The Interconnected Roles of Abstraction and Emergence in Artificial Societies

Eric Baumer, Bill Tomlinson

This paper presents an argument that the process of emergence, moving from simple rules to complex behavior, is the converse of the process of abstraction, moving from complex behavior to simple laws. Thus, it can be argued that similar mechanisms underlie both processes, and a greater understand of one can lead to a greater understanding of the other. Especially in the case of societies, the processes of abstraction and emergence are inextricably interconnected, such that the abstractions individuals make will determine what behaviors emerge, and the behaviors that emerge in the society determine what abstractions will be made. In addition to describing this abstraction-emergence loop, the paper offers a description of an ongoing research project aimed at exploring and understanding the nature of this loop and the emergence to which it leads. Such an understanding of the relationship between abstraction and emergence can be helpful in designing communities of autonomous agents that interact socially with each other and with humans.

Subjects: 7.1 Multi-Agent Systems; 6.1 Life-Like Characters

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