Chapter 2 – Ideas are Swarms. Ideas are Networks.

An idea is a connection. When someone thinks to make baby incubators out of spare car parts, they are connecting a network of ideas: how incubators work, how car engines work, and the design constraints presented by the developing world. Even fundamental technologies like radio or the light-bulb combine many scientific theories into one “idea.”

This is how Johnson introduces the chapter called Liquid Networks. His main thesis is that ideas themselves are networks, so creating environments which promote networking is beneficial to creating new ideas.

What are the properties of a network?

First, connections. Your brain is a network of neurons. You have a lot of neurons in your brain. Maybe not as many as when you started college and hit the bottle pretty hard, but a lot.

Second, networks need to be plastic. This means that they can be changed. New connections can be made. The system is not static.

A network is an adaptable number of connections. The terminator’s CPU is a neural-net processor; a learning computer. That just felt like the right thing so say there.

Connections + Adaptable = Network.