(First published in Urban Times on 19th Jun 2012)
Complexity underlies all aspects of life. Each “nodule’ in the web affects the other in an endless buzz of connectivity and feedback. We suddenly seem to be part of a universal structure, in which complex patterns are repeated through the scales, in similar but different ways.
Manuel Lima, senior UX design lead at Microsoft Bing, gives a talk on the power of networks. From the linear, branch-like schema of religion and early logic, to Darwin’s tree of life, to early 20th-century organization models, Lima reveals the various ways in which humanity made sense of hierarchy, order and evolution over the centuries.
Then, a quantum leap. From the first great Encyclopédie of the French Enlightenment thinkers to the open-source networks of Wikipedia. From trees and branches to complex “rhizomes“, i.e. non-hierarchical structures that have no central organization, and which overlap in what may be considered a giant and dynamic web structure.