When people say “wouldn’t it be cool to live before electricity was invented?” I say, yeah that would be cool. Maybe. For a few hours. Can I bring my phone? A light for when it gets dark? No? Then get me the heck back to 21st Century.
It’s true, I won’t deny it, I’m completely and utterly dependent on electricity. And why shouldn’t I be? It’s all I know!
The rooms dark? Flip the light switch.
I want a cup of tea? Turn the kettle on.
When do I go? Green traffic light tells me.
I need to look something up and my phones dead? Plug it in and charge it.
What happens when the power goes out for whatever reason? I’d like to say I don’t panic, which is true superficially… When really on the inside, I’m all like:
While the chaos in New York City (1977) seems a bit extreme, if I can feel a small sense of panic when the power goes out in my own home when I’ve got an endless amount of domestic-y type things to complete, I can see where it stems from. Now in Duncan J. Watts piece “Six Degrees” refers the failure lies in the lack of understanding of a system as a whole, how each independent system or detail, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, can influence the co-depency of the system; something apparently benign could become a destructive force if met with the right kind of combination failures.
Furthermore this reaction could extend to trying to understand the question: How does individual behaviour aggregate to collective behaviour? I’m not going to try to answer this, because obviously if it hasn’t been answered so far by a bunch of far better-read intellectuals, my first year University education and 20 years of life aren’t going to fair any better. However, Watts attempts to unpack why it is such a complex question to answer.
– The parts that make the whole are complex in themselves, they don’t merely be, they interact.
– Their interaction can create complexity even if they are seemingly simple as individuals.
How does this relate to networks?
A network essentially is a bunch of individuals, not fixed as previously believed but interacting that create a functioning collective. One interaction between the individual can influence another, thus affecting the collective, whether that be positively or negative and ultimately stimulating a constant change within them. This can be extended (and this is a newly interested area of science) to a specific network being the individual and a networking interacting with another creates and influences a larger collective, so on and so forth.
At least that’s what I made of it after that reading.