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  • You need to take what Wolfram has to say with a very big dose of skepticism. First of all most of his stuff is not original. Benoit Mandelbrot outlined these ideas and much more in his books. That is why it is so funny that Mandelbrot was actually in the audience while Wolfram was speaking! Mandelbrot's book A Fractal Geometry of Nature opened everyone's eyes to the recursive (and therefore computable) underpinnings of biology. Others have taken his ideas and expanded them greatly. Some people (like Wolfram) though seem to take them too far and assume everything is computable. They forget just how large a role chance plays in these things. For example Mark Pagel just produced some remarkable research that shows that when species divide into two new species it is almost always due to single random events rather than slow evolutionary changes (see here).

    For a complete exploration of how randomness affects predictions (especially in financial markets) read Nassim Taleb's The Black Swan.
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