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That’s a really cool example of how agents obeying simple rules can create a complex system. I think the human element really adds some additional complexity above and beyond what a computer might do, though. As people recognize emerging symbols, they can choose to continue to propagate or destroy them. Imagine the level of learning that would be required to have a computer behave similarly. It would need to know all of the various symbols and then recognize them before they've fully emerge. It could then have a certain number of propagating or destroying agents, if you really wanted to mimic the elements of the reddit system

This is a somewhat different tangent, but I also find it really interesting that by and large the final image contains mostly symbols instead of chaos. This suggests to me that people chose to work together and respect the creations of others, rather than simply trying to destroy or outcompete each other. It reminds me of the work of Nobel prize winning economist Elinor Ostrom, whose research demonstrated that people are capable of creating rules and institutions for equitable management of common pool resources. Of course, it also seems to demonstrate the capacity of systems for self-organization, per our Meadows reading early in the semester.

Gabby Makatura

I already did my one full comment on another blog post, but thank you for sharing this! Probably the coolest thing I have seen all week

Harsha Maragh

I really enjoyed reading your post this week Cody! It’s such an interesting way to think about systems and the simple underlying rules that govern them. Using this graphic was a great way to demonstrate how complex a system can become over time with simple (seemingly non-invasive) additions.
I think that in order for us to create a better civilization, we must focus on our individual actions and ourselves first. It is difficult to take on the whole system, in this case civilization as a whole, and try to change it. I’m not sure if this is the answer you were looking for, but I believe that by doing good and respecting yourself, others, and your surroundings you can create a better world. The results may not be immediately apparent, but over time I believe that a better civilization will emerge.

Alec Brazeau

Hi, Cody! /r/place is a great example of a system, and I hope to discuss it more in our blog group today. I think that /r/place is a really good way to see how small, individual rules placed upon the actors within a system affect the system's output. This makes me wonder about small rules as leverage points: how can we change small rules placed upon actors in order to change the systems output? How can this concept be applied to massive eco-social-economic-etc. systems?

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