Emergence can spontaneously occur through self-organization (Peak and Frame, 1994).
Feedback loops in the emergent system result in co-evolution, which in turn lead to further iterations of the system.
Nested systems, which might be thought of as fractals within the overall system, are self-similar replicas of the system at different scales, thus both changing and being affected by the system.
In fact, the fractal dimension of the World Wide Web has been analyzed, and found to have a dimensionality of 4.1 (Kim et al.
Murray Gell-Mann, one of the pioneers of the field, offers the characterization that, “A complex adaptive system acquires information about its environment and its own interaction with that environment, identifying regularities in that information…into a kind of ‘schema’, and acting in the real world on the basis of that schema” (Gell-Mann, 1994).
This can be interpreted to mean that CAS are a product of their surroundings while they simultaneously influence it.
The very existence of search engines are a product of the various characteristics of CAS, and Google soon became the dominant search engine due to its superior algorithms which efficiently and effectively catalog the entire Web for the end user (Asadi).
As greater numbers of people began using Google, it went through rapid co-evolution; it began to offer other services, such as email, image searching, digital maps, and more.
This is an essay I recently wrote for a class on Fractals, Chaos, and Complex Systems. The Internet Analyzed as a Complex Adaptive System The Complex Adaptive System of individuals and computers known as the Internet has fundamentally and irreversibly changed our world, through new methods of communication and interaction which have never existed before in human history.
Originally limited to military and academic use on transistor-based computers, the platform of the Internet expanded to personal computing desktops in the 90s, and then to laptops, tablet computers, cell phones, and other multimedia devices in the early 2000s (Leiner, et al.