Evo Devo Universe?
A Speculative Framework for Thinking about the Future
in a World of Accelerating Technological Change
Bay Area Future Salon
SAP Labs  Palo Alto, CA
April 2009
John Smart, President,
Acceleration Studies Foundation
Slides: accelerating.org/slides.html
Acceleration Studies Foundation: What We Do
Acceleration
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We practice evolutionary developmental (“evo
devo”) futures studies, a model of change that
proposes the universe contains both:
1. Convergent and predictable developmental forces and
trends that direct and constrain our long-range future and
2. Contingent and unpredictable evolutionary choices we
may use to create unique and creative paths (many of
which will fail) on the way to these highly probable
developmental destinations.
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Some developmental trends that may be intrinsic to
the future of complex systems on Earth include:
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Accelerating intelligence, interdependence and immunity
in our global sociotechnological systems
Increasing technological autonomy, and
Increasing intimacy of the human-machine and physicaldigital interface.
© 2009 Accelerating.org
Evo Devo Universe: For Scholars of Evolutionary
and Developmental Processes in the Universe
Acceleration
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Improving foresight
through better theories of
universal change.
EvoDevoUniverse.com is a global community of
physicists, chemists, biologists, cognitive and social
scientists, technologists, philosophers, and
complexity and systems theorists who are interested
in better characterizing the relationship and difference
between evolutionary (mostly unpredictable) and
developmental (significantly predictable) processes
in the universe and its subsystems.
© 2009 Accelerating.org
My Talk Goals and Motivations
Acceleration
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To better understand the universe and its opposing and
balancing processes.
 To ask if the following process concepts make sense:
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universal progress/intelligence improvement
accelerating progress/intelligence improvement
universal evolution and development
evolutionary process (purpose, teleology)
developmental destiny (purpose, teleology)
To understand the levers that are most rapidly and
powerfully moving the world in a progressive direction.
 To learn how to make better personal, organizational, and
democratic decisions to support positive change.
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My Talk Goals and Motivations - II
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To better understand evil, imbalance, and maladaptiveness
within a theory of universal evolution and development.
 To better understand and assess global and societal risks
and risk management (vigilance, resiliency), within the
context of historical accelerating progress (apparent
intrinsic developmental immune systems).
 To understand the apparent balance between:
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To learn how to live more balanced lives individually,
organizationally and culturally, and to have goals consistent
with the goals of the universe we are embedded within.
 To know our developmental limits and constraints.
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accelerating experimentation/creativity/evolution
accelerating adaptation/intelligence/progress, and
accelerating sustainability/immunity/resiliency
(noting that we have yet to well articulate this last concept).
My Talk Goals and Motivations - III
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To improve the precision and clarity of the main hypotheses
(IPU, EDU, and DS hypotheses).
 To make specific predictions (how things must happen) and
retrodictions (how things must have happened) from the
hypotheses, which can be falsified or verified.
 To recruit other publishing scholars to join us in conversations
on these topics at EvoDevoUniverse.com
 To recruit thoughtful folks to read and comment on my book,
Evo Devo Universe, at books.accelerating.org (2010).
 To tell better stories about the future (to improve our
collective social foresight).
 To recruit everyone to join us in telling better stories about
the future at futurepedia.org (2010).
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The Serenity Prayer in an Evo Devo Universe:
Negotiating Bottlenecks, Variation, and Adaptation
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“Universe, grant me the serenity to accept and
understand the framework of things I can’t
change (devo bottlenecks, what the universe
wants) the courage to create the things I want
inside this framework (as evo/creation is as
basic to the universe as devo/maintenance of
the system/ constraint), and the wisdom to
adapt well (gain plasticity and resiliency, thrive
in both punctuation and equilibrium) in my
(finite individual, indefinite collective) time.”
2020-2050 Scenarios
The Valuecosm Society / The Symbiotic Age
The IA-AI Convergence of ‘Metahumanity,’
a Human-Machine Superorganism
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Biologist William Wheeler, 1937: Termites, bees, ants, and other social
animals are parts of “superorganisms.”
Increasingly, they can’t be understood apart from the structures their
genetics compel them to construct.
Their developmental endpoint: an integrated cell/organism/supercolony.
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Metaman: The Merging of Humans and Machines into a Global Superorganism, 1994
Understanding Process Automation
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Perhaps 80% of today's First World
paycheck is paid for by automation
(“tech we tend, not the arms we bend”).
Robert Solow, 1987 Nobel in Economics
(Solow Productivity Paradox,
Theory of Economic Growth)
“7/8 comes from technical progress.”
Human contribution (20%?) to a First
World job is Social Value of Employment
+ Creativity + Education
Developing countries are next in line
(sooner or later).
Continual education and grants
(“taxing the machines”) are the final job
descriptions for all human beings.
Termite Mound
Biologically-Inspired Technology and
Evo Devo Computing: The Next Frontier
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Today we have weakly biologically-inspired computing
technologies (neural nets, genetic algorithms,
developmental genetic programming, belief networks,
support vector machines, evolvable hardware, etc.)
When such systems become:
 Strongly biologically-inspired
 Extensively self-improving (semi-autonomous)
 Leading strategies for creating complex systems
Only then may the “technological singularity” be near.
For more,
attend:
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How do you get stability/safety in an evolutionary
system? Select for symbiosis.
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Look at how we do it in
domesticated animals (10,000
years, 5,000 breeding cycles).
How many breeds of dogs and
cats can you trust with small
children?
Military will always have the
warbots (narrowly trustable)
Most breeds of robotic systems will
be generally trustable, all will be
trustable for their missions, or we
won’t build them using evolutionary
processes.
Boston Dynamics BigDog
Humbot 1.0: The Sputnik (Robotic High
Ground) of our Global Network Society?
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Sputnik (1957)
Humbot 0.1 (2005)
Humbot 1.0 (2030)
U.S.-Surpassing
Space/Defense Tech
U.S. Soldier-Enhancing
Security/Warfighting Tech
Global Soldier-Surpassing
Security/Policing Tech
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Q: Will a U.S.-led consortium supply the world with Humbot 1.0?
Or will a Chinese, Japanese, or Korean-led consortium beat us to it?
This is an important strategic uncertainty at present. The choice is ours.
IA (Intelligence Amplification) and the
Conversational Interface (CI): Circa 2015-2025
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Codebreaking follows
a logistic curve.
Collective NLP may
as well.
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Smart,
Date
1998
2005
2012
2019
Avg. Query
1.3 words
2.6 words
5.2 words
10.4 words
Platform
Altavista
Google
GoogleHelp
GoogleBrain
Average spoken
human-to-human
query length is
11 words.
(2003) The Conversational Interface: Our Next Great Leap Forward. © 2009 Accelerating.org
Post 2020: The Symbiotic Age
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A Coevolution between Saturating Humans
and Accelerating Technology:
A
time when computers “speak our language.”
 A time when our technologies are very
responsive to our needs and desires.
 A time when humans and machines are
intimately connected, and always improving
each other.
 A time when we will begin to feel “naked”
without our computer “clothes.”
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© 2009 Accelerating.org
Wearable Web: 24/7 Augmented Reality
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Necklace phone
(Nokia 2004)
‘Bracelet phone’ concept
(Vodafone 2006)
‘Carpal PC’ concept
(Metaverse Roadmap 2006)
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Wearcam.org’s
New York
Palo Alto‘sousveillance’
first-gen
cams (2001)
iPhone (Apple 2007)
Flip Ultra (2007, $130)
Top-selling camcorder.
Why Will We Want to Talk to an Avatar/Agent
Interface (“CyberTwin”) in 2020?
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Nonverbal and verbal language in
parallel is a much more efficient
communication modality.
Birdwhistell says 2/3 (but perhaps
only 1/3) of info in face-to-face
human conversation is nonverbal.
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“Working with Phil” in Apple’s
Knowledge Navigator Ad, 1987
Ananova, 2002
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Personality Capture: A Long-Term
Development of Intelligence Amplification
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Conversational interfaces lead to personality models.
In the long run, we become seamless with our machines.
No other credible long-term futures have been proposed.
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“Technology is becoming organic. Nature is becoming
technologic.” (Brian Arthur, SFI)
© 2009 Accelerating.org
Your “Digital You” (Digital Twin)
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“I would never upload my consciousness
into a machine.”
“I enjoy leaving behind stories about my life
for my children.”
Prediction: When your mother dies in 2050,
your digital mom will be “50% her.”
When your best friend dies in 2080, your
digital best friend will be “80% him.”
Successive approximation, seamless
integration, subtle transition.
When you can shift your own conscious
perspective between your electronic and
biological components, the encapsulation
and transcendence of the biological should
feel like only growth, not death.
