Thursday, 25 September 2014

Complexity - in all its

It’s entirely possible the human brain is the most highly developed form that evolution can allow.

What distinguishes our final evolutionary leap to humanity is the capacity to evolve and develop our species’ collective knowledge, skills, technology and abilities. Chimps don’t take up bow and arrow over generations. Tigers don't develop GPS or telephone-based astrology. 

This capability is plainly a direct function of our highly developed brains, with their capability for reason, thought, and the development of social networks that in turn build systems and institutions that in turn have the effect of collective human development. 

And the nature of that development, if we look at our own historical position, appears exponential – most particularly beyond the technological point where we learn to build our own complex information processing systems – computers.

And these computers can crunch data with infinitely more brutal efficiency than the human brain. From this point on, no evolutionary imperative to higher intelligence can exist.

But what’s odd about our own complex systems is that they have evolved a far more fascinating capacity than the super-est of computers can ever conceivably possess – that of consciousness. Would there be any evolutionary imperative for evolving into a being MORE self-conscious than humanity? Let us hope not.

And this appears to be an innate trait of these organic complex systems – brains. As intelligence evolves, so does sense of self, and a capability to act strategically in self-interest – so genetics should in some inherent way tend to favour the emergence of a lifeform evolved to this highest possible level if a zoological ecosystem is left to run for long enough.

The argument therefore is that humanity or an equivalent is inevitable where complex life is possible, as is capitalism, corporations and all the complex systems we have evolved which act towards its betterment.

The question is whether there is a bomb beneath it all. Do complex systems become so complex that they will tend towards manipulation by elites that are able to become so powerful as to hobble the system’s inherent self-interested drive? And faced with an issue like climate change (also by my argument an inevitable product of human development) does this hobbling become fatal?

But why do organic systems evolve to superior consciousness where inorganic systems evolve to superior computational power? Something in our carbon-basedness is the key to this whole wonder of “me”?

It’s dizzying.

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