Briefly on Perceived Complexity

Through advances in technology we’re increasingly aware of what happens around us. We’re increasingly connected, not only acting in the immediate physical here and now. The notion of locality and time has changed. We’re connected to deeper networks than we used to be even ten or twenty years ago, let alone 50. The observational scale we choose determines the degree of perceived complexity. This may or may not be ontological complexity.

Yaneer Bar-Yam writes in his paper “Multiscale Complexity/Entropy“:

“The complexity as a function of scale of observation is expressed in terms of subsystem entropies for a system having a description in terms of variables that have the same a-priori scale. The sum of the complexity over all scales is the same for any system with the same number of underlying degrees of freedom (variables), even though the complexity at specific scales differs due to the organization / interdependence of these degrees of freedom. This reflects a tradeoff of complexity at different scales of observation.” -Yaneer Bar-Yam, New England Complex Systems Institute, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138



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