We recently had the privilege to talk with Stephen Wolfram at the Ninth International Conference on Complex Systems (ICCS). Wolfram is the creator of Mathematica, Wolfram|Alpha and the Wolfram Language. He is also the author of A New Kind of Science and is the founder and CEO of Wolfram Research.
Wolfram is also one of the founding fathers of the complexity science field and was the featured keynote speaker on the first night at ICCS, hosted by the New England Complex Systems Institute. He spoke for an hour and a half at the event and was followed by a very eager crowd of followers after his talk. Many of these complexity thinkers, practitioners, students and researchers lingered to ask him questions, hoping he would elaborate on his very thought-provoking presentation. During this time, Angie and I anxiously waited in our podcast booth for him to come speak with us, and after nearly 2 hours of patiently addressing his crowd’s questions, Wolfram walked into our booth. We asked him if he was up for an interview after such a long evening, and with no hesitation he sat down and put on his microphone headset.
This is a very exciting time for The Human Current! We have just come back from a wonderful conference week at The Ninth International Conference on Complex Systems (ICCS) and are about to release our 100th podcast episode!
While at ICCS we collected 30 interviews and have released 8 of these interviews so far, including Professor Yaneer Bar-Yam, Professor Ricardo Hausmann, Steven Hassan, Professor Natalia Komarova & Professor George Church!
Soon we will share our interview with one of the founding fathers of complexity science, Stephen Wolfram.
We discovered Complexity Labs several months ago after watching educational videos on their Youtube channel. Since then, we have read a number of their complexity related articles and have formed a supportive working relationship with their founder, Joss Colchester. We believe Joss and the Complexity Labs team are making a very important contribution to the complexity and systems thinking communities with their easily accessible learning content. Since Complexity Labs was established a few short years ago, they have made great impact producing over 300 video lessons, which have been viewed 2 million times.
The co-hosts of The HumanCurrent are very excited to announce they are collaborating with Complexity Labs for a series of live streaming video conversations about all things complexity.
We are calling this video discussion series "Complexity Live" and it will be a once a month event hosted on Google Hangouts (YouTube Live) at Complexity Labs Youtube Channel .
Our very first Complexity Live will take place Friday, June 8th at 6PM GMT and anyone with a curious mind can listen in and ask questions while the conversation unfolds.
Angie and I recently attended the WorkHuman Conference in our home town of Austin, Texas. The event is pioneered by Globoforce, a leading provider for social recognition solutions, who is dedicated to creating more human-centered workplaces.
We were eager to attend WorkHuman for many reasons. Their speaker lineup was definitely a major draw, for it included well-known leaders Brene Brown, Shawn Achor, Salma Hayek, Simon Sinek, and Amal Clooney, among others. However, there were more compelling reasons for our excitement. We desired to learn more about this movement, to be a part of their mission and play witness, and to contribute to the conversation with our testimony about how complex system science can help transform workplaces for the better.
As a systems thinker, I don’t ever recall a time that I couldn’t see systems. However, as I was learning about the various complexity terms and aspects, light bulb after light bulb went off, and having the words that explained what I understood gave me more confidence. What I learned from my MA was rich and invaluable, and while it did not result in me being fluent in "complexity speak", the following are some of the terms that have especially resonated with me and continually show up in my work, life, and all the things I do.
We are currently in a podcast series on the complexity of artificial intelligence and we recently shared our interview with AI researcher, leading Complex Systems Scientist, Professor of Computer Science at Portland State University, and external professor at the Santa Fe Institute, Melanie Mitchell.
Mitchell’s background originally stems from Mathematics and Physics. She became curious about how intelligence emerges from a complex system after reading Douglas Hofstadter’s book, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. Hofstadter later became her Phd advisor after she sought him out at the University of Michigan. Mitchell attributes her professional journey to his guidance, as well as, Professor John Holland, who was a pioneer in the field of genetic algorithms. Holland was also an early founder of the Santa Fe Institute and encouraged Mitchell’s involvement with the Institute.
In our upcoming episode, we share our interview with the co-author of Embracing Complexity: Strategic Perspectives for an Age of Turbulence, Jean Boulton, who is also an academic and management consultant, specializing in complexity theory. Our conversation with her was very rich, covering concepts from how complexity thinking compares to systems thinking, change management, complexity as a worldview, and even how this field is shining a light on climate change. We covered a lot of ground in the time we had with her, although we wish we could have talked longer. Her humility and brilliance were captivating and just minutes into our conversation, we realized that she lives and breathes complexity, using this worldview to frame how she thinks, feels and acts.