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Complex systems are characterized by four attributes: heterogeneity, a network, interdependency, and adaptation. “Imagine these as four knobs,” says Scott E. Page, the director of the Center for the Study of Complex Systems at the University of Michigan. At one point, Page says, all these knobs were turned to zero. We lived in isolated, homogenous communities that were ill equipped to adapt to rapidly changing conditions. For thousands of years, mattered little. The Roman Empire, for instance, took centuries to unravel. The Soviet Empire? Not so long. “We’ve cranked the volume on all these knobs in recent years,” says Page. “We can’t know what the consequences of that will be.”

Jeff Howe – The Future: An Instruction Manual

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