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課程來源:TED
     

 

Eric Berlow 談如何化繁為簡

Eric Berlow: How complexity leads to simplicit

 

Photo of three lions hunting on the Serengeti.

講者:Eric Berlow

2010年7月演講,2010年11月在TEDGlobal 2010上線

 

翻譯:TED

編輯:朱學恆、洪曉慧

簡繁轉換:洪曉慧

後製:洪曉慧

字幕影片後制:謝旻均

 

影片請按此下載

MAC及手持裝置版本請按此下載

閱讀中文字幕純文字版本

 

關於這場演講

生態學家Eric Berlow面臨複雜系統時並不會亂了陣腳。他知道運用更多的資訊,能找出更好、更簡單的解答。他以圖解說明解決難題的技巧,將複雜的美國對阿富汗戰略資料圖濃縮成幾個基本要點。

 

關於Eric Berlow

TED會員Eric Berlow研究生態和網路,顯示我們生態系統與氣候變化、政府、企業及其他因素間的相互關聯。

 

為什麼要聽他演講

Eric Berlow是生態學家和網路科學家,擁有各領域的專業。他協助建立並領導加州大學位於優勝美地國家公園的第一個環境研究中心。他曾以無線電項圈追蹤阿拉斯加狼群及任職於巴黎的酒吧,之後獲得海洋生態博士學位,研究自然界物種間的相互關係。身為與美國地質調查局合作進行研究的科學家,他致力於使保護山區生態系統的科學和管理工作間建立更好的聯繫。

 

Eric協助將網路方法應用於北極地區永續生態旅遊發展,他也是加州奧克蘭市綠色咖啡企業的共同經營者。他目前正率先以「仿生態」方法,藉由複雜、相互關聯的供應鏈,使與企業永續發展有關的能源消耗可視化和模型化。

 

Eric Berlow的英語網上資料

Website: EricLBerlow.net

 

[TED科技‧娛樂‧設計]

已有中譯字幕的TED影片目錄(繁體)(簡體)。請注意繁簡目錄是不一樣的。

 

Eric Berlow 談如何化繁為簡

 

當你面對一個複雜問題時,是否曾經覺得完全不知所措?好,我希望能在三分鐘內將此做些改變。因此,我希望說服你,複雜並不總是相當於難解。因此對我來說,一個剛出爐、精心烘培的法國麵包是複雜的;但一個咖哩洋蔥綠橄欖罌粟乳酪麵包是難解的。我是一位生態學家,我研究複雜性,我喜愛複雜性,我研究自然界物種彼此間的關係。

 

這是一個食物網,或說是一張加州高山湖物種間的食物鏈關係圖,這是發生在這個食物網的情形。當原本不存在的非原生魚類大量湧入後,所有以灰色標示的物種都消失了。有些瀕臨絕種,有魚的湖會有更多蚊子,即使魚會吃蚊子。這些影響全是意想不到的,但我們發現它是可預測的。

 

所以我想跟大家分享幾個重要想法,關於我們從自然界研究中學到的複雜性,或許可以應用在其他問題上。首先是,好的視覺化工具帶來的簡化功能,可幫助我們釐清其中的複雜性,並引導你提出從未想過的問題。例如,你可以藉由共生生態系統中的整體供應鏈畫出碳的流向,或優勝美地國家公園中,瀕危物種與棲息地之間的關係。其次,如果你想預測物種對彼此的影響,如果你只將目光放在那個連結,就會忽略掉其他資訊。事實上這使你更難預測,相較於如果你退一步考慮整個系統-包括所有物種及關連性。從這裡著手,將目光集中在最具影響力的範圍。我們在研究中發現,這通常侷限於你注意到的結點附近一兩層範圍之內,所以你越是退一步將目光放遠,納入其中的複雜性,就越有機會找到簡單的答案,而它通常與你最初得到的簡單答案不同。

 

現在換個話題,來看與美國政府有關且相當複雜的問題。這是美國對阿富汗鎮暴策略示意圖,幾個月前出現在紐約時報頭版,立刻遭受媒體嘲笑,因為它實在太過複雜。他們的目的是增加群眾對阿富汗政策的支持,顯然這是個複雜的問題,但它難解嗎?好,當我在紐約時報頭版看到這張圖時,心想,「太棒了,總算有相關例子了,我可以拿出來大講特講。」

 

