Re: Interpretations, subjectivity

From: Hans Moravec <>
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 1999 21:43:26 -0400

Wei Dai:
[re: #particles^2 matrix of coefficients to choose nonstandard
> I didn't realize you meant the knob to be this big and have this
> many degrees of freedom. But again I would hardly call this
> interpretation, since the linear transform is providing more
> information than the sun. A simpler idea would be to look at all
> possible XORs of the sun considered as a bit string. Obviously you
> will end up with all possible strings of the same length, some of them
> having intelligent beings. How is this different from your idea?

In my fantasy, time in these different domains runs concurrently with
ours, so you can connect occasionally, and get glimpses of an
unfolding history. So there would be a strong impression that the
worlds existed whether or not you had their combination.

> Perhaps what you're saying is that most of the transformed spaces
> would have its own laws of physics, similar to the 3D Fourier
> transform. But if this is true you could embed a different computer in
> each space and perform n^2 computations simultaneously with only n
> particles, which is impossible. In fact the number of transformed
> spaces with its own laws of physics must be at most a small constant
> (otherwise again you can do more than n computations with n
> particles),

This is interesting. Obviously the many transformed spaces are not
independent, and a strong structure in one would preclude many
structures in others. For instance, the worlds corresponding to
similar matrices would be strongly correlated. This suggests a
strategy of "fine tuning" to locate an inhabited world. If you get a
hint of localized structure at some setting, slowly adjust the (many)
parameters to maximize the structure signal. But sufficiently distant
transforms would interfere as noise, putting a ceiling on the amount
of information that can be reliably represented in each. So I think
you're right, there can't be arbitrarily many worlds, but there might
still be quite a few. And if you're faced with a structure like the
Sun that registers as pure noise under your default interpretation,
maybe you can find someone to talk to somewhere else in the
interpretation space.

> and since we know that the range of physical laws and constants that
> allow intelligent beings to evolve are very narrow, we can be fairly
> certain that none of these transformed spaces have evolved
> intelligent beings.

The range is narrow for parameters in physics' similar to our own.
But it has not been shown that life can't evolve under radically
different rules. For instance, cellular automata, like von Neumann's
contrived space and Conway's Life are able to host complex replicators
and universal computation and might support an evolution of intelligence
without the need for elementary particles, elements, stars etc, as might
something like Tom Ray's Tierra space, which has already evolved
predators and parasites.
Received on Tue Jul 13 1999 - 18:45:13 PDT

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