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How Emergence plays out
in our map-mediated world
Tony Smith
Melbourne Emergence Meetup
11 August 2016
the land was invaded
and people who weren’t here were killed
Myron Lysenko
Cumberland River Poet
1 August 2016
Tonight (+ next 2? years)
• Territory, Maps & Facebook: Popper’s 3 Worlds
• Dissipating Gradients under the Second Law
• M...
Karl Popper's (1972; 1978, 1994)
three worlds of knowledge.
World 2 is an emergent
property based in World 1.
World 3 is a...
Language
Knowledge
Digital Media
Stars
Storms
Stalactites
Territory
Biology
Neurology
Ecology
Facebook
Not quite
Popper’s
...
The Second Law of Thermodynamics
describes closed systems tending to
equilibrium, but our young universe is
populated by s...
Flow dissipation is but one class of
mechanism for Emergence in the Territory.
Novelty can also Emerge because a network
o...
Maturing
Cosmos
Galaxy
Solar
System
Red
Giant
Type 1a
Supernova
Chaotic
Inflation
Conservative
Bubble
Neutron Star
Earth
Va...
12/08/2016 1:00:56 pm
What follows assumes an unpopular notion of time:
The only time that exists is now,
everywhere engag...
Physical traces
The moon retains traces
of many events against
astronomical odds over
billions of years
C.f. landscapes of...
By finding a way of encoding a capacity to adapt to variations
in its environment across time, life effectively invented th...
The notion of time as a linear measure, albeit with strong daily
and yearly cycles, has served us well, especially when us...
While admitting its dependence on cellular biology and
the similarly different organisational patterns of other
life forms...
Many species share Knowledge essential to their
success as populations, with human language
facilitating an apparently unm...
Our Knowledge is how we Map our Territory
Popper locates this internal neurologically encoded Map in
World 2, but genetic ...
Mapping the Territory
• We think of Maps as Diagrammatic Representations
• Such Maps are useless without Words and Numbers...
The Song Remains the Same?
Movie at: https://vimeo.com/104588900
A Verbaliser in most humans’ heads forms candidate
sentence fragments almost every waking or dreaming
moment, a few of whi...
There is an implicit assumption that texts should be an
accurate Map of the Territory, with exceptions for fiction
However ...
Lynne Kelly showed the value placed on knowledge
from long before agriculture and human settlement.
Today an increasingly ...
Word v Excel v Draw
Not the place to
say much about
Draw
Necessary
proliferation of
media tools
Pictures worth a
thousand ...
Numbers, Measurement and Counting
In the Territory, quantification measures perform consistently
Within Mathematics, number...
After Cowries and other relatively stable commodities
served as local currencies, gold beat silver to become
the final bac...
So we have a world increasingly awash with money
Financial institutions and instruments emerge and grow
Growth statistics ...
Putting this into today’s context
While many have deeper routes, all components of today’s
natural environment survived th...
Bringing it even closer to home
Transurban has to go!
P.S. Agreements and disagreements with Bill Hall
• General thrust and detail of Application Holy Wars
• Concern that envir...
Needing a Black Swan Event
Movie at: https://vimeo.com/42961266
Assuming they exist at all,
it would not matter who
The Powers That Be are.
They’d have no reason for
doing what they’re d...
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How Emergence plays out in our map-mediated world

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Presentation to Melbourne Emergence Meetup August 2015 with frame grabs and links replacing embedded videos and by bullet/paragraph builds removed. Otherwise as presented.

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How Emergence plays out in our map-mediated world

  1. 1. How Emergence plays out in our map-mediated world Tony Smith Melbourne Emergence Meetup 11 August 2016
  2. 2. the land was invaded and people who weren’t here were killed Myron Lysenko Cumberland River Poet 1 August 2016
  3. 3. Tonight (+ next 2? years) • Territory, Maps & Facebook: Popper’s 3 Worlds • Dissipating Gradients under the Second Law • Mechanisms of Emergence in the Territory • Encoding Traces for Dynamic Persistence • Biology, Neurology, Ecology, Linguistic, Digital • Conservative Physics v Diminishing Cost of Maps • Laws Emerge from Words, Gambling from Money
  4. 4. Karl Popper's (1972; 1978, 1994) three worlds of knowledge. World 2 is an emergent property based in World 1. World 3 is an emergent property based in World 2 From Bill’s Application Holy Wars
  5. 5. Language Knowledge Digital Media Stars Storms Stalactites Territory Biology Neurology Ecology Facebook Not quite Popper’s 3 Worlds Refer Lynne Kelly Memory Code c.f. other species Refer Bill Hall Application HolyWars EncodingTracesfor DynamicPersistence Maps Encoding Thoughts for Peer Communication
  6. 6. The Second Law of Thermodynamics describes closed systems tending to equilibrium, but our young universe is populated by stars and more that are far from equilibrium and provide energy gradients which can only dissipate at speeds allowed by other physics. Within such gradient flows, new entities can emerge and do ‘useful’ work to increase the rate of dissipation. Stan Salthe’s Rule of Thumb says less than 50% of the flow can be used.
