Re: Is complex emergence necessary for intelligence under limited resources?

From: Olie Lamb (
Date: Mon Sep 19 2005 - 18:58:36 MDT

OK, clarification time... reducto!

- Complicated is nothing like random - I'm sure you can all think of
simple deterministic number sequences, and contrast them with
complicated sequences that would at first seem random (unpredictable),
but are purely deterministic.

- Complex systems arise from interaction of the parts. Although
phenomena like periodic beats, moire fringes and the like aren't
strictly Complex (just complex), they make very good ilustrations/
analogies of Complex systems. You can't predict moire patterns from
knowing about only one of the contributing patterns.

- (Complex systems involve not only multiple variables, they involve
feedback-forming interactions. No point to that comment.)

- The end result of Complex systems can be simple (Galaxies make nice
spiral shapes) or complicated. See above comments on complicated stuff
and predictability.

- Complex systems can be purely deterministic

- Complex is nothing like random

- I have yet to see "emergence" in the Complex sense defined as
anything other than the end result of Complex systems.


"unpredictable" is one of those "impossible" words that gets... uh...
injudiciously used. Just because something is hard to predict, doesn't
make it unpredictable.

A leg bone does not have the characteristics of walking. Ergo, from one
leg bone, one can't predict how an animal will walk... except by knowing
how a lot of animals with similar legbones walk, and by comparing the

Predictions are funny...

Ben Goertzel wrote:
> HC Wrote:

>>What is the difference between something that is "an
>>unpredictable emergent
>>phenomena" and something that is "random"
>An unpredictable emergent phenomenon in a system is a behavior in a whole
>system that we know can in principle be predicted from the behavior of the
>parts of the system -- but carrying out this prediction in practice is
>extremely computationally difficult.
>Something is random with respect to a given observer if that observer cannot
>in principle discover any way to predict the thing... (because if there are
>any patterns in it, these patterns are too complex for the observer to
>>Either one can be a part of a "complex system" -- and could also
>>be part of
>>any "complex emergent system" or a "dynamic complex emergent system". It
>>seems to me that the only difference between the two arguments is
>>that one
>>is saying that in order for intelligence to be tractable some random
>>variable must be used.
>This is a separate point, as my clarification of the meaning of "emergence"
>has hopefully made clear.
>It may be that intelligence given limited resources intrinsically requires
>stochastic algorithms, but that is a whole other issue. Stochastic
>algorithms are not all that closely related to emergent phenomena -- one can
>get both emergence and non-emergence from both stochastic and non-stochastic
>-- Ben

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