Title: What ants cannot do
Author: Eric Werner, Ph.D.
What is the relation between the complexity of agents and the complexity
of the goals that they can achieve? It is argued on the basis of a fundamental
conservation of complexity principle that
complex goals can only be achieved if either the agents or their environment
has a complexity of matching stature. This has consequences for research
programs in distributed artificial
intelligence, robotics and connectionism. After presenting a qualitative
theory of complexity of agent systems, we also critically investigate
the claims and the realities behind reactive agents, the subsumption architecture
(Brooks), and the view of plans as resources (Agre, Chapman, Suchman).
Finally, the implications of the complexity conservation principle for
the foundations of cosmology and complexity of the universe are discussed.
Puzzles appear whose possible solution relates the uncertainty principle
of quantum mechanics with the second law of thermodynamics.