying capacity
revolution of applied emergence
evolution of social media
204-205 climax of the book - explains why he picked & chose the systems he selected for subtitle
one kind of decentralized intelligence (the human brain) grasps a new way to apply the lessons of another decentral ...more
from the library computer:
Table of Contents
Introduction: Here Comes Everybody!
The Myth of the Ant Queen
The Pattern Match
Listening to Feedback
The Mind Readers
See What Happens
Johnson makes sense of the cutting-edge theory of emergence, exploring the ways intelligent systems are built from small, unintelligent elements without control from above. Johnson is ...more
The idea is loosely based on the concept of an ant colony. An emergent system has many thousands of small, simple units which by themselves perhaps only are capable of a few different actions. However these units (which may be neurons, bits of software, insects, birds in f ...more
It's already almost 10 years old, so it was interesting to see how some of the author's predictions about video games or the internet have or have not come to pass......and to speculate on the reasons for this.
As I read this, I ...more
Those spots aside, the book is very wonderful, and for me was a great introduction to a really fascinating topic I plan ...more
The first two chapters were interesting for the connections drawn between different kinds of self-organizing systems, but after that he just kept repeating himself. Or, even more precisely: after that, the things he had to say that were still ...more
Steven Johnson is the author of the bestsellers Where Good Ideas Come From, The Invention of Air, The Ghost Map, Everything Bad Is Good For You, and Mind Wide Open, as well as Emergence and Interface Culture. He is the founder of a variety of influential websites—most recently, outside.in—and writes for Time, Wi ...more