Notes on David Krakauer's interview on Jim Rutt Show

Publish date: 2019-10-08

These are my notes from Jim Rutt’s excellent podcast with David Krakauer. Errors and omissions are my own. All credit goes entirely to David and Jim.

David Krakauer is the President of the Santa Fe Institute, where he studies the evolution of intelligence and stupidity in the universe. Jim Rutt is the host of the Jim Rutt Show and Chairman of the Santa Fe Institute.

The Santa Fe Institute was founded in the mid-80s to apply the mathematical methods developed in theoretical physics and computer science to solve problems in the “complex” social and biological sciences. Complexity science is the domain of adaptive phenomena. The components of a complex system adapt to their environment over time. Examples include neurons in a brain, birds in a flock, and traders in a stock market.

Complex systems defy reductionist explanations:

Complicated systems are different from complex ones:

David believes top-down causality is “unnecessarily mystified” and inherently flawed:

The differences between simple vs. complex causality:

David on complex time:

Jim and David discuss science overall: more science is data-driven with relatively little regard to theory

David doesn’t believe in true Artificial General Intelligence (AGI)

David’s current research: the evolution of intelligence and stupidity in the universe.

David’s previous work on the role of policing in maintaining social stability:

David’s work on mimetics: the mimetic propagation of constitutions over time

How does complexity science affect people’s lives?


David recently released a book of essays called Worlds Hidden in Plain Sight which I highly recommend.