Digital Foundations for Evolvable Genomic Intelligence and Human Proteanism: Complexity With Novelty Production


Paper prepared for chapter in Routledge Handbook for Complexity Economics


Despite prolific innovations and diversity in economic and biological systems, the theoretical impasse on novelty production has led to a longstanding reliance on randomness or statistical white noise error terms. Extant decision sciences and game theory, respectively, conflate rationality with optimal choice from a prespecified action set and rule out Nash equilibria with strategic innovation or ‘surprises’. In contrast, the Wolfram-Chomsky schema implies that only digital software systems capable of computational universality and Gödel Incompleteness can produce novelty. Till recently how this relates to genomic intelligence which reaches its apogee in general purpose highly protean human intelligence has not been clear. Following Walker-Davis on the ‘algorithmic take-over’ of biology with the digitization of inheritable information in the genome, the epochal Barbara McClintock discovery of viral software based transposable elements that can ‘edit’ the genome, underscores the truism that only software can change software and is instrumental for evolvability and brain plasticity.

Key developments with Adaptive Immune System (AIS) and the Mirror Neuron System (MNS), latterly mostly in primate brains, involve distinctive Gödelian features for eukaryote intelligence of self-reference (Self-Ref) and offline virtual self-representation (Self-Rep) for complex self-other interaction with prodigious open-ended capacity for anticipative malware detection and novelty production within a unique block chain distributed ledger.  This is found only in the AIS from the get-go for somatic hypermutations for novel anti-body production and in humans as unbounded proteanism for novel extended phenotypes in the form of artifacts outside of ourselves.  Thus, extant decision sciences and Complexity Economics that overlook human proteanism for novelty production may have no basis in the evolution of human intelligence and complexity. Clearly, radical rethinking is needed to navigate the burgeoning digital world.

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