I’ve become increasingly curious about whether you can explicitly design systems to exhibit emergent phenomena. Not trying to be all meta and shit, but the good folks at Wikipedia have come up with a definition of emergence as:
“the arising of novel and coherent structures, patterns and properties during the process of self-organization in complex systems” - Goldstein ‘99
That seems like a winner if you’re an entrepreneur working with networked techology and someone who likes to enable novel stuff to happen. They go on to specify:
“The common characteristics are: (1) radical novelty (features not previously observed in systems); (2) coherence or correlation (meaning integrated wholes that maintain themselves over some period of time); (3) A global or macro "level” (i.e. there is some property of “wholeness”); (4) it is the product of a dynamical process (it evolves); and (5) it is “ostensive” (it can be perceived). For good measure, Goldstein throws in supervenience – downward causation.“ - Corning '02
Something radically novel, that naturally perpetuates itself to global/macro scale seems like what many of us working with technology are striving towards.