Society

Inventing a Language to Map Complexity

The world is a complicated place, as you can tell if you’ve ever tried to predict the weather or the stock market, or if you’ve taken a single glance at the Schroedinger equation governing all physical particles.

Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a way to visualize such systems and processes?  And wouldn’t it be even better if we could represent all such complex systems using a single, universal visual language?

Blue fractal

Visualization makes complex systems more accessible (image courtesy F Pinheiro)

I would never have even thought of this but for an email I recently received from Y Worlds, a cooperative start-up that’s attempting to do exactly that.  They’re just getting started, but I’m intrigued enough to keep an eye on them and see what they can accomplish, if for no other reason than that their goal is so broad and ambitious.

Their approach is, by necessity, highly interdisciplinary.  One part of the project involves the actual creation of the language, including contributions from programmers, user interface specialists, and semioticians (people who study symbols and symbolic systems).  Another part involves knowledge generation and curation, working to ensure that the systems being represented are current, relevant and accurate.  Finally, there is a cooperative aspect that promotes decentralized participation and idea exchange.

What do you think of all this?  What are the advantages of representing all the world’s complexity in a universally comprehensible way?  How would you approach the problem?  And do you think this is even possible?  Add your thoughts in the comment box below, and stop by Y Worlds’ about page for more.

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3 thoughts on “Inventing a Language to Map Complexity

  1. This sound highly intriguing! I can imagine some incredible insights coming from this (even if it doesn’t work). Though hopefully it doesn’t just turn out like esperonto. 😉

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