Santa Fe, NM

All day


Our campus is closed to the public for this event.

Complexity, a once arcane concept from the future of science, has rapidly become the central preoccupation of the world. This statement can be passed in multiple different ways. Let’s describe these as (1) Demographics, (2) Thermodynamics, (3) Informatics, and (4) Geopolitics.

The Demographic factors include differential rates of population growth, urbanization, aging, migration, and disease. The world population should hit nearly ten billion by 2050. One hundred years ago the number was two billion. The variability in growth rate is significant. Whereas the Russian population is declining at -0.2%, India is growing at 1.7%. These trends correlate with patterns of migration with 17.9 Million global migrants tracing their origin back to India. These factors also correlate with aging. Japan has a growth rate of 0.2% and nearly 40% of its population above the age of 60.

Thermodynamic factors include climate change, sustainable sources of energy, the energetic cost of markets and computation, and food security. The growing energetic costs of search and block-chain transactions remains a serious point contention. As LAMS grow in inferential power so do their needs. Power-capping LLMS by around 50% leads to a 15% reduction in performance in small models and a 20% reduction in larger models. In terms of direct metabolic statistics, it has been estimated that of the current world population, one third do not have access to secure food calories. At the same time battery sales are increasing exponentially and in over the last 30 years battery costs have dropped by 99%. This has lead an a rapid increase in the adoption of electric vehicles with a 68% increase in EV market growth from 2021 to 2022.

Informatic factors include data surveillance, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and algorithms decision-making. Generative AI is estimated to reduce the labor force by several million within five years. The cost to the US economy of Cyber theft stands at around 350 Billion per year. Around 50%  of organizations are entering non-public company information into GenAI apps, and  95% of organizations declare that the benefits of investing in data privacy exceed costs. Climate change is estimated to cost the world $38 trillion a year in damage by 2049. These trends are likely to be partially offset by smart grids that increase  intermittent renewable generation in power system, progress in compact nuclear reactor technology, and rapid advances in biomedical diagnostics and drug development.

Geopolitical factors include conflict and warfare (over demographic and thermodynamic factors), political polarization, ideological divergence, and emerging national and regional alliances. The war in Ukraine has involved the loss of tens of thousands of lives, and it is costing Russia a Billion dollars a day. US aid to the war is measured in the 100 of billions and has resulted in an over 50% increase in the cost of crude oil. Ideological divergences threaten to destabilize world peace, and the threat of nuclear war is perhaps at an all time high.

In this conference we are discussing Complexity in the Wild: Firstly, the nature of the complex world in relation to the interactions among Demographic, Thermodynamic, Informatic, and Geopolitical processes; and secondly, how complexity science can lead to a better understanding of the logic, dynamics, and outcomes of these interactions. If global uncertainty is increasing, how can complexity science reduce risk? If each of these factors interacts multiplicatively, what outcomes might we anticipate and what interventions can we pursue?

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