October 18th is the 52nd meeting of Systems Thinking Ontario. Please RSVP at Eventbrite.
Thinking Systems of Networks of People of Systems – A Seventh Sense?
Interpersonal and institutional networks, mediated by new technology platforms, are proliferating like never before and the capabilities of these systems continue to evolve at an accelerating pace. In his article, The False Prophecy of Hyperconnection, Niall Ferguson, writes:
“Never before have so many people been connected together in an instantly responsive network through which memes can spread faster than natural viruses. But the notion that taking the whole world online would create a utopia of netizens, all equal in cyberspace, was always a fantasy—as much a delusion as Luther’s vision of a “priesthood of all believers.” The reality is that the global network has become a transmission mechanism for all kinds of manias and panics, just as the combination of printing and literacy temporarily increased the prevalence of millenarian sects and witch crazes. The cruelties of the Islamic State, or ISIS, seem less idiosyncratic when compared with those of some governments and sects in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The contamination of the public sphere with fake news today is less surprising when one remembers that the printing press disseminated books about magic as well as books about science.”
The new societal challenges, posed by these new kinds of network, call for the cultivation of, what Joshua Cooper Ramo calls, a “Seventh Sense”. By which he seems to mean a synthesis of wisdom and insight – both ancient and freshly conceived - that equips people to more fully appreciate these changes and better influence the evolution of new, more efficacious technological protections and social norms.
Join us in discussing the impact of hyperconnection in the world, today - and in exploring the insights and wisdom that might be brought to bear on challenges posed by these new sociotechnical systems.
Don Officer is a regular contributor to Systems Thinking Ontario discussions; a writer and thinker deeply interested in the most challenging questions of our day.
Join us in an open discussion. Newcomers always welcomed.
In preparation, please review the following notes:
- Article: The False Prophecy of Hyperconnection
- Video: Panel discussion featuring Joshua Cooper Ramo, author of “The Seventh Sense”
Suggestions for Further Reading:
- Complexity and the Analysis of Political and Social Life, Robert Jervis, Political Science Quarterly, 1997-1998 (Robert Jervis' work on offensive vs. defensive technologies was mentioned in the panel discussion, above)