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Thread: Science of design

  1. #1 Science of design 
    B.S. Bloodhound scienceofdesign's Avatar
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    My political science teacher got us to read his esoteric book, "Science of the Artificial."

    Lately it has been on my mind a lot.

    A big premise of that is that the environment, and different environments, have signatures and triggers and paths built into it for different lifeforms on our planet to follow. Ants were used as an easy example, following chemical trails as they relate to their environment.

    That is a crazy premise to me, mostly because it makes the world on an existential level seem alive!

    Before I get too much into this esoteric subject, any body read this or familiar with this branch of science?


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  3. #2  
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    Are you asking about the Herbert A. Simon book, "The Sciences of the Artificial" or some other book?


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  4. #3  
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    I see no way that it is possible for an environment to have triggers and paths built into them.

    Each and every life form has to use exploration and trial and error to determine ways that they can interact effectively with their environment.
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  5. #4  
    B.S. Bloodhound scienceofdesign's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A_Seagull View Post
    I see no way that it is possible for an environment to have triggers and paths built into them.

    Each and every life form has to use exploration and trial and error to determine ways that they can interact effectively with their environment.
    Well.....I guess it goes to your definition of what you think an "environment" is? Every life form is as much a product of it's environment as it is an inhabitant.
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by A_Seagull View Post
    I see no way that it is possible for an environment to have triggers and paths built into them.

    Each and every life form has to use exploration and trial and error to determine ways that they can interact effectively with their environment.
    Maybe the idea is that as we interreact with our environment we leave trails behind that last a long time and become part of the architecture of the environment (it is completely new to me ).

    Others that follow on down the ages live with these "trails" ?
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  7. #6  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    You still haven't specified if the book mentioned in post #2 is the one you're talking about.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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  8. #7  
    Forum Freshman precious siraj's Avatar
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    make your own trails, don't follow old ones.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by precious siraj View Post
    make your own trails, don't follow old ones.
    try telling that to the snails.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by precious siraj View Post
    make your own trails, don't follow old ones.
    My neighbor called the cops when I drove through his garden to get to my garage. Your advice is bad.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by scienceofdesign View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by A_Seagull View Post
    I see no way that it is possible for an environment to have triggers and paths built into them.

    Each and every life form has to use exploration and trial and error to determine ways that they can interact effectively with their environment.
    Well.....I guess it goes to your definition of what you think an "environment" is? Every life form is as much a product of it's environment as it is an inhabitant.
    In this instance, by 'environment' I mean everything that is not the life-form. ie Everything that surrounds it, both physical and social and everything else.
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  12. #11  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Hello science of design. I think it would be a nice gesture if you were to answer the question asked in post #2. Although dan has apparently left the forum, I remain interested in your answer. It seems that Dywddyr is also interested, as he repeated the question in post #6. Here, for your convenience, is the question again.

    Are you asking about the Herbert A. Simon book, "The Sciences of the Artificial" or some other book?
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  13. #12  
    B.S. Bloodhound scienceofdesign's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Hello science of design. I think it would be a nice gesture if you were to answer the question asked in post #2. Although dan has apparently left the forum, I remain interested in your answer. It seems that Dywddyr is also interested, as he repeated the question in post #6. Here, for your convenience, is the question again.

    Are you asking about the Herbert A. Simon book, "The Sciences of the Artificial" or some other book?
    Sorry....threw out my back, in bed for the last few days....try NOT to do the computer thing, just rest so I can go back to work.

    Yes! That is correct....my political science teachers FAV book. Don't know why it is on my mind lately. Just is.

    I really like this!
    "Maybe the idea is that as we interreact with our environment we leave trails behind that last a long time and become part of the architecture of the environment (it is completely new to me )."

