expand_less Given that a System is an information structure, we can proceed to analyze the world in terms of its nested information structures or subsystems. All of the dynamics of complex systems can be realized in theory and observation by decomposing natural systems along emergent information flow boundaries. In biological cybernetics and cognitive sciences, we can analyze living organisms as self-producing and maintaining networks of processes that are open to the environment and the other beings coexisting therein. With the development of symbolic language in the homo line, the stage was set for developing extended phenotypes in material culture. With homo sapiens and the Neolithic Age this kicks into high gear, first accellerating slowly but the pace of change is ramping up the whole time.
This is how we find ourselves in the age of disruptive change where we either wise up fast or get kicked off the planet. Much of the change is in the technology of information, but even more significant is the evolution of material culture noted above. The ability to not just use tools but to invent them requires an interruption in the normal uses of language give only the capacity to use language within a culture. This way of being in language interacts with the worlds that cognition and language create, but it does not reveal them. When cognition can go beyond the manipulation of a world given as lived experience and think about the experience outside the fishbowl of a given life-world embedded necessarily in learned habits of perception and responding active rituals.
The break from life as given to the examined life of deeper awareness is deep and wide and in general not of much use within a stable life-world. On the other hand, for creating new ways of living and responding adaptively to a changing situation, it is obvious how thinking outside the box might save the day not only for the wise guy with a crazy plan but the whole social group. Inventions of new tools and even ephemeral ways of thinking and doing things almost require trade to develop in parallel with new lingustic modes of dissemination of new tools and culture. Anthropologists can trace the development and dissemination of culture in a number of ways, and one of them is the way that different tools and technique appear and spread over time and place. Many of the sites producing data are relatively recent discoveries, yet another indicator of disruptive change. We now have so many well-educated specialists that all fields are accellerating as more trained field workers spread about the world and are recruited from more diverse places and cultures.
Another aspect that none can ignore is the pace of change in digital technologies. Moore's law will not go on forever, but it has not bottomed out yet. This field was primative when I was born, and at a price that I built a kit computer in high school. Today's youth have what would have been a supercomputer then in the palm of their hands. This means that all the sciences can gather, store and process ever more data. We can also process the data in many ways that seem to magically extract knowledge and use learning processes to teach machines to do what used to require a human.