Saturday, July 15, 2006

The context dependence of evolution.

Steve Jurvetson contends that evolved systems suffer from subsystem inscrutability. Of course, because context is king. Once the subsystem becomes context-dependent, that is, once its relationship with its context--the larger system that incorporates it--alters the nature of its function, which for all practical purposes occurs the moment it comes into being, its function becomes as much as a byproduct of the context as it is a product unto itself, and it cannot be removed without changing its function. Only the simplest of subsystems--those which essentially function autonomously to generate output with disregard for input--can be transferred from one complex system to another.

link to piece.

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