What if the Universe is a Computer Simulation? – Computerphile

See on Scoop.itBiobit: Computational Neuroscience & Biocomputation

 What if the Universe is just a computer simulation? What is fundamental particles are really just “bits”? Fea…

Nima Dehghani‘s insight:

Phil Moriarty has a knack for storytelling :))

I find this essay interesting: Ultimate physical limits to computation by Seth Lloyd:




and this is the "it from bit" told by Wheeler himself:

“It is not unreasonable to imagine that information sits at the core of physics, just as it sits at the core of a computer…It from bit. Otherwise put, every ‘it’—every particle, every field of force, even the space-time continuum itself—derives its function, its meaning, its very existence entirely—even if in some contexts indirectly—from the apparatus-elicited answers to yes-or-no questions, binary choices, bits. ‘It from bit’ symbolizes the idea that every item of the physical world has at bottom—a very deep bottom, in most instances—an immaterial source and explanation; that which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes–no questions and the registering of equipment-evoked responses; in short, that all things physical are information-theoretic in origin and that this is a participatory universe.”

— (John Archibald Wheeler, 1990: 5 cited in Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, 1980. The Unity of Nature. New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux.)


It also seems that parallel to "digital physics", similar sort of idea has spread to computational neuroscience as well. There are number of investigators who believe that computers are good platforms for understanding the brain. They try to build analogies, and even claim that as computers get smarter they learn more like us. I believe that is fundamentally misleading. The copy paste from "it from bit" concept is very weak and often lacks scientific rigor and has not root in biophysical principles. If "it from bit", the physics version, harbors some deep meaning, it is very different from what is adapted by computational neuroscience community (well, I better say adapted by computer scientist/machine learning folks who assume that the nervous system does  what they think).


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