Out of Control
The new Biology Of machines , Social systems, and the Economic World
By Kevin Kelly
As a bee hive , the emergent property will rule. Simulated penguins and bats in Batman are like a flock: One. Vivisystems are the result of melding wet and dry ware. The have unpredictable emergent properties. More is different. Temperature cannot exist in one thing. The atom distinct, has given way to the hive/net age. Nets are non-guided yet resilient. They are hard to crash and flexible, yet redundant and impersonal. Nets are unbounded. Out of control growth requires nets.
MACHINES WITH AN ATTITUDE
The made v. the born. Robot destroyers that swarm. Put a guinea pig behind the controls. Mobots v. Staybots. The ultimate movement ant used independently “minded” legs. No CPU. This is like an economy. Program each individual with rules and watch it grow. Soviet command economy tripped. PG 40. Soda can collector rules. There is no I for the human, and the bee hive, and the corporation. But society nets it will also appear to have a direction. But....?
Millions of dumb pieces adding to one smart illusion is how biology works.. It must be bottom up. Command economies fail. Reverse engineering is harder than emerging solutions. The machine doesn’t need to use memory recreating the world view in it’s head. The world represents itself . The machine just processes contigencies. A mind in a vat, without a body, controlling robot is immortality. Self-supporting room vaccuumers, light changers, door openers create a living house. The house has a mind. Nature insists we are apes. Artificial evolution insists we are machines with attitudes. We will make machines that run with wet and we will use computers more.
A prairie replanted grows weeds. The missing elements was fire. The ecosystems were sensitive to order planted and worked towards stability. Order points out you need assembly instructions.
What color is a chameleon in a mirror? Would it endlessly cycle like fashion or settle to a middle like democracy. Its a hard experiment. The green it went was fear. The blue eye feedback loops of the lizard. The mirror and lizard became a system. Middle ages man had no mirror. Now we do, TV, Paper trails, polls. Feedback systems defy cause and effect. The prime cause is gone.
Butterflies/Catepillars coevolve with milkweed. They Coevolve and are Codependent. Much coevolution is parasitic. As in the arms race competition often breaks into the necessity to cooperate to succeed. Neither wants to eliminate the other. Life systems are instable constantly shifting. The key of life is reproductive instabillity. The life effects the non-living. The life and atmosphere / environment in a coevolutionary dance. Both are unstable chemical factories. Human/machine, rock/life weed/butterfly chameleon/mirror. These are false differences. Under what conditions will cooperation emerge from a world of egoists? Hobbes said only with central authority. Rules are different in zero sum and non-zero sum gain models. Control and secrecy are counter productive. As companies compete and announce new product, adaptation and improvements are announced by another’s company. They co-evolve.
THE NATURAL FLUX
Forest, nor economics peak at an equilibrium. Variance of success increases richness in nature. The longer the food chain, the greater the interdependency, the more susceptible to collapse. The less species, the more connected they are.
A Michigan lot left alone will turn into a hardwood forest.
An organism is tightly bound. It staves off invaders and is susceptible to them.
Ecosystems, on the other hand, are loose and permeable. Ecologies are temporary networks. They mix with each other, try each other on promiscuously.
Evolution is a tight web: Growth via being inextricably bound.
Ecology a loose one. Ecology is community evolution in history. Evolution can be synthesized. Ecology cannot.
To create diversity don’t make a complex creature. Make a simple creature and a complex environment. Life is like a flood that flows into cracks. Non-living things don’t live nearly as long as living. Living is so complex due to adversity that it can’t die. Non-living is too stupid and simple to kill life. Life will eventually fill the universe. Ed Fredkin says the universe is a computer. Life are information processors. Life conquers matter. Mind conquers life. If not us. Mind via life will sprout again. Life to machine is an artificial distinction. Both have self-organized change. Life is becoming becoming, on to complication.
EMERGENCE OF CONTROL
James Watts invented the fly ball governor to control the output of steam engines. Its one of the first non-biological circuits. The regulator gave the machine a self and had “purpose”. Gun controls on navy ships made a regulatory system that relied on the interface of man and machine. One simple control beats a complex set of interrelated controls. Price for example Justice is its own cause and effect. If a cause causes cause and causes a cause... Its recursive. Circular loops will cause spinoffs, they are fertile. Self-merges from itself. Natural selection causes organisms that cause natural selection. Its not a one way cause and effect. It causes itself . Matter is almost free. since the steam engine we’ve gone bigger and now smaller and smaller to pull out matters information.
