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

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Mon Sep 19 2005 - 12:48:03 MDT

> 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

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:52 MDT