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Previous Next Up Topic Cosmology / Alternative Cosmology / Space and the digitized universe (3418 hits)
By Eduffy80911 Date 2013-01-04 00:03
Rich Terrell, among others, makes a fairly compelling case for the universe being a computer like environment (although he loses me when he gets into the "our future selves" bit). His two strongest points are the existence of quantums and the notion that we are not that far from being able to create a virtual world complete with intelligent entities. If we can do it, given the age of the universe and the age of mankind, it's probably already been done. I have a third bit of evidence. Empty space.

The notion of empty space has always baffled me. Space is measured in length, width, depth. But if there's nothing there, what are you measuring? Why would it take any time for a photon to travel from point A to point B if there is nothing between point A and point B? What would it be travelling through. It's like a balloon filled with nothing. It makes no sense. Yet, there it is.

However, in a virtual environment, you don't need to record the space. Space can be empty. Just as with a compressed audio file, you don't have to record the silence, just the dimensions of it. With the old vinyl format, you had to physically represent the silence.

This is the only way I can make sense of empty space. Either there is something there that we cannot detect for whatever reason, and it's not empty, or it is empty, which means it's virtual. It's just an instruction, telling particles or data how long to wait before appearing in the next pixel.
By Jade Annand Date 2013-01-06 06:53
I wouldn't take the existence of the quantum to be an indication of anything computer-like. If you take orbitals, for example, they are at discrete levels away from the nucleus, but those levels vary with the charge on the nucleus.

Also, take also some of the differences between quantum computing and classical computing. In quantum computing, you can't clone anything. That is to say, you can't do an x = y (or x := y, depending on what language you like).

You can also maintain entangled indeterminacy for quite a long time, and what comes out at the end is only statistically deterministic. If you have a stream of |+> qubits, you'll observe half |0> and half |1>... statistically. No idea what in particular is going to come up next. That's more like a gas law than a computer.

The question of empty space is a good one. I know there are some folks who are big fans of spin networks.

(A stiff enough balloon could be filled with nothing, but now I'm just being pedantic :) )

Cheers!

-- Ritchie
By Eduffy80911 Date 2013-01-10 03:34
On the quantum thing, I was referring to when you get to a quantity of time, energy, mass that is as small as you can get. It seems the universe is finite, at least on the small end. Intuitively, that just doesn't seem "natural" to me. As for the empty space, it seems there is increasing chatter among actual scientists that the void is not nothing. Ironically, when I came up with my amateur explanation of the nature of the universe, I determined that there must be another class of stuff that we can't or don't perceive. For lack of a better term, I called it "the nothing", although it's of course, not nothing. So I suppose that one's really a semantic problem.

That leaves only the "If we can do it, how hard can it be?" argument, which I think is still pretty compelling. It's possible, I admit, that we represent the leading edge of intelligence and capability in the universe, but I just don't think it's probable.
By Eduffy80911 Date 2013-01-15 23:49
I think I've talked myself out of a two dimensional database expressed in three dimensions as a function of our brains (processors) reading binary data for a very non-rocket science reason. If that were the case, depth perception could be coded and read without the need for a pair of eyes separated by a nose. The design of our sensory input receptors seems to indicate that the space is actually there, and since they were that way long before we had any idea they had to be that way, it's not something we talked ourselves into or imagineered.
By Jade Annand Date 2013-02-21 20:13
Eduffy80911 said:

On the quantum thing, I was referring to when you get to a quantity of time, energy, mass that is as small as you can get. It seems the universe is finite, at least on the small end. Intuitively, that just doesn't seem "natural" to me.


Hard to know how to interpret it. Maybe there is a smallest. Maybe it's just that there is a smallest combination. In some parts of quantum physics, you get values (however you like to represent them, e.g. matrices) that can vary wildly - and seemingly smoothly - but they pair up with another value that has to vary in inverse lockstep with that, and together, this will pop out as something like the smallest energy level you can have, or the smallest certainty you can have.

Eduffy80911 said:

As for the empty space, it seems there is increasing chatter among actual scientists that the void is not nothing.


You should also take a quick look at spin networks and spin foam when it comes to some interpretations of empty space.

Eduffy80911 said:

I think I've talked myself out of a two dimensional database expressed in three dimensions as a function of our brains (processors) reading binary data for a very non-rocket science reason. If that were the case, depth perception could be coded and read without the need for a pair of eyes separated by a nose. The design of our sensory input receptors seems to indicate that the space is actually there, and since they were that way long before we had any idea they had to be that way, it's not something we talked ourselves into or imagineered.


Our eyes - if we even needed them - would probably function a lot differently if that were the case :)

All nervous system pieces are an odd mix of analog and digital - threshold voltages that trigger a "digital" pulse are triggered by a decaying-plus-accumulating model of inputs - just the input into the process seems to differ: pressure, light, sound, all converted into sort of moving "grayscale" voltage maps, all electrochemical or electromechanical.
Previous Next Up Topic Cosmology / Alternative Cosmology / Space and the digitized universe (3418 hits)

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