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We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Greg Panos (and Mother)
PersonaFoundation.org
© 2009 Accelerating.org
Valuecosm 2040:
Our Plural-Positive Political Future
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Microcosm (Gilder), 1960’s
Telecosm (Gilder), 1990’s
Datacosm (Sterling), 2010’s
Valuecosm (Smart), 2030’s
- Recording and Publishing DT Preferences
- Avatars that Act and Transact Better for Us
- Mapping Positive-Sum Social Interactions
- Much Potential For Early Abuse (Advice)
- Next Level of Digital Democracy (Holding
Powerful Plutocratic Actors Accountable)
- Early Examples: Social Network Media
© 2009 Accelerating.org
Advent of the CyberTwin, Circa 2020:
Biggest Single Change We May See In our Lifetimes
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Consider the implications for:
 Subculture Diversity and Representation
 Global Comm and Collab (no lang barrier)
 Digital Divide (disappears)
 Accountablity of Powerful Actors
 Data Security and Privacy
 Crime and Fraud
 Public Relations Manipulation
 Reputation Systems and Transparency
 Socio-Economic-Political Democracy
 Parenting (How early can kids have CT’s?)
 Personal Empowerment (20% of us?)
 Addiction/Dependency (80% of us?)
The Leader’s Challenge:
Guiding Us to “Plural Positive” Futures
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Pluralistic
Positive-Sum
Differentiated
“Both/And”
Social-Tech
versus
versus
versus
versus
Plutocratic
Zero-Sum
Homogeneous
“Either/Or” Futures
AND
Individual advance
(Top-Down, Devo)
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Calculator Prolif.
Automation Incr.
Metaverse Adv.
Automated Cars
Digital Twins
Security
(Bottom-Up, Evo)
AND
AND
AND
AND
AND
AND
Math Skills
Work/Prod. Skills
Study/Reading Skills
Driving Skills
Self-Empowerment
Freedom (to & from)
Informational Physical Univ. Hypothesis
Universe as an Informational, Physical,
and Computational System
IPU Hypothesis: Informational and Physical
Structures/Processes make Universal Complexity
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Universal Complexity/Change seems to be:
1. Informational and Physical
2. Computational (A fusion of both structures/processes)
3. All three (IPC) when viewed from different perspectives.
Computational
(Adaptive)
Psychology, Intelligence
Organism
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Informational
Physical
Structure and Process
Structure and Process
“Informational” / “Physical” duality, and its integration
IPU Hypothesis: Cartesian “Experiential” / “Material”
Dualism, and Its Integration
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Computation
Mind/Body
(In Complex Systems)
Experiential/
Conceptual
Universe
(informational ‘degrees of freedom’)
Material/
Physical
Universe
(physical fundamentals and ‘constraints’)
All material systems have material (embodied) and experiential (‘conceptual’) aspects.
 Whitehead’s Panexperientialism: Simpler material systems do not have cognition or mind,
but they do have a simple nonmaterial nature to go with their simple ‘body’ (Alfred North
Whitehead, 1925).
 Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis: Earth is engaged in complex climatologic self-regulation,
which ‘looks like’ primitive thinking/experiencing/modeling. The panexperientialist aspect
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this, like mind in humans, will not be easily amenable to reductionist causal analysis.
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Mind/Body
is an adapted form of intelligence, an integrated (Information/Physics) dualism.
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IPU Hypothesis: Kant’s “Practical / Principle”
Dualism, and Its Integration
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Computation
Mind/Body
(In Complex Systems)
Practical
Principle
Non-Natural/Moral
Empirical Results
Messy, Contingent
Natural/Amoral
Theoretical Relations
Clean, Invariant
Variable, Indeterminate, Contextual
Stable, Determinate, Predictable
(informational ‘degrees of freedom’)
(physical fundamentals and ‘constraints’)
Epistemic Dualism: Kant sees two fundamental types of ‘intelligibility’ being engaged in by
humans (and by Whitehead’s extension, all other complex systems), the practical and the
principle-based forms of understanding.
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Our
New
York 95/5 Rule (to be discussed):
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From
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IPU Hypothesis:
Wheeler’s “Bit” / “It” Duality, and Its Integration
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Universal Complexity/Change is:
1. Informational and Physical (QM/GR, Contextual/Predictable)
2. Computational (A fusion of both structures/processes)
3. All three (IPC) when viewed from different perspectives.
Computation
Mind/Body
(In Complex Systems)
Informational / “Bit”
Observer/Creator
(Unique Relational)
Yes/No Q.M., Symmetry Breaking
Variable, Indeterm., Contextual
Physical / “It”
Observed/Constrained
(Persistent Relational)
G.R., Conserved Symmetry
Stable, Determinate, Predictable
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Physical
nature is deterministic, but Informational nature, which must be based
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contextual
observation, is both inaccurate and partly indeterminate/creative.
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on
IPU Hypothesis Summary: An Observation-Centric,
Intelligence-Centric Perspective
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Informational-Physical processes create emerging mind and body, symmetry
breaks, adaptation, embodied intelligence.
At the quantum scale, collapse of an observed wave function moves electrons
from possibility to actuality (“Bit” and “It”). This occurs via any ‘observer:’
physical, chemical, living, or technological.
QM effects seem likely to be fully decoupled from macroscopic mind-body
systems, but even so, we still see the observer creating informationally unique
physical and mental constructs (gene and meme combinations) and the envir.
selecting on those to create intelligence / adapted models of reality.
GR also has this observer-observed duality, as one’s relative reference frame
determines what one sees: different experiences for different observers.
Mind/Body
“Bit”/“It”
Observer/Observed
Intelligence
Informational
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Physical
Empirical Results
Messy, Contingent
Theoretical Relations
Clean, Invariant
Variable, Indeterminate, Contextual
Stable, Determinate, Predictable
Informational Observables
Physical Observables
“The Universals” in (Platonic) and Aristotelian Ethics:
The Beautiful, the Good, the True (and the Real)
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Werner Heisenberg, 1920s.
* Elemental professions are the Artists, Politicians (‘Good’), & Scientists
Howard Gardner, The Disciplined Mind, 1999
* Education should balance Aesthetics, Morality, and Truth-Seeking.
Good
“Ethos” (Authority)
(Adaptation, Selection,
Competition & Collaboration,
Pattern-Rec, Analogy, Integration,
Intelligence, Ethics, Philosophy)
Beautiful
The Real
True
(Sensed & Unsensed)
“Pathos” (Feeling)
“Logos” (Logic/Words)
(Creativity, Imagination,
Intuition, Induction, Belief)
(Discovery, Evidence,
Reason, Deduction, Science)
Evolution
Development
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New
York Renaissance (1400’s-1600’s) and Enlightenment (1650-1800) applied rationality to truth, giving great science and
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technology
advances but less so in aesthetics and morality, imbalancing the classical triad. We can restore the balance.
“The Universals” in Jacob Bronowski’s Worldview:
Belief/Imagination, Philos./Practice/Values, Science/Proof
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 Belief
(what we imagine and accept without proof), Science (what
we can prove today), and Philosophy, Practical Knowledge and
Values (bridges from belief to proof), seem to be three fundamental
modes of human inquiry. The last also seems a mix of the first two.
 A complete education should balance Creativity/Imagination,
Philosophy/Practice/Values, and Skepticism/Proof-Seeking.
Systems
Philosophy
(Adaptation, Selection,
Competition & Collaboration,
Pattern-Rec, Analogy, Integration,
Ethics, Practical Knowl., Philosophy)
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Systems
Belief
Systems
Science
(Creativity, Imagination,
Intuition, Induction, Belief)
(Discovery, Evidence,
Reason, Deduction, Science)
Evolution
Development
“The Universals” in Foresight Studies (Amara 1981):
Possible, Preferable, and Probable Futures
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 Possible
(what we imagine and believe may happen), Preferable
(what we want to happen), and Probable (what we expect will
happen, whether we want it or not) are basic foresight domains.
 Businesses address these #1 first, #2 sometimes, and #3 rarely.
1. Preferable
Futures (“Planning”)
(Consensus, Leadership, Policy,
Planning, Roadmaps, Surveys)
3. Possible
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2. Probable
Futures (“Foresight”)
Futures (“Forecasting”)
(Horizon Scanning, Games,
Scenarios, Visioning, Wildcards)
(Actuarial Science, Delphi,
Forecasting, Prediction Markets)
Evolution
Development
“The Universals” in Daily Life: Creativity/Innovation,
Work/Productivity, and Sustainability/Maintenance
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 Creativity
(novelty, recreation, innovation, experimentation), Work (what
we do that is socially preferable/‘productive’), and Sustainability (the
constraints we must operate within, whether we want to or not) are basic
domains of daily life.
Personal Organizational
Personal Organizational
Personal Organizational
Work
(Income Gen., Social Learning,
Social Productivity, Exercise)
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Creativity
Sustainability
(Innovation, Recreation,
Art, Basic Research, Experiment)
(Maintenance, Conservation,
Health, Ecosystem, Sleep, Limits)
Evolution
Development
Socrates and Hegel’s ‘Dialectic Triad’ Is this All We
Are Doing? Or Is There a Deeper Basis?
