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Kevin Kelly Quotes

A brain is a society of very small, simple modules that cannot be said to be thinking, that are not smart in themselves. But when you have a network of them together, out of that arises a kind of smartness.

All imaginable futures are not equally possible.

An organization is a set of relationships that are persistent over time.

An organization's intelligence is distributed to the point of being ubiquitous.

An organization's reason for being, like that of any organism, is to help the parts that are in relationship to each other, to be able to deal with change in the environment.

And they discovered something very interesting: when it comes to walking, most of the ant's thinking and decision-making is not in its brain at all. It's distributed. It's in its legs.

Basins of attraction, of self organization, show up as well in our complex social environment, in human organizations. Here again, while we cannot predict the result of any given input, we can say that it will likely fall within one of several areas.

But in a turbulent environment the change is so widespread that it just routes around any kind of central authority. So it is best to manage the bottom-up change rather than try to institute it from the top down.

But in fact, when you try to model that on a computer you find that because of the very structure of matter and of the chemical bonds that are the basis of every organism, evolution is not random at all. It will tend to follow certain paths.

But when you are embodied in a location, in a physical plant, in a set of people, and in a common history, that constrains your evolution and your ability to evolve in certain directions.

Changing things from the top down works when things are stable.

Complexity that works is built up out of modules that work perfectly, layered one over the other.

Each organism's environment, for the most part, consists of other organisms.

Each system is trying to anticipate change in the environment.

Everything that we are making, we are making more and more complex.

In a broad systems sense, an organism's environment is indistinguishable from the organism itself.

It has become evident that the primary lesson of the study of evolution is that all evolution is coevolution: every organism is evolving in tandem with the organisms around it.

It's generally much easier to kill an organization than to change it substantially.

It's more along the lines of raising a child: we train the system to a certain range of behaviors that we find most useful. But then we let it go, because we don't want to have to be babysitting it the whole time.

Managers tend to treat organizations as if they are infinitely plastic. They hire and fire, merge, downsize, terminate programs, add capacities. But there are limits to the shifts that organizations can absorb.