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EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY OF SPECIES AND ORGANIZATIONS Personal Research William P. Hall National Fellow Australian.

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Presentation on theme: "EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY OF SPECIES AND ORGANIZATIONS Personal Research William P. Hall National Fellow Australian."— Presentation transcript:

1 EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY OF SPECIES AND ORGANIZATIONS Personal Research William P. Hall National Fellow Australian Centre for Science, Innovation and Society - University of Melbourne DIS: ICT Head Office / Engineering Tenix Defence, Williamstown Visiting Faculty Associate University of Technology Sydney Dept Info Sci - 13/10/2006 Emergence and Growth of Knowledge and Diversity in Hierarchically Complex Organised Systems: Genesis of a theoretical framework

2 Personal Research Some background My path to organisational KM is unique –physics (3½ years from 1957) –computers (all generations from cog-wheel calculators) –neurophysiology (2+ years as research assistant - signal processing) –comparative ethology, comparative anatomy and ecosystem theory –PhD Evolutionary Biology (Harvard, 1973) - genetic system, systematics –personal KM in the sciences with bibliographic search engines –studied epistemology and scientific revolutions ( ) –I bought my first microcomputer in 1981 and it had to pay for itself –1980's: computer literacy journalism, software tech writing, and documenting Hogan banking systems With Tenix Defence since Jan 1990 –full life of the ANZAC Ship Project - On time, on budget, all the time –building content authoring/management systems –now working on cross divisional knowledge management solutions This gives me some different perspectives!

3 Personal Research The work summarised here began ~1977 in response to paradigmatic misunderstandings over my PhD PhD Evol. Biol. Harvard 1973 University of Melbourne Research Fellow in Genetics –Problems with reviewers of papers following my PhD led to studies in epistemology and history and philosophy of science Worked with computers since 1981; Tenix Defence since Jan 1990 Technical writers' holy wars in 2000 over content oriented vs page oriented writing & management led to book project –Co-evolution of cognitive tools and human cognition –When I got to KM organisations I found my understanding of "knowledge" differed from what my peers thought it was –Had to stop writing until I understood the difference Solution re-formulates org theory and KM on evolutionary principles –Reformulation now well underway with peer-reviewed published papers –I am also reinventing the theory of life itself theory of self-organizing hierarchically complex dissipative systems evolutionary epistemology autopoiesis

4 Personal Research KM is a mess in several other areas as well with too many poorly understood paradigms Epistemology (theory of knowledge) –personal knowledge (Michael Polanyi) –objective knowledge (Karl Popper) Organization theory (Donaldson recognises 15 paradigms) –resource view –environment view –autopoietic view How to analyse knowledge in the organization –individual view –social view –critical view –alternative views How organizations create knowledge –cognitivist view –connectionist view –autopoietic view Donaldson, L American Anti-Management Theones of Organization, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press – see also McKelvey, B Quasi-natural organization science. Organization Science 8:

5 Personal Research Foundation Problems in KM: We can’t even define knowledge consistently A few definitions from the literature Author(s)DataInformationKnowledge Wiig (1993)Facts organised to describe a situation or condition Truths and beliefs, perspectives and concepts, judgements and expectations, methodologies and know how Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) A flow of meaningful messages Commitments and beliefs created from these messages Spek and Spijkervet (1997)Spek and Spijkervet (1997) * Not yet interpreted symbols Data with meaningThe ability to assign meaning Davenport (1997)Simple observationsData with relevance and purpose Valuable information from the human mind Davenport and Prusak (1998) A set of descrete factsA message meant to change the receiver’s perception Experiences, values, insights, and contextual information Quigley and Debons (1999) Text that does not answer questions to a particular problem Text that answers the questions who, when, what, or where Text that answers the questions why and how Choo et al. (2000)Facts and messagesData vested with meaningJustified, true beliefs Stenmark, D Information vs. Knowledge: The Role of intranets in Knowledge Management. In Proceedings of HICSS-35, Hawaii, January 7-10, 2002 *Information vs. Knowledge: The Role of intranets in Knowledge Management * Full text free to the web

