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Flock Theory: A New Model of Emergent Self-Organization in Human Interaction
Unformatted Document Text:  Flock Theory 3 "...and the thousands of fishes moved as a huge beast, piercing the water. They appeared united, inexorably bound to a common fate. How comes this unity?" --Anonymous, 17th century Introduction At the very heart of human communication is cooperation, more specifically emergent cooperation. Whether the situation is a regular conversation, an Internet chat room, or an improvisational performance, communication is an emergent and evolutionary process. The nature of emergent systems translates to communicative systems in that a system can only emerge if the components of the system interact in a communicative manner. These components can be agents in computer simulations or humans in an improvisational music group, but in either case, interaction is fundamental as the basis for emergent interaction. Emergence theorists have outlined the some of the substantive elements of these evolutionary systems because the nature of the states of the entities of the systems in contexts are fairly well defined. Yet, there is a lack of understanding of the properties of how these entities operate within the emergent context, or what role communication plays. To fill this gap, Flock Theory is introduced. Flock Theory models the cooperative evolution of human interaction via communication. A combination of self-organizing systems theory, network theory, and emergence theory, Flock Theory bridges across interdisciplinary boundaries. Conceived to model jazz improvisation and catalyzed by a computer graphics simulation of bird flocks, this theory pulls from several unique sources. The literature covered in this paper attempts to explicate and also serve as a call for research in capturing the essence of Flock Theory. This paper provides a definition of emergence and its relation to scientific explanation, along with commentary on the shortcomings of emergence theory to date. Next, organizational

Authors: Rosen, Devan.
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Flock Theory 3
"...and the thousands of fishes moved as a huge beast, piercing the water. They
appeared united, inexorably bound to a common fate. How comes this unity?"
--Anonymous, 17th century
Introduction
At the very heart of human communication is cooperation, more specifically emergent
cooperation. Whether the situation is a regular conversation, an Internet chat room, or an
improvisational performance, communication is an emergent and evolutionary process. The
nature of emergent systems translates to communicative systems in that a system can only
emerge if the components of the system interact in a communicative manner. These components
can be agents in computer simulations or humans in an improvisational music group, but in
either case, interaction is fundamental as the basis for emergent interaction.
Emergence theorists have outlined the some of the substantive elements of these
evolutionary systems because the nature of the states of the entities of the systems in contexts are
fairly well defined. Yet, there is a lack of understanding of the properties of how these entities
operate within the emergent context, or what role communication plays. To fill this gap, Flock
Theory is introduced. Flock Theory models the cooperative evolution of human interaction via
communication. A combination of self-organizing systems theory, network theory, and
emergence theory, Flock Theory bridges across interdisciplinary boundaries. Conceived to
model jazz improvisation and catalyzed by a computer graphics simulation of bird flocks, this
theory pulls from several unique sources. The literature covered in this paper attempts to
explicate and also serve as a call for research in capturing the essence of Flock Theory.
This paper provides a definition of emergence and its relation to scientific explanation,
along with commentary on the shortcomings of emergence theory to date. Next, organizational


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