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Robert Groess: on 3/20/17 at 17:31pm UTC, wrote Dear Don, Thank you for your time in reading my essay and for your...

Don Limuti: on 3/19/17 at 1:58am UTC, wrote Hi Robert, "Thus Maxwell's demon is the prototype of intention. He is...

Robert Groess: on 3/16/17 at 6:06am UTC, wrote Dear Mr. Satyavarapu Gupta, Thank you for your comments on my essay....

Satyavarapu Gupta: on 3/14/17 at 10:04am UTC, wrote Nice essay Prof Groess, Your ideas and thinking are excellent like your...

Robert Groess: on 3/12/17 at 17:29pm UTC, wrote Dear Joe Fisher, Thank you for your comment. I am a great fan of...

Joe Fisher: on 3/12/17 at 15:38pm UTC, wrote Dear Dr. Robert Groess, Please excuse me for I have no intention of...

Branko Zivlak: on 3/8/17 at 0:22am UTC, wrote Dear Mr. Robert Groess, If I mention any goal, that is the goal of nature...

Robert Groess: on 3/7/17 at 21:31pm UTC, wrote Hi Erik, Thank you very much for your compliments. I have in the meantime...


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FQXi FORUM
March 23, 2017

CATEGORY: Wandering Towards a Goal Essay Contest (2016-2017) [back]
TOPIC: Wandering Towards a Goal: The Causal Provenance of Intent by Robert Groess [refresh]
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This essay's rating: Community = 4.7; Public = 5.0


Author Robert Groess wrote on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 17:31 GMT
Essay Abstract

Intent can be defined as a choice of specific actions within a larger domain of physical phase space. We consider the amazing success of reductionistic bottom-up mathematical laws and see if we can locate a departure point for goal-driven action in physical systems. We consider as an example the case of irreversible free expansion and inject intent in form of Maxwell's Demon. This provides a thermodynamic trail with implications suggestive of the computational nature of intent. We will focus on what constitutes a conduit for such computations and attempt to isolate emergent mechanisms in artificial intelligence systems, bridging with biological analogies. Lastly, we find the intersection of quantum and classical paradigms to be the subject of intense interest as regards the origins of volition.

Author Bio

Robert Groess is currently a Cosmology Initiative visitor at the School of Earth and Space Exploration at the Tempe Campus of Arizona State University. He has a PhD in Extragalactic Astrophysics and an MSc in High Energy Physics. His research interests currently include the limits of computability from fundamental physics and its relation to how we understand the universe on its largest scale.

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Ines Samengo wrote on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 02:02 GMT
Dear Dr. Robert Groess, I just read your concise and well-written essay. I was happy to see Maxwell's Demon, which also made a main character of mine. However, following Bennet, I do not believe that Smoluchowski and Szilard's ideas regarding the measuring process are the true solution to the puzzle of the demon, I prefer Landauer and Bennet's solution (for example, Bennet Sci. Am. 1987). This is, however, not central to your analysis nor your claim. I do have a question, however. It is not fully clear to me what exactly you claim regarding the strategy of selecting the path that keeps the largest number of options open for future trajectories. Is it just an example of how artificial systems can be programmed, and then observe that they behave as agents? Or do you also believe that this strategy somehow emerges in biological systems?

Thanks! ines.

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Author Robert Groess replied on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 05:36 GMT
Dear Professor Ines Samengo,

Thank you for your kind compliments about my essay. Yes, you are right about the subtlety that Smoluchowski and Szilard did not know where the increase in entropy really comes from. Something that Landauer and especially Bennett conclusively argued. Though I did not refer to it in my essay, there is an arXiv paper by Bennett that you might like to look at: arXiv:physics/0210005v2 [physics.class-ph] 9 Jan 2003. Thank you for pointing that out.

Regarding Wissner-Gross and Freer's Causal Entropic Force model, this is an algorithm with the ability to predict future paths deterministically in simulations, something biological systems do not have the luxury of being able to do (at least not with as much fidelity). My point was that what we recognize as agency, can emerge from such algorithmic processes. From what I can tell though, these authors are attempting to determine if indeed this can be applied in some way as a universal thermodynamic model for adaptive behavior. Great question!

Regards,

Robert




Branko L Zivlak wrote on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 12:51 GMT
Dear Mr. Robert Groess,

About the second law of thermodynamics in you assay:

Nature tends to be regulated with the help of cycles (2) and Cycle (exp (2)), that is based on the equation (17) in my essay. This is for the material world dominant process in relation to the thermodynamic processes. The second law of thermodynamics tells about the increase of entropy, but that is related to the temperature that is the result of a collisions. The temperature arises from the existence of the material world, you can see http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Branko_Zivlak/publicatio
ns. From chaos will again create order because it is inevitable:

Order and disorder in nature are constantly complementing or rather make harmony.

Best regards,

Branko

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Author Robert Groess replied on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 16:58 GMT
Dear Mr. Branko Sivlak,

Thank you for your comments regarding my use of the Second Law. To clarify, this is a rigorous approach to contrast the differences between systems operating with and without intent. In the case of Maxwell's Demon we have an accounting mismatch to track down, the result of an intent operating on an otherwise undisturbed situation. This in turn lead to the connection of erasure of information with intent, and gives us a thermodynamic trail to follow.

