Heursitics for decentralised thinking

(Michael Resnick, ‘Turtles, Termites and Traffic Jams: Explorations in Massively Parallel Microworlds’ MIT Press, 1994, p134ff)

1. Positive feedback can be good

  • Take-off effects

  • 2. Randomness can help create order

  • comined with positive feedback -> self-causation
  • shakes off local minima (annealing)
  • prevents worst excesses of exploitation in exploitation-exploration dilemma

  • 3. & 4. Emergence

  • Need to distinguish between levels
  • Not all properties of a system have to be explicitly built in
  • Emergent objects may have different properties than their subunits

  • 5. The Environment is Active

  • Intelligent behaviour doesn’t just rely on agents.
  • The environment is dynamic and a source of complexity

  • Shalizi review of TT&TJ