Quora – greatest discovery

What is the greatest scientific advancement of the last 500 years?

Got moved to
Which is the most important invention/discovery of the last 500 years?
then moved back again.

Understanding that all new levels of complexity in biological systems are fundamentally predicated on cooperative systems, and simultaneously understanding that all cooperative systems require expanding sets of secondary strategies to prevent invasion and destruction by “cheating strategies”.

Robert Axelrod did some of the great early modeling work. Followed by many others including John Maynard Smith.

Elinor Ostrom cataloged some of those in an economic context.

David Snowden explicitly increased the dimensionality of the problem space of complex adaptive systems, and came up with some simple handy management heuristics.

Joi Ito has done some interesting work which folds into this domain space.

Unfortunately, economics more generally, and politics in particular, have been slow to understand the implications of this on the very complex systems that are human society, and in particular on the long term utility (or lack thereof) of markets in an age of exponential expansion of computation and automation.

So a really complex problem space, when most people still accept notions like gods and Truth, and haven’t accepted evolution and uncertainty as explanatory paradigms; let alone challenging the utility and safety of markets and money as coordination and management tools.

We need effective alternatives to markets and money that both guarantee individual life and individual liberty, and simultaneously demand reasonable levels of individual responsibility in both social and ecological contexts.

And for the sake of risk management, such systems must be massively distributed, and massively redundant, even as they are fundamentally cooperative and capable of retaliation if required.

We all need to be able to take a global perspective, as well as our own perspective, as well as all the others in between.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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