<div dir="ltr"><div dir="ltr"><br></div><br><div class="gmail_quote"><div dir="ltr" class="gmail_attr">On Thu, Apr 30, 2020 at 3:29 AM Ben Zaiboc via extropy-chat <<a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a>> wrote:</div><blockquote class="gmail_quote" style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0.8ex;border-left:1px solid rgb(204,204,204);padding-left:1ex"><div>
But ecosystems, or at least the ecosphere as a whole, tending toward
more complexity is an interesting idea. If true (which it seems, at
first glance, to be), then evolution <i>does</i> produce more
complexity. That's something I've never considered before, and I'm
wondering what the implications of it might be.</div></blockquote></div><div><br></div><div>### Complexity is built on complexity. As soon as some spots in the universe accumulate some complexity, more complexity can develop in those areas. </div><div><br></div><div>This goes beyond the living world and the ecosphere - it's a story arc that spans infinities.</div><div><br></div><div>I keep coming back in my thoughts to Wolfram's new physics. He starts with the simplest possible, irreducible entities and the simplest possible, irreducible operations, concepts seemingly devoid of a relationship to physics and yet he finds they are capable of generating analogues of surprisingly high-level physical concepts. In his vision, what the naive mind might see as simple things, such as space, vacuum, or electrons are in fact made of a stupendous number of irreducible objects/relationships. The humble electron has 10e35 pieces of math in it. The final, indivisible, elementary length is 10e58 times smaller than Planck length. It takes a lot of moving parts to create a quark, it takes millions of years to transform a soup of quarks into galaxies made of boring hydrogen, it takes billions of years to cook up heavier elements out of the hydrogen, it takes hundreds of millions of years to create planets with alkaline seeps in the primordial seas, hundreds of millions of years to create the first self-replicating creatures, it takes about a billion years before some of the creatures to develop nervous systems, then another 700 million years before some of the nervous systems invent the scientific method, then another 500 years before non-biological thinking can develop on the substrate of biological creatures... (You notice the abrupt change in time-scale here, from billions to hundreds of years? An interesting tidbit). </div><div><br></div><div>And what next?</div><div><br></div><div>I don't know what's next but it's clear that complexity has created more complexity since forever, every step of the way enabled only after mind-bogglingly large numbers of moving parts come together in just the right way. There is more complexity coming, if not in our neck of the woods, then somewhere else in the infinite garden of all self-consistent mathematical objects (yes, Jason, if you read it, I am a modal realist, too).</div><div><br></div><div>Wolfram's notion of time is much different from the concept of time in mainstream physics, including general relativity.
His measure of time as the number of elementary operations needed to create a hypergraph is incredibly appealing to me in an intuitive way. Time so conceived has a beginning but not an end, since hypergraphs are not limited in the number of elements they can contain. There is no end to complexity in general, although not all branches of the mathematical tree go on forever.</div><div><br></div><div>He is not the first thinker to come up with the "It from bit" idea but to the best of my knowledge he is the first researcher to move it from a neat quip, or Game of Life antics to an actual research program. I hope that more amazing things come out of it.</div><div><br></div><div>Rafal</div></div>