I am not sure if I follow your argument of how the relation-set (2) and (17) of your essay leads to the instantiation of agency or goal-seeking behavior. Maybe you could help clarify please?

Regards,

Robert



Branko L Zivlak replied on Mar. 8, 2017 @ 00:22 GMT
Dear Mr. Robert Groess,

If I mention any goal, that is the goal of nature to produce proton, Eq.(17).

Regards,

Branko

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Erik P Hoel wrote on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 18:12 GMT
Hi Robert - thanks for much for the essay, I just read and voted for it. I thought your explanation of thermodynamics in terms of macro states and the relationship to the arrow of time was excellent. My own essay ("Agent Above, Atom Below" on March 6th) is also about macro states, but rather about their causal effects.

Btw, I thought you stuffed a lot of observations into these two sentences: "This efficiency of biological systems stems from having to be selective about which in- formation to store based on how likely it is to be critical to them in future. By looking at heuristic systems that comprise individual complex bio-molecular devices, like pumps and motors in cells, their ability to survive, and even thrive, becomes enhanced towards the future." I'd like to see this developed more in the future!

All the best - thanks for the read,

Erik P Hoel

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Author Robert Groess replied on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 21:31 GMT
Hi Erik,

Thank you very much for your compliments. I have in the meantime enjoyed reading, and voting for, your well written essay too.

Regarding your comment, it would indeed deserve an essay of its own to expand on the multiple top-down processes that occur in complex biological systems, propagating useful higher-level structures. You might to consider the article about bacterial flagella by Mark J. Pallen & Nicholas J. Matzke, (Nature Reviews Microbiology 4, 784-790 (October 2006)), which goes into depth about the complexity of such structures.

Regards,

Robert




Author Robert Groess wrote on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 21:30 GMT
Hi Erik,

Thank you very much for your compliments. I have in the meantime enjoyed reading, and voting for, your well written essay too.

Regarding your comment, it would indeed deserve an essay of its own to expand on the multiple top-down processes that occur in complex biological systems, propagating useful higher-level structures. You might to consider the article about bacterial...

view entire post




Joe Fisher replied on Mar. 12, 2017 @ 15:38 GMT
Dear Dr. Robert Groess,

Please excuse me for I have no intention of disparaging in any way any part of your essay.

I merely wish to point out that “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955) Physicist & Nobel Laureate.

Only nature could produce a reality so simple, a single cell amoeba could deal with it.

The real Universe must consist only of one unified visible infinite physical surface occurring in one infinite dimension, that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light.

A more detailed explanation of natural reality can be found in my essay, SCORE ONE FOR SIMPLICITY. I do hope that you will read my essay and perhaps comment on its merit.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Author Robert Groess replied on Mar. 12, 2017 @ 17:29 GMT
Dear Joe Fisher,

Thank you for your comment. I am a great fan of simplicity myself. simplicity on the far side of complexity. I have in the meantime taken the time to read through your essay and have placed a comment on your forum.

Regards,

Robert




Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Mar. 14, 2017 @ 10:04 GMT
Nice essay Prof Groess,

Your ideas and thinking are excellent like your opening sentences…

1. You are reading this essay because you chose to read it. Moreover, a stupendous number of decisions had to take place in a particular causal sequence in order to write it. There is nothing accidental about these events, nor the order in which they have occurred. Aims and intentions...

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Author Robert Groess replied on Mar. 16, 2017 @ 06:06 GMT
Dear Mr. Satyavarapu Gupta,

Thank you for your comments on my essay. Though perhaps I did not communicate my strategy effectively enough of using physical, measurable quantities to home in rapidly on what generates intentions in the first place. This was the intent of my essay and, although it may not have been a very illustrious exposé in that regard, I had hoped it would engender a nugget of insight or perhaps even be a source of inspiration for other authors.

Coming to your essay, I did indeed read through it and, interestingly enough, found it quite useful in my line of work. Having said that, I have been unsuccessful at using your perspective to find an emergent, unequivocal, source of intentionality emerging from mindless mathematics. Perhaps I have misunderstood some key points.

Regards,

Robert




Don Limuti wrote on Mar. 19, 2017 @ 01:58 GMT
Hi Robert,

"Thus Maxwell's demon is the prototype of intention. He is greedily making choices to increase information"...... Did I get this right?

This does strike me as fundamental. I believe that Max Tegmark has changed MUH to the IUH. Mathematics has changed to Information....In line with your ideas.

Thanks for your clear and enjoyable essay,

Don Limuti

PS I noticed in your bio: His research interests currently include the limits of computability from fundamental physics and its relation to how we understand the universe on its largest scale.

I have a computation I cannot make in a paper I wrote. So I only outlined it. I think you may find it interesting. Check out

http://prespacetime.com/index.php/pst/article/view/1101/1
089

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Author Robert Groess replied on Mar. 20, 2017 @ 17:31 GMT
Dear Don,

Thank you for your time in reading my essay and for your comments. Yes, your summary is spot on. Maxwell's Demon turns out to be a great example on how intentions manifest themselves in the physical world. Glad you liked the essay, it was a challenge to write.

Thank you for your link to your research work on dark energy. I will have a closer look at it as well as your FQXi essay too.

Regards,

Robert




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