University of Birmingham > Talks@bham > Computer Science Lunch Time Talk Series > On the Origins of Biological Computations

On the Origins of Biological Computations

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Christine Zarges.

How can a cloud of dust containing only physical/chemical structures produce musicians, mathematicians, metaphysicians, megalomaniacs, monkeys, mice, microbes, music, mayhem, murder, munificence, marmite and other wondrous products?

I’ll try to explain why I don’t think ‘Natural selection’ is an adequate answer since (a) natural selection needs a suitable medium in which to operate and some properties of the medium can be important (b) some of the products of natural selection (and the medium) introduce new answers to the question.

Generalising Turing’s ideas about morphogenesis: Meta-morphogenesis includes forms of information processing that produce new forms of information processing, though details are mostly still unknown.

One way to investigate this is to try to identify and understand mechanisms and influences involved in transitions that have occurred in natural information processing over billions of years, some summarised in this document (still under development):

Example: what went on in the millenia before humans produced Euclid’s Elements, that led to the production of Euclid’s elements?

A readable book by a thoughtful physicist provides an introduction to some of the problems: Paul Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, 1999 (don’t be misled by the title: it isn’t full of religious mush):

Further related thoughts are here:

This talk is part of the Computer Science Lunch Time Talk Series series.

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