06 May 2018

Is the world really more complex today?


We hear this saying a lot, but is it true?

Does it just feel this way, in the same way we say "In the good old days"? Or is it possible that the world really is more complex?

Or maybe there is a third option.  Is it possible that the mix of complex and simple situations has remained the same, however with all our automation (mechanical and digital), the simple portion is handled easily and it is the complex parts that loom as challenges in our day?

I think it might be a bit of both. The reason for this is the increased connectivity added by the internet.  No longer do we send a single letter to a single person. Now we forward multiple emails to several people and CC a bunch more just to be safe. We broadcast on social media. We are faced with digital tasks that used to be done by the person behind the counter so they can "save money and pass on the savings to us" apparently.

This increase in communications increases the number of possible agents and feedback loops in any given system meaning yes, the world might actually be more complex, even at the inter-personal level.

What do you think?  Is it all just an illusion?