Is the Universe computing something?

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by arfa brane, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    BTW: I never said the slime mold solved the maze intelligently. It solved it probabilistically, but not by luck, it marked *dead ends*!
    Being that the slime mold has neither a brain nor a neural sytem, but is a single celled organism and even as it seems improbable, the conclusion must be that the organism itself can acquire a certain amount of pseudo-awareness, a natural ability for calculation by the organism.
    This was tested by exposing a moving mold string to an extended test of
    *regular periods* of cold air at *regular intervals*, which showed
    a) the slime mold slowed its movement (conserving energy) during exposure to cold.
    b) resumed its original movement when exposure to cold was not applied
    But then a surprise;
    c) the discovery that after several times of exposing the mold to this regular change of environment and duration of exposure, but then stopping exposure completely, the mold would still slow down and recover at the exact same rate as during the actual programmed exposures.

    The mold organism had somehow *learned* the regularity of the *necessity* to slow down in order to conserve energy and continued that same behavior for some time before this brainless organism *forgot* there ever was a regularity to which it *should* respond by slowing down and fully recovered its original natural behavior.

    For a short time, it not only remembered the *dynamics* of the *physical response*, but also the *time of occurrence* and the *duration of the occurrence* of the previously repeated exposures, a form of human programming of the behavior of a single celled organism.

    If this is true, the implications are enormous, IMO.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
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  3. river

    Why is this behavior ; surprising ?
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  5. Waiter_2001 Registered Senior Member

    "That is incorrect."-Posted by Origin. How so? I bet you cannot state a function that does not use those operators.


    Those operators are all there is. Even multiplication is a question mark (laughter to a minimum please):


    "...a pebble washed down a hill is not a computation."-Posted by DaveC

    Actually I disagree. The pebbles path may be described by mathematics so mathematics can describe a pebble rolling down a hill.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
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  7. river

    So what ?
  8. river

    AH....I see ; I think

    So the action of the pebble ; going down hill ; is; no I don't ; either of you care to explain your reasoning to the rest of us?
  9. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    From the resistance to the idea that such a concept can even be imagined.
    Well, IMO, all events, including the BB (by any other name) were, are, and will be preceded by a single common denominator. Potential, from which spring Probabilities and Implicates, eventually expresssed deterministically in our observable reality.
    This pre-universal condition itself has two names:
    In Theism it is called God , an uncalculabe metaphysically state of being with the intelligence and ability to create.
    In Science it is called Universal Potential, a calculable meta<->physical state of being with a pseudo-intelligence and ability to create.

    Would we ever know the difference.?

    The Universe is a giant computer and all naturally occurring phenomena have to folllow the chronology of the program, the mathematical hierarchies working their way up from the "infinetely subtle to gross expression in our physical reality", as far as we can measure or understand the data.
    The Universal mysteries are unraveling very slowly, now we can add *gravity waves* to find "common denominators (potentials). It appears to be an inherent potential, essential (nessesary) to spacetime fabric itself.

    There was no magic wand, we were possible and circumstances made us probable and evolution made us a supreme, with a few notable exceptions, intellectually advantaged over other bio-chemical constructs.
    A probability expressed in reality.

    But make no mistake, the human brain is but one expression of possible information sharing among a host of othere influences. It always comes down to: (inputs)->(processing)->(outputs), through a form of cumputation.. Is the unverse self aware? I don't know, but the fact remains that humans CAN experience self-awareness, which proves that the potential for our existence started with the BB, a slow Mathematical unfolding of our relationship with physical things, among an untold number of possible other mathematical ways and processes, but ariving at the same outcome (output)
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
  10. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

    You are willing to accept that poor evidence, I am not. When we build computational devices, we are attempting to emulate, with physical systems, the abstract, intellectual content of our mental efforts. This works with less than perfect success.

