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Structure and Dynamics

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Conservation of Information: Reverse engineering dark social systems


A broad appeal for a new theory of interdependence, 'iota', has been requested for the science of complexity in a special issue of Science, for social network analysis by the National Academy of Sciences, for effects-based operations by the US military, and for modernizing the fields of law and economics. We have proposed a new theory of 'iota' for organizations and systems that already appears to exhibit some validity. It is expressed in a physics of 'iota' (e.g., bistability) that includes Fourier pairs for social uncertainty and Lotka-Volterra-like equations for population effects in social systems. Unlike traditional social science, it assumes that despite the tension between self and collective organizational processes, perfect organizations and social systems become dark, but that purposively dark systems emit more light in the form of unique information (e.g., gangs, terrorists, high-security systems). To reverse engineer dark social systems (DSS), our theory replaces methodological individualism with a physics of social 'iota'. But the many challenges in applying 'iota' to control theory or to metrics for organizational performance make this high-risk research.

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