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It has been quite an adventure, but in the finish my iMac ran those last ten thousand iterations a bit quicker than my perfectionist/delusional self was able to get the first cut finished of my 48x48 cells to the pixel colouring hack. So that "final" image will be another day or three and I'm not planning any rushed show and tells in the interim while I try to juggle some useful if minor contributions to the Golly gang into my immediate schedule.
So the purpose of this note is just to get down some early thoughts on why it matters that we make this story much more accessible.
In 1986 I was just discovering the importance of systems understanding while Marcia Salner had a paper published exploring the difficulty of educating in systems understanding, a paper Liddy Nevile was to provide a copy of when I raised the right question in the early '90s.
Recently I inherited the nominal "Organizer" hat for the Melbourne Emergence Meetup Group which I would already be disappointing myself with but for the great assistance of Bill Hall who I've reconnected with, having been in parallel universes for a couple of decades. The great obstacle remains wider comprehension, even among educated circles, as to what "emergence" means, or "complex systems", "knowledge management" (Bill's side of the coin), "general evolution", "non-linear dynamics" et al, to say nothing of "self-organised criticality" or "border of order--edge of chaos".
Right now, with quite a flock of Nassim Nicholas Taleb's black swans coming home to roost, at least we are seeing signs of attention being paid to our systemic servants which do not good masters make. So if showing and telling the grand story of running a trivial seed through 200,000 iterations of the indisputably simple "LivingOnTheEdge" Generations cellular automata rule might help expand recognition that emergence outranks everything from physics to consciousness as a means of understanding and dealing with the systems of the world, then it is what I should try to focus on while I am able.
While I have named, and often renamed, whimsically or twistedly, many of the characters who have journeyed through some or much of that 200,000 iterations, the whole will remain unnamed until inspiration strikes. (The engine shown forming and surviving early challenges in the animation linked from the parent post is Alpha. Many but by no means all of the other strong characters are similar engines, though none with quite the influence of Alpha which finishes up being first or second hand responsible for the emergent organisation which comes to dominate the outer reaches. Talk about "first mover advantage".)
November has been a journey to a previously unexplored world, made without having to leave my computer chair. As quickly as repeated scenes become increasingly recognised, documented and predictable, other novelties emerge which could not have been anticipated without seeing them. Far more exciting to me than consuming somebody's preprogrammed notion of entertainment, even while getting drowsy at times watching the later stages compute at down to 56 iterations/seven display refeshes per hour. But that comparison also reminded me quite early that the public presentation is likely to best be started with a feature length fully computer generated HD video. So the real next step becomes describing and sampling enough of what we have and can do to attract the involvement of the others who will be needed to help make such a project happen.
One key audience is those bright enough to be able to get a clue that they have managed to ignore for so long under the shade of society's plethora of unexamined assumptions. The other key target is reminding those who have a clue that organisation emerges most excitingly as even fully deterministic systems are nudged closer and closer to the border of order--edge of chaos. Most ignore this truth from natural and social systems but maybe it will be easier to see when we can finally ground it properly in the toy computational worlds of cellular automata where this whole endeavour has much of its roots.