Difference between revisions of "Devology"

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(Devology: Definition)
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See the [[Project|'''EDU Project''']] page for a sample of the broad variety of work that has already been done on devology. An increasing number of interdisciplinary scholars are currently active in seeking a unifying devologist perspective that explains its hierarchical complexification from the origin of the Universe to present society and beyond. See for example the work of '''Eric Chaisson''' and '''Stuart Kauffmann''', among many others.
 
See the [[Project|'''EDU Project''']] page for a sample of the broad variety of work that has already been done on devology. An increasing number of interdisciplinary scholars are currently active in seeking a unifying devologist perspective that explains its hierarchical complexification from the origin of the Universe to present society and beyond. See for example the work of '''Eric Chaisson''' and '''Stuart Kauffmann''', among many others.
  
One of the most important transitions in devological processes is the deterministic transition from quantity to quality. It has been proposed first by [http://www.hegel.net/en/pdf/Hegel-Scilogic.pdf Hegel], and has been used most recently by [http://www.pnas.org/content/97/23/12926.abstract Carneiro] to explain progressive development. In regard to Devology, larger systems allow for higher forms of organization and greater efficiency. An example is the airline industry. In large enough system commercial flight becomes economically viable. If we do a though experiment and reduce the number of people in the United States to one million people, we can understand that all commercial aviation will cease and the quality of our system will be returned to the level of times when there were a million people in the USA. To emphasize the deterministic role of quantity to quality we can expand the thought experiment to understand that all other forms of modern life will disappear, including electricity production, highways, car production and everything else. The inevitable conclusion from the quantity to quality transition is that in order for the quality, as measured by the organization and efficiency of the human society to increase we need larger quantity of people. If the growth of the human population stops, the technological and economical development eventually will peak and cease. The accelerating change in technology for the last two centuries is largely paralleled by the acceleration of the quantity in our system in terms of number of people.
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One important devological process is the apparent deterministic transition from quantity to quality. This was proposed first by [http://www.hegel.net/en/pdf/Hegel-Scilogic.pdf '''GWF Hegel'''], and has been used most recently by [http://www.pnas.org/content/97/23/12926.abstract '''Robert L. Carneiro''' (2000)] to explain progressive development. Within any substrate, larger systems create greater evolutionary diversity, specialization, cooperation, and competition, leading to higher developmental forms of organization, more resilience and process memory, and significantly greater efficiencies. Anthropologist '''Joe Henrich''' () has argued that for any major cultural complexity transition just a few cognitively complex individuals is not enough; a large population of imitative and adaptive minds will be required.
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As archeologist '''Rhys Jones''' () proposed and others have since supported, a major loss in Tasmanian population, following the closure of the Bass Strait land bridge connecting Tasmania to Australia 8,000 years ago, produced a slow but steady loss of tool kit complexity over subsequent millennia. As evolutionary anthropologists '''Peter J. Richerson''' and '''Robert Boyd''' () note, excavations show that Tasmania transitioned from a culture rich in boats and other complex tools equivalent to the rest of Australia, to a culture that, when discovered by European explorers in the 1800's, had the simplest tool kit known for any living people. Though it still retained a population of four thousand people, the culture had lost of hundreds of tools. Cultural memory and specialization were not sufficient to maintain tool kit diversity.
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Similarly, were we to keep our current level of technological automation the same (e.g., assume no new breakthroughs), and suddenly reduce our national population to one million, total system quality would be drastically reduced, as we would have lost a massive amount of specialized and imitative human knowledge capital. Were this to happen suddenly all other forms of modern life would also disappear, including electricity production, highways, car production and everything else.  
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A conclusion one might draw from this is that in order for social quality, as measured by the organization and efficiency of the human society to increase we need larger quantity of people. If the growth of the human population stops, the technological and economical development eventually will peak and cease. This however would be premature, as today there is another substrate, technology, which has itself reached human equivalence in a range of cognitive and physical tasks, and which is accelerating in its capacity and autonomy.
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While the accelerating change in technology for the last two centuries has been largely paralleled by the acceleration of human population, this will likely no longer be the case going forward. As Ben Wattenberg () and others have noted, human population is proposed to peak mid-21st century, at the same time that that scholars such as Ray Kurzweil and others propose human-equivalent technological minds. Again, for social quality to continue to advance in a condition of human population saturation, the quantity and diversity of technological minds must greatly increase, given this apparent developmental constraint.
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* Carneiro, Robert L. (2000) The Transition from Quantity to Quality: A Neglected Causal Mechanism in Accounting for Social Evolution, ''PNAS'' 97:12926-12931.

