[ExI] Which direction does the arrow of time point in Conway's Game of Life?

Henrik Ohrstrom henrik.ohrstrom at gmail.com
Sat Jan 4 18:35:26 UTC 2020

Terry Pratchett, one of my favourite authors all time, hypothesed that you
walk through life backwards since you can see the past but not the future.

Den lör 4 jan. 2020 16:18John Clark via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> skrev:

> You don't have to invoke Quantum Mechanics or Relativity to figure out
> there are some funny things about time. In our world we, perhaps naively,
> believe the past exists and is knowable but the future doesn't exist in the
> same concrete way and we can only speculate what it will be like, but that
> may not be true everywhere. Conway's Game of Life has just a few very
> simple rules that are 100% deterministic, so given the current state it's
> easy to figure out what the next generation will be, and the generation
> after that and so on for as far into the future as you'd like, however it
> is not reversible. Given the present state there is no way to know what the
> previous state was, you can rule out some states but because more than one
> state could have produced the present one there is no way to know which one
> actually did.
> We also know that although ridiculously simple it's more than just a toy
> universe because the fundamental laws of physics in Conway's universe allow
> for the construction of a Universal Turing Machine; so at least in theory a
> AI could exist that lived entirely in Conways world and operated according
> to his simplified physics. To such a being the future would be certain and
> hold no mystery but the past could only be speculated about. To such a
> being would the arrow of time point in the opposite direction from the way
> we see it? I can't see why it wouldn't.
> John K Clark
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