Monday, 15 April 2019

Born to do Math 116 - Suppose the Universe is a Cow, Suppose a Cow is Information

Born to do Math 116 - Supposed the Universe is a Cow, and Suppose a Cow is Information
Scott Douglas Jacobsen & Rick Rosner
April 15, 2019

[Beginning of recorded material]

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: I was listening to a lecture. The comedic punchline by Krauss was "suppose a cow is a sphere." Similarly, if we assume are looking at a quantum mechanical universe, at an information-based universe, an homage would be "suppose the universe is a computer."

I am echoing Seth Lloyd. We've have done conversations on this. We can build classical computers in the universe. We can build quantum computers in the universe. The question is, "The universe is a computer. But what kind of computer?"

Rick Rosner: So, the problem with this kind of thinking is everybody gets this feeling. People who think about how the universe works or people who have some knowledge of physics, and quantum mechanics, get the idea that information is very entangled in what the universe is.

When people try to popularize it, the universe for lay people; you get these analogies. The universe is a computer. The universe is a hologram. But that's usually where it stops, or "the universe is made of information."

But then everybody hits a stopping point, eventually, we believe that there will be a theory that makes explicit all these hand-wavey metaphors. But that theory doesn't exist yet. It badly needs to exist. Quantum mechanics is a theory of how limited information, non-infinite information, propagates through a system with weirdly initially paradoxical appearances.

When quantum mechanics was invented 100 years ago, the effects of some of the consequences or some of the experimental results, and the theoretical results, freaked out the scientists of the time who had grown up under determinism and thinking of the universe in terms of infinite precision.

Because one of the big questions for the 200 years before quantum mechanics was invented, "Is the universe entirely deterministic?" Is it a clockwork universe? That is, if you knew one moment of the universe, could you predict every subsequent moment based on extrapolating the paths of every object within the universe?

Given that the universe is infinitely precise, you should be able to do that. It should be a clockwork universe. It is that there is no new information. Information wasn't really a concept before the 20th century.

But nothing new comes out of the universe. One moment plays into the next moment inevitably with no choice. There is only one next moment and a whole string of these forever. People ask, "Is that the deal with the universe? How could it not be?"

You had some scientists or the scientists who grew up in science had this background. As they explored the non-deterministic effects of quantum mechanics, it was confounding. Einstein was famously frustrated by the idea of chance in the universe.

That new information could sneak into the universe via arbitrary quantum events happening. That an atom decays now instead of 2 seconds from now. That there is no determining factor except for randomness.

He hated that. At least, he hated certain aspects of that. The scientists of the 30s kept looking for hidden causes for what has now been accepted as perfectly mathematically indeterminate events. Claude Shannon in 1948 came up with Information Theory.

He is the one who codified what a lot of people were thinking. He took hold and mathematicized information, but information as a precise idea is only 70 years old. We have yet to figure out how that information is part of the universe.

There is a basic argument of what else could the universe be made of besides pure information because the information is what's left when you strip everything else away. Information is the choice between states or at least it is expressed that way in information theory.

When you strip the universe down to its basic components, you can argue - though I can't because I didn't sleep that well and so my sleeping is not that precise even when I do get enough sleep - the extra stuff that the universe is made of besides information is nothing.

It is a basic existence. Although, you could argue because, in IC, we speculate or postulate that there has to be a support structure external to the universe and in an entirely different space that contains the information that the universe is made out of.

You could argue that the universe is pure information. The support structure, the brain say, that holds the thoughts that are the universe. That thing is a material structure. That thing, while you can do the infinite regress, or that information is something in another universe separate from our own.

You can argue that the hardware is, in essence, in itself pure information if you strip it down enough. The universe is hardware. You can argue that that armature universe, or hardware and supporting universe, can game the system.

It can simulate a universe of pure information that is being made up Matrix-style. To have a good Matrix universe or a good simulated universe, the universe in the Matrix movies is a shitty simulated universe because people are constantly being able to Red Pill that universe and to see the world behind the world.

It is glitchy. It is permeable. You can tear it apart. You can easily find out that it is base reality. All of the heroes of the Matrix movie tear apart that simulated universe. A decent simulated universe will not give itself away.

