hi all. in a recent msg I talked about emergence as
a theme for the algorithmic revolution & CH zooms in & comments on that,
spurring some more of my thoughts.
this is a very tricky idea that I feel I definitely have not wrapped
my own brain around, nor has anyone else. but, imho, its a genuinely
new idea. "emergence" as a buzzword does seem to
be a key element of a new TOE & the algorithmic revolution.
flash: "emergence" is the opposite of reductionism. just as
the 20th century and most of all prior science is about
reductionism, we can now study emergence. perhaps that
will be a key theme of 21st century science, physics, etc.
the algorithm/computer is the breakthrough new tool that allows
us to study emergence.
emergence <=> reductionism are not mutually exclusive.
its a feedback loop, a dichotomy, a bohrian complementarity.
the forest versus the trees.
mathematics underlies both, but in a different sense. the approaches
& techniques are different. emergence tends to be a more qualitative
than quantitative picture, rules or equations that one can write down
but not so easily derive from the basic principles of the
also, the clockwork universe theme seems to encourage reductionism.
whereas maybe the algorithmical metaphor encourages "emergencism".
what is emergence? its a very loaded word. we all pretty much
feel we understand "reductionism" probably, but emergence
is a new concept. I would argue its being defined as we speak
& that science is coming to grips with an accurate definition.
perhaps people here will contribute to that definition.
my favorite examples of emergence that Ive noticed recently
& can expand on if there is interest.
- I have a web site that catalogs over 4000 known gliders for
the game of life. **breathtaking**. can you predict these given
the life rules? or how about, find a theory that predicts
the gliders from a given set of rules?? this ties in with
a brilliant proof that rule 110 is a universal TM, mentioned
in wolframs book, which is very much oriented around glider
physics of the rule.
- oscillons. emergent behavior from many particles. a picture
is worth a thousand words. check em out. still under the radar
of just about everyone, but a quite exquisitely beautiful
example. I believe it will be shown to predict all particle
dynamics in the not-too-distant future.
- fractals. another good metaphor for emergence. who would
predict the equation z <- z^2 + c could lead to such incredible
artwork & tapestries. cosmic.
- robotics. imagine the aibo software, and then how that
software animates the bot. and imagine putting aibos together.
the behavior is emergent, unpredictable, intelligent, dynamic.
- the cyberspace web. thriving, pulsing, growing, changing,
constantly. all built out of basic building blocks like HTML,
HTTP, apache servers, microsoft, whatever.
- biology. ecosystems. parasites <=> hosts. predator <=> prey
etcetera. biologists are just now starting to get an idea
of how the whole fabric is woven together. a zillion interactions.
- graph theory is now starting to study "small world graphs" which
have many extraordinary properties entailing emergence ("six degrees
of separation"). several new books on the subject.
a buzzword in the making.
and so on!! so I am out of ideas at the moment
until someone else says something else..