  7. 7. Flow dissipation is but one class of mechanism for Emergence in the Territory. Novelty can also Emerge because a network of processes support each other. Stu Kauffman has proposed such a metabolic network as a precursor to cellular life. A minimal version between two (or three) entities is more commonly recognised as Synergy, or as Symbiosis in the life world. The Territory is built on Synergy between two very different entities: proton and electron.
  8. 8. Maturing Cosmos Galaxy Solar System Red Giant Type 1a Supernova Chaotic Inflation Conservative Bubble Neutron Star Earth Vacuum Sources Sinks Producers Reproducers Locally Conservative Physics Human Intellectual Retreat from Centre Stage Re Conservative Physics Empty space is far from nothing Must account for angular isotropy, unimpeded transit of light and matter Conservation of linear momentum, angular momentum, electric charge, baryon number, energy-mass, etc. Extrapolating from cellular automata findings: conservative bubbles form when a sufficient (tiny) seed is left without any embedded (exponential) reproductive elements, after which it grows by (polynomial) production (Schematic opposite presented as example at workshop on Philosophy of Complexity held in Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2007)
  9. 9. 12/08/2016 1:00:56 pm What follows assumes an unpopular notion of time: The only time that exists is now, everywhere engaged in producing the next now. Some entities/patterns persist, providing traces of earlier times. Living cells embody a process for encoding traces of their environment in a form that facilitates ongoing regeneration of an almost consistent lineage. Networked neurons embody a very different process for encoding traces of their environment in a form that facilitates the flexibility of a mobile animal.
  10. 10. Physical traces The moon retains traces of many events against astronomical odds over billions of years C.f. landscapes of a living earth with tectonic, ice, hydrological, wind and other active processes degrading most traces Orbital dynamics retain traces of past encounters, as in Saturn’s rings Knowledge needed to find and read traces
  11. 11. By finding a way of encoding a capacity to adapt to variations in its environment across time, life effectively invented the notion of time continuing that so pervades our lives today.
  12. 12. The notion of time as a linear measure, albeit with strong daily and yearly cycles, has served us well, especially when used by science to make predictions that can be remarkably accurate. However this mathematical ideal of time as a linear dimension confirms that time is only an imaginary measure of distance. To transform a measure of time into a measure of space needs not only c, the speed of light, but also i, the square root of -1.
  13. 13. While admitting its dependence on cellular biology and the similarly different organisational patterns of other life forms and ecosystems that have co-emerged with it, we focus here on the neurological encoding of mobile animals (leaving corner cases for another day). No matter what else the notion of consciousness may be burdened with, it does have an active role in encoding experience of the world, including recursive reference to earlier encoded memory, in such a way that those accumulated memories define the individual mind. And it appears that the sleeping and dreaming, not quite unconscious, mind plays an active role in further organising and suppressing some encoded memories. Acquired brain injury provides supporting evidence.
  14. 14. Many species share Knowledge essential to their success as populations, with human language facilitating an apparently unmatched division of labor, and consequent social complexification. Lynne Kelly provides a comprehensive account of how vital orally-maintained Knowledge, indexed by place and mnemonic devices, transitioned to performance spaces associated with monumental architecture to support agricultural settlement. Bill Hall describes ever-accelerating transitions to writing, printing, electronic communications and digital computation keeping Knowledge central to human affairs, if subservient to power and money.
  15. 15. Our Knowledge is how we Map our Territory Popper locates this internal neurologically encoded Map in World 2, but genetic encoding of heredity as external and thus World 3, seemingly not seeing them as being of the same kind, even if very different in implementation detail. Here I focus on their commonality as dynamic encodings that directly facilitate adaptation, and contrast them with the representational encodings of natural language, decorated artefact, art, writing and exploding digitisation. Such dynamic encodings are tightly coupled to conservative condensed matter physics which imposes limits on growth. Representational encodings are effectively decoupled from most physical constraints, even more so at every iteration.
