Spatio-Cultural Evolution as Information Dynamics: Part I [Book Review]

Foundations of Science 17 (2):125-162 (2012)
A view of evolution is presented in this paper (a two paper series), intended as a methodological infrastructure for modeling spatio-cultural systems (the design outline of such a model is presented in paper II). A motivation for the re-articulation of evolution as information dynamics is the phenomenologically discovered prerequisite of embedding a meaning-attributing apparatus in any and all models of spatio-cultural systems. An evolution is construed as the dynamics of a complex system comprised of memory devices, connected in an ordered fashion (not randomly) by information-exchanges. An information-exchange transpires when the recipient system adopts a strategy (a continuum of events) that eventually changes its structure; namely, after the exchange, it contains and conveys different information. These memory devices—sub-systems—are also similarly constructed complex system. Only a part of the information is retained by a system in its physical-memory storage, which eventually loses this function too, when the ability to retrieve a common enough structure is lost. The entire amount of information is a system’s structure of connections (information exchanges); it is contained (apparently stored) dynamically when a system is observed in a temporarily stable state. This temporary permanence—robustness and resilience—is attained dynamically; namely, enabled by changes taking place in its sub-systems and in each of their sub-systems. Therefore, for modeling such a system a multi-layer/multi-scale approach is preferable. It enables the addition and subtraction of an interim scale and the consideration of such a scale as a micro or a macro (thus initiating a maneuver up or down scale) according to an ad-hoc requirement of the model, which imitates an envisaged sub system (called an ‘Inner World’), to which a certain range of decisions is relegated. This dynamics is driven (in time) by dynamically originated information growth, as defined by Shannon; i.e. by the fact that each of certain state transitions have occurred sometime in the past of the system just so and not otherwise, and by the fact that they have occurred in a certain order. Therefore, each ‘history’ and memory retrieval availability of information is unique, and thus can be used to differentiate meanings. Hence, there cannot be a comprehensive solution to the meaning attribution model-design challenge. However, the observation that at the core of each envisaged complex system, moving in time according to a rounded logic, there is an information manipulating device, operating necessarily according to a Boolean logic, can be copied into the design of a model. This observation enables, therefore, the embedding of a specific, locally fitted, meaning attributing device, which is an information manipulating mechanism (it splices/attaches one segment of information to another—its meaning). However, this is just a framework; the actual solution has still to be found locally—for each subject system. Such a solution is demonstrated for the change in location or layout in the Israeli city in paper II
Keywords Cultural evolution  City dynamics  Structural complexity  Dynamic complexity
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References found in this work BETA
P. W. Anderson (1994). More is Different. In H. Gutfreund & G. Toulouse (eds.), Biology and Computation: A Physicist's Choice. World Scientific. 3--21.

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