Natural coral reef-like closed systems start turbulently and then settle. Closed microbial ecosystems are like our own. The microbes do most of the work. Big flashy mammals are window dressing. Shepeler put himself in a closed algae box for 24 hrs. The stench drove him out. He used enough algae to supply oxygen for someone his size.
Dogs have been in for 7 days. The biosphere ecology was synthetic, but so is California. We, Chile and Australia removed the ancient herbivores to make room for bovine.
POP GOES THE BIOSPHERE
Bio needed humans as pruners. A thing missing from biosphere was turbulense. 1/2 of the CO2 makes it into the atmosphere. Noone knows what happens to the rest?
1) increased tree mass
2) Put into soils by microbes or
3) put into oceans.
The biosphere lets us study CO2 cycles with control. CO2 levels cycle on a daily and seasonal basis. Oxygen levels dropped from 21% to 6% (equal to llahsa in TIbet).Where did it go? To combat rising CO2 they made an “intentional” season in a savannah. To increase CO2, they put garden scraps in a compost. In such a system you cannot maximize the yield of an individual species. You can only maximize the system.
Smart offices will happen before smart homes. They will have memory : which book you put where. Where you are. You carry the light switch with you. The most profound technologies are those that disappear. The voice activation pin head. When the phone rings the stereo goes quiet. Office voice mail knows I’m not there yet because the parking spot is empty. When you pick up a book your favorite reading light goes on. The TV tells you there is a movie version of the book. Visitors will be a bit frozen out. People will have more or less friendly homes. We already can’t use eachother’s phones/computers/palm pilots. Idiosyncratic tech configurations to us. Worn spot , on a bed or book are emergent. Many individual actions make them. Where the best place or most confusion is will be noted. Iron to machine to car to scrap yard and back. Its an ecosystem. Tree to paper to earth again. Bio tech to Bio to... Fuel energy comes from the H not the C. The C is work and pollution. Natural gas is 20% C, Oil 33%, pure H is best.
Nature will not move, so it must be accommodated. Nature - which is larger than us and our contraptions - sets the underlying pace for individual progress, so the artificial will have to conform to the natural in the long term
Cyberspace is “where” you are when you’re talking on the phone. They shouldn’t be called computers, they should be called connectors. The network is more important than lone computers. ATM credit cards, fax, remote diagnosis and fixing of machines. Jeans bought in California trigger inventory orders in Idaho and dye orders from india. Orders will drive fashion, not designers. Adaptable factories follow an item through the factory via a barcode. Batches of one with shipping and parts need networks. Future companies maybe less one company than a specified manufacturing process your order puts into play. Distributed, decentralized, collaborative and adaptive.
--Distributive: Employees and offices all over. Cells of 10-12.
--Decentralized: Robber barons controlled all. Now business moves so fast owning a vast infrastructure or factories as a liability. Out source. Hertz rents, others repair, others deliver. Governments outsource too.
---Collaborative: From to competitor to collaborator you form an “Strategic alliance”.
-----Adaptive: As companies disappear into cyberspace they start to become like software. This is worrisome as bugs may cause it to crash as butterfly wings make ecosystems crash. Object oriented programs are program pieces that do a specific function , therefore, localizing errors and personalizing function are possible. And thus programs can grow into different niches. This is neo-biological. Be like natures neural nets, redundancy. Engineers, not mystics, are bringing cosmic consciousness.
Information can be hidden in cassettes, anonymity can be assured. Crypto anarchy means no taxes. Privacy wins over full disclosure and government control. As printing did to guilds and the church, encryption will do to corporations and governments. Corporate espionage.
Buying the reputations of anonymous business partners is important. Anonymity is essential for those who do non-legal things: abortion, pot, whistleblowers.
We have gone from cypherpunks to cryptopunks. Online signatures and ids are needed too. There is less anonymity now. Mail was anonymous. The war for privacy is on. Anonymous “lending” of films.
Encryption of taxes removes government (the only hope of central control). In typical economics, increase supply decreases value. But the wider encryption or the net go, the more value they have. There is freeware that gives you peoples encryption code. Encryption means you can trust where you got it from (i.e.: it wasn’t tampered with).