  16. 16. Mapping the Territory • We think of Maps as Diagrammatic Representations • Such Maps are useless without Words and Numbers • Diagrams take more work than Words or Numbers • Many views of the Territory mapped by Words alone • Oversimplified mapping into Numbers takes control • Maps decoupled from Territory’s conservative physics • Flow of Words has little constraint, Money even less
  17. 17. The Song Remains the Same? Movie at: https://vimeo.com/104588900
  18. 18. A Verbaliser in most humans’ heads forms candidate sentence fragments almost every waking or dreaming moment, a few of which are stitched into coherent utterances or typed and edited with a keyboard. Such Conversations are only marginally related to conserved physics, so expand without physical limit. While much is redundant, ignored or falls on deaf ears, some is received more warmly and begins a process of Consensus building via meetings of minds. So we get articles, books, contracts and regulations covering every sphere of human interest, and with Knowledge industries dedicated to their production.
  19. 19. There is an implicit assumption that texts should be an accurate Map of the Territory, with exceptions for fiction However Language turns out to be a two-edged sword Language can be a powerful tool for sharing Knowledge But it is even more efficient at spreading misconceptions And it is generally inefficient at propagating corrections
  20. 20. Lynne Kelly showed the value placed on knowledge from long before agriculture and human settlement. Today an increasingly vicious feedback loop allows knowledge work to be considerably overvalued. The commentariat is predominantly white collar and advocates white collar education and remuneration. Old expectations and academic pressure towards hyper specialisation conflict with capital’s desire for interchangeable workers and rewarding CEOs.
  21. 21. Word v Excel v Draw Not the place to say much about Draw Necessary proliferation of media tools Pictures worth a thousand words Effective use vital to Facebook Media capture getting cheaper
  22. 22. Numbers, Measurement and Counting In the Territory, quantification measures perform consistently Within Mathematics, numbers have seductive accuracy In the messy Map of human value judgements, little is stable Standardisation of measures enables confident exchange Many forms of money try to support confident interchange Trade needs to be win-win in terms of each trader’s values Physical markets facilitate trade, generalised to intangibles Value abstracted: fees, wages, salaries, commissions, rent Taxation and government, accountants and lawyers
  23. 23. After Cowries and other relatively stable commodities served as local currencies, gold beat silver to become the final backing for promissory notes and coinage. The Gold Standard was then watered down through legislated prudential ratios before finally being superseded during the Great Depression of the 1930s. In October 1976’s last days of Gerald Ford’s unelected presidency, the USA abandoned any connection of the value of its dollar to gold, leaving the international monetary system based entirely on Fiat Currency. Banks are supposed to maintain a prudential ratio between assets and loans but policy looseness leaves no guaranteed cap on their ability to create money.
  24. 24. So we have a world increasingly awash with money Financial institutions and instruments emerge and grow Growth statistics more about monetisation than value, more about rate of flow than built or natural asset value Neoliberal ideology facilitates the rich mopping up But then we get Facebook and its supporting cast Knowledge workers in overdrive creating unpaid content Universal basic income proposed to restore inflows
  25. 25. Putting this into today’s context While many have deeper routes, all components of today’s natural environment survived the 2.5 million year Pleistocene ice age and its repeated inter-glacial succession processes. Almost all land and coastal ecosystems have more recently co-evolved with knowledge-centric human communities. Human industrial scale processes are now breaking all that. These are being driven by desk-bound knowledge workers with no material constraints on their words nor their money. Truth and prudence are losing badly
  26. 26. Bringing it even closer to home Transurban has to go!
  27. 27. P.S. Agreements and disagreements with Bill Hall • General thrust and detail of Application Holy Wars • Concern that environmental threat understated • But I do see industrial effects outpacing warming • Disagree on Fermi Paradox for two reasons: • Combinatorics shows civilisation against all odds • Evolution mostly prefers specialists to generalists Responsibility of being first to aspire to know all
  28. 28. Needing a Black Swan Event Movie at: https://vimeo.com/42961266
  29. 29. Assuming they exist at all, it would not matter who The Powers That Be are. They’d have no reason for doing what they’re doing beyond Fear and Greed. Or are ‘they’ an Emergent entity that Supervenes?

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