Overview of Complex Adaptive Systems

What are Complex Adaptive Systems?

Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) are all around us, and we are each a part of them.

complex adaptive system is a system that is complex in that it is a dynamic network of interactions, but the behavior of the ensemble may not be predictable according to the behavior of the components. It is adaptive in that the individual and collective behavior mutate and self-organize corresponding to the change-initiating micro-event or collection of events.[1][2][3] It is a “complex macroscopic collection” of relatively “similar and partially connected micro-structures” formed in order to adapt to the changing environment and increase their survivability as a macro-structure.[1][2][4] The Complex Adaptive Systems approach builds on replicator dynamics.[5]

The study of complex adaptive systems, a subset of nonlinear dynamical systems,[6] is an interdisciplinary matter that attempts to blend insights from the natural and social sciences to develop system-level models and insights that allow for heterogeneous agentsphase transition, and emergent behavior.[7]

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Why Should We Care About Complex Adaptive Systems?

to solve humanity’s seemingly unsolvable wicked problems like suicide and climate change

In 2015, Bill Gates warned the world that we have not invested enough in systems to protect humanity from the next pandemic (and the many other threats to come). In 2020, COVID-19 hit.

Humans have evolved to consciously create more complexity faster than ever before. Are we ready to trigger positive, collective evolution in the complex adaptive system we call our human society?

Last updated byTiara Womack on October 5, 2021
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