Look How Many Lifelike Properties Emerge From This Simulation

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Health Discussions' started by Literally, Jan 1, 2020.

  1. Literally

    Literally Member

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    The amazing video:

    To preempt some possible arguments... no this is not life, even though the field refers to "artificial life". But it does show how very complex dynamic structures can emerge (i.e. without being directly specified) from universally applied "local" rules.

    Lenia: Biology of Artificial Life by Bert Wang-Chak Chan
     
  2. Noodlz2

    Noodlz2 Member

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    This is in the vein of Vernadsky, Sidney Fox, Jeremy England and the others Peat mentions in this context right?

    Just that the "rules" in real life are the laws of physics, and the medium is atoms (or waves or ether or whatever) instead of pixels/bits.
     
  3. OP
    Literally

    Literally Member

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    I don't know enough of those people or Peat's comments on them to confirm what you are saying. I would think yes.

    For me, Peat conjures up a micro-world of very dynamic and often persistent biological structures that arise from interactions between "the laws of nature" and local conditions... which are simple in theory but lead to great complexity. This very different to the mental model of cellular machinery driven purely by DNA slowly building a static structure from the DNA "blueprint".

    In the video you see vortices and cells and the perpetuation of those structures because of repetitive , structure preserving (or aggregating) processes. In the real world, energy would drive this, although here it's just an arbitrary "update" equation that updates local state (at all points in parallel) based on the immediately surrounding state. And these things are NOT arising spontaneously, they are using computational search strategies to find sets of initial conditions that lead to emergent, persistent structures. You could think of a main job of DNA as being to set up initial conditions that lead to this kind of emergent behavior.
     
  4. Noodlz2

    Noodlz2 Member

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    Yes, that is essentially what Peat and the others are saying I think. There is a medium. When energy is pumped into the medium, you get repeated structures. The more energy, the more complex the structures. The specific structures we see arise because they are the most efficient way to let the energy flow/dissipate through the medium.

    This doesn't preclude evolution probably, but this concept makes it seems like evolution probably isn't a driving force for the change we see and is more of an artifact of the energy/medium/laws of physics interaction

    No idea where the energy comes from.
     
  5. OP
    Literally

    Literally Member

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    Well said!

    >> This doesn't preclude evolution probably, but this concept makes it seems like evolution probably isn't a driving force for the change we see and is more of an artifact of the energy/medium/laws of physics interaction

    I think evolution is a driving force for change, but evolution doesn't happen "in a vacuum". It happens in the context of a set of universal laws capable of giving rise to all these structures. Evolution is a search process for configurations that actually work.

    I have seen a breakdown of photosynthesis where if you look at the 11 "steps" (or whatever it is) a bunch of them can be viewed as just relying on natural processes that would happen even without the presence of life. So life is "exploiting" these natural processes.

    Also, if you only focus on evolution and not these emergent properties of "the medium," a lot of your explanations will be sort of empty even if they are technically correct.
     
  6. Steven Bussinger

    Steven Bussinger Member

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    I think Ray's idea is that perception and reaction takes place in all forms of life. All life has telos. For instance, he talks about how the cells themselves inside a body are independently making their own decisions based on their environment, it's not a top-down design at all. If this is true, then perhaps there are different levels of consciousness based on the quantity and quality of cells that make up an organism. So a human, which is quite large (quantity) with a fast metabolism/high temperature (quality), is more conscious than an ant or bacterium.

    I think what you said is more accurate if you substitute "selection" for "evolution". People should stop using the word "evolution" because it means different things to different people and it muddies the water. People conflate "evolution" with many things now. This is how darwinism is now synonymous with genetic theories when, as far as I know, the gene part of neo-darwinism was grafted on in the 20th century. Darwin would be too Lamarckian for today's Darwinists. Likewise, it would be helpful to distinguish between genetic inheritance and inheritance through other means. Genes are not the only mode of inheritance.

    I believe Ray has said that the Vernadsky theory is that energy is introduced by time. I'm trying to find a source for it in his writing using search engines, but it may have been one of the Politics & Science interviews.

    Here's a quote from one of his essays:
    "but in outline we can think of the sun as a present energy source, and the chemistry of the earth as, relatively, an energy sink. Electrons activated by light energy from the sun give up that energy, as they move through various steps until they combine with oxygen. Energy flow, in this sense, is somewhat like the energy flow between the negative and the positive poles of a battery; ultimately, it produces heat, but in the process, it can produce work.

    Life interposes itself between the "poles" of energy flow, and the flowing energy creates organization and structure, as it is dissipated into heat. Structures store some of the energy, and tend to increase in complexity, taking advantage of the flow of energy to create phase differences with expanded internal surfaces, like a finely mixed emulsion. Like a finely divided emulsion, the more highly energized the organism is, the stabler it is. It adapts to the available energy; energy is used in adaptation; the structures built with the energy are adaptive structures."
    Energy, structure, and carbon dioxide: A realistic view of the organism
     
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