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

From: Olie Lamb (
Date: Mon Sep 19 2005 - 20:03:17 MDT

One of the simplest things I've learned from Neuroscience, with the most
profound implications:

The less conscious an activity is, the less brain area it tends to involve.

That is, simple unconscious activities like blinking tend to be entirely
localised, however, when one deliberately blinks, or is deliberately
conscious of blinking, much more of the brain is involved.

(Incidentally, I first picked this up from reading Giulio Tononi)

In other words, consciousness tends to be the result of lots of the
brain interacting, whereas autonomous activities like scratching,
breathing etc tend to be not extremely localised... think simple.

I know this is a gross simplification, but it is relevant as an
illustration in terms of Complex systems and intelligence.

If we hypothesise for a second that a anthropomorphic "brain" has two
levels: Global operations that are Complex ("consciousness") and Simple
operations ("automata"), it is not difficult to imagine being able to
perform a function, such as adding 2+2, either as a complex effort,
considering two objects and another two objects, and considering the
resultant four objects OR using the global system to direct the problem
to the "calculator bit", that can automatically perform the calculation,
and then redirecting this back to the global.

In this hypothetical brain, functions can be effectively dealt with
either with Simple operations or Complex operations. Where there is no
simple operation to handle a function, it has to be dealt with an a
Complex level.

Complex operations could also be utilised to establish (design) new
Simple operations.

This example from Humans says nothing about whether complex emergence is
Necessary for intelligence, but it makes it nice and clear how
Complexity /could/ relate to intelligence.

More, unrelated stuff below...

Ben Goertzel wrote:

>>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
Limited resources requirese stochastic algorhithms? Wow, now I'm
confused. I always thought determinism simplified things, and would
make requirements on resources less. Maybe I'm completely misinterpreting.

>-- Ben

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