EP48 Jessica Flack on Complex System Dynamics

Jessica Flack talks to Jim about causality in complex systems, theoretical biology, emergence, agent-based modeling, social policing, & much more…

Jessica Flack

Professor Jessica Flack talks to Jim about micro vs macro causality in complex systems, coarse-graining, primate power hierarchies, downward causation, robustness, free will as a feeling, consciousness theories, theoretical biology, laws in adaptive systems, the non-spookiness of emergence, her work’s philosophical connections, question asking vs answering, social engineering dynamics, Lord of The Rings & The Foundation Trilogy, agent-based modeling, social policing & punishment, how mature complexity science really is, Jessica’s reflection on her experiences with primates, and more.

Episode Transcript

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Jessica Flack is a professor at the Santa Fe Institute. Flack directs SFI’s Collective Computation Group (C4). Flack was formerly founding director of the Center for Complexity and Collective Computation in the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Flack received her Ph.D. from Emory in 2003, studying cognitive science, animal behavior and evolutionary theory, and B.A. with honors from Cornell in 1996. Flack’s work has been covered by scientists and science journalists in many publications and media outlets, including Quanta Magazine, the BBC, NPR, Nature, Science, The Economist, New Scientist, and Current Biology.