Newspapers are flat fee. You pay no matter how much you read. Edison wanted a flat fee on electricity because he thought accounting would cost too much. Eventually a good meter was invented (10 years). Encryption until use is meter. Success via meter or computer use is being copied. Not scarcity like old economics, but abandoning of copies thrives.
But use, not copies, is countable. How many web hits. Garner money not from copies of software made , but times it s used. Radio is like this. Companies send them free copies of the music, then they pay if they play it on the air.
Trailers and cheapness will convince us to pay before we use. A dirty limerick for $0.10. Weather $1 a month. Digital cash leaves no trail. This is instead of ATM cards or passing pictures of dead presidents. Digital cash is like phone cards (you buy them , use them, toss them).
To avoid theft such cards would/could use pins and you could have a duress code. This system is private. This could be used for phones, parking meters, toll booths etc.
Any company could make a “currency”. Another function of government gone. Instantaneous bills, no more interest lost. Underwire (not underground) sub currency sub currencies acceptors may flourish. Again government wants full disclosure, this is hidden money. Transnationally accepted money will pass-by nations. Like travelers checks.
Encryption wins because it is the necessary counterforce to the nets runaway tendency to link. Without some force of disconnection, the world would freeze up in an overloaded tangle of unprivate connections and unfitered information.
God as buddy is new. Of old god he was feared and appeased. You didn’t want to not be a god. My generation cant start games without narratives or fixed goals. Kids do. We raise and love our own grown worlds. They reflect our care and ideas like children . Sim city is more controllable than sim earth. These god games grow as gardens do.
Dolls to theatre is virtual reality. Coca cola is “the real thing” umberto eco precedes baudrillard. “They map is not of the territory, the map is a territory.” Idols is an artificial layer of meaning to a statue. Icon is all the way. We live in the hyper real. They have dinner without reference to media. Two people can go into the virtual reality world. It is real. Virtual reality tv. You said the static backdrop as one and the foreground ad instructions. The military runs 2-D simulations of many potential battlefields. You can enter any player and outcomes change. 300 can enter them individually and play collectively against the computer. You play from different countries. Our men in the Persian Gulf war had fought it 6 times before. 90% had intensive simulation experience of it. The attack on Baghdad at night weren’t as hard as the video. Remote control tanks exist. Unmanned aircraft were big in the Persian Gulf War. Supertankers practice in every dock in the world. People spend time in these “ships” with friends at Disney funded game centers.
Ads to the military read “simulate before you build” “simulate before you buy” “simulate before you fight”. Enter the plane and check out the dial placements before one is built. World wide remote unmanned armies. A team, a superorganism.
People hang out in multi user places to have parties. Multi users can add features. A super organism grows. People note they are different on the net than in “real life” This makes them question who they are. Australia banned these text worlds cause they were taking up too much space.
Virtual businesses will start.
Sim city. Text mud and military. SIMNET will meet.
Yahweh had been able to do the rest of his creation in his head, but this part “man” was a simulacra of Yahweh. SO Yahweh endowed the model the same type of creativity he himself possessed. Free will and creativity meant an open-ended world with no limits. Anything could be imagined anything could be done. This meant that the man-thing could be creatively hateful as well as creatively loving (although Yahweh attempted to encode heuristics in the model to help it decide.
A few bold man-things have had a recurring dream: to make a model of themselves. Is this sacrament or blasphemy?
To be a god, at least a creative one, one must relinquish control and embrace uncertainty. Absolute control is boring. The new and novel only come from letting go. To win, you must surrender the seat of power to the mob below.
IN THE LIBRARY OF FORMS
Based on Borges’ library story, Sims generates an evolution of a picture using all possible pictures. This is done by stripping the art down to numbers. This is surprisingly natural for the computer. The program looks for patterns. He selects the best and cross breeds them with others that “evolve>” IT shows “life” evolves without a creator. Dawkins was shocked when non-plant life forms evolved from his program. The computer contains every possible pattern in potentiality. The biomorph was to be symmetrical, recursive and genes (algorithms were included).
