Fundamental questions on a cloudy evening with a cup of cacao from Peru

1. Why does our physical body die?

Tim Radford, The Guardian, “Organisms grow old because nature doesn’t need them any more. If the purpose of life is to procreate and replicate successfully – this is the logic of the so-called selfish gene theory – then it helps to stay healthy long enough to generate children and provide them with food. Immortality arrives with your offspring, and is only guaranteed when all your children also have children.”. Were that the case, we should never optimize for values that last only for the perceived life-time, but for what we perceive to be important. How to find those things?

2. How was the universe born?

Wikipedia: “The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model that describes the early development of the Universe. According to the theory, the Big Bang occurred approximately 13.798 ± 0.037 billion years ago, which is thus considered the age of the universe. At this time, the Universe was in an extremely hot and dense state and began expanding rapidly. After the initial expansion, the Universe cooled sufficiently to allow energy to be converted into various subatomic particles, including protons, neutrons, and electrons. Though simple atomic nuclei formed within the first three minutes after the Big Bang, thousands of years passed before the first electrically neutral atoms formed. The majority of atoms that were produced by the Big Bang are hydrogen, along with helium and traces of lithium. Giant clouds of these primordial elements later coalesced through gravity to form stars and galaxies, and the heavier elements were synthesized either within stars or during supernovae.”. But how did the ” extremely hot and dense state” appear there in the first place?

3. What is the best way to learn?

I cannot give a direct answer to this question. I cannot find the best way right now. One thing to note: we should be able to exploit the diversity of talents given (different beings, design thinking etc.) (1) to punish getting stuck at local minimas, evaluate axioms (2) (iterative axiom modelling combined with contradiction detection), exploit an efficient ways for modelling different problems (3) (see (2)).

For now, I will say that the ensemble of approaches exploiting a properly configured graph structure (built on top of some grammar rules). The ensemble itself can exploit, for instance, e.g. multi-armed bandits (or a better approach) (among humans: there are different humans and we can exploit it better, see: design thinking approach; certain humans get stuck with problems (local minima)). The graph structure may exploit Szemeredi theorem (we want to limit the amount of data via learning, which can be treated as a compression problem (mostly a loss-prone one)). The rules should be built by identifying the most informative features. Computation could be done in parallel.

If we want to exploit the pameter space more effectively, we should allow (1), which also means we should aim at creating a society of non-self bidders (optimizers) but people optimizing for the society. We have learnt that selfish bidders degrade system effectiveness – is it also case of further development?

4. What is the place for mathematics?

Some problems are undecidable. We face incompleteness. Axioms are likely leaky and we will more often approach mathematics from experimental perspective. We shall develop better axioms – but how?

Automated reasoning may help us to disclose vulnerabilities within our axiom systems. Machine learning will exploit the state-of-art of algorithms and will help us explore parameter spaces of problems more effectively. More structuring of knowledge is important. More innovative approaches to axiom systems are needed.

Tesla’s point about mathematics being (sometimes) a non-existent creature itself is valid, but I cannot agree that this is not science (still, I would also not assume that Tesla did not appreciate- as he put it- “metaphysics”). We explore problem spaces in different ways. In some cases we need more (in some less) model re-building. Mathematics requires much iterative work on axioms due to its cognitive structure. It will also profit from exploiting its secrets with an experimental approach.

5. Why should I care what happens after I die?

If you optimize for a sequence of values that can last only for your lifetime, then please name them. Comment this post and I will address each of the parameters that you optimize. Exemplary parameters: “health”, “family”, “amount of money”, etc.

Does it makes sense to optimize for values that will last longer? What are those values?

If you think that you were born in a place about which you know virtually nothing, the very first naive idea would be “to learn about this place”. Given the problem size, we should first exploit ways to learn more effectively. Given the efforts from many, we could now exploit the computational resources to extract knowledge faster.


About misha

Imagine a story that one can't believe. Hi. Life changes here. Small things only.
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