Tempus Fugit.

As you might know, this phrase translates from Latin to “time flies.” Today’s rapid changes make this more obvious than ever. As front-and-center evidence, artificial intelligence is now very much with us, constantly in our minds and the media. The old world has long gone past. The new world is now entirely in place.

It actually requires a different brand of thinking to deal with today’s constant change and complexity. Traditional linear thinking must now be replaced with holistic thinking. Holistic thinking opens our minds to connections not made in the past, making it possible to accept new factors. We must accept the world’s interconnectedness—and, indeed, that of the universe itself.

Just how complex has today’s world become? You can get lost in something as simple as an automobile. In my youth, I could make simple repairs to my own car. Today I drive a Lincoln SUV that is so complex that, if anything goes wrong, I can only bring it to professionals. It requires an expert to work on it.

It Takes Cybernetics

A new system of navigation is needed for today’s world. For that reason, the approach we have brought into our company is cybernetics. Cybernetics is not just a nice idea. It is the reality required to sift through the massive amount of dataData Data is a set of quantitative and qualitative facts that can be used as reference or inputs for computations, analyses, descriptions, predictions, reasoning and planning. available today.

Any image or text that can be digitized will be, and today it is possible to conduct an instant search through all of recorded history. In past times such searching required trips through the libraries, making one’s way through the stacks, retrieving books or other publications, and then pouring through each of them.

Reaching the Next Level

In my opinion, it is learning to properly navigate today’s complexity that will take us to the next level. We could leave behind the old mindset of creating war, the need for more tanks, rockets, and planes, and the “requirement” of firing increasingly powerful weapons at each other. Those that continue to leadLead Lead refers to a prospect or potential customer (who can be an individual or organization) that exhibits interest in your service or product; or any additional information about such entity. us in that direction are still thinking linearly and have espoused error-ridden ideologies.

“Win Together” is the motto which we have created at Pipeliner, and by which we operate. This is how we, as a world, must proceed forward. We all live together on this tiny blue dot, photographed by the first Voyager probe as it exited our solar system in 1993.

Win Together

That tiny dot sits in one of hundreds of billions of solar systems contained in our universe.

I was recently able to view our country from the air as we crossed it from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles. The amazing thing was that most of this five-hour flight was spent over open country. There is an enormous amount of space left just in the U.S. There is much room to create something beautiful, like has been done in the United Arab Emirates desert with Dubai. In other words, we could still make plenty of positive changes on our little blue dot.

How Do We Define Complexity?

What does all this complexity add up to? Complexity means “multiple options.” These multiple options are measured through variety—the number of different states a system can assume and create. Complexity is the dynamic diversity that constantly changes. It is one of most fundamental characteristics of reality.

Cybernetics pioneer Ross Ashby stated, “For a system to be stable, the number of states that its control mechanism is capable of attaining (its variety) must be greater than or equal to the number of states in the system being controlled.” This can be stated simply by saying that only variety can control variety. This statement is known as Ashby’s Law of Requisite Variety.

It is through interdependent networks that variety controls variety. As a simple example, I currently have back problems. They came about from overwork in my garden and playing basketball with my son. My body, in its interdependent complexity, is reacting with back issues.

The results of increasingly intense networks are observable between systems, people, countries, organizations and companies, just as within the network between bodily systems. All of these systems are interdependent, which is where complexity lies. We are now entering AI, and complexity will only increase.

Complexity and Control

People today constantly complain that complexity must be reduced and made simple. In actuality, though, this is going backward. Could we, for example, reduce the complexity of solar systems? There are 163 billion of them. Could we reduce the complexity of the Sun’s gravitational control of the Earth?

Taking a personal example, I have a son who is currently afflicted with Crohn’s disease. It is a very complex disease—we cannot see it, but it affects his body, specifically his colon. And how complex is the colon? We intake food, and it runs through our digestive system, and all value to our bodies is removed from the food, and the body then excretes waste. If that is not a complex system, then what is?

Is it possible to reduce the body’s complexity? Doing so might be dangerous, as we might do away with one or more of the body’s digestive capabilities. In a way, we have done this today by creating artificial food, ignoring millions of years of nature’s creation of the food we need. This has resulted in the highest-ever rates of obesity in the U.S.

How do we control systems, then? They’re certainly out of control today. Just in the world of commerce, many companies can no longer handle the problems they face, with increasingly stiff competition. Such control requires cybernetic principles. Another cybernetics pioneer, Stafford Beer, stated that a system must be organized in such a way that it will organize itself.

We can easily see that we have improperly functioning systems—and this includes society. A non-functioning society impacts its members. These members, these people, work within a company. When people inhabit non-functioning families, neighborhoods, or communities, they will undoubtedly be affected on the job, and the company itself will be affected.

When all is said and done, we must learn that complexity cannot be reduced. We must approach today’s complex world with a different way of thinking.