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 Dialectics
is a method of argument, the term dating to Socratic dialog in
Ancient Greece, involving two parties or positions, and an attempt to
synthesize at least some level of agreement or commonality.
 To Hegel (and to some degree Kant, Fichte, etc.), all material things and
conceptual ideas have ‘internal contradictions’, which can often be
expressed as two alternative analytical perspectives. These inner
contradictions, working together and against each other, eventually move
the thing/idea to a higher-level integration or unification.
Synthesis
(Organism, ‘Becoming’)
GWF Hegel
1770-1831
Socrates
469-399 BCE
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Thesis
(1776)
(e.g., Parts, ‘Nothingness’)
Antithesis
(e.g, Wholes, ‘Being’)
Evolution and Development
Two Fundamental Processes of Change
Evolution: A Tentative Definition
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Evolutionary processes in biology, and perhaps also in physical,
chemical, cultural, technological, and universal systems, are
stochastic (random within constraints), creative, divergent
(variation creating), contingent, nonlinear, and unpredictable.
This intrinsic unpredictability may be our most useful
quantitative definition and discriminator of evolutionary
processes at all systems levels.
Note: Evolution is NOT natural selection, in this definition. Its
fundamental dynamic is change and variation (within
constraints). It is a creativity generator, and thus a precursor to
natural selection.
Example: Genetic drift in neutral theory (Kimura 1983; Leigh
2007).
© 2007 Accelerating.org
Evolution is Random, Chaotic, Contingent:
Examples: Tree of Life, Vestigial Structures
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There’s no inherent directionality to
evolutionary change, other than
increased variety over time.
On average, a species adapting to a
niche may almost as easily become less
complex as more complex (ex: remoras,
blind cave fish).
Vestigial structures abound: true human
tails, supernumerary nipples, whale
and dolphin atavistic legs, etc.
Development: A (Tentative) Definition
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Developmental processes in biology, and we assume also in
physical, chemical, cultural, technological, and universal
systems, are directional, hierarchical, constraining, convergent,
integrative, self-assembling/self-organizing, and statistically
predictable if you have the right empirical or theoretical aids.
This systemic predictability may be our most useful
quantitative definition and discriminator of developmental
processes at all systems levels.
Development also has a cyclical hierarchy: birth, growth,
maturation, reproduction, senescence, death (recycling).
Note: Development is NOT natural selection, in this definition.
It is convergent unifier, and thus a specialized outcome of
natural selection.
Examples: Differentiation, STEM compression, ergodicity,
evolutionary homoplasy, modularity, hierarchy, self-similarity,
scale invariance, self-org., stigmergy, niche construction, etc.
© 2007 Accelerating.org
Development is Statistically Deterministic, SelfOrdering, and “Robust” to Contingencies
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Just a few hundred
developmental genes “ride
herd” over massive molecular
evolutionary chaos.
Yet two genetic twins look, in
many respects, identical.
How is that?
They’ve been tuned, cyclically,
for a future-specific
convergent emergent order,
in a stable development niche.
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Origination of Organismal Form, Müller and Newman, 2003
Evo Devo Universe Hypothesis
Universe as an Evolving
and Developing System
Evo Devo Universe? – An Article
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We can begin to model our universe as an information processing,
evolutionary and developmental systemas an evo compu devo
universe (abbrev. evo devo universe hereafter). Our framework will
try to reconcile the majority of unpredictable, evolutionary features of
universal emergence with a subset of potentially statistically
predictable and developmental universal trends, including:
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Acceleration in universal complexity (e.g. Aunger 2007), a pattern seen
over the last half—but not the first half—of the universe’s history
Increasing spatial and temporal locality of universal complexity
development
Hierarchies of increasingly matter and energy efficient and matter and
energy dense ‘substrates’ (platforms) for adaptation and computation
The apparent accelerating emergence, on Earth, of increasingly
postbiological (technological) systems of physical transformation and
computation.
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Smart,
New York John M. 2008. Evo Devo Universe? A Framework for Speculations on Cosmic
Culture.
In: Cosmos and Culture, Steven J. Dick (ed.), NASA Press (est. 2009).
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Evo-devo biology seeks to resolve the differences between
evolutionary and developmental processes spanning the scales
of cells, organisms and ecologies (Carroll 2005, many others).
Recalling Teilhard’s (1955) evocative phrase, ‘cosmic
embryogenesis,’ if the Big Bang acts like a seed, and the
expanding universe like an embryo, it must use both stochastic,
contingent, and local/micro ‘variational’ processes—what we are
calling evolution—in its elaboration of form and function, just as
we see at the molecular scale in any embryo.
Embryos also transition through a set of statistically predictable,
convergent, and global/macro differentiation milestones, then
reproduction, senescence, and the unavoidable termination of
somatic (body) life—what we are calling development.
If the evo devo analogy has homology, there must be
unpredictable creativity and predictable developmental
milestones, reproduction, and ending to our universe.
© 2007 Accelerating.org
An EDU Analogy: Genetically Identical Twins
and Parametrically Identical Universes
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• In genetically identical twins, organogenesis, fingerprints, brain wiring,
learned ideas, behaviors, many local, microscopic processes are
unpredictably unique in each twin (Jain 2002). Yet many global,
macroscopic processes are predictably the same.
• Would parametrically identical universes also be mostly and locally
unique, yet with predictable global and macroscopic similarities? This is a
question for future simulation science.
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The Hypothesis: (Predictable and conservative) development is always
different from but works with (unpredictable and creative) evolutionary
processes. Both seem fundamental to universal complexity.
© 2009 Accelerating.org
Evo Compu Devo (ECD) Process: Cartoon Model I
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Assumption: A universe of computation (informationally complex
patterns of physical STEM as adapted structure), with evolution
and development as complementary modes of information
processing in all complex adaptive systems, including the
universe as a system.
© 2007 Accelerating.org
Evo Compu Devo (ECD) Process: Cartoon Model II
“Natural Selection”
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Main Actor: Organism
Modularity, Responsiveness,
Plasticity, Intelligence
(Local Adaptation)
Requisite Variety
Mixed Attractors
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“Experimentation”
Main Actor: Seed
Replication, Variation,
Chaos, Contingency,
Early Species Radiation
(Mostly Nonadapted)
Stochastic Search
Strange Attractors
Adaptation
Radiation
“Convergent Unification”
Main Actor: Environment
Life Cycle, STEM Compression,
Ergodicity/Comp. Closure,
‘Evolutionary’ Convergence,
Path-Dependence/Hierarchy,
Dissipative Structures,
Positive Sumness/Synergy,
Niche Construction/Stigmergy,
Self-Organization
(Global Adaptation)
Environmental Optimization
Standard Attractors
Hierarchy
Evolution
Compu (EvoDevo)
‘Left Hand’ of Change
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New Computational Phase Space ‘Opening’
(Intersection)
Development
‘Right Hand’ of Change
Well-Explored Phase Space ‘Optimization’
© 2007 Accelerating.org
Universal Evolution and Development:
Bilateral Processes
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Key Conjectures
Evolution causes ongoing unpredictability and novelty.
Development causes cyclic predictability and stability.
Evolution drives most unique local patterns.
Development drives most predictable global patterns.
Evolution is intelligence/adaptation accumulation.
Development is intelligence/adaptation preservation.
Life, Intelligence, and the Universe must use both
evo and devo processes to emerge and persist.
Individually, each process has conflicting and
contrasting aims (functions, purposes, telos).
Together, they are complementary, and a complementary
evo devo teleology must exist.
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more consciously we are aware of this, the better
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we can understand, value, and work with both.
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© 2007 Accelerating.org
Universal Evolution and Development:
A Bilateral Bias?
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We are bilateral organisms, on a bilateral (twopoled, spinning) planet.
We are biased to be bilateral forms in a 3D
world, and we may also be biased to see the
universe from a bilateral perspective.
Or we may see bilaterality because the cosmos
is driven by two fundamental groups of
processes, each complementing the other.
Organismic complexity emerges from two basic
processes: evolution and development.
The Evo Devo Universe hypothesis proposes
the
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these
two processes are also basic to
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emergence
of universal complexity.
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Biological Complexity Can Be Analyzed
From Three Fundamental Perspectives
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Mature evo-devo theory will need to explain:
1. evolutionary experiment/creativity/divergence,
2. developmental constraint/conservatism/convergence, and
3. accelerating organismic adaptation/plasticity/intelligence
Adaptation
(Organism)
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Evolution, Reductionism
Development, Wholism
Theory of Facilitated Variation:
“How Development Facilitates Evolution”
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An evo-devo theory which seeks to explain how phenotypic
complexity arises from a very limited number of genes and variation
mechanisms, by dividing variation into two fundamental types:
1. Deconstrained Exploratory (i.e., ‘Evolutionary’) processes, primarily
affecting the regulation of Core processes.
