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Re: artificial intelligence tied to universe construct?

  1. Jun 5, 2013 #1
    So Briane Greene, in his documentary describes the idea that the future is already pre-existing due to the different time planes observed by an alien light years away. That is my interpretation at least. In the event this is true- it would imply that my future must already exist. In a way- no free will exists.

    Does this mean that true artificial intelligence cannot be created (unless it is already expected in this universe timeline)? Therefore- wouldn't AI be some sort of universal limit similar to Absolute zero (which can only happen when the universe stops)?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 5, 2013 #2
    sounds like he is talking about "observer perspective" not that your future is preordained. Not sure where the AI fits in unless he is referring to the "holographic principle".

    One of the problems pop media books has is that they seldom paint accurate pictures, yes they are good to describe to a layman basic concepts the analogies used more often than not lead to misconjecture.

    by the way welcome to the forum, one advise don't bump the thread more than once. That is covered under forum global guidelines. Threads can be bumped if new information is provided however simply bumping them has an allowable limit.
  4. Jun 5, 2013 #3

    I don't know- this thread seems to indicate that indeed the universe is deterministic. I'm not sure though- can you clarify- his documentary was pretty clear about the future and the past already being preset....
  5. Jun 5, 2013 #4
    Peterdonis explained that rather well with

    "In the model you are talking about, the "future is already written" only in the sense that the universe is completely deterministic; given a set of initial conditions and the laws of physics, the entire 4-dimensional spacetime is completely determined. This model does *not* say that the aliens on Andromeda at a given time have information about portions of our worldline that are outside their past light cone at that time, and vice versa. In the diagram you drew, the aliens' launching the attack is outside the past light cone of both Bill and Ruth when their paths cross, and vice versa; the events are spacelike separated, so neither can have information about the other. The different "simultaneous spaces" have no actual physical meaning; they're just different conventions about how to slice up the spacetime."

    like I said even among some of the professional physicians Brian Greene's analogy usage is confusing. Its certainly confusing to the studied layman that I am lol so I can be wrong on that score.

    His analogies are often discussed with a sense of "why did he cause this headache" numerous times on this forum.
  6. Jun 5, 2013 #5
    What sort of bizarre reasoning leads from "the future already exists" to "artificial intelligence cannot be created"?

    edit: I guess it's something like, AI could use its perfect intelligence to know the future, but then it could act to make a different future, but that would contradict the idea that the future already exists? If that's the idea, then I suggest that the poster look into chaos theory and the halting problem.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2013
  7. Jun 5, 2013 #6
    No Thats not what I'm suggesting at all.

    There are two points:


    Here's my reasoning. Suppose the future already exists and we just have to walk into it- but its basically predetermined. Then free will is also predetermined. If hard AI necessitates a certain free will- then unless the creation of this AI is already embedded into our futures- this hard AI will not really be AI because we can't create true free will. Because if true free will were created- then it would violate an already determined future. Therefore- no true AI can be created but approximated.

    This is why I compared it to absolute zero where everything in the universe has to come to a stop for absolute zero to be reached- impossible but approximate-able.


    Greene states that the time slices can move into the future depending on the positioning of the 'alien-human.' The ability for any person or alien to see into the other's future is not important. The concept indicates that should the alien be in the future time- that alone is enough to suggest that this time has already existed. So even if the alien can't see/access- it still implies that we WILL march into that time period into the future- otherwise how can the alien be in that time slice (even if it is light years away and unreachable to the alien)- in other words- if the alien's time slice never went beyond our time slice- then we could argue that the future has not been predetermined.

    Of course- the other possibility is that the alien time slice can move ahead in our area but it is undetermined- but that is not what the video implied and I think would contradict the salient point of what Greene was trying to explain- that time is here at all times whether in the past or the future- much like how physical spaces are always there (even if you are not in that space at that moment).
  8. Jun 5, 2013 #7
    Here's why your argument #1 is weird... it's because you connect free will to artificial intelligence, and ignore that natural intelligence already exists. Free will is a controversial concept, but usually people bring it up in connection with human beings. You're arguing "what if AI needs free will but free will is impossible, then AI can't exist", but what about human beings, who do exist? Do they not have free will, but only AIs would have free will?
  9. Jun 5, 2013 #8
    Hmm...I think I'm doing a poor job of explaining. Let me expand on my usage of these words.

    Based on Greene's documentary- my interpretation of his video is that no free will exists to begin with. - which I guess means that my use of the word free will with AI is moot- so let me explain what I am thinking in a better way.

    Based on what Greene says- basically we are all going through the motions. Everything in the future is there and will happen- we just think we have free will - but thats only because we are limited by what we experience in the here an now.

    I guess once I make that statement nothing else really matters including making AI- actually yea that pretty much sums it up. AI is no different than making a child or anything else. All beings that we currently think have free will don't actually have it.

    Its frustrating because I haven't seen an answer that explains the documentary particularly well anywhere....

    and that forum thread that I posted- even there, some confusion remained. I guess the more relevant question is whether or not the documentary basically implies no free will
  10. Jun 5, 2013 #9
    I will have to find an excerpt or transcript of the documentary to know what it really said about physics.

    But deducing anything about the mind or about people from physics is full of problems. Free will is just a small part of it. Physics as we know it basically doesn't contain people or their experiences; just lots of atoms bouncing around. There is no self, no conscious experience, no color... just atoms arranged as bodies. The human race has invented dozens of crank doctrines trying to explain this away. Most of them are a sort of dualism, e.g. the brain is physically just an arrangement of particles, but then it also "has a feeling in it" and that's you and your experience of being alive and in charge of your body.

    So on the free will question, the most popular position is "compatibilism" and it says that your decision-making is somehow the same thing as the physical cause-and-effect, whereby what happens in your brain determines the actions of your body. And that sounds somewhat plausible, but it still has this dual interpretation going on, which I think is the real problem.

    Also, another complication is that quantum physics isn't deterministic, it just deals in probabilities. Sometimes people use this as a loophole for free will, but the whole point of free will is that you and only you determine your actions, not that your actions are determined by the random behavior of subatomic particles.

    The randomness of quantum physics raises its own issues which have nothing to do with free will. Such as, isn't it strange for something to just have no cause at all? If they don't have causes, how do they still "know" how to behave so that 50% of the time they do one thing, 50% of the time the other thing? And basically it seems to run against the whole idea of a predetermined future - but again, I'd have to see what Brian Greene actually said.
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