所以我們來看看吧!這是史上第一次把這張錯綜複雜的圖表,以有條理的網路呈現。圈起來的結點代表我們試著影響-群眾支持政府的因素,因此我們可以觀察從結點向外的第一層、第二層、第三層,然後除去圖表中四分之三不在這個範圍內的影響。在這個範圍中大部分結點是不受影響的,如險峻的地勢;事實上軍事行動佔了極小部分,大部分是非暴力的,可分為兩大類:種族抗爭與宗教信仰的激烈交戰,及公平、透明化的經濟發展與物資供應服務。我不知道這些是什麼,但我能在24秒內透過圖表分析出這些東西。

 

當你看見一張像這樣的圖表時,我希望你不要害怕,我希望你覺得開心,感到鬆了一口氣,因為簡單的答案會浮現。我們發現,在自然界裡,複雜的反面通常就是簡單。所以對任何問題,你越是將目光放遠,涵蓋其中的複雜性,就越有機會聚焦在最重要的簡單細節上。

 

謝謝。

 

(掌聲)

 

以下為系統擷取之英文原文

About this Talk

Ecologist Eric Berlow doesn't feel overwhelmed when faced with complex systems. He knows that more information can lead to a better, simpler solution. Illustrating the tips and tricks for breaking down big issues, he distills an overwhelming infographic on U.S. strategy in Afghanistan to a few elementary points.

About the Speaker

TED Fellow Eric Berlow studies ecology and networks, exposing the interconnectedness of our ecosystems with climate change, government, corporations and more. Full bio »

Transcript

Do you ever feel completely overwhelmed when you're faced with a complex problem? Well, I hope to change that in less than three minutes. So, I hope to convince you that complex doesn't always equal complicated. So for me, a well-crafted baguette, fresh out of the oven, is complex, but a curry onion green olive poppy cheese bread is complicated. I'm an ecologist, and I study complexity. I love complexity. And I study that in the natural world, the interconnectedness of species.

So here's a food web, or a map of feeding links between species that live in Alpine Lakes in the mountains of California. And this is what happens to that food web when it's stocked with non-native fish that never lived there before. All the grayed-out species disappear. Some are actually on the brink of extinction. And lakes with fish have more mosquitoes, even though they eat them. These effects were all unanticipated, and yet we're discovering they're predictable.

So I want to share with you a couple key insights about complexity we're learning from studying nature that maybe are applicable to other problems. First is the simple power of good visualization tools to help untangle complexity and just encourage you to ask questions you didn't think of before. For example, you could plot the flow of carbon through corporate supply chains in a corporate ecosystem, or the interconnections of habitat patches for endangered species in Yosemite National Park. The next thing is that if you want to predict the effect of one species on another, if you focus only on that link, and then you black box the rest, it's actually less predictable than if you step back, consider the entire system -- all the species, all the links -- and from that place, hone in on the sphere of influence that matters most. And we're discovering, with our research, that's often very local to the node you care about within one or two degrees. So the more you step back, embrace complexity, the better chance you have of finding simple answers, and it's often different than the simple answer that you started with.

So let's switch gears and look at a really complex problem courtesy of the U.S. government. This is a diagram of the U.S. counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan. It was front page of the New York Times a couple months ago. Instantly ridiculed by the media for being so crazy complicated. And the stated goal was to increase popular support for the Afghan government. Clearly a complex problem, but is it complicated? Well, when I saw this in the front page of the Times, I thought, "Great. Finally something I can relate to. I can sink my teeth into this."

So let's do it. So here we go for the first time ever, a world premiere view of this spaghetti diagram as an ordered network. The circled node is the one we're trying to influence -- popular support for the government. And so now we can look one degrees, two degrees, three degrees away from that node and eliminate three-quarters of the diagram outside that sphere of influence. Within that sphere, most of those nodes are not actionable, like the harshness of the terrain, and a very small minority are actual military actions. Most are non-violent and they fall into two broad categories: active engagement with ethnic rivalries and religious beliefs and fair, transparent economic development and provisioning of services. I don't know about this, but this is what I can decipher from this diagram in 24 seconds.

When you see a diagram like this, I don't want you to be afraid. I want you to be excited. I want you to be relieved. Because simple answers may emerge. We're discovering in nature that simplicity often lies on the other side of complexity. So for any problem, the more you can zoom out and embrace complexity, the better chance you have of zooming in on the simple details that matter most.

Thank you.

(Applause)
 


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