Reverse Engineering the Mind




Alphago 2017



  • We all say some of AlphaGo’s moves are so weird and strange and maybe mistakes. But, after a game is finished, we have to doubt ourselves, our judgment. – AlphaGo making another kind of nonsensical throw in. We’re not really sure what that’s about. – This is what 10 or maybe 11 dan play looks like. It looks weird and we don’t quite understand it. – I think it is important to study more about AlphaGo’s mistake-like moves. And maybe we can adjust our knowledge of AlphaGo. – To me the most amazing thing to come out of my understanding of Go, as a result of watching AlphaGo play, are the infamous slack moves. – Well, there’s something strange about the way it’s playing because it’s playing some moves that are not really necessary. – Right. – A slack move is a move that looks lazy. You can see these other better moves and AlphaGo is rejecting them. But what I think AlphaGo is teaching us is that we’ve been using score as a proxy for chance of winning. So the bigger my margin of territory, the more confident I am that I’m gonna win. And AlphaGo is saying no, no, no. It shouldn’t matter how much you win by. You only need to win by a single point. Why should I be seizing all this extra territory when I don’t need it. The lessons that AlphaGo is teaching us are going to influence how Go is played for the next thousand years. –
  • But we could learn important lessons from a computer being so successful at Go. Machines will have the capability, not only to crunch through huge amount of data, but also to analyze it intelligently. Just as in the case of the Go games, the machine made moves that surprised even experts. And, eventually, the machines will gain our confidence because we will see that very, very often they make a better guess than we could have made as humans.

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  • Reality
    • 2011: The Hidden Reality by Brian Greene
    • 2016: Reality is Not What it Seems by Carlo Rovelli
    • 2012: Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story by Jim Holt
  • Quantum
    • 2013: Quantum Information Theory by Mark Wilde
    • 2000: Quantum Computation and Quantum Information by Michael A. Nielsen, Isaac Chuang
    • 2011: The Quantum Universe: Everything That Can Happen Does Happen
      by Brian Cox, Jeffrey R. Forshaw
    • 2006: Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness
      by Bruce Rosenblum, Fred Kuttner
  • Maths
    • 2014: Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality
      Book by Max Tegmark
  • Science History
    • 2014: Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn: A Father, a Daughter, the Meaning of Nothing, and the Beginning of Everything by Amanda Gefter
    • 2008: The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science and What Comes Next by Lee Smolin
    • 2007: Uncertainty: Einstein, Heisenberg, Bohr, and the Struggle for the Soul of Science by David Lindley
    • 2009: Science: A Four Thousand Year History by Patricia Fara
  • Big History
    • 2003: A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
  • AI
    • 2017: Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark
  • NeuroScience
    • 2015: The Brain: The Story of You by David Eagleman
  • Biology
    • 2017: A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Stories in Our Genes
      by Adam Rutherford
    • 2017: A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution by Jennifer A. Doudna, Samuel H. Sternberg
    • 2014: The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision by Fritjof Capra, Pier Luigi Luisi

Quantum Information Theory

VIDEO: The Quantum Conspiracy: What Popularizers of QM Don’t Want You to Know


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  • TLDR: You are correlation without correlata ie You are not made of atoms (correlata), you are actually made of bits(correlations) ie information
  • So these are all mathematical manipulations the results of which we interpret in order to tell stories about what our world is like and if you leave it in and what you have is a description of the unadulterated underlying physical reality which is quantum and the reason that’s hard to wrap your brain around is because your brain is classical everything that you are is is classical you’re made of classical bits that are ones are you’re a Turing machine you’re not a quantum computer but you’re made out of a quantum computer and that’s why there’s this fundamental disconnect that will always take a toll on our intuitions it will never go away because they’re really fundamentally different the difference between real numbers and complex numbers the underlying reality is complex but the thing that is processing the information that lets you think about these things is real is made of real numbers
  • David Mermin has contributed to the relational approach in his “Ithaca interpretation.”[8] He uses the slogan “correlations without correlata”, meaning that “correlations have physical reality; that which they correlate does not”, so “correlations are the only fundamental and objective properties of the world”. The moniker “zero worlds”[9] has been popularized by Garret[10] to contrast with the many worlds interpretation.  As David Merman puts it “we are not made of atoms (correlata) we are actually made of bits(correlations). We are our thoughts and these thoughts actually reside. We are a simulation running on a quantum computer


It from QBit

  • Information, Physics, Quantum, Wheeler’s 1989 essay propounding the idea that the physical universe arises from information, which he dubbed “it from bit.”
    • ESSAY:
    • reading the autobiography of Wheeler, it seems that the scientist has in-
      tended a vision more materialistic than that of Bohr, in which these bits would be true “quanta of reality”: “I suggest that we may never understand this strange thing, the quantum, until we understand how information may underlie reality. Information may not be just what we ‘learn’ about the world. It may be what ‘makes’ the world. An exam- ple of the idea of it from bit: when a photon is absorbed, and thereby ‘measured’ – until its absorption, it had no true reality – an unsplittable bit of information is added to what we know about the world, ‘and’, at the same time, that bit of information determines the
      structure of one small part of the world. It ‘creates’ the reality of the time and place of that photon’s interaction.”
    • The main mystery of quantum mechanics is contained in Wheeler’s
      delayed choice experiment, which shows that the past is determined by our
      choice of what quantum property to observe. This gives the observer a par-
      ticipatory role in deciding the past history of the universe. Wheeler extended
      this participatory role to the emergence of the physical laws (law without
      law). Since what we know about the universe comes in yes/no answers to
      our interrogations, this led him to the idea of it from bit (which includes the
      participatory role of the observer as a key component).
      The yes/no answers to our observations (bit) should always be compatible
      with the existence of at least a possible reality – a global solution (it) of the
      Schr¨odinger equation. I argue that there is in fact an interplay between it
      and bit. The requirement of global consistency leads to apparently acausal
      and nonlocal behavior, explaining the weirdness of quantum phenomena.
      As an interpretation of Wheeler’s it from bit and law without law, I discuss
      the possibility that the universe is mathematical, and that there is a “mother
      of all possible worlds” – named the Axiom Zero.

A Physicist’s Physicist Ponders the Nature of Reality


  • Information, Physics, Quantum, Wheeler’s 1989 essay propounding the idea that the physical universe arises from information, which he dubbed “it from bit.”
  • “it from qubit.”
  • I tend to assume that space-time and everything in it are in some sense emergent.
  • He drew a picture on the blackboard of the universe visualized as an eye looking at itself. I had no idea what he was talking about. It’s obvious to me in hindsight that he was explaining what it meant to talk about quantum mechanics when the observer is part of the quantum system. I imagine there is something we don’t understand about that.