It’s funny I had this idea of a brain composed of people instead of neurons just a few days ago.
Nicolas Patschkowski
2

Sorry that I’m answering so late. I find Medium’s notifications a bit confusing, and sometimes I don’t realise in time that there was a comment on an article.

You are right about that effect. It’s known as “emergence.” The idea is: Sometimes complex systems are made up of many parts that interact according to specific rules (like the systems you name). Such systems often show new behaviours as a whole that cannot be sufficiently explained or predicted if one knows only about the properties of the parts. Or, more catchy: The whole is more than the sum of its parts.

Here are two interesting papers looking deeper into the phenomenon:

http://people.reed.edu/~mab/papers/weak.emergence.pdf

https://www.google.com.hk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&ved=0ahUKEwi0mNPQt9PUAhXLNpQKHeYvDmUQFgg2MAM&url=http%3A%2F%2Fold-classes.design4complexity.com%2F7701-S14%2Freading%2Fcritical-thinking%2FTypes-and-Forms-of-Emergence.pdf&usg=AFQjCNGHOgE4hMs9ucT21fv0_39kGiVt2A

Thanks and best wishes! — A.

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