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Sean Gourley

Co-Founder and CTO, Quid

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LIVE CHAT With Sean Gourley: What are some of the lessons from war we can apply to other human endeavors? June 17, 2PM EDT

Live TED Conversation: Join TED Fellow Sean Gourley

Sean is a physicist and military theorist who is using data, maths and visualizations to help us understand the nature of modern war. He asks," What are some of the lessons from war we can apply to other human endeavors?"

This conversation will open at 2:00PM EDT, June 17th, 2011

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  • Jun 17 2011: It seems an easy analogy is that of the evolution of the mammalian immune system. Mammals evolved a particularly adaptive immune system that may have helped them thrive after the last major extinction event (the Yucatan asteroid impact). If you look at the fall of the Iraqi government as an "extinction event", i.e. a sudden change in the environment that opens niches for lower organisms to fill, then it is easy to think of the subsequent events as exerting selective pressure on the organisms in the system, driving them toward new equilibrium. For instance, mammals have evolved special cell types that flexibly recognize and attack non-self molecules to protect the organism. The US military has adapted it's equipment and tactics in radical ways to account for unconventional opponents, although within the structure that previously existed. Perhaps looking at the evolutionary response of organisms immediately after major extinctions would provide some more insight into the dynamics of predator:prey relationships in Army:insurgent warfare.

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