Technological complexity

Is it? How do we know? While we widely believe that “the world” has become more complex, showing this empirically is challenging. Beyond confirming our feelings, measuring complexity is also of great interest to scientists because complexity is widely accepted as a key (qualitative) dimension of knowledge that shapes the efforts required for its generation (invention), its (spatial) diffusion, and its economic value.

By using patent data and the recently developed complexity measure of structural diversity (Broekel 2019), I explore jointly with colleagues the properties, evolution, and relevance of technology complexity. Some selected key findings are presented below.