2. Constrained Core (i.e., ‘Developmental’) processes
Exploratory processes
create many
Complexity
phenotypes from
(Adaptation)
very limited set
of genes
Organism
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Gerhart
Core processes are
robust to many
exploratory
alterations of
phenotype
Deconstrained
Constrained
Gene Recomb & Expression
Gene Recomb & Expression
‘Exploratory’ Processes
Unconserved, Unpredictable
‘Core’ Processes
Conserved, Predictable
J, Kirschner M. 2007. "The theory of facilitated variation". PNAS USA. 104(S1):8582–9.
Evo Devo in Creation and Control:
The ‘95/5%’ Rule of Thumb
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The vast majority (we may roughly propose 95%) of the
information and computation to describe and model both
creation of a new CAS or hierarchy or control in a mature CAS or
hierarchy involves bottom-up, local, evolutionary processes. A
minor yet critical contribution (again, let us roughly propose 5%)
comes from top-down, systemic, developmental processes.
Ex: No of genes used (and highly conserved) in developmental
toolkit in any species (eg., Dictyostelium, 2-3%), vs. the much
larger number of ‘evolutionary’ genes that are more frequently
modified and affect phenotype variation, not development.
The 95/5% Rule may explain why discovery of universal
development been difficult not in physics and chemistry (where
we have made great strides, e.g., mechanics, relativity, particle
physics) but in biology, society, and technology.
In these latter substrates, which are not yet ergodic, the time
scale of the (‘5%’) nonrandom developmental signal is much longer
than the (‘95%’) near-random evolutionary signal.
© 2007 Accelerating.org
Universal Evolution and Universal Development:
Four Centuries of Selective Scientific Advancement
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 Post-Enlightenment
science has made great strides uncovering
mechanisms of biological and to some extent social macroevolution
(contingent variation and selection). But universal macroevolution
(including quantum selectionism) remains speculative at present.
 With Universal, biological, and social macrodevelopment (convergent
variation and selection, progress, acceleration), by contrast, only
universal development (mechanics, thermodynamics, relativity, high
energy physics) has really advanced. Bio and social development remain
hard to understand scientifically.
Adaptation
Univ. Evo
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(1997)
Bio. Evo
(1859)
Social Evo
(Organism)Univ. Devo
(1776)
Evolution, Reductionism
(1916)
Bio. Devo
Social Devo
(1864)
Development, Wholism
(1759)
Universal Evolution and Development:
Five Adaptive Hierarchical Substrates
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Universal change to date has proceeded through an evolutionary
developmental hierarchy of increasingly complex (more unique material
relations), intelligent (higher-order information processing) and adaptive
computational substrates. Five are proposed below.
Astrotechnology, the italicized substrate, is not yet autonomous.
The underlined systems within these substrates are not known to be
replicative, unless our universe replicates in the multiverse.
1. AstroPhysics
(Universe-as-CAS, constants and laws, space-time, energy-matter)
2. AstroChemistry
(galaxies, stars, planets, molecules in inorganic and organic chemistry)
3. AstroBiology
(cells, organisms, populations, species, ecologies)
4. AstroSociology
(culture, human disciplines of economics, law, sci., engineering, etc.)
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5. AstroTechnology
(engines, cities, biology-inspired computing, postbiological ‘life’)
© 2007 Accelerating.org
Evo Devo Integration (‘Dialectic’):
An Accelerating Arrow of Universal Complexity
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Evo Dynamic: Random Walks, Divergent Unique Creativity
Devo Dynamic: ‘Inward Spiral’ of Increasingly Local Substrate Transitions
Engine: Cosmic Expansion/Free Energy Flow
Steering: Evo Devo Integration
Info Theory/Physics: Informational Expansion/STEM Compression
Selectionist Evo and Deterministic Devo Processes
Are Found On All Scales, In the Universe and On Earth
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Selectionist Evo and Deterministic Devo Processes in the Universe:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Evo: Spontaneous and contingent symmetry breaking (Yoichiro Nambu)
Devo: Tuned initial conditions, laws, constants (anthropic princ./fine tuning)
Quantum-relativistic spacetime emergence (Jan Ambjørn)
Selectionist and statistical thermodynamics (Ping Ao)
Classical from quantum physics (Quantum Darwinism, Wojciech Zurek))
Galactic and molecular cloud evolution/development (Leonard Searle)
Stellar-elemental-planetary evolution/development (Donald Clayton)
Universal replication (a bounded, finite system) (Lee Smolin)
Evo and Devo Processes on Earth:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
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Biogenesis/Chemical Evo Devo/Prokaryotes (D. Eric Smith)
Eukaryotes (from Prokaryotic Diversity and Symbiosis) (Lynn Margulis)
Multicellularity and Gene Regulation (John Gerhart, Mark Kirschner)
Individuals (biological organisms) (Mary Jane West-Eberhard, Leo Buss)
Organizations (Kevin Kelly, Robert Aunger)
Societies (superorganisms) (Edmund O. Wilson, Robert Wright)
Planets (Planetization, Pierre Teilhard, Howard Bloom, Greg Stock)
Universe (as a bounded, finite system) (Lee Smolin, James Gardner, Me)
While all of these (and other) systems are important to science, the last five
underlined scales seem particularly useful perspectives for humanity.
© 2007 Accelerating.org
Evo Compu Devo (ECD) Examples:
Experimentation + Selectionism + Unification
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‘Quantum Darwinism’ in the transition from quantum to classical
physics (Blume-Kohout and Zurek 2005)
Stellar nucleosynthesis (Wallenberg)
Biogenesis (Smith and Morowitz 2006)
Multicellularity (Newman and Bhat 2008)
‘Neural Darwinism’ in brain development (Edelman 1989)
Cognitive selectionism (thinking) (Calvin 1985)
Evolutionary psychology (Wright 1998)
Cultural, ‘memetic’, and ‘technetic’ selection (Aunger, Blackmore)
Evolutionary computation and artificial life (Koza)
Cosmological natural selection (Smolin 1992)
© 2007 Accelerating.org
Marbles, Landscapes, and Channels
(Evolution, Adaptive Systems, and Development)
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The marbles roll around on the landscape (system), each
taking unpredictable (evolutionary) paths. But the paths
predictably converge (development) on low points
(“attractors”) at the bottom of each basin.
STEM compression is a key feature of the attractors.
‘Search Basins’ and ‘Portal Pathways’:
Developmental Portals (Bottlenecks) Must Exist
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 Are
portals/bottlenecks leading to increasing complexity plentiful or rare?
 Are portals/bottlenecks sequence-dependent or randomly distributed?
 Are they divergent, convergent, or non-vergent (as depicted here)?
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Crutchfield,
J.P. 2001. When Evolution is Revolution: Origins of Innovation. In: Crutchfield, J.P. and Schuster, P.
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(eds.),
Palo Alto Evolutionary Dynamics: Exploring the Interplay of Selection, Neutrality, Accident and Function.
Developmental Bottleneck – Carbon Chemistry
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Genesis of Chemical Elements
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Carbon is the only way forward to complex (living ) chemistry. Boron and
Silicon no longer considered viable enough to form autocatalytic cycles.
Note that four of six most common elements in life chemistry (CHNOPS),
and both of the great oxidizers, oxygen, and sulfur, are formed in small,
Population I stars like our Sun
Developmental Bottleneck?
Lipids and RNA
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Lipids and RNA may be the only way from organic chemistry to cells!
RNA, lipids/cell membranes, and protein precursors (amino acids) all form
spontaneously in Earth’s chemistry (and precursors on meteorites).
Nucleobases (AGCT/U) form from cyanide, acetylene and water.
 Sugars form from alkali and formaldehyde
 Phosphates are released from schreibersite in meteorites (“solar
system assist”), and (a little) from (modern) volcanic vents.
 Sutherland et. al., mixing sugar and nucleobase precursors and
phosphate got 2-aminooxazole (partial sugar, partial nucleobase)
 Exposure to intense solar UV in shallow water (“solar system assist”)
destroys the incorrect forms of nucleobases, leaving behind C and U.
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RNA is presently the only known molecule that can both reproduce itself
and catalyze protein production (ribozymes)
RNA later learned to store itself more permanently as DNA (RNA World
Hypothesis), but DNA may not be the only more stable nucleic acid.
Alonzo Ricardo and Jack Szostak. Life on Earth, Scientific American, Sept 2009.
Matthew W. Powner, Beatrice Gerland & John D. Sutherland. Synthesis of activated pyrimidine ribonucleotides in
prebiotically plausible conditions, Nature V. 460 May 13, 2009.
Developmental Bottleneck?
Oxygen/Nitrogen Atmosphere for Water Photosynthesis
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Only visible-infrared light gets through our atmosphere and the first
few feet of our water with any efficiency.