    If nature is DNA in a sense....then, this is NURTURE'S form of DNA? Fascinating (in my best Mr.Spock voice).
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  14. #13  
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    Thank you. Could you expand on the author's thesis a little more. I'm not sure I understand what is meant by these trails. Can you give a concrete example, perhaps from the book.
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  15. #14  
    B.S. Bloodhound scienceofdesign's Avatar
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    He uses ants as an example of "trails" to suggest that an environment possess signatures and triggers in the form of invisible-to-the-eye signifiers and stimuli that direct different animals to do different things; ants being the most obvious, and misunderstood example. This is a very philosophical book so it a lot of it is speculative but it makes sense. Our professor tried to use it to suggest that the Germans were historically warlike for some many years because their environment was telling them too.
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  16. #15  
    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
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    That seems awfully vague and I'm not sure I'm making the connection. You mean there are chemical trails inherent in an environment which direct organisms in some way? I am under the impression that ants can create their own pheromone trails, but it doesn't seem like that is what you mean.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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  17. #16  
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    This is also the premise of a Star Trek TNG episode.
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  18. #17  
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    I too, think it's a bit vague and we need a fuller explanation of what is meant and whether it's intended as some kind of metaphor or more literally about ecology, adaptation and evolution. Examples of other actual, biological trails might be those of eaten vegetation as grazers move across a landscape. These would be trails the grazers avoid in near future, marked by dung or just by memory. Longer term may be returned to by memory. They would impact other species as well - some may prefer the first regrowth and follow in their wake or see inedible species given opportunity if overgrazed or see seeds carried along spread. But this is more Ecology than Philosophy.
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  19. #18  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    I find it difficult to see how one scales up from an ant, whose behaviour is highly conditioned by stimuli and can be expressed in the form of some simple algorithms; to something as complex as a human. Without having read the book it sounds as if the author is saying that our actions are conditioned by our environment. That is a rather trivial statement.

    In your example, the Germans are - perhaps - warlike because they don't like their neighbours. Quel supris! However, I hope he produced data to demonstrate that the Germans actually were more warlike than their neighbours. I suspect that would be difficult to prove and the reverse may well be true.

    It is unfair to make a judgement based upon a very brief summary, but noting you've said so far encourages me to look into it further.
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  20. #19  
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    The work of F. Heylighen is linked to this subject (selforganisation, collective intelligence,superorganisms etc).

    Amongst other in this paper, and many more (** publications) to be found on his website (*) :

    http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/papers/coll...telligence.pdf

    His work has served, and still does, as the foundation for many mathematical algorytms concerning artificial intelligence, crowd surfing, meta-data correllations etc.





    (He received his university degree in mathematical physics in 1982, and his Ph.D. in 1987, both "summa cum laude", from theFree University of Brussels (VUB). He is presently a tenured research professor at the VUB, where he is co-director of theCenter "Leo Apostel"for transdisciplinary research.)


    (*) : F. Heylighen : F. Heylighen: Biographical Sketch
    (**):His publications list : Scientific Publications Francis Heylighen
    Last edited by Noa Drake; September 26th, 2014 at 04:12 AM.
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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    I find it difficult to see how one scales up from an ant, whose behaviour is highly conditioned by stimuli and can be expressed in the form of some simple algorithms; to something as complex as a human. Without having read the book it sounds as if the author is saying that our actions are conditioned by our environment. That is a rather trivial statement.

    In your example, the Germans are - perhaps - warlike because they don't like their neighbours. Quel supris! However, I hope he produced data to demonstrate that the Germans actually were more warlike than their neighbours. I suspect that would be difficult to prove and the reverse may well be true.

    It is unfair to make a judgement based upon a very brief summary, but noting you've said so far encourages me to look into it further.
    I apologize for the sloppiness of my presentation. That's why I tried to put this in the philosophy section since my interests at this speculative point was purely philosophical: the existential idea of what is an environment. How much of our DNA is based upon nurture? how connected ARE WE to the world around us? fascinates me. Looking for that book in my old college text book box..lol..when I find it, re-read it, I hope I have more to offer.
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