Want to build the next “hot” technology? Design it so that it enables complexity.

“According to our best experimentally confirmed physical theory, all known stable matter in the universe is made up of three kinds of elementary particle coupled via four kinds of fundamental interaction.” [1]

Imagine, all of life and everything in it emerges from 3 kinds of particles interacting in 4 different ways. Astounding!

I asked a very bright colleague, “What are technologies that survive?” He responded, “Those technologies that enable complexity.” [Complexity is the ability of simple things to be composed to create complex things]

3 kinds of particles interacting in 4 different ways enable tremendous complexity. In fact, it enables the entire universe.

A much simpler example is Legos: these are simple building blocks, from which complex structures can be built.

Let’s take another example.  Suppose there is one road from my home to my workplace.  There aren’t any options in the path from home to work.  Now, suppose a bunch of side-roads are created. Now my options (and everyone else’s options) have expanded considerably. The introduction of the new roads has enabled complexity.

Want to build the next “hot” technology? Design it so that it enables complexity.

[1] Foundations of Complex-System Theories by Sunny Y. Auyang

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