6 Personal Research Conflicting paradigms of knowledge in KM Michael Polanyi (1958, 1966): personal/tacit knowledge –Focus knowing subjects knowledge of doing, personal skills belief, faith and intuition final arbiters of "truth" followers tend to denigrate explicit knowledge to mere "information" –Popularised in KM and organization theory by Nelson & Winter, Sveiby, Nonaka, von Krogh & Roos Popper (1972): epistemology without a knowing subject –Knowledge grows through conjecture & refutation, i.e., criticism against reality –Different kinds of knowledge: Subjective or dispositional – as embodied in instantaneous structure Persistent or objective – in codified form –Joe Firestone of Macroinnovation Associates one of few KM practitioners using Popperian epistemology

7 Personal Research Incommensurability of the paradigms Search dates: 11/02/2002, (15/08/2002), [14/07/2004] Michael Polanyi "Personal Knowledge" –Google hits = 1,760 (1,450) [4,040]Google hits Karl Popper "Objective Knowledge“ –Google hits = 1,850 (1,570) [3,730]Google hits Both together –Google hits = 64 (55) [88]Google hits Only 1.1% of authors citing either book cited both! Conclusion –Writers concerned with one author's thinking were not interested in or could not cope with discussing the other author's thinking in the same document - even to the extent of listing them in a single bibliography.

8 Personal Research Key ideas for answering “What is knowledge?” Evolutionary biology and evolutionary epistemology –J.D. Watson & Francis Crick (molecular genetics) –Ernst Mayr (was still writing in his 100 th year), Steven J. Gould –Donald T. Campbell –Karl Popper’s mature epistemology: 1972 and later – published in his 70 th year Autopoiesis (auto = ‘self’ + poiesis = ‘production’) –Humberto Maturana & Francisco Varela Chilean neurobiologists working in the 1970’s Defining what it means to be alive Emergence of complex hierarchical systems –Hebert Simon, Ilya Prigogine, Stuart Kauffman Biosemiotics –Howard Pattee, Luis M Rocha, Hoffmeyer & Emmeche

9 Personal Research What is knowledge? Karl Popper - a philosopher who studied science Karl Popper –"All life is problem solving"All life is problem solving –Knowledge is solutions to problemsKnowledge is solutions to problems –Epistemology summary Knowledge is fundamentally based on external reality The ultimate authority for deciding the truth of a claim to know is its correspondence with external reality - but.... Claims to know are cognitively constructed Impossible to prove any claim to know is true (or false) –Any number of favourable tests are logically falsified by a single failure –Any falsification can be "immunised" by auxiliary hypotheses Knowledge is fallible (Firestone & McElroy 2003)Firestone & McElroy 2003

10 Personal Research Popper's three worlds Polanyi's epistemology of personal knowledge encompassed within Popper's World 2 3. Expressed language Computer memory Recorded thought Logical artefacts Heredity Reproduction/Production 2. Cybernetic self-regulation Consciousness Cognition Drive/Enable Regulate/Control Development/Recall Inferred logic Describe/Predict Test Observe 1. Energy Thermodynamics Physics Chemistry Biochemistry Existence/Reality World 1 Organismic/Personal Knowledge exists in World 2 Emerges from World 1 processes Objective Knowledge forms World 3 Persistent logical Content produced / evaluated by World 2 processes © William P. Hall

11 Personal Research Karl Popper's "tetradic schema" or "general theory of evolution" P n a real-world problem faced by an entity TS a tentative solution or tentative theory EE a process of error elimination P n+1 changed problem as faced from by an entity incorporating a surviving solution TS 1 2 TS m P n P n+1 EE TS 1 2 TS m P n P n+1 EE TS 1 2 TS m P n P n+1 EE  TS may be embodied in W2 in the individual entity, or  TS may be expressed in words as a hypothesis in W3, subject to objective criticism  Objective expression and criticism lets our theories die in our stead  As an iterated cyclic process, solutions can approach reality

12 Personal Research John Boyd's OODA Loop process wins conflicts An organisation's success in a competitive environment depends critically its ability to do a better job of assimilating information, increasing its epistemic quality to generate strategic power, and reducing decision cycle times. See A O OBSERVE (Results of Test) OBSERVATION PARADIGMS EXTERNAL INFORMATION CHANGING CIRCUMSTANCES UNFOLDING ENVIRONMENTAL RESULTS OF ACTIONS ORIENT D DECIDE (Hypothesis) O CULTURE PARADIGMS PROCESSES GENETIC HERITAG E MEMORY OF HISTORY INPUT ANALYSIS SYNTHESIS ACT (Test) GUIDANCE AND CONTROL PARADIGMS UNFOLDING INTERACTION WITH EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENT

13 Personal Research Some OODA definitions Observation assembles data about the world in which the adaptive entity exists (including the entity's own effects and those of its competitors on that world). Data is given a context relating to the entity's interactions with the world. Orientation processes that observations into semantically linked knowledge in the form of a world view comprised of –new information, –memories of prior experience (which may be explicit, implicit or even tacit, –genetic heritage (i.e., "natural talent"), –cultural traditions (i.e., paradigms), and –analysis (destruction) of the existing world view, and synthesis (creation) of a revised world view including possibilities for action. This generates intelligence (in a military sense). Decision selects amongst possible actions generated by the orientation, action(s) to try. Choice is governed and informed by –wisdom based on prior experience gained from previous OODA cycles, and –the synthesis (creation) of new possibilities to try. Action involves putting the decision to test by applying it to the world. The loop begins to repeat as the entity observes the results of its action.

14 Personal Research Maturana and Varela: autopoiesis defines life Autopoiesis (= self + production) is the condition achieved by a bounded and self-regulating autocatalytic set of processes able to maintain its existence as an autonomous entity in the face of environmental perturbations; i.e., that which gives a living entity the property of life. Recognizing an autopoietic entity (see von Krogh & Roos) –Self-identifiably bounded (membranes, tags) –Individually identifiable components within the boundary (complex) –Mechanistic (i.e., metabolism/cybernetic processes) –System boundaries internally determined (self reference) –System intrinsically produces own components –Self-produced components are necessary and sufficient to produce the system (autonomy)

15 Personal Research Paradigm of the autopoietic organised system Maturana and Varela (1980) - Autopoiesis & Cognition – properties of living things –Early 1970s quest to define the property of life –Autonomous entities defined by self regulation and self production Emergence –I. Prigogine - Nobel Laureate Principles of non-equilibrium thermodynamics –H. Simon (1962) – Architecture of Complex Systems –H. Morowitz (1968) – Energy Flow in Biology: Systems forced through time to evolve increasingly complex cycles to transport energy/matter from sources to sinks –J.J. Kay (1984) – Self-organization in living systems –S. Salthe (1985, 1993) emergence in a scalar hierarchy –S. Kauffman (1993) – Origins of Order: "autocatalytic sets" "organization for free"

16 Personal Research Complexity theory: Hierarchically complex dissipative systems and the focal level (complex triad) HIGH LEVEL SYSTEM / ENVIRONMENT SYSTEM SUBSYSTEMS boundary conditions, constraints, regulations FOCAL LEVEL Possibilities initiating conditions universal laws "material - causes" Emergent properties Synthesis cannot predict higher level properties Behaviour is uncomputable Boundary conditions & constraints select Analysis can explain Stanley Salthe (1993) Development and Evolution: Complexity and Change in Biology

17 Personal Research Emergence of knowledge Cognition is the cybernetics of autopoiesis (Maturana) Emergence = establishment of a complex system at a new level in the hierarchy between two pre-existing levels of complexity (Salthe) Early autopoietic systems emerge close to thermodynamic equilibrium between coalescence/disintegration (Kauffman's autocatalytic sets) –Autopoietic systems produce more components that favour autopoiesis –Dis-integrationg systems lose history, but return components to the environment that have previously worked in autopoietic systems Knowledge of autopoiesis is inherent in the environment, thus shared promiscuously Promiscuity impedes specialisation because random components need to work together –Early reproduction requires only growth and fragmentation - where fragments would retain some of the parent's history Selection for self-stabilization evolves towards clonal reproduction away from equilibrium, to preserve structural history that worked Knowledge defines the nature and behaviour of the autopoietic system Meaning = knowledge of solutions to life embodied in dynamic structure Knowledge = heredity = historically accumulated 'information' controlling autopoietic cybernetics to regulate problem responses