People do art by mutations they like. (breeding 30%, choosing 70%). There is a mutation intensity knob. Animals can be bred. Polygamy. He made antiparents. Mutate away. This is a less analytic co-creation (with the computer all logos, buildings, plate designs, appliances, movies, books. Guide the growth. How like this is making a sentence? There is the 1st word may possibilities for the second, generate/select.
I wrote this book by finding it. Who knows if it is my book or merely the one almost my book. I made it by quotes from the library of Borges.
Butterflies run from leaf cutters.
A bird exists that eats the fleeing insects. Other insects follow to lay eggs in the bird droppings. Evolution duplicated from computer RNA viruses. The 80 bit virus mutated. The 80 attracted parasites that couldn’t live without them (45 bits). They spawn hyperparasites. But then totally new creatures evolved They replicated in 22 instructions. How? Engineers couldn’t do a self replicating 22. But the program did.
When he turned the mutation function on it invented sex. The system had punctuated equilibrium. Evolving spreadsheets find the typical patient, then run mutations and see how many fit and come up with variable profiles. It will climb to a peak and then survey.
Living organisms solve problems by sex and mutation. Many are set to the goal. The closest approximates mate. Why was there no interest in these genetic algorithms? He traces it back to Von Neumann’s creation of the modern OS from ENIAC. It allows you to store information and to come back to it and flow chart another way. If then, check prior, go dictated path. But the 1950s John Holland started to think of these as AI machines. He found a 1929 book that looked at the evolution of butterflies as a mathematical system. Serial computers are slower with more info and a longer flow chart. Hillis tried to make a parallel processors dreamt up by Holland. He wanted to make AI that “would be proud of him”. Quickly it created a great sorting program. When the algorithms fought it went faster. This showed that evolution and learning are related. They created answers like neurons. S hasn’t made consciousness yet. But records of genealogy are kept and generations go quickly in computers. People didn’t believe Ben Franklin had put monstrous lightening in a jar, that they were the same. Today folks don’t believe in evolved intelligences in a jar. 250 years later?..
Bioengineering found stuff that happens to trigger reactions, then biomimicing , but its sooo hard. Now: evolution. Generate billions and try em. Antibodies are the complementary shape to a toxin. Impotent surrogates that activate immune responses (vaccines) could be evolved. They would be like the best designed synthetic molecules except we would understand them. We ask the molecule about itself. You select results you like isolate and let them breed, just like guided evolution for all else. People can alter the evolved computer code. But the result is anemic. They were good for individuals, but died before too many generations. Death is a teacher to the flock/superorganism in computer code, the gene is the phenotype, therefore, lamarkian evolution is possible. Lamark blows doors off Darwin. It injects learning. Ants communicate by pheromones. Virtual ants (VANTS) tried to find the shortest route to many cities. Their pheromones evaporated slower on shorter routes, therefore, they were reinforcing. Learning goes from one v-ant to all. Parallel computers are hard to program. Perhaps evolution, “the natural way to program” will write the code. Make a navigation problem, then create virus to crash it. One bad line of serial code can crash it. There for much code is protection. Evolved code can adapt, but we give up control because we don’t understand it.
THE FUTURE OF CONTROL
In traditional animation, all knowledge of physics has to come from the animator’s head. Jurassic has weight friction, kinetic energy etc, programmed in. Virtual leaves blowing down the street are following wind patterns.
Automatic fabrication technology (AFT) goes from CAD to prototype. You don’t print a picture, you print the part out of strong plastics. Virtual flowers are grown via algorithms. Life has infiltrated computational cinema. Mickey mouse is one of the ancestors of artificial life. Animators get to know a character as they see it move. Heads can be animated and the feathered have to respond to physics. Animation is tied to censor suits now. Humans have 200 moving joints. We/animals have antagonistic instincts. The phone rings your hands are dirty and there’s a knock on the door all at once. You stall. Then “please wait” the behavior may have several sequential components. Via a data bank of character expressions and movement some have you in a story where you can interact with bit characters. But characters must have destinies and freedom. This has been done with underwater creatures. You interact with them as virtual reality. They can be dinosaurs and learn via algorithms and have their own agenda. 2003 Mickey’s only instructions “go in the room and retain your hat”. 2005, “Friend with Donald, but more and more irritated with him. Can’t change this cause the code taught itself. 2009. Mickey is a hot commodity. He is a good actor and does all his own stunts. As we are projected into the computer we work with the prima donna cause he is Mickey. We’ve less control. We manage our co-control. Human did autopilot. But we got bored now the computer monitors the pilot.
