So, we've had a taste of cellular automata, and now of agent based models, and are about to go on to other things. Maybe its a good time to look back at our initial thoughts about emergence and what it is/might be good for, and reflect a bit on where we've gotten to so far?
My own thoughts (hoping others will add theirs):
- CA's make interesting patterns, and are fine if one thinks the universe is deterministic and has a lot of time to do the computing needed to predict its future course
- agent based models can make interesting patterns too but also do things that seem more interesting/immediately interpretable to humans
- Langton's ant, among other things, suggests that pretty simple universes with agents need to be thought about in terms of systems with BOTH patterns and absences of patterns (the hardest case of Voyage to Serendip)
- a challenge: is it so that there is a sequence of progressively sophisticated "emergent" models with progressively greater capabilities? how would one measure "capabilities"? can one imagine some undirected process that would take one from a more or less CA universe to a universe with agents and on to universes with progressively greater representations of purpose? where would "indeterminacy" or "computational irreducibility" fit in such a sequence?