”Machines take me by surprise with great frequency.”
Alan Turing, found
When thinking about emergence, my mind ping pongs between three different issues. The first two, my overwhelming distrust of Wolfram and explorations of the top down dichotomy, I will save for another post. Since we are still discussing agent based modeling, I will stick to my third fury.
From the first day of class
, I have been troubled by the idea that in making computer models, our objective “is to be ‘surprised’, to ‘surprise’ others, to establish that some pattern/phenomenon that is presumed to depend on complexity/planning/a directive element can be produced without that. To show what might be, rather than what is.” This has been a recurring theme in lecture and it just does not sit well with me. Why is it that models cannot be used to solve problems? Why don’t they portray what is? This rankles me. If the modeling method has no utility beyond surprise, then it is little more than an intellectual jack in the box: entertaining and beautiful but not appropriate for solving problems in a science class (see my icon? ).