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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Biggest Why

Here is my attempt to explain my self and my work.

My goal is to contribute ideas, knowledge, tools and infrastructure
that will help humans understand and exploit the most pervasive and
powerful structures, processes and agents of change... towards
accelerative increases in productivity. I see this as the only
process that matters. To the extent that we stay attentive to the
process that is change, productivity increases apace. But what is
this process and how can I claim to know that it is THE process?

I began this exploration as a 9 year old one afternoon while walking
home from school. That was the day I decided to spend my life
looking for a truth or set of truths that sat at base beneath all
other truths, that informed and gave shape to all processes, a truth
that was independent of domain, that was true and formed the shape of
all things and all processes. I also made a promise to myself that I
would reject any of the theories I came upon or created if even one
small measurement conflicted or even worse, if my theory called into
question any other empirically verified theory. In short, I would
accept ideas only if they were in complete agreement with everything
else that was known to be true (verified by measurement). Over the
next 10 years I worked several theoretical epochs to this abortion
point where my stringent test of data agreement was violated.
Because the truth I was looking for had to be independent of domain,
because it had to be as true and as primary to particle physics as it
was to quantum electrodynamics as it was to the Krebs Cycle it was to
atmospheric dynamics as it was to galaxy and super galaxy evolution,
as it was to market fluctuation, and cultural evolution. etc., I was
forced to look to meta patterns and meta dynamics. Thanks to the
good people who independently discovered thermodynamics and
information theory, two sets of identical math that show the
absolute equivalence of structure and energy, two theoretical
frameworks that describe the parameters and limits that govern change
in any system, I had a solid scaffolding or armature with which to
give definitive structure to the more bio-centric theories of change
outlined by Darwin. I began to from a mash-up theory of change in
any domain, rooted in evolutionary theory and informed by
thermodynamics/information theory.

We are familiar with these ideas in the pedestrian; in business and
economics we collectively call the result, productivity. In
evolution this is the elusive arrow of time, this is that wily
fitness that determines whether a bit of DNA will be more or less
represented in future branching of the tree of life, this is why any
tomorrow is qualitatively different than and dependent on any today.
At base my work is founded on the theory that complexity increases
over time in small regions of larger systems (or THE system) simply
because complexity gets energy and structure to degrade towards heat
and random distribution faster than without complexity. This
degradation of order over time is domain independent and drives all
change. Most of the random accumulations that result are simpler
than the order from which they precipitate, most of these byproducts
of action are unstable and short lived. Once in a great great while,
a novel structure falls out with the other detris of action, and even
rarer, this novel structure is both stable and generative... causes
its own out-fall of debris. This is the process of evolution. This
is the reason it happens. If degradation of order is the most
universal of processes, then it is the base pressure behind change,
it is the why of evolution. With this knowledge we can know
important things about all process. That no action happens except
the process that takes the least energy. That competition between
structures is competition to degrade energy and structure faster and
more completely. That structures that are more fit by these
standards will inform the structure of the future of complexity more
than structures and processes that are less fit. That fitness is in
fact a measure of a system's ability to create structures of even
greater fitness over time. That this metric is a property or the
property of value to the universe (or any universe). That this
metric represents a moving target, an n-hard problem, a solution
built of terms from its previous state, is by its very nature not
deterministic. The end-state is knowable; heat-death. The process
is knowable; optimization of structures that maximize the production
of sustained entropy. But the exact most optimal solution at any
given time is unknowable and additive. Understanding this process
should yield growing efficiencies can never result in the perfect
solution.

As I said before, I am interested in domain independent truths. One
of the conceptual tools I use is what I call hierarchies of
influence. A hierarchy of influence is a cline stretched from pure
cause to pure effect. It assumes that some parts of a system are
more cause and some are more effect. I like to think of these
hierarchies of influence as inverted cones where one will find the
most fundamental influencers near the bottom point and the derivative
cause agents above them. In fact, real systems are more than
probably not so suited to simple diagrammatical organization... but
it works for me to think this way. I'm sure many people will say
that their work will eventually sit as THE primary causal agent at
the base of the most universal influence hierarchy cone. I almost
agree. I agree that some theory will eventually explain, even
ferment, all theories above it. A GUT theory! For this universe
anyway. And this is why I posit a tangential influence cone. One
that is abstracted to the point that it has to be true no matter what
self consistent set of physics your universe is derived from.

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