So, I was reading news clips about a game that I'm anticipating, and then I came across this video that just blew me away. I love watching about stuff like this. And what was interesting was the game I was interested in was presented in the video, but game itself wasn't the center of the discussion. The game accentuated the subject that was being discussed, that being generative systems and algorithmic creativity.
I'll explain a little bit about what I'm trying to get at before I put the link here. But I'd like to get some Socionic input about this, because I have an idea of what this represents as far as IM elements, but I want to hear what other people have to say about it.
The premise behind generative systems is that you can create extremely complex designs and environments with very simple rule sets.
This is counter-intuitive to a lot of what we do when we try to model things. We tend to take things that we see and observe (both of simple and complex nature) and try to compress it into very tidy, simple formulas and systems. But generative systems works in the opposite direction and decompresses very simple rules into very complex worlds.
One way to illustrate this concept is with a model called cellular automaton. With cellular automaton, you have a two-dimensional grid and each square (or whatever shape you choose to fill the grid with) in the grid can have a finite number of states. For instance, the simplest example would be that each square on the grid can be in 2 states. It can be either "on" or "off". What determines whether a square is "on" or "off" is by establishing a set of rules that would be applied in "steps" over time. For instance, one rule could be that a square will go into an "on" state in the next "step" if 2 adjacent squares are "on", but a square will go "off" on the next "step" if it has 4 neighboring squares that are "on".
Using these very simple rules you can create very complex and very visually stunning landscapes.
One of the more popular examples of cellular automaton is Conway's Game of Life.
In Conway's Game of Life, you have four rules:
So, here's a visual example of what this will look like:
- Any live cell with fewer than two live neighbours dies, as if by loneliness.
- Any live cell with more than three live neighbours dies, as if by overcrowding.
- Any live cell with two or three live neighbours lives, unchanged, to the next generation.
- Any dead cell with exactly three live neighbours comes to life.
And a grid that uses the same rules, but on a much larger scale:
Here is a video of a variation Conway's Game of Life using these same rules, but instead of each square being "off" (dead) or "on" (alive), it can be in one of 8 different states.
What's interesting about these is that if you start off with the same initial pattern, you will always get the same sequence when you start it. But, if you make even the slightest change in the pattern (even as little as one different square in the initial pattern) you will get something completely different when you start it. So these very complex systems are extremely fragile.
The counter intuitiveness of generative systems is that instead of working towards an end result, you are really working with tweaking the original rules and original states and letting it take off and discovering new results with each initial state. You have no idea what the end result will be when you set the initial states, so you end up continuously discovering new ways of creating things.
So anyways, this video I saw was with Brian Eno and Will Wright having an open discussion about generative systems and how they are used in the creative world of music, games, and art and how these things coincide.
The video is an hour and a half long.
I think these concepts are just drenched in and .
What do you think?