It is not an accident of history that complexity science has been coming to the fore in many scientific, mathematical, and cultural fields over the past twenty-five years. As the world has become more and more complex through exponentially increasing connectivity and interdependence, complexity theory is expanding our understanding of the dynamics and implications of this connectivity/interdependence.
On the one hand, it is undeniably true that complexity science has not come out of the blue but instead is the natural evolution of a great deal of sophisticated systems thinking and research for the past century. Plus there are rich veins of precursor conceptualizations that complexity science can draw from. See the section on The Mathematical and Scientific Roots of Complexity Science.
On the other hand, the vast modeling and computational capabilities of our age have greatly accelerated both reseach and theorizing about complex systems. For examples, models using nonlinear dynamical systems are being used to forecast the track of Hurricanes and the spread of epidemics, and complex adaptive systems models are leading to breakthroughs in our understanding of the emergence of cooperative network structures, chaos and fractals, and related phenomena.
Something dramatically novel is taking place: all of this information, in all of its forms, about what it means, and about how we use it.
A marriage of intense human curiosity and a previously unimaginable capacity to gather and process information is unfolding. This pairing is offering a new path of scientific inquiry, one which weds Complexity Science with Social Dynamics.