Water-based photosynthesis (blue-green algae, Photosystem I) had
to evolve (develop) inside this narrow fitness region (bottleneck),
and is likely chained to this bottleneck everywhere else as well.
Bottleneck, Sun-Earth Coevolution, Or Other Expected Physics?
Our Sun’s Spectral Output is Optimized for Visible-Infrared
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Our Sun puts out almost all its radiant energy in the spectral band
absorbable by our atmosphere and water and useful to life, and
virtually none in those regions harmful to life
Is this some expected physical process like Weak Anthropic
Principle (observer dependent sorting), Strong Anthropic Principle
(Universal Developmental Process), Sun-Earth Coevolution, or?
Also, what is the random probably of such a fortuitous Sun-Earth fit?
Could solar wind sort atmospheric gases like this?
Evo vs. Devo: Fanout, Adaptation, Bottleneck
Understanding Variation, Selection, and Conservation
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If the tape of life were played twice on two Earth-like environments
(astrobiology) or in two Universes with same init. conditions (evo devo U):
1. Devo bottlenecks (grey pinchers) would predictably be same/very similar.
2. Evo fanouts to generate selectable diversity, and most (95%?) selections/
adaptations on the way to devo bottlenecks would be unpredictably different.
Evo Fanout
Devo Bottleneck
EvoDevo
Adaptation
(Competition,
Cooperation)
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Information is ‘a difference that makes a difference’.
Evolution generates/accumulates info (perhaps 95% of it)
Development conserves/sustains info (perhaps 5% of it)
EvoDevo selects, adapts info (turns info  knowledge, wisdom, etc.),
sometimes punctuating/innovating, sometimes stabilizing/optimizing.
Bottlenecks, Variation, and Adaptation in Biology:
A Few Tentative Examples
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Carbon chemistry (for
all viable life)
Other organic molecular Specific supramolecular
species (B, Si are false structures of most cell
variation, not viable)
components
Replic. carbohydrates
(RNA world) and fats
(lipid membranes), then
proteins (modern cells)
Subtypes and specific
structural and
enzymatic uses, other
organic polymers
DNA (inert, replicating
sugar phosphate) as
stable info carrier
Energetics: H2S
chemo-synthesis (1st
life) later, visible light
(photosynth and vision)
Various visible light
frequencies (other
freq’s are false
variation)
Blue-Grn photosystms,
tri- and quad-chromatic
vision
Nucleated cells (for
complex life)
Location & number of
nucleations
Mito + Nuclear DNA
Bilateral symmetry, two
eyes, hands, etc. (for
tool manipulation)
L vs. R asymmetries
(other symm. choices
are false variation)
Left-sided heart, rightsided liver in humans
Bottlenecks, Variation, and Adaptation in Technology:
A Few Tentative Examples
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Round and flaked rocks Variations in size,
for group rock-throwing shape, composition
Particular Acheulean tool
kits (1.7m-200Kya)
The wheel: 1-wheeled
One to multi-wheeled
barrows, 2-wheel bikes, vehicles, active and
4-wheeled carts & cars passive balancing.
Each culture’s mix of one,
two, three, four, and more
wheeled vehicles
Bilateral road traffic
symmetry
L vs. R asymmetries
L-sided in one country,
right-sided in another
Gunpowder, cannons,
and guns
Many types and
combinations.
Fireworks in China, no
guns in Japan for 250 yrs
Combustion engines
(external and internal)
Type of organic burned Variety of usable engine
(wood, coal, oil, gas)
designs, fuel mixes.
Electricity
DC vs AC, voltage diffs Competing standards,
each locally useful
Computers and human- Variety of engineering
surpassing robots
solutions & strategies
Diff. blends of employment
vs. automation.
Bottlenecks, Variation, and Adaptation in Society:
A Few Tentative Examples
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Agricultural-Domestic
Society
Variety of plants/farming
animals/husbandry
Feudal, Small Farm,
Sharecropper, etc.
Industrial Society
Variety of machine
designs, energy sources
Manchester factories,
Ford’s assembly line
Regulated Capitalism
with Property Rights
Variety of private and
collective property
schemes
‘Freer-Market’, Regul.,
and Autocratic
Capitalism
Rep. Democracy, Soc.
Justice, Entitlements
Order of voting/rights/
entitlemnt acquisitions
(child, women, slaves)
Freer vs. Stricter Social
Democracies, National
Justice Codes
Information-Automation
Society
Order and variety of
automations, degree of
job protection, IP
protection, public
benefits (education, etc.)
Japanese automation &
xenophobia, US free
market, Scandinavian
mixed economy,
African leapfrogging
‘Inevitables’ (Bottleneck Structures) Are Differentially Adapted
(Diversely Regulated) But Remain Variable Only In the Short Run
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Example: Guns in Japan vs. Elsewhere
The Japanese govt. was strong enough to ban guns
for centuries. First guns (arquebus, right) came
with Portuguese in 1543, used in many massed battles. By 1600 Japan
had world's best guns, but they were increasingly regulated and finally
banned by centralized samurai clan (Tokugawa clan) for 250 years.
As inevitables, guns eventually had to reemerge. But they did so on Japanese
terms. Japan retains a strong police force and collectivist society today.
As of 2006 there are only 175K registered owners of 340K guns in Japan.
In US: ~40 million gun owners, ~180 million guns.
Japan has the lowest gun crime rate of any industrialized nation (93 gun
deaths in 1998, vs 36,000 in US. Japan has 130M vs. US 300M citizens).
All 175K gun owners were mass-checked after 2007 Sasebo shooting
‘rampage’ (2 deaths, 6 injuries). 90 were ‘declared unfit to own’ guns.
2008 laws prevent stalkers, spouse abusers, suicidal, and bankrupts from
owning guns, including hunting guns, for an extended period of time.
Fifteen year sentences for owning illegal guns, death penalty for org. crime
murder by gun, police raids on suspected illegal gun owners, etc.
Major observation: Every other industrialized nation (Australia, Europe, etc.) is
trending strongly in this postmilitary, postviolent direction (Pinker, Myth of
Violence). Just the outliers (US, Brazil, Mexico, Estonia, etc.) remain.
Gun story foretells a Planetized level of social integration and immunity.
Evolutionary Convergence
A Process of Universal Development
How Many Eyes Are
Developmentally Optimal?
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Evolution tried this experiment.
Development calculated an operational optimum.
Some reptiles (e.g. Xantusia vigilis, and certain skinks)
still have a parietal (“pineal”) vestigial third eye.
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How Many Wheels on an Automobile are
Developmentally Optimal?
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Examples: Wheel on Earth. Social computation device.
Diffusion proportional to population density and diversity.
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Development as Evolutionary Convergence
(Homoplasy) - I
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Some
homoplasies greatly advance individual and cultural
information processing and adaptation in a broad range of
environments, for the first species that acquire them.
Simon Conway Morris (Life’s Solution, 2004): eyes, jointed
limbs, body plans, emotions, imagination, language,
opposable thumbs, tool use, etc.
The streamlined shape of fish fins, first created as an
evolutionary morphological experiment, must persist in the genes
of all organisms seeking to move rapidly through water on all Earthlike planets, as a universal developmental constraint imposed
by the physics of our universe.
In an ICU universe, such advances are ‘evolutionary ratchets’
(function randomly acquired but statistically irreversible once
acquired, in a broad range of environments), a type of
developmental optima (for a given level of environmental
complexity) in all universes of our type.
© 2007 Accelerating.org
Development as Evolutionary Convergence
(Homoplasy) - II
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Many homoplasies look like developmental attractors
in an adaptive informational computational universe:
 Organic (carbon) chem (vs. silicon, boron, etc.)
 Autocatalytic sets (Eigen, Varela, Kauffman)
 Protein, sugar, fat precursors (amino acids,
purines and pyrimidines, pre-lipids)
 RNA as enzyme and code (Woese)
 Dynamical patterning modules (Newman & Bhat 2008)
 Eyes, body plans, limbs, joints, wings, etc. (Morris)
 Bilateral symmetry, binocular vision, tetrapod form
 Bipedalism, opposable thumbs, anthropoid form
 Gestural, oral, written mimicry (languages)
 Tool use (rock, spear, lever, rope, wheel, pulley)
 Internal combustion engine, telegraph, internet
 Math, science, democracy, computers, etc.
© 2007 Accelerating.org
Evolutionary Convergence as a ‘Directional’
Signal (of Universal Development)
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The eye has arisen at least five diff. times, in
lineages as diverse as snails and jellyfish.
A highly convergent ‘Camera-eye’ emerged in both
cephalopods (octopus) and vertebrates (whale).
Intelligence (cognitive maps, memory, mind, selfawareness, emotion) all convergent. Cetacean, ape,
and crow intelligence are all strikingly similar.
Different molecular genetic pathways now known for
some convergences (e.g., antifreeze in Northern vs.
