Heroes

Dan Dennett has long been a hero of mine, the science-friendly philosopher who has synthesised both Darwin and Turing into his theories on the evolution of conscious will. Great 30 minute interview here with Jim AlKhalili on his “Life Scientific” on BBC Radio 4.

A potential new hero here in John C Doyle of Caltech, someone I’d not been conscious of until I saw him referenced by Michael Gazzaniga (the last few posts). Not managed to find any on-line (eg social-media) contact other than his Caltech email (so far no response) nor any writings other than his (supposedly out-of-date?) teaching materials, but he claims here to have many on-line videos. In this particular YouTube example from a 2018 conference, one of his first slides features both Darwin and Turing. So, another man after mine own.

An excellent presentation on Universal Architectures enabling evolving optimality of system functions and performance – from information thru biology to mountain-biking(!) And more: Integration of direct (visual) and indirect (propriocentric) network pathways – crucial architectural role in evolution of key operating systems despite multiplicity and flexibility in the range  hardware and software options – layered in many domains (hence universal). Human complexity out of many layered networked algorithmic simplicity with many orders different comms response speed in the different layers / channels. His “robust-yet-fragile” tag (a) suggests Taleb and (b) suggests a genuine homeostatic balance – a dynamic sweet-spot.

Viral fragility of the OS in such architectures. Bad Memes – OS Infections – are humanity’s biggest problem. Solution is moderation, slowing down the response times of the network layers / channels susceptible to such viral memes. (I could have written this stuff myself, in fact I have many times!) Even back in 2007 Doyle was warning the internet needed controlling – moderating as I’ve been calling it.

Everything except any questions of causation (supervenience and/or independence) between those layers. Intriguingly, determinism is one topic mentioned on several of his slides, often qualified “worst-case”, but not highlighted in anything he says. (All his published stuff looks like pure control system theory text-books – robust yet fragile.) Searching on.

[Clearly he is “very famous” in control theory – eg for his 1978(!) paper demonstrating arbitrary fragility (lack-of-robustness) in control systems with uncertain time-delays in certain measurement and response loops > leading to Robust Control Theory.]

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