Monday, 9 September 2013

Decision making for microbes

A long, long time ago, in a life far far away, I spent several years working as a researcher in the life sciences.  When I shifed into information sciences, I found myself looking at aspects of the subject from a biologist's perspective.  

One of the aspects that I found myself considering was that of decision making.  Living things benefit if they can make best use of the resources that surround them.  To do so, they need information.  Or so I suggested in a paper that I wrote ten years ago (Madden, 2004) in which I argued that when organisms evolved the ability to move (and possibly before), they evolved a need for information.  

As is always the case at the discussion meetings, the talk went in some interesting directions.  Unsurprisingly I was pulled up for my lax use of the term "World View".  I had quoted Checkland's assertion that "Judging from their behaviour, all beavers, all cuckoos, all bees have the same W[orld View], whereas man has available a range of W[orld View]s." (Checkland, 1984, p218).  It was, I conceded in the discussion, a questionable assertion that I had not questioned.

Checkland, P.B. (1984). Systems Thinking, Systems Practice 2nd Edn. Chichester:

Madden, A. D. (2004). Evolution and information. Journal of Documentation,60(1), 9-23.

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