Spontaneous Complexity

The universe likes to be complicated. Non-trivial molecules from trivial components. What is the chance of that? Not zero, we know from biology. But then, by what universal process is the combinatorial impossibility overcome? Lee Cronin expresses this wonder and his steps toward an answer in this interview. bbc

The Cronin Group is motivated by the fascination for complex chemical systems, and the desire to construct complex functional molecular architectures that are not based on biologically derived building blocks. site

One thing that discriminates living things from inanimate matter is their ability to generate similarly complex or non-random architectures in a large abundance. Whilst these objects are not living, they cannot randomly form, as they are the product of a biological organism and hence are either technological or cultural biosignatures. We present a complexity measure, Pathway Complexity, to threshold the abiotic-biotic divide and unambiguously assign complex objects as biosignatures. arxiv

Heterotic computational devices combining two or more different parts, one controlling the operation of the other, for example, derive their power from the interaction, in addition to the capabilities of the parts. We outline the categorical machinery required for handling diverse computational systems in such combinations, with their interactions explicitly accounted for. arxiv


Biological Inspiration has guided federated wiki's mechanisms but has that guidance proven sound? How will we know? What would be more unexpected than, say, Wikipedia or fake news?