Eugenio Maria Battaglia, Jie Mei, Guillaume Dumas
Publication year: 2018


Technology is increasingly shaping our social structures and is becoming a driving force in altering human biology. Besides, human activities already proved to have a significant impact on the Earth system which in turn generates complex feedback loops between social and ecological systems. Furthermore, since our species evolved relatively fast from small groups of hunter-gatherers to large and technology-intensive urban agglomerations, it is not a surprise that the major institutions of human society are no longer fit to cope with the present complexity. In this note we draw foundational parallelisms between neurophysiological systems and ICT-enabled social systems, discussing how frameworks rooted in biology and physics could provide heuristic value in the design of evolutionary systems relevant to politics and economics. In this regard we highlight how the governance of emerging technology (i.e. nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science), and the one of climate change both presently confront us with a number of connected challenges. In particular: historically high level of inequality; the co-existence of growing multipolar cultural systems in an unprecedentedly connected world; the unlikely reaching of the institutional agreements required to deviate abnormal trajectories of development. We argue that wise general solutions to such interrelated issues should embed the deep understanding of how to elicit mutual incentives in the socio-economic subsystems of Earth system in order to jointly concur to a global utility function (e.g. avoiding the reach of planetary boundaries and widespread social unrest). We leave some open questions on how techno-social systems can effectively learn and adapt with respect to our understanding of geopolitical complexity.

Keywords: NBIC, complex adaptive systems, sociophysics, digital platforms, governance.

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