I started by saying "Minasan Konichiwa." That got a round of applause. Proof that the expectations really were low. But here's the kicker: I asked Professors Tsuda, Nakagaki and Ohta, in turn, to say "campai." Each did so but at a sound level that was barely audible. I then asked all three to say "campai." The volume of sound was not the sum of the three earlier statements which would have remained barely audible. Rather, it was loud enough for all to hear easily. This little experiment involving a social network with sound as the observable is indicative of a non-additive (nonlinear) emergent phenomenon. I did not tell my three participants that I planned to ask them to do this. So I really got lucky that the experiment worked as planned. In so doing, though, I was able to provide an example of emergent function arising from collective (network) behavior in a way that most of the audience was able to appreciate and toast to. It also served as a basis for the seminar I delivered the following day on the emergence of structure from Janus and striped particles. Campai!
*Check out my recent post on the 14th RIES-Hokudai Symposium here. RIES is the Research Institute for Electronic Science at Hokkaido University.