The idea of emergent properties (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergence) is a fascinating defence against reductionism. The notion is that genuinely novel features and patterns can arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions at a ‘lower’ level. E.g. psychology can be understood as an emergent property of neurobiological dynamics. Crucially, psychological behaviour cannot be fully understood, accounted for, or predicted by, even the fullest understanding of neuroscience. In the tradition of Being Digital and The Tipping Point, Steven Johnson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Johnson_(author) and http://www.stevenberlinjohnson.com/) takes readers on an eye-opening journey through emergence theory and its applications. Explaining why the whole is sometimes smarter than the sum of its parts, Johnson presents surprising examples of feedback, self-organization, and adaptive learning. How does a lively neighborhood evolve out of a disconnected group of shopkeepers, bartenders, and real estate developers? How does a media event take on a life of its own? How will new software programs create an intelligent World Wide Web? In the coming years, the power of self-organization, coupled with the connective technology of the Internet, will usher in a revolution every bit as significant as the introduction of electricity. Provocative and engaging, Emergence (2001) (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Emergence-Connected-Brains-Cities-Software/dp/0140287752/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389521861&sr=8-1&keywords=emergence) puts you on the front lines of this exciting upheaval in science and thought.


288 pages in Penguin paperback edition

ISBN 978-0140287752


Steven Johnson

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