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Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software

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Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Emergence is what happens when an interconnected system of relatively simple elements self-organizes to form more intelligent, more adaptive higher-level behavior. It's a bottom-up model, rather than being engineered by a general or a master planner; emergence begins at the ground level. Systems that at first glance seem vastly different — ant colonies, human brains, cities, immune systems — all turn out to follow the rules of emergence. In each of these systems, agents residing on one scale start producing behavior that lies a scale above them: ants create colonies, urbanites create neighborhoods. In the tradition of Being Digital and The Tipping Point, Steven Johnson takes readers on an eye-opening intellectual journey from the discovery of emergence to its applications.

Review:

"Emergence is thoughtful and lucid and charming and staggeringly smart, all of which I've come to expect from Steven Johnson. But it's also important, I think — a rare, bona fide glimpse of the future." Kurt Andersen, author of Turn of the Century

Review:

"Emergence will make understanding 'emerge' in your own head, as Steven Johnson explains a lot of phenomena you may not even have noticed: Why are kids so comfortable with complex discovery games? Why are the anti-globalization protests resonating so widely? How can Websites foster trust when their visitors don't know one another?" Esther Dyson, author of Release 2.0

Review:

"A lucid discussion of a fascinating and timely set of ideas." Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology, MIT, and author of How the Mind Works Works

Review:

"A lucid presentation of emergence theory — the way decentralized thinking allows for cannily effective self-organization — from Feed editor-in-chief Johnson....Johnson's clarity is a boon....Thought-provoking — and deeply appealing to the inner iconoclast." Kirkus Reviews

Synopsis:

This book is about the mystery of why the whole is sometimes smarter than the sum of its parts.

Emergence is what happens when an interconnected system of relatively simple elements self-organizes to form more intelligent, more adaptive higher-level behavior. It's a bottom-up model; rather than being engineered by a general or a master planner, emergence begins at the ground level. Systems that at first glance seem vastly different — ant colonies, human brains, cities, immune systems — all turn out to follow the rules of emergence. In each of these systems, agents residing on one scale start producing behavior that lies a scale above them: ants create colonies, urbanites create neighborhoods.

In the tradition of Being Digital and The Tipping Point, Steven Johnson, acclaimed as a "cultural critic with a poet's heart" (The Village Voice), takes readers on an eye-opening intellectual journey from the discovery of emergence to its applications. He introduces us to our everyday surroundings, offering suprising examples of feedback, self-organization, and adaptive learning. How does a lively neighborhood evolve out of a disconnected association 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?

Drawing upon evolutionary theory, urban studies, neuroscience, and computer games, Emergence is a guidebook to one of the key components of twenty-first-century culture. Until recently, Johnson explains, the disparate philosophers of emergence have worked to interpret the world. But today they are starting to change it. This book is the riveting story of that change and what it means for the future. If you've searched for information on the Web, played a recent video game, or accepted a collect call using voice recognition software, you've already encountered the new world of artificial emergence. Provocative, engaging, and sophisticated, Emergence puts you on the front lines of a sweeping revolution in science and thought.

About the Author

Steven Johnson is the cofounder of Feed (www.feedmag.com), the Internet's acclaimed voice on technology, science, and culture. Newsweek named him one of their "50 People Who Matter Most on the Internet," and The Village Voice chose him as one of their nine "Writers on the Verge 2000." Johnson's work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Lingua Franca, Harper's, Brill's Content, and the London Guardian. He holds a B.A. in semiotics from Brown University and an M.A. in English from Columbia, and he lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction: Here Comes Everybody!

Part One

  1. The Myth of the Ant Queen

Part Two

  1. Street Level
  2. The Pattern Match
  3. Listening to Feedback
  4. Control Artist

Part Three

  1. The Mind Readers
  2. See What Happens

Notes
Bibliography
Acknowledgments
Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780684868752
Subtitle:
The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software
Author:
Johnson, Steven
Publisher:
Scribner
Location:
New York
Subject:
Internet - General
Subject:
Science
Subject:
Sociology - Urban
Subject:
System Theory
Subject:
Systems engineering
Subject:
Information Theory
Subject:
Self-organizing systems
Subject:
Swarm intelligence
Copyright:
Series Volume:
3326
Publication Date:
September 2001
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9.57x6.37x.96 in. 1.16 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Reference » Science Reference » Chaos and Complexity
Reference » Science Reference » General
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » Popular Chaos and Fractals

Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.95 In Stock
Product details 288 pages SIMON & SCHUSTER TRADE - English 9780684868752 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Emergence is thoughtful and lucid and charming and staggeringly smart, all of which I've come to expect from Steven Johnson. But it's also important, I think — a rare, bona fide glimpse of the future."
"Review" by , "Emergence will make understanding 'emerge' in your own head, as Steven Johnson explains a lot of phenomena you may not even have noticed: Why are kids so comfortable with complex discovery games? Why are the anti-globalization protests resonating so widely? How can Websites foster trust when their visitors don't know one another?"
"Review" by , "A lucid discussion of a fascinating and timely set of ideas."
"Review" by , "A lucid presentation of emergence theory — the way decentralized thinking allows for cannily effective self-organization — from Feed editor-in-chief Johnson....Johnson's clarity is a boon....Thought-provoking — and deeply appealing to the inner iconoclast."
"Synopsis" by ,
This book is about the mystery of why the whole is sometimes smarter than the sum of its parts.

Emergence is what happens when an interconnected system of relatively simple elements self-organizes to form more intelligent, more adaptive higher-level behavior. It's a bottom-up model; rather than being engineered by a general or a master planner, emergence begins at the ground level. Systems that at first glance seem vastly different — ant colonies, human brains, cities, immune systems — all turn out to follow the rules of emergence. In each of these systems, agents residing on one scale start producing behavior that lies a scale above them: ants create colonies, urbanites create neighborhoods.

In the tradition of Being Digital and The Tipping Point, Steven Johnson, acclaimed as a "cultural critic with a poet's heart" (The Village Voice), takes readers on an eye-opening intellectual journey from the discovery of emergence to its applications. He introduces us to our everyday surroundings, offering suprising examples of feedback, self-organization, and adaptive learning. How does a lively neighborhood evolve out of a disconnected association 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?

Drawing upon evolutionary theory, urban studies, neuroscience, and computer games, Emergence is a guidebook to one of the key components of twenty-first-century culture. Until recently, Johnson explains, the disparate philosophers of emergence have worked to interpret the world. But today they are starting to change it. This book is the riveting story of that change and what it means for the future. If you've searched for information on the Web, played a recent video game, or accepted a collect call using voice recognition software, you've already encountered the new world of artificial emergence. Provocative, engaging, and sophisticated, Emergence puts you on the front lines of a sweeping revolution in science and thought.

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