Emergence Series

post by James Stephen Brown (james-brown) · 2024-05-14T08:06:51.503Z · LW · GW · 0 comments

This is a link post for https://nonzerosum.games/conwaysgame.html

Against a torrent of entropy, eddies of complexity arise. We have the non-zero-sum phenomenon of emergence to thank for our very existence. While I concede the problematic nature of the term "Emergence" as detailed by Eliezer Yudkowsky in The Futility of Emergence [LW · GW], this series makes a case for emergence not as an explanation, but as a description of a particular type of phenomenon, one that produces qualitatively distinct and more complex entities than those from which they emerged. This six part series explores:

  1. Conway's Game of Life—explore the concept of emergence with a simple simulation.
  2. Entropy vs Emergence—understanding the seemingly paradoxical nature of the second law of thermodynamics.
  3. Emergent Gravity—how can a universe arise from pure chaos?
  4. On the Shoulders of Substrates—how one phenomenon lays the foundation for the next.
  5. Replicators—the dangerous children of emergence; genes, memes, temes, snenes, grenes and of course quenes.
  6. Emergence is Beautiful—beauty and meaning in an entropic universe.

I'm link-posting because these posts in particular involve interactive simulations to help illustrate the principle of emergence—which won't function on LW.

Please discuss, I'm particularly interested in criticisms by physicists, as I am not a trained physicist and I would like to become less wrong.

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