Cells as computational complex systems
The thesis of this book by Braid is courageous but potentially brilliant: many of the attributes that we associate only to high-level organisms (which, to put them into one, are the capacity of creating an internal image of the external world) are
The thesis of this book by Braid is courageous but potentially brilliant: many of the attributes that we associate only to high-level organisms (which, to put them into one, are the capacity of creating an internal image of the external world) are actually present also at single cell level - in this liquid computational processing environment called wetware.
If you can excuse the fact that the style of Braid is boring, I guess partly because of the intrinsically hyper-descriptive character of biological trainings and expositions, then this book ranks as a potential gem. The author's opinion is essentially a corollary of recent developments and evidence of the computational power of chemical networks, particular of protein networks, enshrined and compartimentalized within membranes, that is within cells.
2 main reflections are in order, if the conjecture reveals true: 1) the central nervous system, to which we attribute the origin and control of such supposedly high-level behaviors, is not necessary to them, thus not probably its origin, as well, but more probably a refinement and structuralization of the sets of feedback and logical loops already working at molecular level; 2) mimicking molecular biology (liquid, carbon-based, energy-efficient, resource-efficient yet robust) in the perspective of artificial intelligence or, more simply, enhanced artificial computational power has still a lot to progress to reach evolution's achievements - though they can be back-engineered, eventually.
Recommended to newcomers and to those fascinated with networks in search for biological substrates to investigate.