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New ECCO (Evolution, Complexity and COgnition) group / GBI (Global Brain Institute) member: Olivier Auber

From: Francis Heylighen <fheyligh AT vub.ac.be> (head of ECCO/GBI)
Date: 2012/11/6

Olivier Auber just joined ECCO as an affiliate member
Some of you will know Olivier from the seminar he gave or the seminars in which he participated. For the others, a short introduction.

Olivier comes from Paris, but lives in Brussels since recently. He has a background in physics and information technology. He works now as an independent researcher on the "Poietic Generator", a system he created in the 1980s. This is a kind of self-organizing, stigmergic drawing that is being made and changed live by a group of individuals connected via the Internet:


Each participant is assigned a 20 by 20 pixel square in which he can draw whatever he likes while watching what the others are drawing, by zooming out to see the full picture (size limited only by the number of active participants). Olivier notes that from time to time "simple" patterns emerge globally (e.g. the figure of a horse), but then they tend to disintegrate into local fragments.

In collaboration with the cognitive scientist Jean-Louis Dessalles (who also gave a very interesting ECCO seminar recently), he hopes to apply simplicity theory to find mathematical regularities in this at first sight anarchic process of creation and destruction based on esthetic sense. Simplicity theory assumes that people are most interested in situations that turn out to be simpler (in the sense of small Kolmogorov complexity) than expected.

Here is Olivier's website

I will leave it to Olivier to further introduce himself (but note that he is somewhat less comfortable with English than most of us here in ECCO)...

= = =

Thank you very much Francis for introducing me. I am very happy to be welcomed as an affiliated member of ECCO / GBI. I can not wait to know each of you and to discover your work!

Yes, I am a bit handicapped with the English language. You might interpret this as a kind of unconscious defiance against the dominant language. You might also think that showing this handicap indicates that I try to "signal", according to Zahavi 's Costly Signaling Theory [1], a kind of bizarre existential ability which could be a good reason to choose me as mate. Both interpretations would be untrue. If something in me refuses to submit myself to the pressure of using English, it is just because I want my little difference, as well as I also like that each one retains his own, for example Francis, whose Dutch accent makes him very nice-)

So Google Translation is talking to you! Please report any mistake to this f...g robot.
I'm kidding, I'm speaking english, but bad ;-)

As you may have noticed, I do not develop my own GB models, but something probably much easier and simpler, ie "real world" net-experiments. Nevertheless, I think these experiments may challenge GB models, that is to say the ones you are developing yourself (excuse me for being a bit provocative). I'm interested in how behavior models, basically metaphors, may influence behaviors themselves, and how these metaphors mutate one into another. That is exactly what the poietic generator shows and might help to study [2] .

The world is indeed at war for the "imago mundi", and it seems to me that a non-reductionist GB model should incorporate this fact and highlight it. Humans seem to be programmed to form coalitions by their signaling activity in order to increase their chances of survival, and this behavior may induce some sort of hierarchy and symbolic violence [3]. This observation includes those who produce models of the human behavior (i.e. scientists), and those who try to put that in
perspective (i.e. philosopher, anthropologist, artists). This is why I love the sincerity of Francis, when he says in one of his last posts about his experience at the "Summit on the Global Agenda" in Dubai: "I am in no hurry to become famous or gather political influence".

Joël de Rosnay, who likes very much biological metaphors, says [4] "global companies, international organizations, and even countries are trying to monopolize and control Internet DNA". I agree with him (except on the metaphor), when he ends by :"In spite of certain “diseases” of Internet (schizophrenic, paranoiac, megalomaniac, depressed), there is hope that the global behavior of connected internauts, can modify Internet DNA from inside and transmit this information to future reorganizations of the global brain."

"Who is the global psychiatrist?" asked Henri Waelbroeck as a conclusion of last ECCO seminar [6]. Certainly not scientists, philosopher, anthropologist, artists, etc. who are all fighting for their coalitions, but citizens themselves. "It is hard to become a good scientist. It is even harder to become a good citizen" [7], thus how can we help them (that is to say: us) to become better? In my opinion, in giving (not imposing) as relevant GB models as possible, and proposing "real world" experiences which may make us aware of the limits of all models, as well as our decision capacity as citizens. I submitted a few days ago a proposal in that sense to the Citizen Science Alliance initiative [7]. May this help to change the engine of the aircraft while it is in flight (bad metaphor, sorry).

Looking forward to read and to meet you.

Olivier Auber

[1] Zahavi, A. (1975). Mate selection — a selection for a handicap. Journal of theoretical Biology
[2] Auber O. (2012) The poietic generator: a net experience for cognitive research.
ECCO/GBI seminar; http://ecco.vub.ac.be/?q=node/194
[3] Dessalles, J-L. (2010). Providing information can be a stable non-cooperative evolutionary strategy. http://service.tsi.telecom-paristech.fr/cgi-bin/valipub_download.cgi?dId=223
[4] De Rosnay J. Internet Epigenetics: how to modify DNA from inside. ECCO/GBI seminar: http://ecco.vub.ac.be/?q=node/198
[6] Waelbroeck H. The financial market as an algorithmic “global brain” a view from the field of market impact modeling. ECCO/GBI seminar: http://ecco.vub.ac.be/?q=node/192
[6] Dubochet J. Teaching scientists to be citizens. Nature 2003. http://www.nature.com/embor/journal/v4/n4/full/embor810.html
[7] GBI/poietic generator proposal for the Citizen Science Alliance initiative : https://docs.google.com/document/d/1A2wITNiSUubKbubYd9li48k6veI9EY6uO_Z2GmaXAf8/edit

Importé depuis l'adresse http://ecco.vub.ac.be/?q=node/30

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