Models as Purposeful Representation

Models may be of various types, such as:

a) working scaled, something solid or concrete, like a miniature, which might be termed as a prototype.

b) an abstract set of equations that represent or describe the interactions and inter-dependencies among various system elements or variables.

c) a computer simulation that tries to simulate a given situation on the ground.

d) simple drawings and a bit more complex animation of a process depicting movement.

e) graphical description of a system’s characteristics or a description of a design. It might be two or three-dimensional representation.

In Nemetics the idea of having a model (any of the above representation) is to fulfill two purposes, which are as follows:

a) Help in understanding one complex adaptive system (CAS)

b) Transfer the understanding of one CAS to another and understand the changes that would happen to a CAS over time.

The other part of Nemetics is the RGB waves, where:

a) R waves represent the events that occur in a CAS  It is temporal in its character allowing various events to happen over time.

b) G waves represent the behavior that triggers the R waves. It is spatial in nature. Repetitive behavior characterizes the space, enlivens it and lends meaning.

c) B waves depicts the design or the collective understanding that informs and shapes the G waves. It is space-time taken together, which shapes both space and time to initiate flow of certain behavior operating under certain constraints, which in turn leads to various events.

So, this is the concept of Unity in Diversity. The essential unity is B waves, which allows various manifestations to happen in the form of G and R waves.

It follows that if B waves are changed modified or redesigned then G and R waves would also be changed automatically.

It may so happen, as usually is the case, that two systems are interacting with each other and therefore influencing each other. It might happen to the machines and equipment. It might happen between persons. And it might also happen between organizations and nations.

To illustrate this case let us use the Richardson Arm’s Race Model:

While you might enjoy going through the link let us point out the RGB waves in this interactions between two systems or two nations.

The level of Arms build up of each nation = R waves (denoted by dx/dt and dy/dt). Interesting to note the temporal nature of the R waves.

The Reaction coefficients for each nation, indicating the degree to which each party feels threatened by the armament level of its rival, which then leads to the decision to build more arms = G waves (denoted by the coefficients a and b). Note the spatial nature of the G waves through exhibition of repetitive behavior; interdependent on each other.

The Expense coefficients, generally reflecting the economic costs of increased production and the grievance factors (indicating that the nations are competitors) or goodwill factors (indicating that the nations are friendly towards one another). = B waves (denoted in the equations by r and s). Interesting to note the space-time nature of the B waves, which governs both G and R waves.

The model captures the interactions and inter-dependencies between R, G and B waves and the adaptive behavior of the complex system along with the diversity of manifestation that it produces from the underlying unity.

This model and its variations can now be applied to two competitors, be they nations or companies highlighting the concept of Nemetics that understanding of one CAS can be smartly applied to another CAS to speed up understanding and decision-making.

In doing so, it allows us to predict certain types of behavior depending upon the values of the system parameters.

Similar but usually more complex models might be used to describe the behavior of other social and economic indicators.

Predicting BlacK SwaNs

As we know now, the world is full of complex systems. However much we wish, we can’t avoid them.  We see them in our organizations. They are there in our societies.  They can be experienced in ‘cloud bursts’ and in flash floods. We even find them in our families.

They are nagging and they are wicked at times. Wicked in the sense that it often leaves us baffled preventing us from acting skillfully.

The question is how do we deal with them?

It is easy to deal with any complex system if we are able to predict their behavior over time.

However, the idea of prediction is a bit different from our usual idea of prediction. Our usual idea about prediction is, if we know sufficiently about the behavior at any point of time, we would be able to predict the behavior of a system any time in the future.

But that is not what bothers us about understanding and dealing with complex systems. And it is fair to say that such predictions are absolutely impossible with complex systems. Therefore, with any complex system all we are interested about is to detect the appearance of a ‘black swan‘.  A black swan is some sudden unexpected change in the behavior of a system that disrupts the system and brings it crashing to the floor. The crash of 2008 provides an extreme example of a black swan. But such examples are rather common in our lives. Our careers crash. Organizations crash. Our health suddenly crashes. A ‘cloud bursts’. Or for that matter any system is likely to be disrupted any time by the sudden appearance of black swans.

So what might we do about it? Does it help if we notice the change in behavior of each agent or individuals that form the part of the system? For example, does it help if we watch individual behavior of employees in an organization? Or for instance, does it help if we monitor individual performance of school or college students? We know that such methods hardly help improve the system though we are enslaved by such methods by ‘blind faith’. A complex system would keep doing  what it does. That is its role or purpose.

The good news is that the behavior of any complex system can be monitored and predicted for black swans, a little in advance, before it strikes us with full force to bring the system to its knees.

In order to predict black swans we need to know of one very peculiar phenomenon of any complex system. That is a complex system behaves linearly for most of its time when it is free from a black swan or an outlier. Then as a black swan slowly creeps into the system the system suddenly behaves non-linearly. When it behaves linearly it gives us a false sense of security. We feel everything is fine and hunky dory and would stay like that forever. We take pride in our design.

