Car electronics: how much more complexity can we handle?
As we know, excessive complexity is a formidable source of fragility. If you want to make something fragile, make it very complex. Problems are guaranteed. This is because a highly complex system may behave according to many ‘modes’ (in non-linear mechanics these are called ‘attractors’). High complexity means that under certain circumstances a system may jump from one mode to another without any warning. Sometimes one such mode of functioning is called ‘fault’. A most unpleasant property. Especially because high complexity can also mask the cause or the multiple causes. In fact, when a modern car has a problem with its electronics, parts of the system which may be the cause are simply replaced and nobody fixes anything. Sometimes, the cause of the problem is unknown and is never discovered.
In highly complex systems malfunctioning or even bad design may remain invisible for a long time. In highly complex systems…
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