Getting Inside the Black Box
Manfred Laubichler gave a talk at the Santa Fe Institute workshop "Getting Inside the Black Box: Technological Evolution and Economic Growth" that brought together researchers from a variety of disciplines to make first steps toward constructing a theory of technological change. The title of the workshop is in honor of a phrase used by Nathan Rosenberg, who three decades ago pleaded with the economics profession to open the "black box" of technological change. Following his inspiration, this workshop focused on understanding ecosystems of interacting technologies and the factors that cause them to evolve through time. During the month of August, in a series of small-sized working sessions, researchers congregated at SFI to take stock of the current state of research, identify commonalities and differences in the processes that generate novelty in the technological, biological and social domains, and sketch a research agenda for future work. Participants included economists, biologists, applied mathematicians, physicists, engineers, archaeologists and anthropologists.