18 Personal Research The nature and growth of autopoietic knowledge Turbulent flow from available energy (exergy) sources to entropy sinks forces conducting systems to become more organised (state of decreased entropy) - Prigogine, Morowitz, Kay and Schneider, Kauffman) Coalescent systems have no past. Self-regulatory/self- productive (autocatalytic) activities that persist for a time before disintegrating produce components whose individual histories "precondition" them to form autopoietic systems. Each emerged autopoietic system represents a tentative solution to problems of life. Those that dis-integrate lose their histories (heredity/knowledge). Stable systems are those whose tentative solutions enable them to persist indefinitely. Competition among such systems for resources is inevitable. Survivors thus perpetuate historically successful solutions into their self-produced structure to form dispositional or tacit knowledge (W2). Those that fail to solve new problems dis-integrate and lose their histories. Replication, transcription and translation. With semantic coding and decoding, knowledge can be preserved and replicated in physiologically inert forms for recall only when relevant to a particular problem of life. Objective knowledge may be shared across space and through time. - Howard Pattee ( ) series of papers; Luis Rocha (1995-) series of papers. Knowledge: a phenomenon of emergent and evolving autopoiesis Tentative solutions Coalescence / Emergence † Stable solutions Stabilised autopoiesis † Selected solutions Dispositional autopoiesis † Semiotic autopoiesis Knowledge sharing Shared solutions † Criticised solutions Dis-integration Integration Turbulence Evolutionary Stage

19 Personal Research Emergent orders of autopoietic complexity Presence of autopoietic system self-defines the focal level of a complex triad 1st order triad –Focal level = living cell –Subsystems/components = macromolecules –Supersystem/environment = dynamic medium/ecosystem/multicellular organisms 2nd order triad –Focal level = multicellular organism –Subsystems/components = living cells –Supersystem/environment = dynamic ecosystem 3rd order triad –Focal level = society of organisms (ants, bees, termites) –Subsystems/components = multicellular organisms –Supersystems/environment = dynamic ecosystem 3rd order triad –Focal level = human economic organization –Subsystems/components = entities with linguistic capabilities –Supersystems/environment = dynamic economy

20 Personal Research Reproduction, sex, and diversification (1) World 2 knowledge transmitted by the division of pre-existing dynamic structure –inescapable consequence of autopoiesis –entails some loss of computationally irreducible structure –depends on what parts of structure passed on Emergence of world 3 knowledge depends on evolution of codification systems –Autocatalytic nucleic acid polymers in emergence of first order autopoiesis. Nucleic acid polymers may have enzymatic and/or structural fns Autoreplication of polymer replicates the polymer's functions RNAs retain structural & enzymatic functions to apply control info DNAs codified control information into "genes" –Selective advantages for grouping genes into chromosomes Accurate replication Controlled segregation into daughter cells

21 Personal Research Reproduction, sex, and diversification (2) Clonal reproduction in prokaryotes –Clonal evol & differentiation of coadapted snippets in lineages –Advantage: Protected accuracy of existing world 3 knowledge –Disadvantage: Reduced ability to recombine tested knowledge from different sources in one lineage Sexual recombination totally independent from reproduction –Transformation (naked DNA absorbed from environment) –Transduction (viral transfer) –Conjugation (transfer of plasmid DNA via cell bridge) –Recognition of related & rejection of unrelated DNA sequences –Pairing & crossing over of homologous DNA Eukaryote DNA well isolated from external exchanges Choreographed cell & nuclear fusion –Choreographed recombination and assortment –Specialised knowledge allows emergence of biological speciation and gene pools as evolutionary entities

22 Personal Research Knowledge in higher order autopoiesis (1) Second order systems (multicellular organisms) –Clonal budding and alternation of generations common in lower orgs –W2 knowledge transmitted via structure of egg cell Learning reflected in structural connections of neurones and other aspects of dispositional structure (physiological adaptation) Most dispositional (somatic) learning cannot be transferred via sexual reproduction –Extended parental care can transfer some W2 knowledge via demonstration and copying (i.e., tacit exchange) –W3 knowledge in DNA All cells have same DNA Some DNA is control info for cell differentiation and development Only evolves via blind variation and selective elimination of carriers –W3 knowledge in extrasomatic heritage Evolution of semiotic/linguistic transfers Encoded objects

23 Personal Research Knowledge in higher order autopoiesis (2) Third order systems (societies, organizations) –Pubs: Hall 2003, 2005, 2006; Else 2004; Hall et al. 2005; Nousala et al, 2005; Dalmaris et al –W2 knowledge layout and capabilities of plant and machinery social network structure tacit organizational routines tacit personal knowledge cultural dynamics –W3 knowledge part of DNA at level of individual organisms encodes adaptations for social behaviours pheromonal trails, published inducements, etc. records and documents of organizational significance explicitly defined processes and procedures

