[ExI] Public draft of my book 'Tales of the Turing Church'

Giulio Prisco giulio at gmail.com
Wed Oct 17 15:13:16 UTC 2018

Hi Stuart, comments inline below. I am copying giulio at turingchurch.net
because I am collecting comments received by email in that mailbox,
please do the same if you reply.

On Wed, Oct 17, 2018 at 4:05 AM Stuart LaForge <avant at sollegro.com> wrote:
> Giulio Prisco & John Clark wrote:
> >> Everett’s used to be my favorite interpretation of quantum mechanics. I
> >> am less sure now, because Everett assumes the universal validity of
> >> quantum mechanics, and perhaps it’s too soon to be sure that a theory
> >> developed in the early 20th century is the ultimate scientific model of
> >> reality.
> >
> > Quantum Mechanics can't be the ultimate scientific model of reality
> > because it says nothing about gravity, and we know nothing about Dark
> > Energy and Dark Matter except that its 95% of reality.
> MWI also has the advantage of being compatible with general relativity in
> a way that Copenhagen and its ilk cannot be: no FTL wave function collapse
> or universal time-dependence. Everett framed his theory as the universe
> splitting into multiple universes whenever a quantum experiment was
> conducted.
> That was the part of Everett's interpretation that I disliked the most
> until I realized that the math works out the same if universe doesn't
> split because all the possible universes are all already out there and
> there are an infinite number of them. (Causal cells remember?) Thereby
> making it unnecessary for there to be a universal "now" to orchestrate a
> wave function collapse or the universe splitting into two or other
> "quantum magic".
> That is to say, there is no reason to require that all the version(s) of
> you that measured the electron to be spin up and the version(s) of you
> that measured the electron to be spin down all conduct their respective
> identical experiments at the same time. All that matters is that they did
> the same experiment and got different results. Those quantum experiments
> can be entangled with one another no matter how far apart they are in time
> and space.
> Also, this timelessness of combined GR and modified MWI (causal cells)
> fits the Wheeler-Dewitt equation quite well.
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheeler%E2%80%93DeWitt_equation

Yes, and the WDW equation is the natural starting point for quantum
gravity and cosmology.
> If all possible causal cells (Everett branches) exist on the same infinite
> n-dimensional manifold, then the overall state of universe itself does not
> change because it does not need to because it already embodies all
> possibility at once.

This is, I think, what Everett really had in mind. He never used the
splitting universe picture.

> > I like Many Worlds because it doesn't have to explain what an
> > observer is or how consciousness works because it has nothing to do with
> > it.
> MWI doesn't need consciousness to work but consciousness is still a
> phenomenon worthy of study and explanation.
> >> An alternative reading of Everett is suggested by “Many Minds”
> >> interpretations (of Everett’s interpretation) where it’s an observer’s
> >> consciousness, rather than the universe, that splits in parallel
> >> streams unaware of each other.
> Nothing splits because there are infinite versions of every observer
> observing every possible outcome except for the ones for which they are
> not present. Nothing changes when you observe a quantum state except your
> knowledge. You are just narrowing down which causal cell you have been
> residing in all this time.
> > If mind is what brains do then Many Minds and Many Worlds are the same
> > interpretation because brains are made of matter.
> >
> >> I find irrational mechanics liberating. I agree with Rucker that
> >> whether the world is fully deterministic or not ([causally closed or
> >> open]) is a fundamental open issue, perhaps THE fundamental open issue
> >> in science.
> Causal cells are causally closed, but that is made up for by there being
> an infinite number of them in every possible variation. They float like
> bubbles in the endless continuum of space each with its own independent
> arrow of time.

See also Julian Barbour's "The End of Time."
> > As far as consciousness is concerned I don't think it matters much if
> > things are deterministic or not, we do what we do because of cause and
> > effect (for a reason) and we are rational,  or we do things for no reason
> > and we are irrational. To my mind there is a even deeper question than
> > determinism is the world realistic, that it to say do things exist in a
> > definite state before they are observed? We know from experimental
> > results that Bell's Inequality is violated, therefore we know for certain
> > that if the universe is deterministic then it can't be both local and
> > realistic, at least one of those 2 things must be false.
> If realism is false, then we live in a finite simulation that is being
> rendered on-the-fly on an as needed basis possibly to conserve
> energy/resources. Thus physical objects are given properties only when
> they are observed.
> If locality is false we live in a multiverse that is infinite in size,
> continuous in space, and containing a countably infinite number of
> causally closed pocket universes or causal cells. Moreover these causal
> cells are entangled with one another through a universal wave function
> possibly with the help of extra dimensions as claimed by string theory.
> >  I don't see how
> > locality could be wrong. If things were non-local a change anywhere would
> > instantly change everything everywhere and before you could understand
> > anything you'd have to understand everything. We certainly don't know
> > everything but we do know a few things and I don't see how we could if
> > things were non-local.
> String theorists propose as many as 14 dimensions. All it takes is for one
> of those extra dimensions to actually exist and opposite sides of the
> observable universe could be an inch apart through that extra dimension.
> Something like this must happen since opposite sides of the observable
> universe are in thermal equilibrium with one another despite having been
> causally separated from one another since the big bang.
> > And if things are not realistic then the moon
> > doesn't exist when nobody is looking at it, and that seems like too high
> > a price to pay for determinism.
> Computing every detail of the moon when nobody is looking at it is a waste
> of CPU cycles.

