WELCOME to the Science Of Technology—affording deep and rational insight into Synergetic Systems. The goal of Synergetics is to employ technologies in ideal structural/procedural combinations—whereby specially arranged configurations of things deliver whole system behaviours with the most advantageous outcomes.
We are now entering the 4th Industrial Revolution; whereby technologies combine hardware, software, and biology (cyber-physical systems), placing emphasis on advances in communication and connectivity. It is the fusion of these technologies and their interaction across the physical, digital and biological domains that will make this new age fundamentally different from any other.
Our focus is on the creation of profoundly humanistic—plus environmentally sustainable—technology. Learning from nature’s vast library of ‘secret’ design principles—or proven methods—both animate and inanimate—is a key goal; whereby we identify, copy and apply certain universal design/operating principles.
In particular, the key principle of Synergy can help us to address the complex challenges of the new era—and to create technological solutions with real unity of purpose; whereby we embrace total thinking; and create comprehensive systems with truly beneficial outcomes.
What is Synergy?
Understood correctly, the Universe is nothing more than—Energy—flowing here and there—in a near infinity of matter-shaping processes. Whereby everything happens according to the laws of nature— and the whole procedure is what we call reality—or the Physical World.
Nonetheless, the Universe would be a very chaotic place without another fundamental law of nature—Synergy—which is the direct corollary of Energy.
Energy refers to the ability to make CHANGE happen within a specific region of the physical Universe—typically consisting of unrestricted or free-flowing Energy which impels DISORDERED CHANGE; whereby Energy is naturally chaotic in nature (ref. centrifugal or explosive energy which is energy-loosing).
Synergy—is the ability to CREATE/MAINTAIN ORDER—that is to cause structured Energy patterns to form which persist and are energy-conserving in nature (they tend to guide Energy across space/time and are centripetal).
The upshot is a fundamental truth often overlooked by Physicists, Chemists and Biologists—that Synergy is the key operating principle of the Universe; and because it provides evident structure(s) amongst the chaos. Synergy refers to generalised Energy patterns—which are often useful and/or pertinent to a particular outcome.
Synergy is maximisation of order within a region of the Universe—and is recognised when energy forms/flows in a particular kind of idealised pattern that might not otherwise occur (in any other way).
The Universe is a constant battle between chaotic and Synergetic energy structures; whereby energy patterns form, then stabilise and later dissolve over time.
Evidently, the Universe has certain general Energy patterning tendencies—including small-scaled examples such as sub-atomic, atomic, and molecular energy/matter structures—plus large-scale ones such as gravity. However in between these extremes—exists a vast number of other general-purpose—or universally applicable—Synergetic patterns (many of which have yet to be discovered).
Synergy refers to the surprising affects of combining Things in a certain way; whereby what happens—is wholly determined by changes in Energy patternsacross particular elements of the whole. Whereby new behaviours and possibilities are enabled due to the nature of the pattern itself.
Synergetic patterns—as fundamental laws of the Universe—are discovered and not invented. Synergetic design is the application of general Synergetic patterns to a specific application area; and multiple patterns may be combined to affect complex results.
It is important to realise that we humans make constant use of Synergy (ref. organised technology designs)—existing in modular assemblies/hierarchies of Things/Energies—to build/operate various tools, computers and machines. However it does not follow that we are always able to successfully apply Synergetic principles in optimal way(s)—primarily because we often lack sufficient knowledge of how to efficiently locate the most opportune solutions (highest ordered Synergetic designs).
Put simply, we need full knowledge of what Synergy actually is—and the different forms/classes of Synergy patterns that are possible—to solve problems in the most advantageous ways. QED.
Flow of Energy and Information
The universe is comprised of vast numbers of overlaid, interlacing and coordinated systems, whereby structures of things and processes exist and inter-accommodate at every scale from the quantum level to the cosmic. Humanity articulates the behaviour of systems—using natural and human-made technologies—to solve problems; and by directing resources towards particular aims.
A refined way of viewing a system is as a set of structures and processes for efficiently organising specific flows of Energy and Information. The job of the system is to apply Intelligence—or useful problem solving capability—to purposefully manage these same assets. Whereby all three elements are the Synergetic Facets of a system.
Aetiology of a Smart Technology
Source: ‘The Science Of Smart Technology’ (2020) – by Alan Radley
A basic question is: are there general principles of design and self-organisation irrespective of the nature of the individual parts of a system?
Often we find that the answer is yes; because Synergetic Systems, just like living organisms, have coordinated parts that operate in close harmony with all environmental requirements. A Synergetic system is self-regulating and intelligently applies resources precisely where, when and how they are needed—without wasting any energy/information—a procedure known as Synergetic Inter-Accommodation.
Synergetics aligns the natural with the artificial—in auspicious ways; and usefully merges the humanistic outlook with automated/computerised elements.
Synergetics is the study of systems in transformation, with an emphasis on total system behaviour unpredicted by the behaviour of any isolated components, including humanity’s role as user, participant and observer of universal operating principles.
Synergetics adopts the most advantageous Macro-Micro viewpoint, seeking to co-opt natural principles favourably, plus apply human and machine intelligencecomprehensively—using holistic design principles—to create technologies that fully meet the needs of the environment (in the broadest possible sense(s)).
Synergetics eschews the role of specialists who deal only in parts—championing the approach of the generalist who applies a wide array of knowledge from a wide variety of subjects. A key question follows: how do we—avoid the dangers of analytical fragmentation—and Think in Terms of Wholes?
Classical and Smart Synergetics
Buckminster Fuller (1895–1983) first coined the term Synergetic; and attempted to define its scope in his two-volume work Synergetics. Fuller suggested that when looked at from the synergetic point of view, all problems and their solutions are seen from a single unifying perspective; whereby both macroscopic and microscopic points of view must be taken fully into account—for the benefit of all.
Classical Synergetics is a very broad discipline, and embraces a range of scientific studies including tetrahedral and close-packed-sphere geometries, and various ‘system operating’ concepts in thermodynamics, physics, engineering, chemistry, psychology, biochemistry, economics, and philosophy etc.
But there is also another type of synergy—named here as Smart Synergetics; whereby technologies (Things/Systems) and People exist in ideal synthesises, often remotely arranged, but always within streamlined intelligence/action/information sharing networks. Here one technology is comprised of many sub-technologies which are bundled together in collections and/or groups—but notably these parts are then able to collaborate purposefully by means of a digital network.
Smart Synergetics is largely concerned with systems that provide enhanced Human Intelligence (Virtual/ Augmented Reality, Knowledge Machines) and/or Artificial Intelligence (AI, Robotics, IoT). Typically an AI system will employ Situated Intelligence and/or Distributed Intelligence.
In summary, a Synergetic System consists of certain natural phenomena programmed and orchestrated in an optimal fashion for some carefully considered purpose(s). QED.