Re: The Relevance of Complex Systems

From: Joel Peter William Pitt (
Date: Thu Sep 08 2005 - 19:43:55 MDT

On 9/8/05, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky <> wrote:
> My car, alas, is not a Carnot Engine. There are all these practical
> complications in the real world, doncha know, which makes thermodynamics
> irrelevant if you're trying to build *efficient* systems. My car is a
> Complex System, too: I looked under the hood and there were all these
> interacting doohickeys whose local behavior was completely different
> from the globally emergent car. That carburetor thingy doesn't even
> have wheels, much less an engine! As a result I find myself completely
> unable to predict my car's behavior. Why, one time I floored the gas
> pedal, and my car moved fifty miles backward and refilled its own gas
> tank!

If you observe the states of the individual components they will be changing
in a semi cyclic manner, the system will be expending energy (fuel) to
maintain these state changes. The states will not be completely stable or
nothing interesting would happen, the states are not completely chaotic
either or the desired behaviour of the car wouldn't be acheived.

When one tunes a car you adjust timing and other variables in order to get
the emergent behaviour of a working car, too far from the right values and
the car/system doesn't work (A untuned car can sound like chaos too :P)


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