AN OPEN UNIVERSE
A program to balance a broom on a skateboard evolved. But it was inelegant. It isn’t code a drunk human would write. It’s alien code. But we make simplicity a virtue. Not it. We have faith in simple elegant order. We can work with f=ma. We think serially (with a parallel brain).Computers give us new ways to thing (navigate). We shouldn’t tell machines the way to solve a problem. Give them a problems and let them figure it out. Machines usually do a specific task. Evolution solves lots of problems lots of ways. The only machine that reprograms itself now is the brain. A recursive program that generates novelty. Natural selection of solutions. Evolution can open entirely new places to get to .
All biomolecular novelty has evolved to create molecules that solve problems they already know how to resolve. This guy was in a hang glider crash and felt his body reboot. Artificial life is a verb, not a noun. Look at what it does. The artificial part is the natural, not the life. We can’t get universal principles our example (all life is carbon based life). Biology tears down living systems. A life must start with basics to watch life emerge. Hyper life is in fast state of evolutionary change. An acorn is a few lines of code. Life as it is and life as it could be. Life wants to break out into crystals and wires and silicon. Embryonic cells are robots in disguise made to make more life. We are a conduit of llife expanding in the open ended universe. By mid-century we could destroy all life (a-bomb) now we can create it (a life).
The first extraterrestrial life was spotted on the moon in 1969.
THE STRUCTURE OF ORGANIZED CHANGE
Textbooks on evolution emphasize change at the expense of stability. Evolution of objectivity, economies, laws: all is evolutionary. He’s pushing evolution being synonymous with slow change. Revolution = fast human change. Industrial plastics, electricity, nano revolutions. Daily revolutions increasing in speed. Evolution is blind in direction with no historical record. Info goes from gene to body, but not back. If it could it’d be lamarkian. I need longer legs! To do things you need to know how to manipulate your own genes Robots can do this. Flexibility allows us to live in the Andes and many generations the genes would be better adapted. The behavior does move the genes (move to the Andes, straying form the natural environment).
Learning and evolution combined are more effective than either alone. Both are the causes of evolution. Learning and evolution lay the ground work for culture. Those who can learn quickly (ie have genes for memes) survive in a culture. Culture has a symbiotic relationship to biology! The reason we have brains that can produce culture is that we have a culture that can produce brains. Evolution’s path goes like this:
1) self generating things happen
2) Replication allowed for mutation /change
3) Genes, developed phenotype.
4) bodies chose their own niches (learning)
5) Symbolic memes become possible
6) self-directed evolution.
Evolutions job is to create all possible possibilities to take over niches.
It took 50 years after Darwin to put evolution on a firm footing. Darwin said every stage in evolution must be useful. And he had trouble explaining necessary interim steps. Science needs to be theory to experiment. Computers allow another method: simulation.
No new species has been observed in science. Fossils show it, but don’t prove natural selection. Steven Gould says the change isn’t in the fossil record cause its really quick. AI stalls too. It hits a peak and then nothing new happens.
Symbiosis is natural normal in microbiology: Intercell genetic transfer via plasmids. Some biologists think large chunks of human DNA were inserted by virus. Human diseases being escaped human virus. This is not based on the individual as 2 cells become one and its not incremental (both blows to traditional Darwinism). Branches on the tree of life intersect. More a thicket of life. Natural selection is the editor, not the author. Origin not variation of species was darwin’s question.
Mutations aren’t random: it’s internal selection. Mutation correction takes a lot of energy. Correction is selective. The Krebbs cycle is our energy cycle. It has been for millions, therefore, it gets mutation correction priority. Some random changes are more equal than other. Homeobox genes regulate entire areas of vertebrate. This isn’t heresy.
His next idea, that purposeful mutations occur is. Needed mutations happen more than not necessary, mutations by 100 million times in e. coli. But until a mechanism is found few biologists will follow the radicals.
A phenotype must grow before a gene mutation can be evaluated. This can take years. Computers have no lag time or body. Our development mimics evolution. We have gills. Evolution is conservative, retaining what has worked and building on it. Computer changes are discrete.
