Of Ants and Men: The Unexpected Side Effects of Complexity by David G. Green

By David G. Green

Why do issues get it wrong? Why, regardless of the entire making plans and care on the earth, do issues move from undesirable to worse? This publication argues that the reason is, we're just like the ants. simply as ants create an anthill with out being conscious of it, accidental unwanted effects of human task create all demeanour of social traits and crises. The publication strains the best way those tendencies emerge and the function they play in many of the significant problems with our time. one of many maximum demanding situations this day is the complexity of our social and monetary platforms. each motion has unwanted effects that folks frequently forget about or miss out on. The publication examines the ways that barriers in our considering and behavior bring about unintentional negative effects. It seems to be on the function performed by means of advanced networks of interactions. ultimately, it seems to be on the means uncomfortable side effects of latest applied sciences, in particular desktops and verbal exchange, have created a data Revolution, the complete repercussions of that are but to be obvious. In our race to create new applied sciences and maintain indefinite monetary progress, we're at most sensible dimly conscious of the ways that we're remodeling society and dangerous our environment.

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The decisions made in boardrooms determine the path that a company’s fortunes take through a vast network of financial possibilities. Batteries Not Included When our distant ancestors started using tools, society began an upward spiral of increasing complexity. Tearing meat off a carcass is difficult, even with a flint knife. So began a process of refinement that produced better and better flint blades. The use of blades, for instance led first to sharper blades, then to blades adapted for different purposes, and to tools to help make blades.

For a short popular account see Fox (2010). 9 Goodall (1990). The incident related here is described on p. 9. 10 Wikipedia (2012). Salem witch trials. org/wiki/Salem_witch_trials. 11 Mackay (1841), p. 542. 12 Accounts of ergotism can be found in Caporael (1976), Woolf (2000). 13 Mackay (1841), p. 480. 14 The full story is related in the Bible’s Book of Jonah. 1 Abstract Modern humans inherit needs and behaviours from our animal ancestors. These include the desire to belong to a group, the drive for high status within a group and the need for territory and resources.

In the early days of each gold rush, this distribution of gold pieces lent itself briefly to thousands of prospectors being successful. But as the gold ran out, there were no more easy pickings and only companies with resources to dig mines along seams could make a profit. Ants do the same thing when exploiting resources in their environment. The first task is to locate items of food, which is scattered widely across the landscape. The workers become prospectors foraging in different directions, gleaning tiny scraps of food here and there.

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