David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
World Futures 67 (4-5):304 - 315 (2011)
One of the great challenges of the modern world is the control and management of complexity. After the infinitely large and the infinitely small, we once again find ourselves confronting an unfathomable infinite?the infinitely complex. With its capability for simulation, the computer has become a macroscope. It helps us understand complexity and act on it more effectively to build and manage the large systems of which we are the cells?companies, cities, economies, societies, ecosystems. Thanks to this macroscope, a new vision of the world is emerging, based on a unified approach to the self-organization and evolution of complex systems. On the basis of this comprehensive vision, it becomes possible to describe the origin of a new form of life on Earth, a planetary macro-organism made up of human beings and machines, networks, and nations?a still-embryonic macro-organism that is trying to live in symbiosis with the planetary ecosystem. This new vision of the world brings together two complementary modes of analysis and action: the analytic method and the systemic approach. It can be called the unified theory of the self-organization and dynamics of complex systems. More concisely, one can propose the term symbionomics to describe the range of phenomena covered by this unified theory. Symbionomics can be defined as the study of the emergence of complex systems through self-organization, self-selection, coevolution, and symbiosis. Symbiotic relationships form through coevolution with other organisms or organizations, and collective properties emerge. This information is transmitted to succeeding generations through the memorization of structures and reproductive and evolutionary mechanisms by means of chemical or electronic coding or by the culture. A complex organization is born. From a symbionomic perspective, it is then possible to trace the essential phases of the emergence of a new form of life on Earth, a macrolife, of which humanity, this time, is not the evolutionary end point, but the starting point and catalyst
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