Lulled by our false sense of security, we then forget that non-linearity is just waiting to strike us. And when it strikes we are so much confounded that we rush like headless chickens to ‘fix’ the ‘problem’. And believing in our superior intelligence, we keep ourselves busy ‘fixing’ problem after problem till we drop dead from such heroic efforts.

Mathematically speaking, while linear behavior of any complex system follows Gaussian distribution; the nonlinear behavior follows some sort of power law. So, it is the mix of the two, never one thing or the other.

By understanding this phenomenon clearly, we can ‘predict’ a black swan or an outlier very easily. It is deceptively simple. Simpler than what we perceive it to be.

It is liberating too. Once the presence of a black swan is detected, much before it actually happens, we are left with enough time on our hands to deal with it effectively and skillfully. It also leaves us with the possibility to dramatically improve the system big time.

The truth is there is no ‘randomness’ anywhere. The concept of  ‘randomness’ is a big illusion at best.

So, then, what are we waiting for to improve our lives?

Lethargic Frog

“RGB waves” is one of the fundamental concepts of Nemetics. R wave represents Events that continually take place around us. The G wave represent Behavior that leads to various events. And the B wave represents the Collective understanding and wisdom that informs behavior of people. So in short, the B influences the G, which in turn influences the R. Most often we make people responsible for different events and therefore blame their behavior or character and then try our best to change their behavior or character. Little do we realize that behavior of people is dependent to a large extent on the collective wisdom of the crowd. Collective effect appears in various forms — collective intelligence, collective assumptions, collective hopes, dreams and aspiration, collective wisdom and understanding. The Nemetical view is to focus on the collective rather than on individual behaviors to bring about lasting and desirable change in communities and societies. Else stories like the following would keep repeating.


by Sitendu De

The journey began after passing from college. Rajesh was good in sports. He wanted to represent his country — India.  A job was haunting him. Constant jibes from his relatives disturbed him. His father was frail and weak. He had eight months left for his superannuation. Now they have to live off with the meager pension. Rajesh’s sister caught hold of a Chartered Accountant and trapped him in going through the ceremonial wedding rites. At least his sister saved quite a lot of her father’s money in the form of dowry and rather meaningless marriage rituals. She thought all which is needed was a license in the name of “marriage” which would permit two full grown adults of the opposite sex to “jump” into bed.

The eight hundred meters run was too grueling in the hot April sun. Rajesh only knew an appointment letter was waiting at the end of the race. Common people call it a “race”. The police and defense personnel call it “PET” or “Physical Efficiency Test”. Rajesh’s vision blurred. He remembered his torn canvas shoes which was hurting him. Its do or die for him. The white chalk mark came nearer. It was a long wait. He felt his lungs would blow off. Each one was motivating their loved ones. No one was there for Rajesh. His mother gave him twenty rupees for something to eat. He ran for his life. It finally ended. He came first.

Rajesh staggered to come down from the police vehicle. He had gulped six pegs of whiskey at the police station. The constable helped him to get down. Rang the door bell for Rajesh. The door was opened by Rajesh’s pretty wife. The constable bid him good bye. Their twelve years of marriage have slowly turned sour day by day. Today was also not an exception. This is Rajesh’s daily routine. Come back home from Police station by midnight. Change to sparkling overalls which his dedicated wife lays out for him like an exhibition. Eat food like a scavenger. Lunges himself on his wife. The whole “act” doesn’t last for a minute. Rolls over and start snoring like a pig.

The cell phone plays a “bhajan” song. Rajesh’s wife holds the phone near him so that he can hear the ringtone. Sleepily Rajesh answers the phone—“haloooo”.
Constable Rana whispers— “Sir, one bastard has written something on a computer”.

Rajesh—- “What, how can someone write and deface our police station computers”

Rana — “No Sir, that bastard has written on a computer where everybody can see”.
Rajesh — “Oh internet?’
Rana — “Don’t know sir, but he has written something bad against our own Father & Mother.
Rajesh —- “what –the bastard has abused your parents and mine?”

Rana— “No sir, not our parents, but about our official parents”

Rajesh—“I want to see what that son of bitch has written”

Rana — “Sir, don’t know exactly what he has written, but the MLA Sahib was telling —he saw it Face book.”

Rajesh—-“I don’t know how these things work, all these Face books and Hip books are all invention of today’s smart kids who pretend they know everything. When MLA Sahib is telling then it is a serious matter, Have you noted down that bastard’s address.”

Rana— “Yes Sir”

Rajesh—“Go immediately and arrest him under IT Act 66A.” I am coming after one hour. I will do the rest. After the arrest you immediately inform me so that I can phone MLA Sahib first then if necessary to SSP Sahib”