24 Personal Research The organisation is a complex system in the environment Processes (which may be complex subsystems that are autopoietic in their own rights) are necessary responses to imperatives: –Survival –Self-maintenance of the processes themselves Constraints and boundaries(laws of nature determine what is possible) Processes The organisation's imperatives and goals Energy (exergy) Recruitment Materials Income Observations Entropy/Waste Products Departures Expenses Actions

25 Personal Research  Organisations (and other living things) are complex dissipative systems emerging from the medium  They consume environmental resources that are limited  Resources  People  Income  Sinks for entropically degraded materials/devalued energy  Competition limits survival Some concepts building on autopoiesis theory and Karl Popper's theory of knowledge WORLD 1 ("everything") Medium or supersystem Resources People Economics Information Constraints { Organisation 1 Organisation 3 Organisation 2 Organisation 4

26 Personal Research Material Reality WORLD 1 AUTOPOIETIC SYSTEM Embodied cybernetic knowledge WORLD 2 Constrain/Control Observe/Measure Recall ITERATION/SELECTION THROUGH TIME Produce Symbolically encoded knowledge/ memory WORLD 3 Knowledge in an autopoietic entity

27 Personal Research Emergent autopoietic vortexes forming world 2 and world 3 in a flux of exergy to entropy  Flux along the focal level  Exergy source Entropy sink Symbolic knowledge Embodied knowledge Autonomy Autocatalytic metabolism Material cycles

28 Personal Research Cognition (terms are meaningful in relation to autopoietic or artificially intelligent systems) Observation: Initial change induced within the autopoietic system by a perturbation Classification (/ decision): Process by which an induced change results in the system settling into one of alternative attractor basins on a landscape of potential gradients Meaning: The net result in the system due to the initial propagation and classification of an observation Coombe's Hierarchy (Australian Army Info Mgmt Manual) –Data: The atomic level of meaning –Information (first level of synthesis): Classified observations assembled into relationship structures –Knowledge (second level of synthesis): Semantically identified and linked information –Intelligence (third level of synthesis): Tentative theory(ies) about the world based on knowledge –Wisdom (fourth level of synthesis): Solutions after the elimination of errors through testing theories against the world –Strategic power (the result): Wisdom applied to control the world

29 Personal Research Coombe's hierarchy in the autopoietic entity Environment Autopoietic system Cell Multicellular organism Social organisation State Perturbations Observations (data) Classification Meaning An "attractor basin" Related information Memory of history Semantic processing to form knowledge Predict, propose Intelligence

30 Personal Research Another view Decision Medium/ Environment Autopoietic system World State 1 Perturbation Transduction Observation Memory Classification Evaluation Synthesis Processing Paradigm Assemble Response Internal changes Effect action Effect Time World State 2 Iterate Conscious OODA Loop in Material Terms Codified knowledge Observed internal changes

31 Personal Research Paradigm of the autopoietic organization (2) Nelson & Winter (1982): Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change –Postulated that organizational knowledge transcends knowledge of individual members to form organizational heredity to maintain the existence and behaviour of the organization (i.e., self-production). –Assumed this transcendent knowledge was tacit (Polanyi) physical layout routines contexts connections von Krogh and Roos (1995) Organizational Epistemology

32 Personal Research Existing users of Autopoiesis neglect World 3 Current paradigm of organizational autopoiesis –Blind spot: Maturana & Varela legitimately did not include reproduction in their minimal definition of autopoiesis –As stated the concept does not consider persistent heredity transcending the life of a single entity Nelson & Winter –Focus on tacit personal & organizational knowledge –Represents late 1970s early 1980s thinking As they were writing, world 3 organizational content largely consisted of data, information & transaction records, not knowledge Roles of persistent knowledge (heredity) to guide growth & maintenance of the living organization The exception is Hugo Urrestarazu (2004) On Boundaries of Autopoietic SystemsOn Boundaries of Autopoietic Systems –Three domains: phenomenological, "biological", "languaging –Funct. equivalent to Popper's 3 worlds

33 Personal Research Organisational knowledge in World 3 Persistent objects of corporate knowledge –Articles of incorporation & employment agreements –Contracts – s & correspondence –Graphics and drawings –Plans, records, process & procedure documents –Enacted workflow systems –Written history –Links & captured contexts –Databases –AV recordings World 3 comprises the bulk of organizational memory or heredity

34 Personal Research END


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