It can't, to operate as a universe. You can't be violating the rules of physics willy-nilly. You would have to be able to sneak in to game the universe externally. But you can do it at the quantum level without giving anything away and without violating the rules of quantum mechanics.

The things that are indeterminate within a pure information universe can be determined from outside that universe as long as the determining follows Bell's Principle, I think. That it is not a systematic thing or maintains certain rules of randomness.

Here is where I get really ignorant, Bell's Inequality proves that you cannot have hidden correlations among the quantumly indeterminate events in the universe. In other words, you can't have findable hidden clockwork.

But you can have, I believe, non-findable hidden clockwork. If the new information entering the universe via indeterminate events becoming determined over the passage of time - that is, you don't know when the nucleus is going to decay and the time passes and, at some point, it decays, an indeterminate event becomes determined over time.

So, you don't know the final score of the game until the game is played. Information is introduced into the universe as indeterminate and becomes determined as part of the history of the universe. Bell's Inequality says that you cannot find correlations among these randomly determined quantum events.

That there is no hidden clockwork to be found. However, if the universe is made of information, and if that information reflects a sensing, a simulating, a processing, of information about a world external to our universe by some vast information processing entity - that is, the universe as a giant computer or a giant mind - thinking about something else or receiving information from the hardware world that supports it and thinking about the hardware world/processing information about the hardware world, information will largely conform to Bell's Inequality.

The information coming from a huge external world will appear to be pretty perfectly uncorrelated. We within the world are not going to be able to see the hidden clockwork, seeing the hidden clockwork would violate the rules of quantum mechanics.

There is still room for simulation. The mind or the computer that is the universe can be fed simulated information. That simulated information can be seen as perfectly real as long as it is high-quality simulated information.

I would postulate that the universe is being gamed in a couple of ways. One of them is the quantum events that seem random to us are, actually, the registering of new information entering the information processor from the hardware world.

The world that contains the hardware that the information processor is thinking about. That's game one. That the universe is actually getting systematized information that we cannot perceive as systematized because we are not in the hardware world.

The information that is so unpredictable because it reflects a real-world elsewhere that it conforms to the random rules of quantum mechanics. No hidden variables, so, there is an entire hidden universe of sufficient complexity that we cannot find from our universe.

We can only treat it as at the quantum mechanical level as a bunch of perfectly randomized potential future events. So, that's game one. The whole other world gaming a whole bunch of quantum events in our world because those quantum events reflect the actual gathering of information from that external world, which is itself a completely ordered universe itself.

Game two is that since we're just brains that are at the mercy of our perceptions. We are being told via our perceptions that we are the naturally evolved beings in a naturally originating universe. But we could - it's possible - be matricized. Everything could be simulated, partially that or only that.

Game one is a mind or an information processing entity receiving naturally occurring information. Game two is "yeah, it doesn't have to be entirely naturally occurring. If it is good enough, we can't tell the difference."

In any case, quantum mechanics is gamed because what we see as random quantum events are perhaps perceived by the information processing entity that is the universe whose information we're built from as the information is manifested as spacetime and matter; our quantum events are reflections, are perceptions, of events happening in an entire other universe.

Is that enough of that?

The deal is that all this goofy hand-waving can be put and will be put on a more solid mathematical basis - and everyone else's handwaving, including Krauss's, and Wheeler's It From Bit, Ed Fredkin, and everyone saying the universe is a giant information - once we figure out how to do it.

It is a thing that I solidly believe is a thing and is decodable. We can't decode the individual meaning of every frickin' atom in the universe. Every atom in the universe might not have individual meaning. The universe may be sufficiently holographic that not every single particle and every single quantum event signifies something, but what they signify in the aggregate.

It is something that we should talk about more. If the universe signifies in the aggregate rather than "this galaxy here is a map of the concept of orangeness" and "this galaxy over here is a map of linear motion" and "this galaxy handles the concept of perspective within this giant information processing entity," or if not every part of the universe is precisely signified here or there but in the aggregate holographically, then that probably gives the universe more leeway to have us in it.

