Journal on Policy & Complex Systems Vol. 2, Issue 2, Fall 2015 - Page 93

Journal on Policy and Complex Systems - Fall 2015, Volume 2, Number 2 The End of (Traditional) Emergence: Introducing Reactive Emergence Russ Abbott Department of Computer Science, California State University, Los Angeles, CA 90032, USA Abstract Emergence is not a mystery; it is the realization of properties that do not derive (directly) from the properties of the realization’s constituents. A concrete canoe floats in water, a property that derives primarily from how its components are arranged, not primarily from the components themselves. Since emergence typically involves an entity whose components are organized in specific ways, the means that hold the components together and allow for that organization become fundamental. Negative interaction energy (from fundamental physics) holds static structures together. Emergent phenomena built with negative interactive energy have less mass than their compon ents considered separately. I call the creation and persistence of such structures general evolution. When added to negative interaction energy, self-management (i.e., autopoietic) activities (as in biological organisms) hold dynamic structures together. Emergent phenomena built with self-management activities have more mass than their components considered separately. I analogize type creation in programming languages to these mechanisms. Since the preceding clarifies most (traditional) emergence issues, labeling phenomena emergent adds little additional value. Given its baggage and minimal utility, we might be better off abandoning the term. Then what is reactive emergence? Public policies famously have unintended consequences. I explain why such phenomena—and in fact why reactions to many policy-based changes to our living and working environment—should be considered a form of emergence. Keywords: emergence, energy accumulation and release, implementation, interaction energy, reactive emergence, realization, specification, type creation, unintended consequences 91 doi: 10.18278/jpcs.2.2.6