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  • Connecting DotsTony Smith

    Melbourne Emergence Meetup14 August 2014

  • Tonights Challenge Tell a story with currently 17 major parts

    each of which should eventually get a lot more than a full length presentation

    Make clear their framing in fundamental principles

    Engage any who may find something that touches them in part, framing or whole

    Wrap it while everyone is still with us

  • Why bother? Before Im gone, hopefully

    Laying it out in summary

    leaving unfinished clues

    Marcia Salners challenge

    Towards a better world

    Multi generational project

    weve only just begun

    Need a better road map

  • Late in a self-indulgent life

    lived at a fortuitous time in a fortuitous place

    Chatterbox in my head is reward from that journey

    A life well lived is artistic masterpiece too easily lost

    In the here and now we can but leave traces

    Giving thanks to the space, time, energy, matter and other lives that have allowed me to tell my lies on this old and damp ball of rock

    Our systemic servants do not good masters make

  • Knowledge of Nature Cosmogenesis in Multiverse

    Physics from Nothing is Hard

    Earth, Sun, Moon, Life

    (pre)historic contingency recursion

    Observing common behaviour

    Learning to look closely

    under reef ledges

    volcanic plains grasslands

  • Maturing Cosmos






    Type 1a




    Conservative Bubble

    Neutron Star
















    Purging naive assumptions

    Communicating a feel for the very big, small, fast, slow

    (when $18b road confuses)

    Empty space far from nothing

    expanding or self-producing

    Physics looks highly evolved

    c.f. Lee Smolin

    presented as e.g. at workshop on Philosophy of Complexity, Stellenbosch, Sth Africa, 2007

  • Think




  • Victorian Volcanic Plains Grasslands John Batman 1835: most beautiful sheep pasturage

    Almost destroyed by sheep and superphosphate

    Shown on vegetation maps as uniform pale yellow

    Obscuring its rich detail, rocky rises, orchids,

  • Nature of Knowledge Could defer this to Bill Hall

    Towards a Knowledge Network

    Conversation Piece (1997)


    Pseudoscience Psychology Economics deny agency to co-inhabitants of this planet

    Legal Fictions

    Intellectual Property

  • Knowledge encoded in DNA, synapses, muscles guides response to environmental variability (How?)

    Knowledge encoded in deeply recursive grammars offers responses to endless human curiosity (Why?)

    Verbal blindness obscures much from human gaze

    Double-edged sword revealing truth, spreading lies

    Knowing your own kind, territory, movement, needs

    Stories, curation, transformational potential (What if?)

  • The Human Experiment

  • Homo Sapiens do not enjoy special uniqueness

    beyond emergent characteristics coming together

    Science is but one of our significant stepping stones

    Extreme division of labour counterfeits ecosystems

    producing platforms & silos for further exploration

    Alpha male legacies thwart quest for civil society

    Still share planet & cities with many fellow travellers

  • Avoid projection and assumption of privilege

    Nature mostly doesnt care

    Tomorrow is good assumption

    Implications of life extension

    Choosing our exit strategies

    Approaching The Ant Road

    Specialists and generalists

    Why, in general, Life Is Good

    Shit Happens as useful starting philosophy

  • Selected Cellular Automata Discrete versus Continuous

    Deterministic does not imply predetermined, allows rerunning

    Many discrete mechanisms in Wolfram: A New Kind of Science 2002

    Principle of Computational Equivalence

    Computational Irreducibility

    Evolving Networks, Tick Tock

    Fredkin Automata, Pattern Breeder

    Game of Life, Generations 345/3/6

  • Two years running Generations 345/3/6 developing software compressed rendering animation pan & zoom