Southern hemisphere coldwater fish)
Evolutionary convergence experiments now underway
(Richard Lenski, e. coli, 40,000 generations, est. tens
to hundreds of substitutions in parallel populations.
Adaptive substitutions seen in the same few genes)
“Convergent Evolution” (Universal Development):
Troodon and the Dinosauroid Hypothesis
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Dale Russell, 1982: Anthropoid
forms as a standard attractor.
A number of small dinosaurs
(raptors and oviraptors) developed
bipedalism, binocular vision,
complex hands with opposable
thumbs, and brain-to-body ratios
equivalent to modern birds. They
were intelligent pack-hunters of
both large and small animals
(including our mammalian
precursors) both diurnally and
nocturnally. They would likely
have become the dominant
planetary species due to their
superior intelligence, hunting, and
manipulation skills without the K-T
event 65 million years ago.
Inglehart’s Developmental Values Map: Do All Cultures
Migrate to the Upper Right, On Diff. Evolutionary Paths?
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Secularism (human-derived
values)
Ecumenicalism (seeing
wisdom in all faiths)
Rationality (logic+empiricism)
Self Expression
Subjective Well Being
Quality of Life
Sustainability
World Awareness
Future Orientation
Political Moderation
Interpersonal Trust
Casualness
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It may be that everyone ends up like Sweden, more or less.
worldvaluessurvey.org
Evolutionary Convergence to the Superorganism?
The stunningly niche-dominant social insects
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Why are only 2% of the 900,000
insect species social insects?
Why does this 2% weigh more than all
other insects combined (and a
stunning 80% of animal biomass in
the Amazon rainforest)?
Escalation of power/mass/intelligence
in competition (Evolution and
Escalation, Vermeij)
They use both social and individual
levels of computation (Lucifer
Principle, Bloom).
Competitive exclusion once the social
computation niche is occupied?
Do social insects cause most insect
extinctions (invasion theory)
Are humans doing the same thing?
Evo Compu Devo Triad
Universal Values for Complex Systems?
Evo Compu Devo (ECD) Process: Cartoon Model
“Natural Selection”
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Main Actor: Organism
Modularity, Responsiveness,
Plasticity, Intelligence
(Local Adaptation)
Requisite Variety
Mixed Attractors
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“Experimentation”
Main Actor: Seed
Replication, Variation,
Chaos, Contingency,
Early Species Radiation
(Mostly Nonadapted)
Stochastic Search
Strange Attractors
Adaptation
Radiation
“Convergent Unification”
Main Actor: Environment
Life Cycle, STEM Compression,
Ergodicity/Comp. Closure,
‘Evolutionary’ Convergence,
Path-Dependence/Hierarchy,
Dissipative Structures,
Positive Sumness/Synergy,
Niche Construction/Stigmergy,
Self-Organization
(Global Adaptation)
Environmental Optimization
Standard Attractors
Hierarchy
Evolution
Compu (EvoDevo)
‘Left Hand’ of Change
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New Computational Phase Space ‘Opening’
(Intersection)
Development
‘Right Hand’ of Change
Well-Explored Phase Space ‘Optimization’
© 2007 Accelerating.org
Evo Compu Devo (ECD) Triad: At Least Three Universal
Telos (Values/Goals/Drives/Ethics) in Complex Systems
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Three functional processes
(telos) can be observed in:
 Physical Systems
 Chemical Systems
 Biological Systems
 Societal Systems
 Technological Systems
 Our Universe as a System
Using the ECD model, we can look at complex adaptive systems as either:
1. Adaptive Systems (making their evo and devo processes implicit),
2. Evo Devo Systems (making their info processing implicit), or
3. Evo, Compu and Devo Systems (keeping all three perspectives explicit).
The Serenity Prayer in an Evo Devo Universe:
Negotiating Bottlenecks, Variation, and Adaptation
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“Universe, grant me the serenity to accept and
understand the framework of things I can’t
change (devo bottlenecks, what the universe
wants) the courage to create the things I want
inside this framework (as evo/creation is as
basic to the universe as devo/maintenance of
the system/ constraint), and the wisdom to
adapt well (gain plasticity and resiliency, thrive
in both punctuation and equilibrium) in my
(finite individual, indefinite collective) time.”
Evo Compu Devo (ECD) Triad: Three Common
Mathematical Relationships in Complex Systems
S curve
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Power law
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Bell curve
Three Fundamental Modes of Selection
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Johnson, Norman. 2000. Importance of Diversity: Reconciling Natural
Selection and Noncompetitive Processes, Ann NY Acad Sci 901:54-66.
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1. Evo Selection (power law spreadouts, competition)
2. Devo Selection (log normal centricity, cooperation)
3. EvoDevo Selection (punctuated equilibrium, alternating punctuation
and stabilization).
S curve
Power law
Punctuating and
Stabilizing Selection
Bell curve
(Organism)
Divergent Selection
(Competitive)
Evo / “Natural Selection”
Self-Organizing Selection
(Cooperative)
Devo / “Self-Organization”
S curves and B curves / Life cycle curves
How complex systems (coll. & indiv.) perform over time
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♦ Biology - how populations grow in finite niches or under competition
♦ Epidemiology - the spreading and saturation of epidemics, AIDS, etc.
♦ Psychology – cumulative learning/performance in a new domain
♦ Technology - how new technologies diffuse and substitute
♦ Energy - diffusion and substitution of primary energy sources
♦ Industry - learning/experience curves in production
♦ Market - new product share growth
♦ Security - crime rates in developing cities, planetary conflict rates
♦ Demographics - human population growth on a finite planet
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♦ Transportation
– performance and capacity of each platform
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Good Intro Text
Nice Grad Text
Saturation in Macroscale S Curves:
a.k.a. Terminal Differentiation of the ‘Tree’ of Development
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Genesis of Chemical Elements
Note that four of six most
common elements in life (and
both of the great oxidizers,
oxygen, and sulfur) are formed in
small, Pop I stars like our Sun
Metazoan Cell Types
(‘Tree’ of Embryonic Development)
Family Origination Rates On Earth
Evolution and Escalation, Vermiej, 1987
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Saturation
occurs in the development of complex adaptive systems at every level
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of
hierarchy, from cosmic elements to cell types to family types.
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Metazoan Toolkit: Pre-Cambrian Accelerating Emergence
of Conserved Phenotypic-Genetic Structure and Process
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Gerhart
J, Kirschner M. 2007. "The theory of facilitated variation". PNAS USA. 104(S1):8582–9.
Facilitated Variation Thesis: Terminal Differentiation
in Metazoan Toolkit Since the Cambrian
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Functional innovation at the gene product level (protein and functional
RNA evolution) has nearly stopped since the Cambrian (570 mya)!

Almost all phenotypic
innovation of the
Cambrian Explosion
and since has been in
gene regulatory
networks (regulation,
phase three) since.
“New regulation
specifies new
combinations,
amounts, and
functional states of
those (core)
components to act at
particular times and
places in the animal.”
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Gerhart
J, Kirschner M. 2007. "The theory of facilitated variation". PNAS USA. 104(S1):8582–9.
Ergodicity:
Terminal Differentiation in a Mathematical Context
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Astronomical discoveries and discovery rate,
projected to 2200 (Martin Harwit, Cosmic
Discovery, 1981).
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Power law / Pareto / Long-tail curves
How networks of evolutionary variety fill a niche
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Scale Free Network
Computing – Internet, World Wide Web (‘preferential attachment’)
Biology – Metabolic, gene, and protein networks, allometric scaling
Markets – Stock market crashes, equity networks (stock prices)
Socioeconomics – Pareto’s law (income distribution, contacts, etc.),
learning/experience curves (cost per cumulative units produced)
Engineering – Constructal law (trees, rivers, lungs, circulation)
Catastrophe – Size/frequency of earthquakes, fires, epidemics
Physics – Phase transitions (heat capacity, correlation length),
emergence of order in an expanding universe (Layzer,
Chaisson), inverse square laws (gravitation, EM & acoustic
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intensity), black body radiation, snowflake growth…
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Complexity
– SOC, self-similarity, fractals, and scaling laws
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Great Pop Sci Text
Normal and Log-Normal / Gaussian / Bell curves
How developmental processes produce future order
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“Results from a
large number of
small effects that act
additively (normal)
or multiplicatively
(log-normal curve)
and independently.”
Normal curve (special case):
Biology – collective physiological variables (blood pressure, milk
prod., etc.), heritable & learned capacities (intelligence/g, etc.)
Engineering – deviations from target values
Modeling – measurement error (variation)
Log-normal curve (most common case):
Biology – mature sizes (length, height, skin area, weight), organ
sizes, gene expression rates, mRNA stability, species abund.
Socioeconomics – exchange rates, price indexes, ‘rationalizing’ of
global wealth (started with a power law), spoken sentence lengths
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Physics
– resources in Earth’s crust, rainfall, air pollution, aerosol
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particle size, wireless comm. attenuation
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Good IQ Text
Log-normal
Distributions
across the
Sciences,
Limpert etal.,
BioScience
51(5), 2001.
