Santa Fe Institute
The Collective Computation of Reality in Nature & Society
The first computers were not invented by humans but by nature. The mantra of complexity science–that complexity arises form interactions among simple components–is wrong. The parts–whether cells, neurons, bees, or humans–are often wonderfully complex themselves but operate under many constraints, are prone to failure and myopia and, consequently, errors in information processing that can lead to profound misunderstanding of the nature of reality.
In this lecture, Jessica Flack will discuss how nature computes. She will build on the above points to argue that collective computation–computation by the parts together–evolved as a solution to imperfect information processing, sometimes resulting in recovery of the “ground truth out there in the world” and sometimes resulting in a collectively constructed reality that takes on a life and meaning of its own. Flack will also discuss how an understanding of computation in nature challenges us to broaden our understanding of computation’s theoretical foundations.
Jessica Flack is a professor at the Santa Fe Institute and director of its Collective Computation Group. Her interests include the role of collective computation in the origins of biological space and time, coarse-graining in nature, causality, and robustness.
Tickets will be available Monday, September 23rd, 2019, at 4 PM.
Free, General admission.