Finally, the book Complex Adaptive Systems by John H. Miller and Scott E. Page is getting down to pay dirt - halfway into the book! It quotes Buddhist scripture:
Now what, monks, is the Noble Eightfold Path? It is as follows; right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.
No doubt Buddhist scholars would object to his interpretation of Buddhist scripture, which is facile – but no matter, it is useful anyway. It maps them as follows:
View – Information and connections
Intention – Goals
Speech – Communication among the agents
Action – Interaction
Livelihood – Payoffs
Effect – Strategies and actions
Mindfulness – Cognition
Concentration – Model focus and heterogeneity
I personally have a problem with the interpretation of Mindfulness. It is clear that the authors have no idea of what that means in Buddhist practice. It is also true that the Buddha had no idea what models and agents would mean over a thousand years later.
Overlooking these minor matters, however, the authors (note the plural case) go on to explain what these mean in Complex Social Theory.
As I said in my other posting today The Worship of Wonderful, Complexity Science tries to be wonderful – but fails. No matter, it is useful, and that is all that matters. Here are three paragraphs (out of six) for Right View:
Right View encompasses the information that an agent receives from the world. Such information can influence agents in both direct and indirect ways. Directly, incoming information will often cause to immediately react to what was received by taking some action. Indirectly, information is often “memorized” via some change in the agents internal state, and such changes may set the stage fore actions that will only be realized into the future…
A further complication is that the networks that agents receive often come from other agents. As such, agents may be able to manipulate, at least partially, their outputs so as to influence the actions of others. As we will see, models where such manipulation is possible can lead to some very interesting behaviors…
Networks may also be important in terms of view. Many models assume that agents must be bunched together on the head of a pin, whereas the reality is that most agents exist within a topology of connections to other agents, and such connections may have an important influence on behavior.
Most people react to this complexity by turning off – and refusing to notice anything at all.
I have been enjoying the Tico Times ever since came to Costa Rica. But this week it decided to call it quits, because it couldn’t afford to continue. I think the situation is worse than that – few want to know about anything.
They seem to think if they ignore their problems they will go away.