The End of Everything & the Shape of Things to Come: Toward Unified Theories of Collapse and Transformation
Entropy production ensures that nothing remains unchanged forever, and more often than not, change tends toward dissolution. In complex systems everything eventually dies, from cells and organisms, through to institutions and societies. In parallel with aging and ending are opportunities for new beginnings - new species prosper following mass extinctions, new companies find new markets following the competitive demise of their precursors, and new ideas can more easily be adopted once old ones have been refuted or lost.
Behind these cycles of collapse and emergence there are general patterns and perhaps general laws. In this meeting we shall explore integrated frameworks for collapse and their implications for common mechanisms of rebirth, asking whether both of these can be placed within quantitative frameworks. We seek to know whether failure can be predicted and how failure establishes the conditions for invention? And whether collapse is inevitable, and perhaps even desirable, in all robust evolving systems?