For several years, Steven Johnson’s Emergence, E O Wilson’s Journey of the Ants, and Stephen Wolfram’s A New Kind of Science have bounced around in my head, inextricably/apophenically connected to ideas of creativity, invention, and generative systems. Wolfram’s book, which I could follow through the first three pages of each chapter before the specific science and maths lost me, came and went – people were open to its revelations, found none, then, it seemed, he sank into crankdom. But, in his TED talk, he seems to be pulling it together – computation science (as opposed to computer science or computing) is a source of ideas, beauty, computing power. Best line:
in a sense we can use the computational universe as a way of getting mass customized creativity … to routinely do invention and discovery on the fly … and find all sorts of wonderful stuff that no engineer or incremental evolutionary process could ever come up with.