X-Events
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X-Events : Complexity Overload and the Collapse of Everything

3.31 (162 ratings by Goodreads)
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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 as 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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Product details

  • Paperback | 336 pages
  • 134.62 x 200.66 x 27.94mm | 272.15g
  • William Morrow Paperbacks
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0062088297
  • 9780062088291
  • 1,148,169

Back cover copy

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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Review quote

"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
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About John L. Casti

American complexity scientist and systems theoristJohn Casti, is cofounder of The X-Center, a Viennabasedresearch institute focusing on human-causedextreme events and how to anticipate them. Casti haspublished nearly twenty volumes of academic and popularscience and received his Ph.D. in mathematics from theUniversity of Southern California. He lives in Vienna,Austria.
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Rating details

162 ratings
3.31 out of 5 stars
5 10% (17)
4 29% (47)
3 43% (69)
2 17% (28)
1 1% (1)
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