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4 Examples of Technological Emergence

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Technological emergence is when technology structures, capabilities and weaknesses spontaneously emerge without a design or plan. The following are illustrative examples.


The commercial internet emerged by connecting computers to networks and networks to other networks.

Big Ball of Mud

Large organizations commonly have hundreds of disparate systems that are integrated in adhoc ways that are far from optimal. Such an architecture, commonly known as a Big Ball of Mud, is often the result of decades of individual projects independently making decisions without much regard to big-picture architecture.

Artificial Intelligence

Machine learning is largely a process of emergence. Machines may develop both intelligence and biases over time that are somewhat unpredictable.

Technology Culture

Culture emerges without a central plan according to the individual contributions of people. Technology has a great influence on culture and can be viewed as a subculture itself. For example, software developers can be viewed as a subculture with their own language, inside jokes and shared experience.
Overview: Technological Emergence
Technology that emerges without a plan or design.
Related Concepts
Next: Spontaneous Order
More about technology economics:
Accelerating Change
Attention Economics
Creative Destruction
Critical Mass
Digital Convergence
Hyperbolic Growth
Information Age
Rule Of Three
Space Age
Tech Business
Technology Change
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