Here's a NY Times book review (Just Like Ants, Computers Learn From the Bottom Up) of a new book (EMERGENCE The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software, by Steven Johnson - Scribner, 2001).
I just bought the book so I'll let you know how it is after I read it.
I'm becoming increasingly facinated by emergence (in general). Here's a quote from the review that I I think does a pretty good job of explaining it:
"In his latest book, "Emergence," Mr. Johnson, who is the editor in chief of the online magazine Feed, focuses on a subject he touched on, in passing, in that earlier book — namely, the phenomenon of self-organization, represented by feedback systems and intelligent software that anticipates our needs. This phenomenon, known as emergence, is embodied by "bottom-up" systems that use "relatively simple components to build higher-level intelligence." Ants build complex colonies; city residents create distinct neighborhoods; simple pattern recognition software learns to recommend new books or music based on our previous choices. In each case, developments proceed not from some central authority dictating plans from above but from the cumulative actions of low-level agents below." -- Michiko KakutaniPosted by Lisa at September 11, 2001 04:08 AM | TrackBack