Civilization and the Complexity Trap

Civilization has set a trap for itself. Humanity has made amazing progress over the centuries — progress made possible by the rise of the expert. But this progress creates a new problem, as ever-more-complex technologies are deployed at an accelerating rate. Billions of different devices, protocols, ideas, traditions, and people interact — second by second, all over the planet, creating an emergent complexity crisis.

Experts understand parts of this system, but the overall complexity is far beyond the comprehension of any individual — whether scientist, citizen, or political leader. This complexity presents a huge challenge for society: It’s hard to ensure the stability of the system if you can’t track all the key interactions and feedback loops that may cause trouble.

So how will we address the wicked challenges of the next decade? We need a “paradigm shift” in societal regulatory systems, with bold, creative new ideas to break us out of the complexity trap. Read about some of these ideas and see our call to action in the full story on Medium.  This is a challenge worthy of our brightest minds, working to help ensure a livable human future.