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David Brown

Registered: May 2009
Posts: 180

NKS, computation, consciousness, psychology, and philosophy

What is the ultimate significance of “A New Kind of Science” (NKS), Mathematica, and Wolfram Alpha?
http://www.ted.com/talks/stephen_wo...everything.html Stephen Wolfram: Computing a theory of everything; TED talk posted Apr. 2010
The most precious resource on our blue planet is our consciousness. — Simon Lewis
http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_lewi...or_granted.html Simon Lewis: Don’t take consciousness for granted; TED talk posted July 2011
There is no real distinctiveness of your consciousness from somebody else’s consciousness. — V. S. Ramachandran
http://www.ted.com/talks/vs_ramacha...vilization.html V. S. Ramachandran: The neurons that shaped civilization; TED talk posted Jan. 2010
Does the multiverse somehow compute consciousness? Does consciousness somehow compute the multiverse? What are the implications of Wolfram’s “A New Kind of Science” for psychology and philosophy?
Consider 4 ideas:
(1) The study of simple computer programs might be just as important as mathematics and physics.
(2) Simple computer programs are often capable of generating enormous complexity.
(3) Our universe might be part of a multiverse that is mathematically isomorphic to a finite automaton.
(4) The ideas in Wolfram’s “A New Kind of Science” might be as transformative as the ideas in Newton’s “Principia” or Darwin’s “Origin of Species”.
Consider 3 more ideas:
(1) More is different. — Philip W. Anderson
(2) Psychology reduces to biology reduces to chemistry reduces to physics reduces to computation of information.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxJGc9up7YA The finite Nature (Ed Fredkin) cited by Tommaso Bolognesi at JOUAL round table
(3) The opposite of a simple fact is a falsehood. But the opposite of a profound truth is another profound truth. — Niels Bohr
Does molecular psychology reduce to molecular biology? How might it be possible to make a decisive empirical test of the guess that physics reduces to computation of information? Is nature finite and digital? Is NKS Chapter 9 basically correct? How might NKS affect you personally? If you wrote down your own personal list of the 7 most important ideas, then what would be on the list? Is there some collection of simple ideas in philosophy and psychology that are somewhat analogous to the most important simple computer programs?
Consider 4 insights:
(1) Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. — Leonardo da Vinci
(2) The greatest discovery is discovering what people want. — Thomas Edison
(3) One of the keys to success in business is to look at things from the other person’s point of view. — Henry Ford
(4) Only the inadequate student fails to exceed the teacher. — Leonardo da Vinci
Would it be a good idea for you to make a list of what you really want, what the people you care about really want, who your main roles model are, and what are the simple, important lessons that you can learn from your role models? Should you continually ask yourself simple, important questions?
Kubrick’s vision seemed to be that humans are doomed, whereas Clarke’s is that humans are moving on to a better stage of evolution. — Marvin Minsky, “The Emotion Machine”
What is the human future? Should people try to discover the best ways of asking questions and finding answers? If you are confronted by some entity, action, or idea, then should you ask: What is good about it? What is bad about it? Why is it important? Can Socrates help us to understand what should be done and what should not be done? Can Leonardo da Vinci help us discover the human future? Can Crick help us understand molecular biology and molecular psychology? Can Wolfram help us understand how to use simple computer programs? Can simple computer programs help us understand how to store, transport, and retrieve energy? Are there three basic ways of storing energy: gravitational potential (e.g. water tower), electrical potential (e.g. electric battery), and kinetic (e.g. flywheel)? Can simple computer programs help us to implement the basic ways of storing energy in terms of nanotechnology? Can a few simple rules describe all of nature? Can simple computer programs help us to understand philosophy, psychology, and how to organize all knowledge? According to Taine, any subject can be summarized at any desired degree of brevity. What might be the best way to organize a 20 volume summary of all knowledge? Let us say that each volume should have about 500 pages. Ten thousand pages might be divided among one thousand domains of knowledge. The thousand domains of knowledge might be then summarized in a 2 volume digest with 100 domains of knowledge. Finally the 100 domains might be divided among 10 domains of knowledge and summarized in a 100 page booklet with 10 headings. What might be the best way of thinking about knowledge under 10 basic headings? Could the 10 fundamental domains consist of the following: (1) philosophy, (2) mathematics, (3) natural history, (4) computer science, (5) physics, (6) chemistry, (7) engineering, (8) biology, (9) psychology, and (10) the arts and humanities? Is every human brain a particular type of encyclopedic summary of knowledge? Should every encyclopedia begin with philosophy and the most important questions? Does every domain of knowledge have a simple, useful network of organization with principles, ideas, goals, rules, procedures, methods, or feedback mechanisms? Are simplicity and consciousness the two greatest challenges?