If not every quantum event individually signifies, then this might give the universe sufficient looseness for us to come into existence, and the equivalence between the universe and an information processing entity at the same time that it is matter; that equivalence may be sufficiently loose to allow more stuff to happen the point of that stuff being us.

The end.

[End of recorded material]


Rick Rosner

American Television Writer
Rick Rosner

(Updated March 7, 2019)

According to semi-reputable sources, Rick Rosner has the world’s second-highest IQ. He earned 12 years of college credit in less than a year and graduated with the equivalent of 8 majors. He has received 8 Writers Guild Award and Emmy nominations, and was named 2013 North American Genius of the Year by The World Genius Registry.

He has written for Remote ControlCrank YankersThe Man ShowThe EmmysThe Grammys, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!. He worked as a bouncer, a nude art model, a roller-skating waiter, and a stripper. In a television commercial, Domino’s Pizza named him the "World’s Smartest Man." The commercial was taken off the air after Subway sandwiches issued a cease-and-desist. He was named "Best Bouncer" in the Denver Area, Colorado, by Westwood Magazine.

Rosner spent much of the late Disco Era as an undercover high school student. In addition, he spent 25 years as a bar bouncer and American fake ID-catcher, and 25+ years as a stripper, and nearly 30 years as a writer for more than 2,500 hours of network television. He came in second or lost on Jeopardy!, sued Who Wants to Be a Millionaire over a flawed question and lost the lawsuit. He won one game and lost one game on Are You Smarter Than a Drunk Person? (He was drunk). Finally, he spent 37+ years working on a time invariant variation of the Big Bang Theory. 

Currently, Rosner sits tweeting in a bathrobe (winter) or a towel (summer). He lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife, dog, and goldfish. He and his wife have a daughter. You can send him money or questions at LanceversusRick@Gmail.Com, or a direct message via Twitter, or find him on LinkedIn, or see him on YouTube.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing
In-Sight Publishing

(Updated September 28, 2016)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen founded In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott:, Scott.Jacobsen@TrustedClothes.Com, Scott@ConatusNews.Com,, Scott@Karmik.Ca, or SJacobsen@AlmasJiwaniFoundation.Org.

He is a Moral Courage Webmaster and Outreach Specialist (Fall, 2016) at the UCI Interdisciplinary Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics and Morality (Ethics Center), Interview Columnist for Conatus News, Writer and Executive Administrator for Trusted Clothes, Interview Columnist for Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), Councillor for the Athabasca University Student Union, Member of the Learning Analytics Research Group, writer for The Voice MagazineYour Political Party of BCProBCMarijuana Party of CanadaFresh Start Recovery CentreHarvest House Ministries, and Little Footprints Big Steps International Development Organization, Editor and Proofreader for Alfred Yi Zhang Photography, Community Journalist/Blogger for Gordon Neighbourhood House, Member-at-Large, Member of the Outreach Committee, the Finance & Fundraising Committee, and the Special Projects & Political Advocacy Committee, and Writer for Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Member of the Lifespan Cognition Psychology Lab and IMAGe Psychology Lab, Collaborator with Dr. Farhad Dastur in creation of the CriticalThinkingWiki, Board Member, and Foundation Volunteer Committee Member for the Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation, and Independent Landscaper.

He was a Francisco Ayala Scholar at the UCI Ethics Center, Member of the Psychometric Society Graduate Student Committee, Special Advisor and Writer for ECOSOC at NWMUN, Writer for TransplantFirstAcademy and ProActive Path, Member of AT-CURA Psychology Lab, Contributor for a student policy review, Vice President of Outreach for the Almas Jiwani Foundation, worked with Manahel Thabet on numerous initiatives, Student Member of the Ad–Hoc Executive Compensation Review Committee for the Athabasca University Student Union, Volunteer and Writer for British Columbia Psychological Association, Community Member of the KPU Choir (even performed with them alongside the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra), Delegate at Harvard World MUN, NWMUN, UBC MUN, and Long Beach Intercollegiate MUN, and Writer and Member of the Communications Committee for The PIPE UP Network.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.


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