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Foresight in the Time of Simplicity, Complexity and Chaos
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Foresight in the Time of Simplicity, Complexity and Chaos


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What does foresight mean in today's environment? How do manage differently if the environment is simple, complex or chaotic? These and other questions will be answered by Paul Schumann's provocative …

What does foresight mean in today's environment? How do manage differently if the environment is simple, complex or chaotic? These and other questions will be answered by Paul Schumann's provocative discussion.

Paul Schumann is a futurist and an innovation consultant. He is the president and co-founder of Glocal Vantage Inc. (GVI)

He has been a technologist and technology manager in the semiconductor industry (IBM), internal entrepreneur (IBM), cultural change agent (IBM), and consultant (Technology Futures and Glocal Vantage). With 49 years of professional experience, Paul is still excited about learning, and sharing what he is learning.

He is the founder, past president, and member of the board of the Central Texas Chapter of the World Future Society ( Paul is a member of the advisory boards of the Marketing Research Association and ACC’s Center for Community-based and Nonprofit Organizations. He is also involved with Texas Forums and Extreme Democracy. He is the creator and director of the Insights – Intelligence – Innovation Collaborative (In3C).

Paul is a fan of web 2.0 technologies and has applied them to his own work, and to create market intelligence systems for clients. He is excited to see their application in democracy. His interests also include media ecology and complexity.

