Empirical evidence has proliferated that living systems might operate at the vicinity of critical points with examples ranging from spontaneous brain activity to flock dynamics. Such systems need to cope with and respond to a complex ever-changing environment through the construction of useful internal maps of the world. Here we employ tools from statistical mechanics and information theory to prove that systems poised at criticality are much more efficient in ensuring that their internal maps are good proxies of reality. Analytical and computational evolutionary models vividly illustrate that a community of such systems dynamically self-tunes toward a critical state either as the complexity of the environment increases or even upon attempting to map with fidelity the other agents in the community. Our approach constitutes a general explanation for the emergence of critical-like behavior in complex adaptive systems.
Emergence of criticality in living systems through adaptation and evolution: Practice Makes Critical
Jorge Hidalgo, Jacopo Grilli, Samir Suweis, Miguel A. Munoz, Jayanth R. Banavar, Amos Maritan