Monday, 28 April 2014

What if it is all just boring?

I'm not troubled by the fact that there are (mathematical) problems which I do not understand. However, I'm deeply troubled that there are problems which I do understand and yet remain unable to solve.

Suppose the Universe is simply a big computer, a deterministic binary calculator, simple naive information, bit flips and other trivial operations. A machine which simply must exist like the value of pi must be whatever it is, something as simple (in relative terms) as natural numbers for some reason. Suppose we’ll never exceed the speed of light or build a time machine because the Universe doesn’t support those ideas. Suppose all known mysteries of math will have a straightforward closure. P=NP, co-primes can be factored in polynomial time, a perfect games of chess can be found, go gets solved. What goes up, must come down. All fundamental principles will be known. Standard model, quantum mechanics and relativity will merge to give us the theory of everything. Life is just a matter of complexity, mind nothing more than a complex machine, free will an illusion. Life after death doesn’t exit. Art is a simple pattern corresponding to our similarity, brain states, math, and evolutionary history of our species. Love just chemistry. Moore’s law hits a limit. Peace on earth, a cure for cancer. All predictable. All controllable by a perfect machine. AI will surpass human capacity in every way imaginable, but will reveal nothing fundamentally unexpected or unpredictable. Suppose normal biological death will be cured so we may live forever if we so desire and choose.

Then what?

What reason will there be to live? Other than perhaps the human compulsion, the need to feel, but will it be any different from the chemical high of heroin? Was it ever different? Ever noble? Does it need to be? Was it always arbitrary? When all is said and done, would it not be better to remain small, to remain stupid and weak, out of control, be able to forget so we might feel again like the first time? But is this not self deception? Does it have value? Does anything have value? Perhaps not really, but it may not matter, because we are small today and will undoubtedly remain small for years to come. Only in the far distant future can we hope to see far enough on our path to give meaningful answers to these questions.

What about living (forever)? Why does it have value? Why does continuity have value? Because I feel so? But why do I feel so? What difference does it make? Perhaps nothing, and it might be that living a million years would be enough, I wouldn’t know, I can't know, until I’ve lived a million years.

Perhaps you really can’t get an ought from an is. Perhaps it all is what it is, trivial.

I still wish I could have my millions of euros, millions of years and millions of lives, for some reason. I wish to be, do and will. And who’s to say there’s anything wrong with that.

But not to give up on hope entirely... There are still wondrous mysteries and things like the infinity appearing in all of math and science, and many wonderful problems, something which might imply the Universe is still a bit more complicated and wonderful than we can imagine. The quantum mechanics possibly implying there is a reality hidden from us containing an amount of information which is possibly infinitely greater than that which we can observe now (or not). Perhaps there is hope and the Universe is still much greater than we've ever been able to imagine. I just hope I get to experience someday at least some of that greatness.

Halting problem? What problem? It is well know that “...any finite-state machine, if left completely to itself, will fall eventually into a perfectly periodic repetitive pattern. The duration of this repeating pattern cannot exceed the number of internal states of the machine…”

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