James Wood originally shared this post:

Chaos, Complexity, and Entropy

A physics talk for non-physicists

By Michel Baranger

I find that the theoretical physics aspects of these concepts in fact have many connections to the #attentioneconomy .

I point especially to the 'competition-cooperation dichotomy' (page 11), which I feel is a vital concept to grasp, especially when dealing with both networks as a whole and their constituent nodes. A simple concrete example of this is, say, when two dinosaurs fought it out to the death, our perception might have been that this phenomenon was innately adversarial, that the two titanic forces were somehow competing with one another. At that level, indeed, the situation appears to be technically chaotic. However, examined more broadly, this showdown is in fact a great cooperation (not to say that this alternative perspective is genuinely more accurate). Looking at the Earth's biosphere as a whole, it would appear that this fundamentally harmonious act is in fact in the "best interest" of the network. Analyzing the effects of societal organization at different levels of observation is how we could apply this.

Secondly, entropy as information that can be represented in bits struck me as definitely of interest (page 13). This could practically play out in terms of how future companies will effectively market memes by using statistical models of the behavior of large networks. Understanding the chaos (and harmony) that permeates the network and the "fractal geometry of nature" could help such interpretive models. But it's more important because in the future, the means for generating these models will be computers, which are also binary by nature. Data about the "phase" of the network could become extremely easy to create, store, communicate, etc., thus allowing for vast digitalized organization systems, run by computers, operating on the principles of theoretical physics.