Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World

Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World

Out of Control chronicles the dawn of a new era in which the machines and systems that drive our economy are so complex and autonomous as to be indistinguishable from living things.

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One of those books which approach the current state of world chaos from a unique angle and helps one try to make sense of what's going on. Reassuring in that Kelly gives us something of a method to dissect current technological trends. Written shortly before the cell-phone boom--it has a somewhat more optimistic outlook on burgeoning technology than I think we would now generally embrace. In light of recent events--a personal electronics technology BOOM exploding at a pace no one foresaw--can we really just click our heels 3x as Kelly suggests, and trust that the whirlwind will see us safely home?

- It almost completely void of meta-text to help the reader understand what Kelly is trying to do with his book (having read the book, I'm still wondering). Indeed, reading the book I got the feeling that Kelly was trying to combine several different books into one: There is a fascinating study of self-sustaining systems.

Yes, Kelly provides fascinating insights and revelations about machine biology, "hive mind" theory, co-evolution, the evolution of computers, and the future of planet Earth. Does this mean machines and computers develop their own biology, and begin truly thinking for themselves, as Kelly suggests?

It was such an enjoyment and a thrill to read this book.

"Kauffmans Law states that above a certain point, increasing the richness of connections between agents freezes adaptation. But it is the third order search that is most exciting: the search for strategies and feedback mechanisms that will increasingly self-tune the system each step on the way" Although the f=ma law still holds sway over the balloon, other forces such as propulsion and airlift push and pull, generate an unpredictable trajectory. It cannot predict precisely where the balloon will land, but it detects a direction the missile favors, say, to the rear of the launch or following a certain pattern of loops. Both the long-term, unpredictable nature of the high dimensional systems, and the short-term, predictable nature of low-dimensional systems, derive from the fact that chaos is not the same thing as randomness. There is order in chaos, "Immediately after Saddams initial invasion, the war gamers shifted internal Look to running endless variations of the real scenario. By running those simulations in many directions the team quickly learned that airpower would be the decisive key in this war. The war gamers cheekily joked that no model reflects the white flag as a weapons system so few long-term predictions prove correct that statistically they are all wrong. according to Modis, cyclic phenomenon in nature can infuse a cyclic flavor to systems running within it Together, these three modes of prediction suggest that at certain moments of heightened visibility, the invisible pattern of order becomes clear to those paying attention. Twenty years later we know both those assumptions are wrong "The only way for a system to evolve into something new is to have a flexible structure. We have to seek the middle point between equilibrium and death the state of almost-fell. Each bee does its work wonderfully in an organized manner, completely submitted to the State the beehive.

Overall, there is little actionable knowledge in this book, but it helped me to make A LOT MORE SENSE of this chaotic and hyper connected world we are living in today. Someone who is in their teens/twenties today and needs to decide how to align their life should devour this book. This was probably the most mind blowing book I have read in a decade or more.

Kevin Kelly is Senior Maverick at Wired magazine.

  • English

  • Science

  • Rating: 4.22
  • Pages: 528
  • Publish Date: April 14th 1995 by Basic Books
  • Isbn10: 0201483408
  • Isbn13: 9780201483406