Jul 3

The Unintended Consequences Of Unintended Consequences

By Tvarita Khandelwal | Student of Network Capital School
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Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand in an attempt to end the Austro-Hungarian rule in Bosnia and Herzegovina, But instead sparked one of the largest wars in history AKA World War 1, which led to 40 million casualties, and irreparable consequences that, to some extent caused World war 2. This is a perfect example of how actions however big or small, can have unintended consequences which paradoxically can also have unintended consequences.

To understand why one first needs a rudimentary understanding of the chaos theory. Chaos theory was first discovered by Edward Lorenz, who first observed the phenomenon in 1961. Originally Lorenz ran a computer program simulating weather patterns, which was based on 12 variables. He repeated the same simulation but rounded off 1 variable from 0.506127 to 0.506. This small change completely altered the pattern the program produced, the later on led to the butterfly effect, and how in nature small changes can have large consequences, leading to the popular saying 'The flap of a butterfly's wings might ultimately cause a tornado’.

One's actions can set off a chain reaction, and predicting how those actions would impact the planet is impossible. A person who might be trying to do something good might ultimately do something bad and vice versa, a perfect example of this is Stephen king's 11/22/63. 11/22/63 is a story of a young man called Jake, who discovers a portal into the past, and tries to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy expecting the world to be improved as a result, The outcome, however, is mass destruction, a nuclear war, and constantly occurring earthquakes. He then goes back into the past and changes the future again, that however is a luxury we don't have, Which is why we should carefully analyze the possible consequences.

Society has always been a fragile interconnected network, with simple mistakes having lead to coups, and subtle discoveries leading to revolutions. We, however, live in a very crucial point in time, with hyperconnected society accelerating scientific discoveries, and innovation in other fields too, that however is the good part. The butterfly effect has never been as effective as it is now, as information now flows like wildfire with the aid of the internet, increasing the spread of false rumors that may be potentially harmful to the fragile balance of society. An example would be how a tweet by a hacker from the associated press's Twitter account led to huge damages in the stock market with reported losses being as high as $136.5 billion.

Your actions too can have unprecedented consequences, and whether those consequences are good or bad is not predictable, however, one thing I have learned from Lorenz's story is that each action one makes can lead to great waves, and therefore one should deeply contemplate the consequences of their actions before doing something, for even the unpredictable can be influenced. This is why make sure your actions are well-intended, for if that was how humanity operated we wouldn't have had to cause global warming and all the consequential unintended consequences. And If those well-intended actions have ill-unintended consequences, I always go back to the saying 'Kill a demon today, face the devil tomorrow.

Tvarita was a part of the Network Capital Summer School.