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"Or you may have heard people talking about "emergence" as if it could explain complex, functional orders. People will say that the function of an ant colony emerges - as if, starting from ants that had been selected only to function as solitary individuals, the ants got together in a group for the first time and the ant colony popped right out. But ant colonies have been selected on as colonies by evolution. Optimization didn't just magically happen when the ants came together."

There is nothing magical about emergence and emergence is a well document phenomena. In fact what is stated above is purely false the emergence in the ant colony example comes from the simpler less effectual units working together as more complex highly effectual whole. The idea of emergence is what forms part of the basis for swarm logic.

""Lo! When we make our artificial neurons noisy, just like biological neurons, they work better! Behold the healing life-force of entropy!""

One has to consider when one models a system what features one is trying to model and what ones to generalize away.

[some ad hominems deleted from an over-long comment]