Great Article!
Global income distribution
is turning log-normal
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Global marginal income
distribution is normalizing, as a
developmental trend
1970: Isolated economies
2000: Connected, flattening
© 2007 Accelerating.org
Our Generation’s Theme
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First World Saturating
Emerging Nations Gap-Closing
Developmental Singularity Hypothesis
Successful Universal Intelligences Act as
Universal Experiments and Replicators
The Developmental Spiral
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Homo Habilis Age
Homo Sapiens Age
Tribal/Cro-Magnon Age
Agricultural Age
Empires Age
Scientific Age
Industrial Age
Information Age
Symbiotic Age
Autonomy Age
Tech Singularity
2,000,000 yrs ago
100,000 yrs
40,000 yrs
7,000 yrs
2,500 yrs
380 yrs (1500-1770)
180 yrs (1770-1950)
70 yrs (1950-2020)
30 yrs (2020-2050)
10 yrs (2050-2060)
≈ 2060
© 2009 Accelerating.org
Acceleration Studies:
Something Curious Is Going On
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The Developmental Spiral
An unexplained physical phenomenon.
(Don’t look for this in your current
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physics or information theory texts…)
From Biogenesis to Intelligent Technology:
The Accelerating Phase of Universal Development
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Carl Sagan’s
“Cosmic
Calendar”
(Dragons of
Eden, 1977)
Each month
is roughly 1
billion years.
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A U-Shaped Curve of Change:
Inner Space to Outer Space Back to Inner Space Again
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Big Bang Singularity
50 yrs: Scalar Field Scaffolds
50 yrs ago: Machina silico
400,000 yrs: Matter
100,000 yrs ago: H. sap. sap.
1B yrs: Protogalaxies
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Developmental Singularity?
8B yrs: Earth
Why are Leading-Edge Developmental Niches
Increasingly Local in Space and Time?
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Biogenesis required a cooling Earth-crust, and billennia.
Multicellular organisms required a Cambrian Explosion,
and millennia.
Human culture required a Linguistic Explosion, and tens
of thousands of years.
Science and technology revolutions required a Social
Enlightenment, a fraction of the preserved biomass of
Earth’s extinct species, and hundreds of years.
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Intelligent computers will apparently be able to model
the birth and death of the universe with the refuse thrown
away annually by one American family. In tens of years?
We Live in a STEM+IC Universe
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Space, Time, Energy, Matter  Info and Comp.
Increasingly Understood
 Poorly Known
STEM Efficiency/Compression/Density is the ever
decreasing STEM resources required for any
standard physical process or computation.
This seems to be the “engine” of accelerating change.
“STEM Efficiency is Doing More, Better, with Less.”
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STEM Compression:
A Curious Process of Universal Development
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Our universe is apparently constructing special zones of local
intelligence (complexity, modeling capacity, meaningful information)
which are measurably and predictably more space, time, energy
and matter dense, or STEM dense (meaning increasingly localized
in space, accelerated in time, and dense in energy and matter
flows), and STEM efficient (in space, time, energy, and matter
resources used per standardized computation or physical
transformation) (Smart 1999,2000,2002b).
 Space Compression (Increasing Locality of CAS Hierarchy)
 Time Compression (accelerating change, Cosmic Calendar)
 Energy Compression (free energy rate density)
 Matter Compression (learning curves, cities, high density comp.)
© 2007 Accelerating.org
Free Energy (Phi, Φ) of Dissipative Structures
Traces out a Universal Hyperbolic Curve
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Free Energy Rate Density (Φ)
Substrate
(ergs/sec/gm)
Galaxies
Stars
Planets (Early)
Ecosystems
Animals (hum. body)
Brains (human)
Culture (human)
Modern Engines
Intel 8080 of the 1970's
Pentium II of the 1990's
Global AI of the 21st C
0.5
2
75
900
20,000 (10^4)
150,000 (10^5)
500,000 (10^5)
10^5 to 10^8
10^10
(10^11)
10^12+
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Eric
Chaisson,
Palo Alto
Cosmic Evolution, 2001
Free energy rate density values in
hierarchically emergent CAS. © 2009 Accelerating.org
Energy Rate Density Flow Trends Depend on the
Phase of the Life Cycle in Biological Development
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Note the energy flow trends
in each phase of the life cycle
(birth, growth, reproduction,
senescence) of a developing
organism.
Only reproduction and birth
phases are accelerative
Stellar reproduction (via
supernovas) has the same
energetics phase profile.
What else?
Key Question: In an evo
devo universe, does
complexity accelerate
because it is engaged in a
process of universal
reproduction?
© 2009 Accelerating.org
World Economic
Performance
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GDP Per Capita in
Western Europe,
1000 – 1999 A.D.
This curve looks
quite smooth on a
macroscopic scale.
Note the “knee of the
curve” occurs circa
1850, at the Industrial
Revolution.
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The J Curve
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First-Order Components
are Growth-Limited Hierarchical
Substrates (S and B Curves)
Second-Order
Hyperbolic Growth
Emergence Singularities
and a Limit Singularity
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Examples:
Chaisson’s Phi
Sagan’s Cosmic Calendar
STEM Compression
Inner Space, Not Outer Space, may be our ‘Final Frontier’
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Mirror Worlds, David Gelernter, 1998: Real structures in “outer space” (the
physical world) are being modeled rapidly better and faster in inner, virtual
space (the digital world). By comparison to inner space, outer space is:
• Computationally very simple and tractable (transparent)
• A vastly slower substrate for evolutionary development
• Rapidly encapsulated by our simulation science
• Possibly a “rear view mirror” on the developmental trajectory of
emergence of universal intelligence
versus
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Non-Autonomous ISS
Autonomous Human Brain
Fine-Tuning Problem (Philosophy, not yet Science)
Is our universe “self-tuned” for life, complexity emergence?
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Many basic physical features of our universe seem very finely and
unreasonably “tuned” for the emergence of life and complexity in a
universal environment, in the same way genes are “tuned” for the
emergence of complex organism in a biological environment:
Gravitational coupling constant
 Electromagnetic coupling constant
 Fine structure constant
 Strong nuclear force
 Weak nuclear force
 Proton/electron mass ratio
 Mass and energy of the universe
 Expansion rate of the universe
 Uniformity and entropy level of the universe
 Speed of light
 Nuclear energy levels of Be, C, and O.
 Another dozen or so “special” constants…

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There are now twenty six or so ‘empirical’ parameters in the
standard model of particle physics, and cosmology. More to come?
What are black holes?
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Lee Smolin’s Answer: Developmental Systems
Engaged in ‘Cosmological Natural Selection’
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At least 8 of the 20+ “standard model”
universal parameters appear tuned for:
– black hole production
– multi-billion year old Universes
(capable of creating Life)
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Lee Smolin, The Life of the Cosmos, 1996
Cosmological Natural Selection (CNS)
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Perhaps the first viable astrophysical evo devo universe model to
date. Quentin Smith (1990,2000) Lee Smolin
(1992,1994,1997,2006).
Seeks to explain the ‘fine tuning’ or ‘improbable universe’
problem (Leslie 1989, Rees 1999, Barrow 2002,2007).
19+15, or 20, or 6, or ?? fundamental parameters, an ‘economical
but ungainly’ set, like developmental genes. We may eliminate
some, yet add more as particle physics advances.
In Smolin’s simulations (1992,1994,1997), eight of
approximately twenty parameters appear fine tuned both
for long-lived universes capable of generating complex
life and for the production of hundreds of trillions of
black holes (‘fecundity’ of production)
 CNS proposes the special values of our universal
parameters are the result of an evolutionary selection
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involving universe reproduction via black holes,
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thus universe adaptation in the multiverse).
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CNS is Testable By Simulation
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‘Baby universes’ exploring
universal phenospace on a
phylogenetic tree, with a low
branching rate and frequent
terminal branching in this cartoon
(Adapted from Linde 1994).
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
Systematics diagram. Living organisms exploring a
phylogenetic tree in evo-devo biology
Just as we see developmental (conserved, critical, internally
selected) and evolutionary (varied, externally selected) genes in
biological phenospace, we must find both developmental (fine
tuned) and evolutionary (variable) fundamental parameters in our
own universe’s particular set of initial conditions.
Per Smolin (1996) and Vaas (1998) this prediction is already (and
increasingly) testable by simulation.
Is “Hyperspace” the Future of
Universal Intelligence?
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Are Quantum Theory, String Theory, M-Theory, and Multiverse
Theory consistent with a “Black Hole Analogous” Transcension /
Developmental ‘Destiny’ for Intelligence?
Do STEM compression, Intelligence, Interdependence, and
Immunity lead us to Inner Space, Not Outer Space?
If so, what’s on the other side of an Inner Space transition?
