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Prof. W. Brian Arthur - How Technology Evolves
Date: 10 December 2009 Time: 4.00 pm
Venue: IAS Meeting Rooms 2 & 3
Professor W. Brian Arthur, External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute, will talk about his new book, The Nature of Technology:
The Nature of Technologyis an elegant and powerful theory of the origins and evolution of technology. It accomplishes for the progress of technology what Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions did for scientific progress. Arthur explains how transformative new technologies arise and how innovation really works. Conventional thinking ascribes the invention of technologies to "thinking outside the box," or vaguely to genius or creativity, but Arthur shows that such explanations are inadequate. Rather, technologies are put together from pieces — themselves technologies — that already exist. Technologies therefore share common ancestries, and combine, morph, and combine again, to create further technologies. Technology evolves much as a coral reef builds itself from activities of small organisms — it creates itself from itself; and all technologies are descended from earlier technologies.
Drawing on a wealth of examples, from historical inventions to the high-tech wonders of today, and writing in wonderfully engaging and clear prose, Arthur takes us on a mind-opening journey that will change the way we think about technology and how it structures our lives.
In collaboration with The Lancaster Complexity Network.
Who can attend: Anyone
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