Braitenberg’s Vehicles

I started reading the book Vehicles: Experiments in Synthetic Psychology, where Valentino Braitenberg describes a series of thought experiments in which “vehicles” with simple internal structure behave in unexpectedly complex ways.  The author describes simple control mechanisms that generate behaviors that, if we did not already know the principles behind the vehicles’ operation, we might call aggression, love, foresight and even optimism. Braitenberg gives this as evidence for the “law of uphill analysis and downhill invention,” meaning that it is much more difficult to try to guess internal structure just from the observation of behavior than it is to create the structure that gives the behavior.

This is a bit discouraging for my research in how to model people communication in space but, on the other hand, it is kind of obvious. What I also think of this book is that it came ages before Wolfram’s A new kind of science, of which it is claiming the same principle.

 ~Wiseman Vehicles Vehicle

[some simulators]

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