This talk was presented at Deliberate Complexity Conferences - Building Successful Platforms and APIs on 19 July. We are honoured to present the video recording and talk summary below. Enjoy!
Visit our talk recaps ToC page for an overview of all presentations!
Department of Philosophy, University of Miami (FL)
President and Co-Founder, VectorAnalytica, inc.
(from 40:00 in the recording)
"Complexity requires constraints that generate these complex, multi-level parts-to-whole interdependencies. Once they entrain, once they synchronize, the individual processes change the likelihood of their occurence conditional upon the interdependencies in which they are embedded. At that point the complex wholes become the governing constitutive constraints that maintain that system, so the hypercycle becomes the governing constraint that modulates/regulates and otherwise controls the goings-on in the individual processes."
Efficient causes (from Aristotle, as energetic transfers) alone do not generate complexity. Constraints: are conditions or factors that raise or lower barriers to energy, matter, and information flow – without themselves directly transferring energy. For example: timing of a kick on a playground swing.
Catalysts and feedback: inherently context-dependent, conditional on one another.
"A coherent interdependence is generated thanks to enabling constraints."
Enabling constraints: weave together relations among parts or parts and their context, so coherent totalities–that have characteristics that are greater than the sum of their parts–emerge as a result. The new coherent dynamics generate novel information.
Complex systems are embedded in their context.
About interlevel relations: parts-to-whole and whole-to-parts.
There can be relations of constraint among components of the same level of organization.
But also, the interdependencies with the qualitatively different component–that is different than the components themselves–do exercise control over their components.
Interlevel relations are also constraints, but usually not energetic transfers.
For example: autocatalysis is a non-linear self-reinforcing process. The metastability of the system is preserved, even if through a different pathway. And the same input can produce qualitatively different outputs. (Unlike mechanical processes.)
"The emergent properties of the whole can be carried out through different component pathways. [...] The overarching system's dynamic equilibrium–given historical and current context–is maintained. The emergent properties of the ecosystem become the variables that matter."
A higher level set of constraints that become metastable, in contrast to the components that make it up but which can vary. The emergent properties have relational interdependencies.
The interdependent relational dynamics (the hypercycle, Nszostak 2015) function as governing/constitutive constraints that exercise control top-down from the wholes to the parts.
"[Chess grandmasters] view the relationships in terms of a system-wide parameter, a functionality, call that strategy. [...] Strategy is flexible, it is a view of a constraint-structure, not of the individual pieces. [...] Opportunities and threats are emergent properties of the totality."
"APIs are interfaces that act as enabling constraints that facilitate the transduction of information into the internal dynamics of the system."