Monsters, like drosophilia with legs for antennae do occur. Science of mutant monsters is called teratology. The egg is the mother of us. It is affected by stress, age, mutations, hormones of momma. The egg particularly effects the eggs (which has had decades in mom’s body (environment). This transgresses, Lamark like, the view that info only goes gene to body. We should be suspicious of the idea of one way non-feedback genetic transmission. It happens no where else in nature.
Small changes early lead to big changes later. Environmental stresses would lead to more monsters. This would account for the discontinuity of species in the fossil record.
To science historians, Darwin’s biggest deal is continuity between us and other species. Discontinuity is an illusion. But by and large, species are distinct and stable and persist or don’t. Species hang between one and 10 million years. Institutions also clump (churches and banks) required to adopt too much institutions die.
The genome being conservative/hemmed in means that when intensive breeding for characteristics happens side effects come along. Even genetic mutations are buried in the population at large. Artificial evolutions on computers have a little less history. They conserve quickly.
But longer runs will teach us a lot about the dynamics of evolution. After a point is bilateral symmetry necessary? AI people will take over evolution studies. This upsets biologists. But biologists gave us evolution. Since then?
Artificial evolution folks, showed it isn’t a biological process. Its a tech, math, info and biological process. A law of physics. Evolution comes by multiple causes. At different times and levels different types of causes are emphasized.
Among the dynamics are 1) symbiosis 2) non-random 3) satationism (cluster jumps) 4) bias towards certain forms (separate limbs, bilateral etc.)
THE BUTTERFLY SLEEPS
Genes are controlled by regulatory genes. Genes are controlled by genes. Like the net, math is evolving. Newtonian math was suited to the linear physics, but…Net math requires computer power. Many magnetic fields are the same net. In net math, counter intuitively, a small cause can have a disproportionately large effect. The butterfly effect. Run with 10,000 variables networked many times he found they settled into “basins” Order out of chaos for free. The number of basins is the square root of the # of genes. This is the same in cells. Its not gene selection, but gene architecture that determines function.
In the lap game a circle of people all sit on each other’s laps. This is tautology. Living systems are like this. Strong loops are like Escher’s that go up to the bottom. Like chicken function spawn functions. Communication functions create democracy. This has the previous characteristics from molecules to democracy. Can a machine make a machine of more complexity? Self organized order in evolution systems from transistors to computers to virtual reality. Kaufman found the most adaptable system didn’t have too many, nor too few connections. 10 per was optimum, no matter size. Too many connections and woo many control your work. In flocks there is locked repetition. (*$# too many connection and gas with too few. There is a sweet spot between and at the edge of chaos. Its oscillation is self-reinforcing.
Earlier studiers of heat had no unifying theory. Then Carnot came up with basis for thermodynamics law. Biology has no overarching principle. There is co mplexity, but not rule for it. Now law of rising order. After the big bang there is entropy and something else that creates order in galaxies and life to higher levels of order. Like a crest on a wave, life. The direction of progress seems too anthropocentric. A history of racism and out place in the universe (periferal) have killed optimistic progress as a belief. At 4 billion all that survive are equally evolved for their niches. If we videotaped the course of evolution and played it backwards to aliens, could they tell if it was going forward or backward? Yes. It is directional. NewDarwinism says evolution is unpredictable. Post Darwinism see it as inevitable when evolution shook off god they thought they’d gotten rid of purposes and direction. But machines have purpose and directions (*$# GOD. A –life acquires an agenda of its own. Systems, given initial conditions, may be deterministic & unpredictable. Deterministic systems maybe teleological. If you don’t like purpose or direction, you may claim tendency.
There are seven trends:
1) irreversibility: Animals don’t regress to past niches, hard won attributes aren’t given up. 2) increasing complexity (seems to be true) 3) increasing diversity. Species types don’t go up. Their disparity does. 4) Increases in population. And super groups (hives) add to the count. 5) increasing specialization. Specialized cells and organisms rarely go back to the more general functions. 6) Increasing codependence . Early stuff are directly dependent on a rock. Plants are tied to the earth, animals to specific plants, man to animals, but we get less tied to environs and more to each other 8) Increasing evolvability. Certain A Life innovations are evolutionarily pregnant with possible evolutionary routes. Evolution selects for things that can evolve. Like animal segmentation, variability (which would survive and make more variability). Since life came from non-life, evolution preceded life. And the dynanism of change is necessary to continuation.