    Well, no. Because a) there is no input, and b) there is no output without human choice. We can make our own choices as to what the reading of the thermometer is, but this choice is in us, not the thermometer. We can, at best, say with some approximation what the thermometer is saying.
    The video is about the rules of logic. They only apply to our theories about the world, not to the world directly.
    So what? There is no symbolic input here, there is no symbolic output here. Even if one accepts that there is cause and effect, this does not mean that it is organized along symbolic lines, like it is in computation.

    Sure. I'll just refer to 2000 years of criticism.
    I'm sure that you will. Look around for prices, though, there is a wild difference between some sites!
  11. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Yeah, I completely agree with your argument from your viewpoint. the fault lies with me for not better explaining my viewpoint (semantics). As a consequence *the twain cannot meet*, with all due respect .
  12. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Immediate response to local conditions, like every other process in nature. The slime mold is doing nothing more than sensing its own trail, as laid down previously, and not flowing that way again.
    A platypus has a sense of time. Does that make it a computer?

    You are continually equating normal cause/effect flow of events in the natural world with computation.
  13. river

    If so ; the Universe is a giant computer ; why the will to survive in all living things ?
  14. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    The idea certainly seems to be polarising. If PhysBang and DaveC are right, only certain things qualify as computers.
    If Lloyd, Tegmark et al, are right, anything physical that we can define inputs and outputs in, is a computer.

    But PhysBang says this about a thermometer:

    So apparently, humans decide what inputs and outputs are. So it follows that humans decide what physicality is.
    Or humans have no choice; if something is physical, like a thermometer is, there is no decision about inputs and outputs, only how to interpret them.
    Write4U likes this.
  15. river

    And this all makes sense because........?

    Are we not getting carried away with computers and the concept of computers; so that we juxtaposition computers with life and me we are
  16. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    Yes, we probably are. However, what computation or calculation "are", are not concepts fixed for all time.

    What, would you suppose, was the first kind of calculation humans performed--when did we start 'calculating'? Where, today, is the best place to find an accurate, "no nonsense" description of a computer or a calculator? Is there now a definitive "flawless" description of what a computer is that will apply to all future computing machines that we design and build? Do you think designing and building a computer can solve a problem if the computer never runs? (trick question)
  17. river


    The basis of calculation based on our thinking and/or perspective.


    No idea

    Restricted logic

  18. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    I second that observation.
    I would go further back and ask what was the first act of computing before humans came along?
    Did *computation* start with humans? If so , by what process did the universe itself evolve sans humans?

    This entire conversation hangs on the concept that only humans can build *computers*, which IMO, is a narrow viewpoint of the ability to receiving; input (different values) -->processing (actual computation of the values contained in the received input) -->output (of the resulting *new* value or form) .

    example: joining two identical right angled triangles produces a square. IMO, that is not a calculation but a computation, even in the abstract.

    This process does not necessarily require a human built computer, but anything which is capable of such processing is in fact computing, even as this may not be an *intentional" act and may be achieved by other means than by a human built computer.

    The argument is made that only a *hardwired computer* can have this ability, and this is true for humans. But that is a prely subjective assumption.

    The reality is that most things in the universe are capable of processing information and act on or produce a result of such process.

    The universe is not a vacuum, it contains all the required components for making a computations in a generic context. It has a fundamental geometry, dynamic energetic values, specific laws (programs), and a permittive condition for a result to become expressed at every hierarchical step from quantum foam to physical expression as an object. The universe does not calculate, it computes, mindlessly and from necessity.

    I see the term *computing* as a perfect generic term, even for natural processes. We cannot use the term calculating because that would imply sentience.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016
  19. river

    To what I'm not sure

  20. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    I seconded the question if the abstract concept of *computing* is *strictly* a human activity and will remain a *fixed* definition for all time.

    But if computing is strictly a human activity, then how does the universe work and how would you *define* it? We still have no viable answer to that question.
  21. river

    Hmm I See ....
  22. river

    arfa brane its time you chimed in here.
  23. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    So, when you pour a glass of water into a tupperware container would you say the water is "computing and solving" the shape and volume of the container?

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