X-Events: The Collapse of Everything

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9780062088284: X-Events: The Collapse of Everything

The modern industrialized world is a complex system on a scale never before witnessed in the history of humankind. Technologically dependent, globally interconnected, it offers seemingly limitless conveniences, choices, and opportunities. Yet this same modern civilization is an unstable as a house of cards, fear complexity scientists like John L. Casti. All it would take to downsize our way of life - to send us crashing back to the 19th century way of life - is a nudge from what Casti calls an X-Event, an unpredictable occurrence that with extreme, even dire, consequences. When an X-Event strikes - and scientists believe, it will-finance, communication, defense, and travel will stop dead in their tracks. The flow of food, electricity, medicine, and clean water will be disrupted for months, if not years. What will you do? A renowned systems theorist, Casti shows how our world has become impossibly complicated, relying on ever more advanced technology that is developing at an exponential rate. Yet it is a fact of mathematical life that higher and higher levels of complexity lead to a system that's ever more fragile and susceptible to sudden, spectacular collapse. Fascinating and chilling, "X-Events" provides a provocative tour of the catastrophic outlier scenarios that could quickly send us crashing back to the pre-industrial age: global financial black swans; a world-wide crash of the Internet that would halt all communication; the end of oil; nuclear winter; nano-plagues; robot uprisings; electromagnetic-pulse bombs; pandemic viruses; and more. You won't look at the world the same way again after reading this book.

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Review:

“I am assiduous reader of John Casti’s books. He is a real scientific intellectual.” (NASSIM NICHOLAS TALEB, author of The Black Swan)

“One of America’s greatest pioneers of simulation.” (London Times)

From the Back Cover:

A page-turning exploration of eleven scenarios that may trigger the collapse of the modern world

A renowned systems theorist, John Casti shows how our world has become impossibly complicated, relying on ever more advanced technology that is developing at an exponential rate. Yet it is a fact of mathematical life that higher and higher levels of complexity lead to systems that are increasingly fragile and susceptible to sudden, spectacular collapse. Fascinating and chilling, X-Events provides a provocative tour of the catastrophic outlier scenarios that could quickly send us crashing back to the preindustrial age: global financial "black swans"; a worldwide crash of the Internet that would halt all communication; the end of oil; nuclear winter; "nanoplagues"; robot uprisings; electromagnetic pulses; pandemic viruses; and more. You won't ever look at the world the same way again.

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