The Three Interfaces of Adam

      Let me begin by providing you with a broad framework for what I am going to write. How broad is this framework? This framework is so broad that it will include not only everything that I am going to write but everything everyone else in this book will write, and, indeed, everything that anyone has ever written in the past and will ever write in the future.

      The model can be called, somewhat whimsically, The Three Interfaces of Adam, because it can be described in terms of the Christian cosmology. Imagine Adam all alone on our planet before it got so complicated. He had to deal only with the natural world - let us call it the ecosphere. Along came Eve and they prospered and multiplied, introducing another great sphere to Adam's environment, consisting of other people - let us call it the sociosphere. As Adam and Eve and their progeny made discoveries about and inventions from their environment, they built up a third great sphere, consisting of person-made things - let us call it the technosphere.

      So here we have Adam or Eve, or you or me, in an environment represented by three spheres (see Figure 1). The person, the only system within the universe which belongs to all three spheres, is in the center - the triple overlap of the three spheres. The person is the most complex system in the ecosphere - the natural world; the person is the element of the sociosphere - the social world; the person is the source of the technosphere - the artificial world. It is essential, then, that we distinguish among those three aspects of the environment. The ecosphere conforms to the laws of the natural sciences; the sociosphere to the laws of the social sciences; the technosphere to the laws of what Herbert Simon calls The Sciences of the Artificial.

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