“The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” ~ Archilochus In 2005, Philip Tetlock published a widely acclaimed book, “Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know?”, which presented the findings of a study of a diverse group almost 300 individuals, examining their decision-making processes over a number […]


A guest cross-post by Melanie Mitchell of the Santa Fe Institute.  In 1894, the physicist and Nobel laureate Albert Michelson declared that science was almost finished; the human race was within a hair’s breadth of understanding everything: It seems probable that most of the grand underlying principles have now been firmly established and that further advances […]


In this guest cross-post, Geoffrey West, former President of the Santa Fe Institute, argues that just as the industrial age produced the laws of thermodynamics, we need universal laws of complexity to solve intractable problems of the post-industrial era, and that ‘big data’ needs such ‘big theory’. For more on this topic, see David Hales’ guest […]


This piece is cross-posted from the Global Policy blog, where it has been published as part of Global Policy’s new e-book, ‘Emergence, Convergence and the Future of Aid’, edited by Andy Sumner. Contributions from academics and practitioners will be serialised on Global Policy until the e-book’s release in the first quarter of 2014. Find out […]


A wonderfully written piece in today’s FT Magazine by Stephen Foley, on the changing role of physicists in financial markets. A short extract below, and the full article is here (sign up may be required but is free for a certain number of articles). ‘…complex systems are not systematically predictable. They’re only predictable in some regimes…’ The […]


Behavioural economics is not (a) about controlling behaviour (b) conservative or liberal (c) about irrationality. So what exactly is it? People are complex; they defy easy summary. Like Walt Whitman, we all contain multitudes. As a discipline, economics has been successful in part because it has ignored this complexity. Instead it has focused on explaining the institutions […]