To Thales all things were filled with gods, to an economist all things are filled with goods, and to Socrates all things were filled with questions. — David Brown
Is every question merely a theory that is not sure where it is going? Are philosophers merely theorists who lack a feedback mechanism?
Face reality as it is, not as it was or as you would like it to be. — Jack Welch
The new theory must incorporate the old theory and say something more. — Sheldon Glashow
Is every new theory merely the better or worse offspring of an old theory? Does a new theory usually arise from a dialogue between new problems and an old theory? Does a theory have two main characteristics: what is says and what it doesn’t say?
The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said. — Peter Drucker
Have you listened to what you might have said? Should you think, speak, and act according to what your best principles tell you?
Management by objective works — if you know the objectives. Ninety percent of the time you don’t. — Peter Drucker
What objectives are most important for the future?
We will succeed in reverse-engineering the human brain in the 2020s. — Ray Kurzweil
http://www.ted.com/talks/ray_kurzwe...ansform_us.html Ray Kurzweil on how technology will transform us; TED talk posted Nov. 2006
Spatial resolution of brain scanning is doubling every year. — Ray Kurzweil
http://www.ted.com/talks/ray_kurzwe...university.html Ray Kurzweil announces Singularity University; TED talk posted June 2009
Are simple, important ideas very often dangerous? Are questions often more important and more dangerous than facts or scientific ideas? Should you ask yourself the following 7 questions?
(1) Who are your 4 most important role models?
(2) What are your 4 most important goals?
(3) What are your 4 most important principles?
(4) How can you invest your time and money wisely?
(5) How can you optimize your thoughts and behaviors?
(6) What are the 7 most important questions that are most important to you?
(7) What is the best list of the 7 most important questions?
… it’s a myth that there’s any such thing as purely logical, rational thinking — because our minds are always affected by our assumptions, values, and purposes. — Marvin Minsky, “The Emotion Machine”, p. 5
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex … It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction. — Albert Einstein
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CC7Sg41Bp-U E = m c-squared: Einstein explains his famous formula; YouTube
If you study the careers of the most successful people, then do you find that they tend to be mavericks who plan more, think more, and work more than most people?
If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much. — Jim Rohn
What do you need to do and discover? What are the most important things that might be done or discovered?
“A New Kind of Science” describes a vast array of remarkable new discoveries made by thinking in terms of programs — and how these discoveries force a rethinking of the foundations of many existing areas of science. — Stephen Wolfram
What is the science of money? What is the science of the love of money? Is the love of money the root of all evil? Is the love of money the root of all motivation? What are the implications of science and technology for our motivations and opportunities? What is the most important implication of Wolfram’s “A New Kind of Science” (NKS)? Is NKS as important as the California Gold Rush of 1849? Do ideas have one of three characteristics: useless, misleading, or money-making?
Number one, cash is king … number two, communicate … number three, buy or bury the competition. — Jack Welch
Honesty is the best policy unless there’s money involved. — Mark Twain
My greatest strength as a consultant is to be ignorant and ask a few questions. — Peter Drucker
The business schools reward difficult complex behavior more than simple behavior but simple behavior is more effective. — Warren Buffett
Are simple ideas and actions usually the best of all? Is the truth simple? Is the truth complicated? When the many say that truth is their religion, then are they bluffing? When the few, like Einstein, say that truth is their religion, then are they not bluffing? Ask yourself the following two questions: If truth is not your religion, then is your religion not quite the best? If simplicity is not your goal, then is your goal not quite the best?






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