    Near last of 500 seeds run for 100,000+ iterations

    produced fresh surprises

    Of all early surprises the above demanded getting very serious and naming Hanu

  • COMFORT FEATURES Generations WMPVNCount range 0-8 0-12(c)Survive 345(8?) 45678(b?c?)Born 3(6?7?8?) 45(9?a?b?c?)1/2 forward movement born 3 born 451/2 toggling side cells born 3 born 4asym ship central cell death not survive 6 not survive 9sym ship central cell death not survive 7 not survive atail/edge clean up not survive 12 not survive (1?)23track without gap stability survive 35 survive 48double track with gap stability survive 34 survive 46gapless double track stability survive 345 survive 468block stability survive 3 survive 5blocked track stability survive 5 survive 8gap stability not born 4 not born 6(7?8?)track toothed edge stability not born 5 not born 8

    Key to Generations 345/3/6 is track-laying engines

    These can occur in 345/3/n through 3458/3678/n None of those offered more, so

    explored new rule super family

    Moore and von Neumann neighbourhoods, so Weighted Moore Plus Von Neumann

    Identified 64 individual rule families as comparable targets

    Many new behaviours found, highlight WMPVN 45678c/459/11

  • One from

  • Emergence/Systems/ComplexitySupervenience 101

    Emergent organisation constrains the behaviour of component parts

    Math concept of degrees of freedom useful here

    Novel organisation can emerge where there is a gradient to be dissipated

    Stan Salthes rule of thumb suggests maximum 50% of gradient can do useful work

    Theory poorly recognised

  • Invasions of Australia Alfred Russell Wallaces line

    Tim Flannery: Future Eaters

    Northern contacts, the Dingo

    Bill Gammage: Greatest Estate

    Bruce Pascoe: Dark Emu

    Sheep and Superphosphate

    Detroit and Hollywood

    The Russians are coming

    The Yellow Peril

  • No Secrets andNo Need for Secrets

    Chapter originally planned for 1987 iteration on The Prospect of an Informed Age

    No Secrets clearly on track

    No Need now problematic

    Collective courage to move away from censoriousness

    How to live in megacities?

    Institutions dont scale well

  • We act within relationships (later) and communities

    Communities are very supportive within boundaries

    Wider community needs confidence that individual groups are not up to no good

    Challenge to strip judgement calls on individuals and groups back to necessary minimum

    Well regulated supply better than prohibition

    Treat mental illness seriously but never as pretext

  • Opening Collectives Beyond Democracy

    This is newish, moving target

    Though seen by 1987, only now becoming permissible to say Democracy doesnt scale

    Open Source Software was a novel approach to collective agency, with strong validation

    Challenge to extend strengths where success judgement call

    Co-working spaces find need for better resource discovery

  • Creative Commons, Open Standards, MOOC

    Open Data, Open Geographic Information Systems

    Open Government, Occupy Everywhere, Loomio

    DIY Bio, 3D Printing, Maker Spaces, Mens Sheds

    The Commons, Co-operatives, Crowd Funding

    Co-ordination, Co-operation, Collaboration

    Social Media, Citizen Reporting, Sousveillance

  • A Tale of Two Streamsc. 1900

    Creek Cumbo

  • Home 1949-1957

    Couldnt build on block next door because Moonee Ponds Creek floods kept eroding

    School 1958-1963

    Home and Creek obliterated 1966 for Tullamarine Freeway and Flood Amelioration

  • Originally in context of #EWfail and last Federal election

    Now fit Colins human-sized

    Cumberland River Holiday Park

    Camp, Bush, Beach

  • Plans for Melbourne President of Master Plumbers

    MMBW, Public Works Dept

    Increasing fan of Local Govt

    despite compliance regime

    Hydrology, Public Transport

    Transport Integration Act 2010

    Better use interested public

    Work back from Long Big Pic






    Box Hill




  • Contested Values and Growing Pool of Money Money & me: worst of enemies

    Your time cannot be replaced

    but resupply fairly reliable

    Interests and affections

    1987 book plan substructure multidimensional value vector easy as scalar for computers

    Triple bottom line accounting

    beauty, belonging, stimulation, caring, relief, novelty, comfort,

  • Money as rubber ruler: intrinsic value less volatile

    Collect deep pools, stabilise surface, drain out underneath to irrigate other enterprises, repeat

    Local domination by banking (and planning) authorisation for a development to proceed

    Growth imperative, rent seekers, empires in decline

    Re-insurance, hedge fund