fractal intelligence - The idea that intelligent systems are defined by the emergence of the components that they are composed of, and can participate as components of higher-order intelligent systems that exhibit emergent behavior.

My claim: This is the framework that all "known and interesting" intelligent systems work within.

Example fractal:

If we combine a few neurons into a neural net, we have a simple associative processing system that can perform pattern recognition, associations, predictions, etc.. All emergent behavior, not found in the neurons.

If we take a set of simple neural nets, using some networks as bridges (much like the corpus collosum) and others as pattern recognition nets, associative neural nets, etc..., we can produce complex processing systems that can recognize and categorize objects (vision systems), sounds (auditory systems), predict motion, momentum and generally do quite interesting things...

If we take these complex processing systems and combine them into networks and produce even more substative processing systems that perform tasks such as language recognition and categorization, object recognition and categorization, etc..

Continuing this trend will lead us, eventually, to Language Centers, Optical Lobes, Auditory Lobes, Spatial Processing, Reason Processing, Frontal Lobes, etc..

Combining these, we get Cerebral Hemispheres, Corpus Collosums, R-Complexes, Limbic Systems, ...

Combining these, we get People.

Combining these, we get Teams, Groups, Clubs, Packs, Gangs, etc..

Combining these, we get Companies, Mobs, Organizations, Beuracracies, etc..

Combining these, we get Consortiums, Alliances, Syndicates, etc...

Combining these, we get Industries, Political Parties, etc..

Combining these, we get Governments, Economies, etc..

Combining these, we get Towns, Cities (urban metabolism), etc...

Combining these, we get Counties, States, etc...

Combining these, we get Countries...

Combining these, we get United Nations, International Trade Organizations, NATO, Warsaw Pact, etc...

Combining these, we get Planetary Something or other???

Combining these hasn't been done yet ;-)

So, given all of that, why is it that we think "people" are so darned important. We occupy only one part of the fractal, and not even a particularly important part.

You and me sharing ideas is just a link in a longer chain of reasoning being performed by a high-order intelligence that we are components in. Got it?

Something worth mentioning, related to the sentance above: By virtue of the fact that these ideas are present and being discussed by all of us, we are prooving that the intelligent system that we are collectively composing is in fact sentient, because it is recognizing and questioning it's own nature.
Corpus_Collosum leads us up from neurons to "complex processing systems" to networks to language centers to cerebral hemispheres to people, teams, organizations to alliances to political parties, governments and all the way to states and the UN.

Most of the steps I view as requiring serious empirical proof (a scientific process which involves more than pointing at something I don't understand and telling me "emergent behaviour"). But I'll tackle that on some other battlefie^Wnode. Here I'm not so much after "intelligence" as after "fractal".

None of the above hierarchy is a fractal, of course! Fractals are exceedingly well-defined, and some qualititative statements of their properties have almost reached the status of definitions themselves. So let's take the best known characteristic: self similarity at all scales. If I magnify and show you a small enough piece of the Sierpinski triangle or Koch snowflake fractals, you cannot tell the magnification! (If I magnify and show you a small enough piece of a Julia set or the Mandelbrot set, then while it is possible to "find" it uniquely within the set if the picture is exact, it's not possible to do this if there is any potential error in the presentation, no matter how small)

Is this what Corpus_Collosum is claiming about his hierarchy? NO!. He's claiming the exact opposite!

If I look at a neuron, I don't see the UN or anything like it. If I look at people, they don't look like neurons (or behave like them). If I look at a company, it's nothing like its constituent employees.

That's the whole point of talking about "emergent complexity"! And it's the exact opposite of talking about fractals.

So, while fractals are definitely trendy and cool (and chaos is sometimes even relevant to some work on neural networks), mixing them with emergent complexity is, shall we say, unfounded.

What I think Corpus Collosum is getting at - or what makes more sense - is this:

The pattern of organisation of an intelligent system is self-similar across a range of scales.

Admittedly, this is less concise than 'fractal' - but possibly more precise. The pattern of organisation of living systems is autopoetic - self making - and some claim that cognition is living. That is, living systems are cognitive sytems and vice versa.

Instead of throwing buzzwords around, let me make this more specific - living systems are networks within networks and so are intelligent systems. Inasmuch as networks are similar to other networks, life is fractal (in this limited way). The higher levels of organisation mentioned above are also heirarchical networks (see process physics). However, are they 'similar' to each other in any rigorous way? Probably not; after all, at different levels of organisation, different behaviours are present in the 'nodes' (humans, neurons, countries). This would tend to suggest that they are organised into different types of network.

It's mildly amusing to me that people have voted this down. Presumably they think that I am suffering from Modern Physics Abuse Syndrome. Ironically, as a biologist, I study much more complex physics than any (or most) of you high-and-mighty physics students out there. Its not for nothing that physicists are trying to bring the rigour that worked so sucessfully for (relatively) simple systems -planets, inclined planes, charges in a vacuum or whatever -to the complex and complicated sytems of biology. In case any of you physicists are interested in the beginnings of an explanation for this stuff, see:

Philip Ball The Self-Made Tapestry
Peter Coveny and Rodger Highfield Frontiers of Complexity

THEN you can downvote me! :)

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.