The Primacy of Paradox

Abstract

Our world today is rife with systems and it’s my bet that no amount of revolutions, IT or social, will rid us of them. Au contraire, all of our efforts are being directed at bigger, better, smarter systems. Special effort is being directed at a kind of system that makes ready use of a plethora of existing or legacy systems, having them work together in new ways forming what people are calling a Systems of Systems (SoS)[1]. These are new wholes greater than, smarter than, and more potent than not only any of the constituent systems but even the sum of them, however sum is defined. Systems are ineluctably here to stay. Science however, which gave them to us and allegedly for our benefit, may not be able to lay claim to such permanence. Science, like so many of our present day institutions, systems all, is being rudely and inescapably visited by change, and of a kind that may even sweep science away or minimally make it unrecognizable from that which we know and love today. It is one of my goals in this presentation to say why I believe this and how to prepare accordingly.

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