Category Archives: systems theory

Entropy as a Resource for Double Contingency

My commentary on Manfred Füllsack’s excellent article “The Circular Conditions of Second-order Science Sporadically Illustrated with Agent-based Experiments at the Roots of Observation” was published today in Constructivist Foundations’ special issue on Second Order Science. It is the journal’s tenth volume already, which is a great achievement. The commentary argues that the rise in entropy the article is postulating for systems of second-order observation is actually good for something, in that it adds to possible courses of action for participants in these systems, which equals to directly feeding into situations of double contingency. In short, more entropy means more possibilities to act (more degrees of freedom) for all participants in communication, thus ensuring that double contingency is maintained and communication is kept alive.
Full text (Pdf)

ESA-Arts Paper: Jamming with Machines

The European Research Network Sociology of the Arts held its 8th midterm conference at Cluj / Romania from September 4-6, 2014. I had the honor to present a paper on the current state and the outlook of research conducted within the GiantSteps research project, focusing on prospects and problems of so-called “musical expert agents” in creative processes. The paper discusses a situation where the availability of large amounts of data on artistic work facilitates new approaches in composition and sound creation. What are the expectations towards these new possibilities? Are artists looking forward to algorithmic “agents”, or will they disable them immediately?
Full paper
ESA-Arts 2014 Conference Website
GiantSteps Project

Dynamics of “Vivisystems”

Although Kevin Kelly’s famous book “Out of Control” was published back in 1994, it still holds plenty of topics that are worth to be brought to the table in all different kinds of discourses on systems. In addition, it provides a broad spectrum of ideas for computer models of complex systems. The author has kindly made the full book available for free on his website.
Book page

Strangely enough, although the author describes the benefits of biological and technological coevolution, he then ventures to favor technological taking over biological evolution by means of genetic and bioengineering. This is where I’d disagree, as it seems illogical, especially in the context of the book itself, to deliberately give up biological assets such as proven sustainability in conjunction with emergence, and fallback mechanisms that can help minimize risk for all parties involved.

Conference: Relational Sociology

September 25-26, 2008, Humboldt University Berlin. Starting tomorrow, the Humboldt University will host a conference centered around the relational approach to sociology as developed by Harrison C. White. The conference will offer an interesting mixture of papers, providing links to Systems Theory and other ideas in network theory. All abstracts are online.
Conference website