Friday, January 02, 2004

book review: emergence

the world wide web is a brain tumor. the new media landscape is a hurricane. sidewalks are the gap junctions of urban life. in emergence, steven johnson discusses self organizing systems - from slime molds to the sims - and the properties they share.

like other tech savvy critics before him, johnson makes broad claims about our abilities to virtually self organize in the near future, but appears to recognize the limitations of these claims and uses as an interesting case study in how these communities can be shaped on the web.

sometimes this genre of book leaves me thinking, "wahoo, stuff is connected, so what?" in this respect, emergence is better than most - hints of the underlying theoretical basis for complexity theory appear throughout the book, but overall consider this to be a very non-technical read. if you want to get excited about reading some primary literature, it's a quick-and-dirty way to start.


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