Today we will be talking about the Butterfly Effect, and no, I am not talking about that old Ashton Kutcher movie. The butterfly effect is the concept that small causes have large effects. Initially, it was used for weather prediction but later the term became a metaphor used in and out of science.
The butterfly effect is also known as the Chaos theory is an area of deterministic dynamics proposing that seemingly random events can result from normal equations because of the complexity of the systems involved. In Information technology, chaos theory has applications in many areas including networking, big data analytics, fuzzy logic, business intelligence, marketing, game theory, systems thinking, predictive analytics and social networking.
Chaos, in reference to chaos theory, refers to an apparent lack of order in a system that nevertheless obeys particular laws or rules; this understanding of chaos is synonymous with dynamical instability.
Some example of the Butterfly effect would be:
- Adolf Hitler being denied by the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. This forced him to join the military in World War I and his experience in the military drastically shaped his views.
- Franz Ferdinand visiting Sarajevo on the 28th of June, which is Vivdovan, a Serbian nationalist holiday. Serbian nationalists such as the 19-year-old Gavrilo Princep (who assassinated Ferdinand) believed that a symbol of foreign imperialism such as their Archduke visiting Sarajevo was an unacceptable insult.
- When Mark Sykes of the British Empire and Francois George-Picot of France drew a straight line putting various extremely polarized ethnic, political, and religious factions all in the same country, and forcing them to get along. Guess the country(ies).
Spoiler Alert: It was these.
This one action probably caused most of the turmoil we see in the region today.
- In 1347, a single ship from Caffa traveled to Sicily and infected rats, fleas, and people spread the plague all across Europe, causing as many as a third of Europe’s population to succumb to the disease. This paved the way to the end of Feudalism and eventually the rise of industrialism, as lower populations did allow the social order to be slightly more egalitarian. There was more land to be owned (Because everyone was too dead to farm it) so poorer farmers became estate owners over time. This also reformed European notions of disease, paving the way for the European Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution.
- Constantine I’s conversion to Christianity after his vision at the Battle of Milvian Bridge caused Christianity to become the most influential religion in the world, and also inadvertently caused the collapse of the Western Roman Empire.
- (Note: This is the most far out one) Julius Caesar, created the Roman Empire. Rome conquered several parts of Asia Minor and unified the southern-most territories and Northern Africa, which made the region ripe for conquest for the Caliphates of the Middle East. Fast forward a millennia or two and then you have the Ottomans, which quasi-started World War I, which triggered World War II, jumping the US and USSR to superpower status, and created the turmoil in the region today (Told ya it was far out).
According to fractalfoundation.org,
What is Chaos Theory?
Chaos is the science of surprises, of the nonlinear and the unpredictable. It teaches us to expect the unexpected. While most traditional science deals with supposedly predictable phenomena like gravity, electricity, or chemical reactions, Chaos Theory deals with nonlinear things that are effectively impossible to predict or control, like turbulence, weather, the stock market, our brain states, and so on. These phenomena are often described by fractal mathematics, which captures the infinite complexity of nature. Many natural objects exhibit fractal properties, including landscapes, clouds, trees, organs, rivers etc, and many of the systems in which we live exhibit complex, chaotic behavior. Recognizing the chaotic, fractal nature of our world can give us new insight, power, and wisdom. For example, by understanding the complex, chaotic dynamics of the atmosphere, a balloon pilot can “steer” a balloon to the desired location. By understanding that our ecosystems, our social systems, and our economic systems are interconnected, we can hope to avoid actions which may end up being detrimental to our long-term well-being.
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