Published in: Business, Technology, Spiritual
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  • 2. Paul Schumann UNPREDICTABILITY  “Most of all, we need to preserve the absolute unpredictably and total improbability of our connected minds. That way we can keep open all the options, as we have in the past.”  Lewis Thomas, 1973 2
  • 3. Paul Schumann OUTLINE  Introduction  Foresight  1, 2, A Few, Many  Chaos, Gaia, Eros  Simplicity, Complexity, Emergence & Fractals  Examples of Emergence & Complexity  Massively Parallel vs. Mathematical Modeling  Characteristics: Simple and Complex  Strategy  Foresight redux  Resources 3
  • 4. Paul Schumann COMPLEXITY HISTORY 4
  • 5. Paul Schumann FORESIGHT  To perceive or prepare wisely for the future 5
  • 6. Paul Schumann 1, 2, A FEW, MANY 1 2 A Few Many Newton Poincare Gauss Boltzmann Simplicity Organized Complexity Disorganized Complexity 6
  • 7. Paul Schumann CHAOS, GAIA, EROS  Chaos: the source of all creation  Gaia: the created universe  Eros: the creative impulse 7
  • 8. Paul Schumann SIMPLICITY  Growth Curve (Logistic)  Exponential Curve  Learning Curve (Experience)  Substitution Curves 8
  • 9. Paul Schumann COMPLEXITY, EMERGENCE & FRACTALS  The behavior of a complex system in Complexity equilibrium is chaotic, in non-equilibrium is critical  Emergence is the way Equilibrium Non- complex systems and equilibrium patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively Chaos Criticality simple interactions  A fractal is an object or quantity that displays Agents self-similarity on all scales. Adaptive Emergence Fractals 9
  • 10. Paul Schumann FOOLED BY COMPLEXITY 10
  • 11. Paul Schumann CHAOS Double Pendulum 11
  • 12. Paul Schumann SIMPLICITY TO CHAOS The Logistic Map: x t + 1 = R x t ( 1 – x t ) R=2 R=4 x 0 = 0.99 x 0 = 0.2 x 0 = 0.20000000001 12
  • 13. Paul Schumann CRITICALITY N = a M -2 13
  • 14. Paul Schumann EARTHQUAKES Criticality Gaussian 14
  • 15. Paul Schumann STOCK MARKET P=a C -2.1 2007: corr=0.98 2008: corr=0.94 15
  • 16. Paul Schumann INTEGRATED CIRCUITS 10,000,000,000 Integrated Circuit CPU 1,000,000,000 100,000,000 Numer of Transistors 10,000,000 1,000,000 100,000 10,000 1,000 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 Year 16
  • 17. Paul Schumann INTEGRATED CIRCUITS 1 1 10 P ~ D -1.5 corr = 0.98 Probability 0.1 Data Projection 0.01 Fractional Delta 17
  • 18. Paul Schumann EMERGENCE T1 T2>T1 T1 T1 Bernard Cell (1900) 18
  • 19. Paul Schumann WEATHER MAP 19
  • 20. Paul Schumann EMERGENCE Termite Cathedral 20
  • 21. Paul Schumann EMERGENCE 21
  • 22. Paul Schumann FRACTALS  To create a Koch snowflake, one begins with an equilateral triangle and then replaces the middle third of every line segment with a pair of line segments that form an equilateral quot;bump.quot; One then performs the same replacement on every line segment of the resulting shape, ad infinitum. With every iteration, the perimeter of this shape increases by one third of the previous length. The Koch snowflake is the result of an infinite number of these iterations, and has an infinite length, while its area remains finite. For this reason, the Koch snowflake and similar constructions were sometimes called quot;monster curves.“  Wikipedia 22
  • 23. Paul Schumann FRACTAL 23
  • 24. Paul Schumann FRACTAL ZOOM A magnification of the phoenix set. (Wikipedia) 24
  • 25. Paul Schumann FRACTAL ZOOM 25
  • 26. Paul Schumann FRACTAL ZOOM (MANDELBROT SET) Compliments of goooz ( 26
  • 27. Paul Schumann MATHEMATICAL MASSIVELY PARALLEL  Derived  Simulation  Analytical  Describe underlying  Conditional mechanisms  Equation: x = ½ a t2  Rule based agents in an  Predictive environment  Exploration  Easier to add random or probabilistic events  Flexible & intuitive MODELING 27
  • 28. Paul Schumann STARLOGO 28
  • 29. Paul Schumann STARLOGO (RABBITS) 29
  • 30. Paul Schumann IT’S NOT EITHER – OR, IT’S BOTH - AND Complexity Chaos Simplicity Criticality 30
  • 31. Paul Schumann CHARACTERISTICS & APPLICATIONS Simplicity Chaos Emergence Criticality Characteristic Reductionistic Dynamical Agents Complex s Deterministic system Interactive system Predictive Deterministic Rules Non- Closed Initial Massively equilibrium system conditions parallel Unpredictable sensitive Probabilistic Attractors Holistic Applications Utility function Scenarios Insight History Trends Exploration Probability Driving forces Shaping unchanged 31
  • 32. Paul Schumann STRATEGY  Understand the system  Explore the system  Use “what if”  Identify opportunities and threats  Utilize early warning system (if possible)  Look for asymmetries  Understand risk, probabilities and outcomes  Expand the system  Start again 32
  • 33. Paul Schumann FORESIGHT REDUX Insight Foresight Portent Prudence 33
  • 34. Paul Schumann THE FUTURE OF FORESIGHT  More systems  More interconnectedness in the systems  The reach of a system is growing  The number of people in a system is increasing  Therefore: More complexity  More chaos  More criticality  More emergence 34
  • 35. Paul Schumann THE PRESENT  “It makes me happy. To be at the beginning again, knowing almost nothing… The ordinary- sized stuff which is our lives, the things people write poetry about – clouds – daffodils – waterfalls,,,these things are full of mystery, as mysterious to us as the heavens were to the Greeks…It’s the best possible time to be alive, when almost everything you thought you knew is wrong.”  Tom Stoppard, Arcadia 35
  • 36. Paul Schumann PAUL SCHUMANN  Glocal Vantage Inc, PO Box 161475, Austin, TX 78716  512.632.6586      Twibe:  #future  Want to go further? Contact me… 36
  • 37. Paul Schumann RESOURCES  Complexity: A Guided Tour, Melanie Mitchell, Oxford, 2009  The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Random House, 2007  Adventures in Modeling: Exploring Complex, Dynamic Systems with StarLogo, Vanessa Stevens Colella, Eric Klopfer & Mitchel Resnick, Teachers College press, 2001  Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, and Software, Steven Johnson, Scribner,2001  Ubiquity: Why Catastrophes Happen, Mark Buchanan, Three Rivers Press, 2000  Turtles, Termites and Traffic Jams: Explorations in Massively Parallel Microworlds, Mitchel Resnick, MIT, 1997  The Tao of Chaos, Katya Walter, Element Books, 1996  Chaos Gaia Eros, Ralph Abraham, Harper, 1994  Tao of Chaos: Merging East and West, Katya Walter, Kairos Center, 1994  Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos, M. Mitchell Waldrop, Touchstone, 1992  Exploring Complexity: An Introduction, Gregoire Nicolis & Ilya Prigogine, Freeman, 1989  Chaos: Making a New A Science, James Gleick, Penguin, 1987  Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, Douglas Hofstadter, Vintage, 1980 Go to Insights*Intelligence *Innovation Collaborative ( and search for complexity. All the resources listed above have blog entries and or links. 37
  • 38. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution license. You may distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon this work, even commercially, as long as you credit me for the original creation as Paul Schumann, Glocal Vantage Inc,