Complexity in the future: far-from-equilibrium systems and strategic foresight

David Baker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


A crucial question for practitioners of Big History is whether we should expect a continuation of increasing complexity or a deceleration or collapse of complexity in the Near Future. The ‘future sections’ of the majority of high-profile Big History narratives predominantly paint a binary between catastrophe and a green sustainable future. A minority of big historians have explored what technology and society could look like if complexity does continue to rise. Yet for greater specificity about what that Near Future may look like, we must go beyond disorganised speculation based on technological trends, fads, and rhetoric. Not to mention our own wishful inclinations. Complexity is understood in very broad and general terms, but a more detailed understanding of what complexity is, what its variables are, how it can be measured, and how it changes, will give us a more detailed view of complexity in the future. In essence, with more data on the pattern comes a greater ability to make stronger projections. This is where a more structured approach involving strategic foresight and complexity studies will allow us to profile the Near and Deep Future with a great deal more clarity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 21st century singularity and global futures
Subtitle of host publicationa Big History perspective
EditorsAndrey V. Korotayev, David J. LePoire
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9783030337308
ISBN (Print)9783030337292
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameWorld-Systems Evolution and Global Futures
ISSN (Print)2522-0985


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