A summary of evolution’s evolution may be hypothesized as follows. In the beginning, evolution started as varying self-replication that produced enough of a population to induce natural selection. Once population bubbled up, directed mutation became important. Next symbiosis became a major mover and shaker feeding off the change produced by natural selection. As forms grew larger, the constraints of form set in. As genomes grew in length, internal selection began to rule the genome. With the cohesion of the gene, speciation and species level selection kicked in. With organisms of sufficient complexity, behavioral and somatic evolution emerged. Eventually, when intelligence came on the scene, Lamarckian cultural evlution took over. As we humans introduce genetic engineering and self-programming robots, the make up of evolution on Earth will continue to evolve.
As life becomes more hierarchical – genes, cells, organisms, species – evolution shifts its work.
Evolution breeds more evolution. Life is the substratum on which it runs.
Chaotic systems are high dimensional and predictable in the short run generally only. Chaos is not randomness. In guessing roulette you don’t need perfect prediction to win. Humans can predict the very near future. How about computers? We have general guidelines to evaluate the profitability of a strategy, we don’t plan for every eventuality. They run past situations the prediction machine guesses 20. They tell it which is correct, it learns to discern causes. The machine develops intuition. Strategy in the Iraq war was based on high dimensional computer predictors that keyed in on a power. Stocks and war = world? Most long term predictors are wrong, short term right. In predictions, some things are invariants. Then the model growth curves: Rise, peak and fall. Cycles, like generational cohorts taking different jobs than their predecessor. Adaption is change in the service of the non-changing. Without some prediction we die. All facts are now being digitized and charted. Complex systems are those first talk to themselves. About what? Usually the future. Since the 70s we’ve had pictures of the whole globe. Its wounded computers model future trends for pollution, population, consumption and see disaster. But such models don’t get the requisite complexity and never stabilize at another pattern. They just crash.
WHOLES, HOLES, AND SPACES
In 1959 the MACY conferences brought hundreds of scientists came to a conference where the topic was “self-organizing systems – how an organism bootstraps itself to life”
The speaker laid out 3 principles?
Memory (computers do this), differentiation (ie the random mutation of biology), subordination (or executive function).
Why did cybernetics die?
The funding went to artificial intelligence and it failed.
The computers weren’t advanced enough then.
This hole has been filled by amateurs.
Science itself is a system of individual out of control nodes without a center.
He is fascinated by the holes and wholes of knowledge. These often lead to Kuhn’s paradigm shift.
These come from the anomalies that lead to questions. The end of this book is a list of questions.
Obvious things make the best starting points for questions. Such as; why is it when we see something the word comes up? Staircases, no matter how twisted bring up the word staircase.
What “Happened” when the word “emergent” was used. What ignorance does the use of the word mask?
If life grows more complex, why? And is complexity more efficient than simplicity? What is complexity? Is a brain more complex than an economy or cucumber?
What is the minimum variety for processes such as self-organization, evolution and learning and life?
What cannot be simulated?
Is the simulation fake or real on its own?
The prairie meadow makers asked “How far back can you compress a meadow into a seed? At what level are the parts not the sum of them?
Are the parameters of stability different for a more complex system?
Why do things get stable? Why do things go extinct?
What makes a good god? Can evolution create its own teleological purpose?
The Institute of Science Information has a program that finds like citations in articles. Then you can see who else uses an idea. Does the idea produce offspring? Does it die?
This swarm of hypertext is a very large document. The individual authors are contributing, but perhaps unaware of the outcome coming. But sooooo many links. It is easy to get lost with everything having the same weight, and no center.
In this late age of print, writers and readers still conceive of all texts, of text itself, as located in the space of a printed book. The conceptual space of a printed book is one in which the writing is stable, monumental and controlled by the author. Electronic print is fluid and interactive.
Blackboards encourage modification and updating. Quill pens carefulness and attention to grammar, tidiness and controlled thinking. A printed page: rewritten drafts, proofing, introspection, editing. Hypertext creates: telegraphic, modular, nonlinear, cooperative works. They are swarmed. It is, says Brian Eno, The way we organize our thoughts and the way the world itself must be organized.
The space of knowledge in ancient times was a dynamic oral tradition. Rhetoric was structured as poetry. The texts were debated.
