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Topic 15. Complexity and Chaos Theory in Social Science

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Rakenel Castro

on 16 November 2015

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Transcript of Topic 15. Complexity and Chaos Theory in Social Science

Chaos Theory
Topic 15.
Complexity and Chaos Theory in Social Science.

Chaos Theory
Complexity theory
1) Chaos theory. 2) Complexity theory.
Chaos Theory
is the science of surprise, of the nonlinear and the unpredictable. The lack of order in a system that nevertheless obeys particular law or rules.

Chaos Theory:
Is the study of complex nonlinear systems of social complexity.
- To expect the unexpected.
- Two kinds of systems:
a) Linear progressions.- Every cause has an effect and they are closely related. Only one direction (linear relation).
b) Nonlinear progressions.- Systems change in multiple directions.
- An american meteorologist.
- He was running computerized equations to theoretically model and predict weather conditions.
Edward Norton Lorenz
- Having run a particular sequence, he decided to replicate it, but instead of using the completed number .506127 he only used .506, that made that the results were radically different from his first outcomes.
- According to all scientific expectations at that time, measurement to three decimal places was considered fairly precise, therefore the results should have likewise been similar.
- Is the qualitative non-periodic
(that they are not repeated)
and unstable study in behavior in deterministic dynamical nonlinear systems
(systems that are constantly changing)
- Its goal it to find general order of social systems.
- States that social behavior and social systems are very complex, and the only prediction that can be made is that they are unpredictable.
.- It's ruled by a mathematical equation to determine its behavior.

Sensitive to initial conditions
.- An small change at the beginning can give different results.

Not random or change the public order
.- Chaos has an order and a pattern.
Characteristics of the chaotic system
Concepts of chaos theory
Butterfly Effect:
The slightest change in the starting point can lead to a very different result.

Balance inside the system.

Strange attractor:
A dynamic type of balance that represents a kind of path over which a system changes from one situation to another without having to settle.
Example of an Attractor
You have a town with 10,000 people, they have 1 supermarket, 2 swimming pools, 1 library and 3 churches. There's an equilibrium.

But then, a company decides to open a plant there opening 10,000 jobs, so, the town expands rappidly to accomodate 20,000 people, by adding: 1 supermarket, 2 swimming pools, 1 library and 3 churches. And you maintain the equilibrium.
You have a town with 10,000 people, they have 1 supermarket, 2 swimming pools, 1 library and 3 churches. There's an equilibrium.

Suddenly, 3,000 people decide to move away, so only 7,000 remain. The bosses of the supermarket calculate that in order to function they need 8,000 regular customers, so, after a while they closed and people are left without groceries. Demand rises and another company decides to build a supermarket, hoping it will attract new people, but many were in the process of moving and a new supermarket won't change their plans. So, the supermarket runs for a year only to come to the conclusion that there are not enough customers and it shut it down again.

And, then again, demand rises, a supermarket open, people move but not enough, store closes, and so on...
Example of a strange attractor
1) Nonlinearity as mathematical description.
2) Realism as an ontological principle
(the subject of existence
3) Evolutionary
(an historical processes, and they are not time reversible)
Components of chaos and complexity
Chaos theory in Social sciences
- Has been applied in systems as models in economic cycles, democratic vote and arms race.
- It has been proved that the control of nonlinear systems is easier that the linear control, because it can take a small boost to generate a large change in the system.
- Small policy changes and low cost can have big impact on social welfare.
Complex system
.- One in which many independent agents interact with each other in multiple ways.
- The variety of actors allows for the "spontaneous self-organization" that sometimes takes place in a system.
- this "self-organization" occurs without anyone being in charge or planning e organization, it more of the agents adapting to each other in a way it benefits them.
Example: the way human brain adapts to learn from experience.

Complexity Theory
Main Representatives
- Stuart Kauffman.- American theoretical biologist who studied the origins of life on Earth.
- Murray Gell-Mann.- American physicist, Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in elementary particles.
- Phillip Anderson.- American physicist, Nobel Prize in Physics.
- Systems present a complex global behavior as a result of local interaction of components or "agents" which determines the behavior components of relatively simple rules.
Complexity theory
- The behavior is the result of the interaction of the agents, therefore it cannot be divided without losing its identity and purpose.

Complexity of a system.-
Related to the number of interconnections and its complex nature.
Characteristics of a complex system.
1) A great number of elements or similar agents, but independent.
2) Persistent movements, and he answers of these elements to other agents.
3) The ability to adapt (how they adjust to new situations to ensure the survival).
4) Self-management (the order of the system shows spontaneously).
5) Local regulations that apply to each agent.
6) Progression in complexity (over time the system becomes larger and more sophisticated).
Complexity Systems
- Scientist create computer simulations that enable them to better identify emerging patterns in a system.
- Inability to predict the outcome of any given change to the system. There are many interactions, so the number of possible reactions is infinite.
- Complex behavior can be found in: traffic flows, cell differentiation, population dynamics, turbulence, etc.
.- the greater the system, the greater the complexity.
.- A system is complex when you know nothing of it.
.- Different nature of the parts of a system.
Terms used in Complexity Theory
However, a system can be large and have a wide variety, but it can be very simple.
Complexity theory in business
- It is used in a way to encourage innovative thinking and real time responses to change by allowing business units to self-organize.
- By letting an organization self-organized by establishing an organizational strategy based on the feedback of its customers and change as it occurs.
- "Try something and see what happens" Sherman and Schultz.
- It offers companies the opportunity to create new markets and establish new ways to spread emerging knowledge throughout the company- enabling the organization, as a whole, to respond faster and better to ongoing change.
Ex. Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center, Applied byosystems, and the USA Marine Corps.
- For both theories, actions or events can have consequences that apparently are not directly connected, and a few local events in a system can have global consequences.

- Social reality can be seen from different perspectives, that guide to a scientific explanation to help understand the behavior of man.
1) Individually and using your own words, complete the following chart:
Reading Check 4 (Part 3)
2) Individually and using your own words, answer the following questions:
a) What's the difference between each theory?
b) What's the relationship between chaos theory and complexity theory?
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