YES, and this is a very powerful argument for some kind of simulation theory.
> >> According to Hoyle, consciousness itself is a byproduct of the process
> >> of choosing a route - or, using Sir Fred's analogy, lopping the
> >> unrealized branches of the Everett tree.
> Yes, I agree that consciousness is correlated with agency.
> > Hoyle glosses over what he means by "choosing" but there are only 2
> > things it could mean, you made the choice you did for a reason or you
> > didn't, so you're either a Cuckoo Clockor a  roulette wheel, but we're
> > not going to learn much from that.
> Cuckoo clocks are a bad example here. Cuckoo clocks don't "choose"
> anything, they simply engage in periodic behavior. If anything we are more
> like thermostats than we are either cuckoo clocks or roulette wheels. In
> other words, we make choices based upon external input parameters.
> > I agree that consciousness is a
> > byproduct but not of choice of intelligence, if Darwin was right it has
> > to be. Evolution can't select for something it can't see and it can see
> > intelligence but it can't see consciousness any better than we can
> > directly see it in others, and yet I know for a fact random mutation and
> > natural selection produced at least one conscious being (me) and probably
> > many billions more. So consciousness must be a byproduct and is just the
> > way data feels like when it is being processed.
> I have some thoughts about the nature of intelligence and consciousness
> that I will go into in a separate thread as it is kind of down its own
> rabbit hole.
> >> I do NOT think that active consciousness and free will can arise in a
> >> Life universe.
> Well according to Conway you are right, Guilio. Conway wrote Life so that
> every state is used to compute a successor state, thus every state is
> solely a function of the previous state. Furthermore Conway published
> theorems regarding free will which defined it as the ability to make
> choices that are not a function of the past. Therefore, the cellular
> automata of Life do not have free will as defined by their creator.
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_will_theorem

In my favorite interpretation of the Conway-Kochen free will theorem
(see the last few chapters, from Eligo onwards), elementary quantum
events are "atoms of consciousness." These atoms of elementary
consciousness may condense in more complex forms of consciousness.
> Whether Conway's definition of free will is correct or not is debatable,
> but I can deliberately choose to say a non-sequitur or do something
> unpredicatbly spontaneous. Therefore I have what Conway calls free will
> and so do certain subatomic particles.
> > We know you can make a Turing Machine in the Life universe and if you can
> > do that then you can make make a intelligent machine and if you did that
> > you've got a conscious machine, or at least you do unless Darwin was
> > wrong. I don't think he was wrong.
> That does not follow at all. A Turing Machine is a convenient abstract
> mathematical object that is horribly innefficient compared to real
> computers. Furthermore a Turing Machine is like a combination of hardware
> and software so every possible algorithm is its own Turing Machine. So if
> I can implement a Turing Machine to add integers in Life, it does not
> necessarily mean that I can use Life to run Windows or John Clark.
> Just because given an infinite amount of time, an intelligence could be
> computed on an abacus does not qualify the abacus as intelligent or
> conscious. It certainly could not escape a hungry tiger.

My point, following Tegmark and others, is that consciousness is a
state of matter.
> >> super-determinism should be called just determinism:
> >
> > I don't agree. Determinism just means if you know the laws of physics and
> > the initial conditions then you can figure out exactly what the future is
> > going to be, but it says nothing specific about what those specific
> > conditions are. But Super-determinism says that out of the astronomical
> > and possibly infinite number of states the universe could have stared out
> > with when it was born it just happened to be in the one and only state in
> > which after 13.8 billion years if would cause us to be fooled and make us
> > thing things were not deterministic when they really are. Although not
> > logically impossible that seem to me to be astronomically improbable,
> > maybe infinity so.
> Maybe all perceived randomness is simply ignorance of an implicit order
> too large to wrap our heads around. Like the distribution of prime numbers
> which are perfectly deterministic yet maddeningly unpredictable.
> Stuart LaForge
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