When the printed page came it got monumental. Gone was the role of the reader. The unalterable progression of ideas across the pages cave an impression of authority.
The internet is the largest functioning anarchy in the world. Not just chaotic, but perpetually reorganized.
Knowledge in print shaped the very idea of the canon, which implied fundamental truths, from which knowledge progressed, but never retreated.
Hypertext is fundamental to post modernism in which the reader challenges the author for control of the writing space. Meaning is a multiple swarm of interpretations. A differential network traces references to something other than itself always. Signs that point to signs.
AN aggregation of fragments is the only kind of whole we have now.
There is no central keeper of knowledge. Just curators of particular views. I am becomes hallow. We are conglomerates of views, votes and spendings.
Orwell was totally wrong about this, computers kill authority.
How large is the collection of all possible thoughts? How much do humans occupy. AI will probably have access to more and think differently than us.
THE NINE LAWS OF GOD
1) Distribute being
The spirit of a beehive, the behavior of an economy, the thinking of a supercomputer and the life in me are distributed over a multitude of smaller units. The sum is more than the parts. Something from nothing comes from smallers interacting.
2) Control from the bottom up
When everything is connected to everything in a distributed network, everything happens at once. A mob can steer itself, and in the territory of rapid, massive and heterogeneous change, only a mob can steer. Its like the economy.
3) Cultivate increasing returns
That is because whatever works is given more resources. All large sustaining systems do this. Economics, biology, computer science and human psychology.
4) Grow by chunking
The only way to make a complex system that works is to begin with a simple system that works. Attempts to instantly install a highly complex organization inevitably lead to failure.
5) Maximize the fringes
Heterogeneity creates. Uniform systems need huge changes to maintain. Diverse heterogeneous systems do thousands of microrevolutions daily.
6) Honor your errors
Out side of conventional wisdom there are errors. That is where all substantial advances are to be found. Error and correction are a part of all creation. Evolution is systematic error management.
7) Pursue no optima: have multiple goals
Simple machines can be efficient, but complex adaptive machinery cannot be. Have many masters. An adaptive system must trade off between exploiting a know path of success or diverting resources to exploring.
8) Seek persistent disequilibrium
Neither constancy nor relentless change will support a creation. Equilibrium is death. No equilibrium is too. Keep stable, but growing.
9) Change changes itself
Evolution is about how an entity changes. Deeper evolution is about how the rules for changing change.
The hallmark for the mechanical age was mechanical design. The hallmark of the neo-biological age is the return of the organic.
· The intensely biological nature of the coming culture derives from five influences:
· Nature will continue to be the infrastructure of human experience.
· Machines will become more biological in character.
· Technological networks will make human culture even more ecological and evolutionary.
· Engineered biology and biotechnology will eclipse the importance of mechanical tech.
· Biological ways will be revered as ideal ways.
In the coming age all will be born more than made.
OUR INDIVIDUAL SOULS - FROM PLOTINUS
If you think our soul is part of the greater soul. It is wrong. It is the greater soul. Because your analogy is with the physical. But because milk and paper are white doesn’t make them part of white. They are white . 2 is but isn’t really a part of 10. Biology is a part of science but not a piece of science. If we were said to be mini replicas of the soul, we would be independent. Not so? The eye and ear don’t have separate soul types. They feed differently because they’re different organs. But they inform the soul. The soul is a unity of everywhere, but with different functions. The soul is universal and rational. The soul comes as an explanatory/ expression of intelligence and like this rational laws of nature is undying and undifferentiated. How has the soul made the world, and why, . While individual souls govern each part of the world? THe intelligence is the law of nature, the soul its movement.
We say body comes into a soul, but this is a convenience. For never has there been a body without one.The cosmos is ensouled. The soul is after nature. This imitates it.It creates bodies. The shape the cosmos too is a result of soul comint into it. Everything soul gives to body is an image of its life. Thus When people make idols soul is attracted into them. There is life in rocks to the extent that they can hold it. All with soul contemplates the intelligence. Thecosmos has all it needs and is limited only by form. ----calty it goes towards and away from the form of form (one)via intelligence insoul. Soul mutates into appropriate forms. They don’t do so deliberately, it is as water going downhill. Longing and gravity are the same. intelligence.