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[ontolog-forum] FW: Self Interest Ontology - Bacteria Use Case 1

To: <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Richard Vines" <plessons@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 13 Aug 2011 19:54:14 +1000
Message-id: <000001cc599e$f6202b70$e2608250$@netspace.net.au>

Hi Rich


My two cents worth is that what you are describing is a hierarchically complex system, i.e. where individual parts that interact to form a designated system at one level of focus can be seen to be composed of many interacting components at a more detailed lower level of focus. And that these higher and lower order systems can interact at varying levels of focus.


The problem with your analogy, is that whilst processes may emerge to form an intermediate level of organisation between the higher and lower level systems (which it would seem you are describing), at these focal levels, where emergence occurs, the effect of the perturbation (spreading of toothpaste) results in spontaneous and unpredictable patterns. That is, as far as I understand this, the properties of the intermediate system that emerges are fundamentally different from those of the higher and lower order systems.


Whilst I am not in a position to really justify this claim, it is not clear to me that statistical decision theory is relevant to such matters of emergence and complexity. Thus, I do not think the word “related” here holds up. Wouldn’t the sensors and effectors used by Strepta evolve to be quantitatively related to the survival benefits enjoyed by her sacrificed materials?


This perhaps reflects a deeper type of divergence in views and utility. I do not necessarily think an “ontology of self-interest” is what has the most utility. I find it more useful to think about an “ontology of knowledge” itself, where knowledge is an emergent property of an evolutionary system. But perhaps that reflects a different focal level (of interest) and the different (cultural) systems we are a part of.











From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Rich Cooper
Sent: Saturday, 13 August 2011 11:31 AM
To: '[ontolog-forum] '
Subject: [ontolog-forum] Self Interest Ontology - Bacteria Use Case 1


Self Interested Ontologists,


Let’s consider a use case for the bacterial film example.  I will propose one, and if there are comments, please feel free to add your $0.02 or to correct mine as appropriate. 




A bacterial film covers teeth.  One bacterium, Strepta, senses a chemical gradient she associates with problems to come.  So Strepta sends a chemical message M to the film at large. 


Further away in the film, Chlamy identifies the message, which she interprets as “Watch it; there is dangerous antibacterial toothpaste in the vicinity.” 


Chlamy senses the direction of the message, and quickly forms a waist in the plane of the message direction, then splits at right angles in the cross product, splitting into two daughter cells Bacilla and Amoebi, while Chlamy ceases to exist as a unit, having split. 


Bacilla is on top, and her weight plus her flailing cilia push Amoebi one micron down into the cavity.  When the noxious chemical (was it really toothpaste?) touches Bacilla, she pops, spreading proteins, fats and carbohydrates which coat Amoebi in her cavity, effectively protecting Amoebi from the noxious chemical gradient. 


Strepta may share very few genes (self interest objects) with Chlamy, but Chlamy’s offspring have very accurate copies of Bacilla’s genes, so both have mutually high self interest.  By splitting, Chlamy preserves her genes.  Bacilla preserves her genes, which are faithful copies of Chlamy’s, by protecting her twin sister Amoebi with her (Bacilla’s) own life. 


What is in it for Strepta?  She may be millions of generations distal from Amoebi, the ultimate beneficiary of Strepta’s message.  So the gradient of the film should somehow represent the contribution of Strepta’s gene pool to Amoebi, which is what gives Strepta (through their shared ancestral forebears) genetic reasons to send her message to distal parts of the film. 


Should there be a limit to the distality with which Strepta uses her cellular resources to send the message far and wide?  It should be related to the likelihood of Strepta’s genes being preserved as compared to the likelihood that her resources consumed to send the message are wasted, if the chemical turns out not to be toothpaste but simple custard. 


Wouldn’t statistical decision theory hold in this use case 1; wouldn’t the likelihood of resource loss be approximately equal to the likelihood that Amoebi, with genes that are equal to Strepta’s, is saved from annihilation to continue propagating those genes into a future film?  Wouldn’t the sensors and effectors used by Strepta evolve to be quantitatively related to the survival benefits enjoyed by her sacrificed materials?


Comments welcome,




Rich Cooper


Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com

9 4 9 \ 5 2 5 - 5 7 1 2


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