Revision as of 19:41, 16 April 2010

Devology: Definition

Proposed concise name for a new science studying the evolution and development of organization on all scales and substrates in the Universe. Coined in 2010 by EDU scholar Georgi Georgiev.

The name stands for and is composed of the following elements:

  • devo = development
  • evo = evolution
  • logos = words, thought, study, principles, truth, science (Greek)

Devology is a much shorter and more effective version of Universal Evolutionary Development Studies (UEDS) a phrase used since 2000 by EDU scholar John Smart. With UEDS, development is the noun, the proposed overarching framework and process, and evolution the adjective, the subordinate process modifying development. Likewise, devology also places universal development first, as a framework for understanding universal evolutionary process. This perspective is underrepresented in modern evolutionary science and systems theory. Note that devology/UEDS is not developmentalism, another useful but limited term that focuses primarily on developmental processes, minimizing or ignoring evolutionary ones, in the same way that evolutionism is a useful but limited approach to evolutionary change that ignores any concomitant process of universal development.

See the EDU Project page for a sample of the broad variety of work that has already been done on devology. An increasing number of interdisciplinary scholars are currently active in seeking a unifying devologist perspective that explains its hierarchical complexification from the origin of the Universe to present society and beyond. See for example the work of Eric Chaisson and Stuart Kauffmann, among many others.

One important devological process is the apparent deterministic transition from quantity to quality. This was proposed first by GWF Hegel, and has been used most recently by Robert L. Carneiro (2000) to explain progressive development. Within any substrate, larger systems create greater evolutionary diversity, specialization, cooperation, and competition, leading to higher developmental forms of organization, more resilience and process memory, and significantly greater efficiencies. Anthropologist Joe Henrich () has argued that for any major cultural complexity transition just a few cognitively complex individuals is not enough; a large population of imitative and adaptive minds will be required.

As archeologist Rhys Jones () proposed and others have since supported, a major loss in Tasmanian population, following the closure of the Bass Strait land bridge connecting Tasmania to Australia 8,000 years ago, produced a slow but steady loss of tool kit complexity over subsequent millennia. As evolutionary anthropologists Peter J. Richerson and Robert Boyd () note, excavations show that Tasmania transitioned from a culture rich in boats and other complex tools equivalent to the rest of Australia, to a culture that, when discovered by European explorers in the 1800's, had the simplest tool kit known for any living people. Though it still retained a population of four thousand people, the culture had lost of hundreds of tools. Cultural memory and specialization were not sufficient to maintain tool kit diversity.

Similarly, were we to keep our current level of technological automation the same (e.g., assume no new breakthroughs), and suddenly reduce our national population to one million, total system quality would be drastically reduced, as we would have lost a massive amount of specialized and imitative human knowledge capital. Were this to happen suddenly all other forms of modern life would also disappear, including electricity production, highways, car production and everything else.

A conclusion one might draw from this is that in order for social quality, as measured by the organization and efficiency of the human society to increase we need larger quantity of people. If the growth of the human population stops, the technological and economical development eventually will peak and cease. This however would be premature, as today there is another substrate, technology, which has itself reached human equivalence in a range of cognitive and physical tasks, and which is accelerating in its capacity and autonomy.

While the accelerating change in technology for the last two centuries has been largely paralleled by the acceleration of human population, this will likely no longer be the case going forward. As Ben Wattenberg () and others have noted, human population is proposed to peak mid-21st century, at the same time that that scholars such as Ray Kurzweil and others propose human-equivalent technological minds. Again, for social quality to continue to advance in a condition of human population saturation, the quantity and diversity of technological minds must greatly increase, given this apparent developmental constraint.

  • Carneiro, Robert L. (2000) The Transition from Quantity to Quality: A Neglected Causal Mechanism in Accounting for Social Evolution, PNAS 97:12926-12931.