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Science has started to ask such questions, but we are still a long
way from knowing the answers…
‘Law’ of Locally Asymptotic Computation
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A complexity-centric representation of the
universe. If Earth-type emergences provide a
special universal reference frame, some
cosmological models must be revised.
Black Hole Strangeness
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Black hole time dilation. Clocks near a black hole appear to slow
down to an external observer, and stop altogether at the event
horizon. Inside a black hole, external clocks move arbitrarily fast.
Black holes are the most efficient computational systems known
(Lloyd 2000).
Our Self-Fractionating Universe:
A Passive Black Hole Merger Scenario
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1. At the onset of acceleration, we
see the largest number of galaxies
we ever will.
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2. The visible region grows, but
the overall universe grows even
faster, so we see a smaller
fraction of what exists
3. Distant galaxies (not bound to us by
gravity) move out of our range of view.
Gravity pulls nearby galaxies together.
About six billion yrs ago, our universe’s expansion rate began to
accelerate.
Our local universe is now self-fractionating into local ‘islands,’, and
ours will include only the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies
(Nagamine and Loeb 2003)
Each of these ‘supergalaxies,’ may engage in evolutionarily unique
mergers (natural selection) among all their developed intelligences.
From the black hole intelligence’s time perspective, such mergers would
occur virtually instantaneously, in no subjective time. This is because
black holes, and only black holes, are a ‘one-way time travel device.’
Active Black Hole Mergers:
An Alternative Scenario
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If black hole mergers were desired to occur as soon as possible in
‘nonrelativistic time’, they might actively migrate to some central merger
point.
Might mature Developmental Singularities actively migrate from the
GHZ to the galactic center?
If so, signatures of their migration should be detectable by gravitational
lensing and other techniques, with adequate instruments.
Applications
A Few Implications of the ECD Framework
Our Universe Appears to Have Both
Evolutionary Possibility and Developmental Purpose
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The more we study the dual processes of Evo-Devo, the
better we discover how a simple yet specially tuned
background creates and self-organizes a complex
foreground.
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Evolutionary variation is generally increasing and
becomes more MEST efficient with time and substrate.
Development (in special systems) is on an accelerating
local trajectory to an intelligent destination.
Humans are both evolutionary & developmental actors,
creating and catalyzing a new substrate transition.
We need both adequate evolutionary generativity,
(emergent uniqueness) and adequate developmental
sustainability (niche construction) in this extraordinary
journey.
Evo Devo Theory in Politics:
Innovation vs. Sustainability (Both are Fundamental!)
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Evo devo theory argues for process balance in political
dialogs on Innovation and Sustainability
Developmental sustainability without continuous
change/creativity creates sterility, clonality,
overdetermination, and adaptive weakness (Maoism).
Evolutionary creativity (innovation) without sustainability
creates chaos, entropy, and volatility that is not naturally
stable/recycling (Unregulated Capitalism).
© 2009 Accelerating.org
Evo Devo Theory in Politics:
Republican vs. Democrat (Both are Fundamental!)
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Evo devo theory suggests that both Republican and
Democratic platforms bridge the evo devo political center in
two complementary ways. That would make each integral,
fundamental dialogs (among other integral evo devo
mixes) that are likely to be long-term stable all cultures.
Republicans are
Devo/Maintenance/Tradition on Social-Political Issues
Evo/Innovation/Freedom on Economic Issues
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Democrats are
Evo/Innovation/Freedom on Social-Political Issues
Devo/Maintenance/Tradition on Economic Issues
© 2009 Accelerating.org
Competition and Collaboration Must Be Actively
Balanced in Adaptive Cultures, Orgs, and Individuals
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 Competition
breeds both innovation and inequality, which
democracy must “rationalize” (e.g., fair rich-poor divides).
 Both positive-sum games (science, capitalism, morality) and
zero-sum games (most laws, taxes, budgets) are prevalent.
 Collaboration can create intelligence or mobs (balanced by rep.
democracy) and groupthink (balanced by individual liberty).
+
Adaptation
(Organism)
–
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Evolution, Competition
Development, Collaboration
Michael Conrad’s Computational ‘Tradeoff Principle’
Adaptability vs. Programmability vs. Efficiency
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A computing system cannot have all of the following properties:
1. High evolutionary variation capacity (adaptability) (Evo)
2. High formal/structural programmability (Devo).
3. High computational efficiency (adaptation) (EvoDevo)
The “DNA-Computer Disanalogy”:
DNA is strong in 1, very weak in 2 (programmability) and 3 (efficiency).
Digital computers are strong in 2, weak in 1 (variation capacity) and 3.
Generalized
Computational
Efficiency
(Adaptation)
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Conrad
M.
Evolutionary
Variation Capacity
Developmental
Programmability
1988. The Price of Programmability. In: Herken, R. (Ed.), The Universal Turing Machine:
Evo Devo Foresight:
Implications of the Framework
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Our History, Present, and Future can be seen as:
–
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Evolutionary choices (Evo, 95%?), Developmental forces
(Devo, 5%?) and the Adaptation/Learning/Simulation
increase (Compu, 100%) from their interaction
Evo, Compu, and Devo Teleology. Innovation,
adaptation, and sustainability goals, drives, and
values constrain humans and our tech, and will
constrain AIs to come.
Sustainable Innovation. Devo and evo polarized
countries, parties, and people exist. We need both.
Seed, Org, Envir (SOE) Intelligence Partitioning.
–
–
Biological immortality is a major, mistaken fantasy
We need a new theory of identity/intelligence
Evo Devo Foresight:
Implications of the Framework - II
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Hierarchy and Acceleration.
–
–

STEM Compression will continue on Earth
–
–

Human cities will only get more STEM efficient/dense
STEM dense tech (nanotech) will continue to deliver
unreasonable returns
Inner Space increasingly encompasses Outer Space
–
–
–
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We are in a purposeful, accelerative, emergent process.
Humans aren’t the end of the line. We will ‘pass the baton.’
Increasing importance of the human mind and heart
(education, beliefs, philosophy) in culture, politics, economics
Increasing growth in the value and capacity of the virtual,
increasing virtual-physical and human-machine interface
Importance of ‘gardening’ our technological extensions
(they are the next inner space), and guiding their interaction
with the current inner space (human consciousness).
Three Primary Foresight Skills
Future Creation, Discovery, Mgmt
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Futures Studies is concerned with “three P’s and a W”, or
Possible, Probable, and Preferable futures, plus Wildcards
(low-probability but high-impact events).
In other words, futurists try to create, discover, and manage
(“CDM”) the future.
 Creation (“Possible”)
– personal, collective, and entrepreneurial tools and strategies
for imagining and creating experimental futures, innovation,
exploratory research and development, creative thinking,
social networking
 Discovery (“Probable” and “Wildcards”)
– forecasting methods, metrics, statistical trends, history of
prediction, technology roadmapping, science and systems
theory, risk analysis, marketing research
 Management (“Preferable”)
– environmental scanning, competitive intelligence, networking,
scenario development, risk mgmt (insurance), hedging,
enterprise robustness, planning, matter, energy, space, and
time management systems, positive-sum outcomes
© 2007 Accelerating.org
Innovation, Adaptation and Sustainability:
They Are Not Phases, But Lifestyles.
Systemic Imbalances in Western Society
Acceleration
Studies
Foundation
A 501(c)(3) Nonprofit
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
Los Angeles
New York
Palo Alto
We think Creativity is a “phase,” not a lifestyle. We
emphasize it only in the first five years of life, and don’t
try to develop it systematically during this phase or
much after. Exceptions: Montessori, Waldorf.
We think Adaptation/Learning is a “phase,” not a
lifestyle. It starts in “school” and ends when we
“graduate” or “fit in.” We get little training for innovation
and sustainability behaviors to come. Exceptions:
Continuing ed, personality assessments, lifelong
learning communities, policies, metrics, and tests.
We think Sustainability is a “phase,” not a lifestyle. It
starts when we graduate and get a job. It also takes a
very narrow view of the term (org., economic and status
quo ‘sustainability’). It neglects, not only personal,
national and global sustainability, but also innovation
and learning behaviors during and after our careers.
© 2009 Accelerating.org
Who Are You, In Relation to the Universe?
An Evo Compu Devo Speculation
Acceleration
Studies
Foundation
A 501(c)(3) Nonprofit
A very complex and special piece of the universe,
evolved and developed by the universe,
here to create (evo), sustain (devo), and adapt to and
understand (compu) it, from your own perspective,
and to form unproven beliefs (evo), tentative
philosophy/codes (compu) and proven science
(devo) about those things you don’t understand.
Los Angeles
New York
Palo Alto
A Closing Visual:
Collectively Piloting Spaceship Earth. Or Not.
Acceleration
Studies
Foundation
A 501(c)(3) Nonprofit
Los Angeles
New York
Palo Alto
© 2007 Accelerating.org
Discussion
What Do You Think?
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