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Basic concepts of Structural Thinking and Decision Making
(Cognitive schemes of Change and Crisis Management)

Tamás T.Dénes - Péter Hardicsay

"The fate of information in the typically American world is to become
something which can be bought or sold. It is not my business to cavil
whether this mercantile attitude is moral or immoral, crass or subtle.
It is my business to show that it leads to the misunderstanding and
the mistreatment of information and its associated concepts."

(Norbert Wiener: Human Use of Human Beings, 1988.
- VII. Communication, Secrecy, and Social Policy )

At the beginning of the 20th century we entered the electronic era, which was followed by computerisation and the conquest of digital e-communication and artificial networks 50 years later. We call this the 'virtual greyhound race effect', which could best be described by the following metaphor: "Let's try to catch the non-existant rabbit in a virtual greyhound race."

Based on classic concepts, this is a kind of reverse consumer society, in which mass demand does not induce supply, but supply, artificially inflated by a business elite, generates mass demand. We have to realise that the key concept of the 'virtual greyhound race' is INFORMATION.

The raw material, the semi-finished and the end product of the information industry is information. The information boom -just like the Big Bang of the Universe- triggered an irreversible process the formation of information-based societies. Because this process has only been happening for a few 'seconds' in historical terms, we have very little experience at our disposal. It is clear though, that changes on an exponential scale such as this would penetrate to the core of society and weave through the everyday lives of people of all nations.
N. Wiener's prophetic warning, quoted above, from 60 years ago has become today's reality: mass production of information has turned into a business venture, possession of the unprecedented quantity of information has become the prey of daily politics and of those in power.

The aim of the authors of this book is to draw attention to the fact that N.Wiener's thoughts can be applied not merely to information itself, but also to societies built on information. We show that at the heart of the functioning of such societies the information-cognition-knowledge cycle operates, structuring the information.

This process generates changes, and the 'misunderstanding and mistreatment' Wiener refers to, lead to crises. These crises are becoming increasingly global, as a result of the global nature of information and info-communication systems.

These crises may well be fatal for humanity, unless we understand the fundamental laws lying at the heart of these processes. It must be appreciated that global electronisation and digitalisation minimises the redundancy of stored and transferred information, in the name of business efficiency. This results in unreliability and the virtualisation of knowledge. This might explain why, in information-based societies, the basis of handling change (and crises) is the application of new thinking schemes. What may give rise to optimism is the fact that the forming of new thinking schemes (models) is a process still being governed by us.

So the only real chance (and perhaps necessity) for information-based societies to avoid the mistreatment and fatal 'misunderstanding' of information is, to create a new INFOSANCE age: a modern -INFOrmation- RenaisSANCE .
This new age is based on new models of thinking; it relies on the triumph of human values and fundamental natural and social laws, with the application of modern technological devices. Consequently, INFOSANCE is the optimal union of the thinking man's classic abilities, globalised e-technology and the possession of the increasingly complete and secure information-cognition-knowledge cycle.

The definition of development (of the special change process of systems), that -in the past centuries- used to be a mere game of wit for philosophers, has become a key issue. Lacking an exact definition, the concept has been approximated by paraphrases such as progress, positive change etc. The common problem with these conceptualisations is, firstly, that they imply subjective view points; secondly, that they treat development as a chronological sorting relation. That is, the less developed system is followed chronologically by a more developed one. The problem of an exact definition can also be solved by switching to a new cognitive scheme.

This is due to the fact that in the structural thinking scheme development is a structural characteristic of the functioning of a system. This can be described by the complexity and stability of a system.

This is how it becomes possible to define man as a common element between biological (natural) and social systems and subsystems. Sustainable development (when approached from a change management point of view) formulates system requirements similar to the basic requirements of e-society's synchronisation of economical, social and natural clocks (see Chapter 2.4). In other words, the principle of sustainable development is a necessary condition of achieving the INFOSANCE age.
Consistency of changes has become the daily paradox of the 21st century's greyhound racing societies, generating their virtual functioning. This makes Albert Einstein's thought especially relevant and fitting for the application of new thinking schemes (models). This quote is the motto of the present book: "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

The outline of the contents is included in the table of contents below.

Table of contents


1. Fundamental concepts, definitions
(T.Dénes T.)
1.1. The definition of system
1.2. The characteristics of systems
1.2.1. The state and functioning of the system (the structure-function interaction law)
1.2.2. Development is the special case of change (complexity, stability) The conceptual criteria of development Structural complexity Structural stability The structural definition of the development The tensile test of the system's structure: the strongest link)

2. Cognition and description of systems (T.Dénes T.)
2.1. The human networks' key process: information - cognition - knowledge
2.1.1. Information and cognition
2.1.2. Cumulativity, or the periodic system of the cognition The concept of the cumulativity The analysis of the structure of the cognition process The ideal cognition process and the efficiency indicator The periodic system of the cognition process
2.2. The Multistructure model (Multistructure Memory: MsM)
2.3. The Structure Time
2.3.1. The linear clock
2.3.2. The structural clocks
2.3.3. The spider's clock is the spider web
2.3.4. The intuition (the intuitive clock)
2.3.5. The law of the slowing time (the ageing of the developing systems)
2.4. The paradox of time (the intersection of selftimes)
2.4.1. Function disturbance of systems: The Time Paradox)
2.4.2. Structural definition of change management
2.4.3. The structural definition of a crisis (Crisis is the extreme form of time paradox's appearance!)
2.4.4. Crisis management's structural approach

3. "Old-new" cognitive schemes (T.Dénes T.)
3.1. The definition of cognitive schemes
3.1.1. Arena model (structural conservation of energy)
3.2. The concept and basic problems of measurement
3.3. Decision, decision process (convergence law in the structure space)
3.4. Dichotom thinking or compromise
3.5. Natural and artificial intelligence
3.5.1. The Turing-test
3.5.2. The Turing-test and e-communication (the "purple cow effect")
3.5.3. Zero-knowledge proof (chess grand master problem)
3.5.4. The new question: Real or virtual information?
3.5.5. Redundancy in the communication
3.5.6. Turing's illustrative example
3.5.7. The e-practice of the Turing test
3.5.8. CAPTCHA (the reverse Turing test of our days)

4. Applications (P. Hardicsay)
---(problem locations, recognition of schemes, decision process)
4.1. Cognitive schemes of the chess
4.1.1. The diversity of thinking
4.1.2. The depths of an other intellectual sport
4.2. Artificial intelligences in today's chess (engines)
4.3. The generalisation of cognitive schemes
4.4. Decision and decision process
4.4.1. Decision alternatives (the basis of decision-making is not statistical (vote) but knowledge-based model analogy)
4.4.2. Decision situations
4.4.3. The making of decision alternatives
4.4.4. Practice and development of cognitive strategies