On the Value of Complexity

Science — Zac Townsend @ November 4, 2012 9:23 am

Cesar Hildago again:

One example that I like very much to try to make a distinction between those approaches and other approaches is that of an F-22 jet fighter. This is an example from my friend Francisco Claro. The idea is that an F-22 fighter is actually quite an expensive machine. You need to have a lot of money to buy an F-22. An F-22, being a very expensive machine, is also a very complex machine. It has a lot of parts, and there were a lot of people with a lot of different types of expertise that went in to generate that machine.

If you take the price of an F-22 and you divide it by its weight, you get that, per pound, cost something between silver and gold. It's that expensive! . Now, take your F-22 and crash it against a hill, or crash it against the ocean, blow it up into tiny little bits and pieces. How valuable it is now? It's probably way less valuable than silver. It's probably almost worthless after it's broken down. So, where was the value?

The value cannot be in any of the parts or in any of the materials, or in anything other than the complexity of how these things come together. So actually, value is set by the property of organization. It's more of an entropic, or anti-entropic more precisely, idea of value.

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