D84PBB NGC 6888, Crescent Nebula.

Crescent Nebula: More complex than the human brain?

Reinhold Wittich/Stocktrack Images/Public

In 2012, neuroscientist Christoph Koch wrote in his book Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist that the human brain is “the most complex thing in the known universe.” Given that the brain contains about 86 billion neurons, connected in ways we are only beginning to uncover, this seems intuitive. But when I put it. David Wolpert At the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico — built in the 1980s as a center for the emerging field of complexity science — he doesn’t see it that way. “It’s almost ridiculous to entertain that we are the most complex system in the universe,” he says. “The question is actually on the wrong end.”

Nevertheless, I persevere. Surely, there is some general measure of complexity that can be applied to all kinds of complex systems? After all, if you zoom in, clusters of galaxies and the filaments connecting them look like tangled circuits of neurons. There are almost as many neurons in the human brain as there are galaxies in the observable universe. This similarity in form may have something to do with the general laws by which complexity emerges, say. Rickard Sol at Pompeo Fabra University in Barcelona, ​​Spain. Or it may not. “Coincidentally, it can appear in both systems, but it doesn’t mean anything,” he says.

Also, complexity is not defined by components and their interactions. The idea is that Sara is more than…