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Uncertainty Reduction, Strong versus Weak Anticipation, and Innovative
Capacities in a Triple Helix Model of the Knowledge-based Economy

The Triple Helix model of university-industry-government relations can be
generalized from a neo-institutional model of networks of relations to a
neo-evolutionary model of how three (or more) social coordination mechanisms
operate as selection environments upon one another. The mutual information
among the three contexts (wealth generation, knowledge production, and
political control) provides us with an indicator of the knowledge base as a
latent structure of a political economy. This structure potentially reduces
uncertainty. Using the theory of anticipatory systems, reduction of
uncertainty can also be considered as anticipatory capacity. In the
computation of anticipatory systems, one distinguishes between weak and
strong anticipation. A social system composed of three or more asynchronous
selection environments can be expected to generate ranges of options
("horizons of meaning") which in combination with informed decision-making
by reflexive agency shape a strongly anticipatory system, that is, a system
which co-constructs its own future states. Technological interventions in
the natural system take place at specific moments in time, but build upon
one another along historical trajectories. The trajectories can be
considered as retention mechanisms that enable us to reach new positions
from which new possibilities can be envisaged. The communicative
competencies of the carriers of the differentiated communication systems,
that is, their capacity to translate among horizons of meaning, limit the
further development of the knowledge base of an economy historically.

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Loet Leydesdorff

Amsterdam School of Communications Research (ASCoR), 
Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012 CX Amsterdam; 
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