Are Synergetic Systems (Including Brains) Machines

  • Hermann Haken


Synergetic systems are natural or artificial systems which can spontaneously form spatial, temporal, or functional structures via self- organization. Examples are provided by open physical or chemical systems, such as lasers, fluids or special chemical reactions, but they comprise also biological and economic systems. As has been revealed within the interdisciplinary field of synergetics, a great many self-organizing processes are governed by the same basic principles irrespective of the nature of the component subsystems. More recently it has been shown that EEG data for the brain and the results of psychophysical experiments can be modelled by means of the methods of synergetics. Furthermore, computers for the recognition of patterns, such as faces, have been developed. Since all these processes are governed by the same principles, they can be realized on a variety of substrates including physical devices such as the laser, which clearly is used as a tool. On the other hand the question immediately arises as to whether cognitive abilities can be described as the result of the action of a machine. Are there different levels of our interpretation of machines, which start from a simple level and eventually lead us to information processing at a high abstract level


Steel Ball Light Wave Laser Wave Interdisciplinary Field Construction Principle 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1993

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  • Hermann Haken

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