Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments


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Complex: a complex is composed of components that can be distinguished from each other and are relatively autonomous. Complex behavior refers to systems that consist of several components. The relative independence of the components is manifested in their behavior. Relative autonomy of the components is determined by the description of the complex as a whole.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Item Summary Meta data
Brockman I 38
Complexity/Dyson, George: Imagine it is the first decade of the 21st century and you want to track the complexity of human relationships in real time. For social life at a small college, you could construct a central database and keep it up to date, but its upkeep would become overwhelming if taken to any larger scale. Better to pass out free copies of a simple semi-autonomous code, hosted locally, and let the social network update itself. This code is executed by digital computers, but the analog computing performed by the system as a whole far exceeds the complexity of the underlying code. The resulting pulse-frequency coded model of the social graph becomes the social graph. It spreads wildly across the campus and then the world. >Analog/digital/George Dyson, >Neural networks/George Dyson.
Brockman I 39
Three Laws of artificial intelligence:
1. Ashby’s Law(1) (Law of requisite Variety): any effective control system must be as complex as the system it controls.
2. (Articulated by John von Neumann (no source indicated)): The defining characteristic of a complex system is that it constitutes its own simplest behavioral description. The simplest complete model of an organism is the organism itself. Trying to reduce the system’s behavior to any formal description makes things more complicated, not less.
3. Any system simple enough to be understandable will not be complicated enough to behave intelligently, while any system complicated enough to behave intelligently will be too complicated to understand.
Problem: (…) there is a loophole in the third law. It is entirely possible to build something without understanding it. Provably “good” AI is a myth. Our relationship with true AI will always be a matter of faith, not proof.
We worry too much about machine intelligence and not enough about self-reproduction, communication, and control. The next revolution in computing will be signaled by the rise of analog systems over which digital programming no longer has control. Nature’s response to those who believe they can build machines to control everything will be to allow them to build a machine that controls them instead.

1. Ashby, WR (1956) An introduction in Cybernetics, New York: Wiley.

Dyson, G. “The Third Law”. In: Brockman, John (ed.) 2019. Twenty-Five Ways of Looking at AI. New York: Penguin Press.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Dyson I
Esther Dyson
Release 2.1: A Design for Living in the Digital Age New York 1998

Brockman I
John Brockman
Possible Minds: Twenty-Five Ways of Looking at AI New York 2019

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2020-02-19
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