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Douglas Singleton: on 7/8/14 at 23:33pm UTC, wrote Hi Peter, Thanks for the congratulations and as well making it to the top...

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FQXi FORUM
May 24, 2019

CATEGORY: How Should Humanity Steer the Future? Essay Contest (2014) [back]
TOPIC: Societal Path Integral by Douglas Alexander Singleton [refresh]
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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton wrote on Apr. 24, 2014 @ 18:05 GMT
Essay Abstract

In the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics a particle moving from point A to point B is pictured as taking every possible path to accomplish this transit. The classical path is given the most weight and thus contributes the most, but every path makes some contribution. However, those paths which deviate more from the classical path contribute progressively less. In this essay I argue that in order to best steer society/humanity one should loosely adopt this quantum mechanical approach of trying “all paths”. Those societal “paths” which are judged best/classical would be given the highest weight in steering humanity forward.

Author Bio

Douglas Singleton is a professor of physics at California State University, Fresno working in the areas of gravitational physics and particle physics. He received his undergraduate degree from MIT and his PhD from UVA. Dr. Singleton has held visiting positions at ITB in Indonesia, PFUR in Moscow, Universitat Potsdam in Germany, Universidad de Costa Rica, and Hue University Vietnam. The present essay is inspired by the various academics "paths" encountered at these different universities.

Download Essay PDF File

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Michael Allan wrote on Apr. 25, 2014 @ 03:50 GMT
Hello Douglas, May I offer a short, but sincere critique of your essay? I would ask you to return the favour. Here's my policy on that. - Mike

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on Apr. 25, 2014 @ 16:16 GMT
Hi Michael,

Sure feel free to comment on my essay. AS well I will try to have a look at yours.

Best,

Doug

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Michael Allan replied on Apr. 27, 2014 @ 10:56 GMT
Thanks Doug. Yours is one of the few attempts at a full "how to" solution. You end by anticipating what is perhaps the only serious critique: how to motivate the "people charged with enacting societal change"? The answer, I suggest, is to weigh and integrate the experimental paths within a medium that will motivate those in power.

To explain, figure PS shows a small sample of the paths (variants) for a would-be issue. Suppose it's a legislative issue. Looking at just one of the components (C) of the would-be law, note that its content is currently filled via the "star-sected" pentagon path (above right). But if the on-going experiment to the left were to succeed, then C might switch its path in that direction, thus changing its content to "interlocking wedges". It will tend to switch to, and tap the content of, whichever upstream path brings it the most weight in the form of public votes (down arrows). Votes from all the paths are cascading and coalescing downstream into an integral, actionable bill (above right of Ab). To understand how their aggregate weight would motivate an elected legislator, I'd refer you to my own essay. But here I just want to emphasize how the motivational medium is itself the medium of path weighing and integration. The crucial thing to understand is that the experimental paths to be weighed (variants) and the weighers themselves (voters and votes) are all exposed to relentless public scrutiny; much like scientific theories and scientists. It's that intersubjective scrutiny (an unappointed, objectifying authority) that ultimately gives weight to the weights. - Mike

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on Apr. 27, 2014 @ 18:16 GMT
Hi Mike,

Yes the question of how one gets those whose job it is to enact policy and changes that are data driven rather than driven by naked self interest or some other subjective criteria of some small group, companies or even of a few individuals is one of the things I don't really address except to say that this is an open question. Maybe the way suggested by the diagram you included above is a potential solution. Anyway I tend to be on the pessimistic side when it comes to giving credit to politicians. administrators, bureaucrats, etc. in regard to doing reasonable, logical things. However there are some good counter examples to this. I recently spent six months at Universitat Potsdam and I noticed that Germany has made a concerted effort to generate power for wind, solar and other renewables with the support of government and industry. It seems to be working. There are caveats that they have to supplement at some times by buying energy from their neighbors who still produce power using fossil fuels or nuclear, but still it seems an overall plus and a good thing to try. Here in California in contrast where it's much sunnier than in Germany, and thus solar would make more sense, there is no such large scale move but rather people tend to highlight the problems with the German experiment (that is when they even mention it which is almost never).

Anyway I will find time in the next few days to have a look at your essay since what you wrote above is of interest to me.

Best,

Doug

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Anonymous wrote on Apr. 25, 2014 @ 13:42 GMT
Dear Douglas

I read your essay with great interest.I like your quantum analogue to problem resolution. It entails diversity of solutions which String theorists love to tout. However I am not for Kardeshev's categorization of civilization. This idea is based on giving value to consumption or to the greediest. Such a value system is dangerously bad for civilization and in fact does not lead...

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on Apr. 25, 2014 @ 16:30 GMT
Hi Stuart,

Thanks for your reading my essay and your insightful comments.

In regard to the Kardashev scale -- I also do not find such ways to categorize things (society, science, technology) very deep, but they are useful for a starting point. Also in terms of the implied "greediness" of the Kardashev scale in terms of the emphasis on comsumption -- there is another similar scale based on how much information a society can access which might be a little less objectionable (although one could also say for this other scale "how much information a society can control" which then for me would be equally objectionable as the Kardashev scale). In any case my point in using the Kardashev scale was that it was a well known categorization which helped me make the argument that human society is really a novice society.

Next you mention the idea of "natural design" i.e. looking at natural systems to get a clue as to how to structure our technology and society. I should have also included in my list of experimental paths those paths that we see tried out in nature. This idea of natural design was recently featured in an article in "Technology Review" where the idea was to look at natural system and how they were designed to try an inform our own engineering designs. I think this is an excellent idea and fits with the approach of try different paths -- whether those paths are tried by humans or by nature.

Best,

Doug

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Turil Sweden Cronburg wrote on Apr. 25, 2014 @ 14:52 GMT
Douglas, can you imagine that our brains ever do anything other than what you propose, when you say "Those societal “paths” which are judged best/classical would be given the highest weight in steering humanity forward."? In other words, do you think that humans can ever choose a path that they don't judge to be the best?

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on Apr. 25, 2014 @ 16:58 GMT
Hi Turil,

Good question/point! In fact even now humans always think they are taking the "best path" even when afterward it turns out this wasn't the best path. The point of the section of my essay entitled "How to weight each path" was to argue that one should have some objective scientific criteria for choosing which path or paths is/are best. As I mention this is the trickiest, most...

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Turil Sweden Cronburg replied on Apr. 27, 2014 @ 17:55 GMT
What if the path that you think is not the best path, but which was the one that was chosen as the best path really was the best path? In other words, what if we need to make those "mistakes" to get where we need to go?

Can we be sure that we don't need dinosaurs to have existed for humans to exist now?

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 06:15 GMT
Hi Turil,

Again a good question. I could have easily made the caveats section of my essay much longer. The "try every/many paths" approach that I advocate in the essay means that in fact most of the paths will not be classical or good and will thus be "mistakes". This is the down side of the scientific method when practiced in the trial and error mode.

In regard to the question "Did we need dinosaurs for humans to exist?" the answer to this is "yes" at least in the evolution "experiment" that was run on our planet. Until the appearance of Homo Sapiens the course of "progress" on this planet was essentially driven by random forces -- there was no steering. And also now I believe *most* of the progress is driven by forces that are not in the control of humanity, but we do (I believe) have some crude ability to being to decide what direction to go in. And my suggestion (based on the fact that I make my living such as it is as a scientist) is that in moving humanity forward we should use something *like* the scientific method to do this. As I mentioned in another post a lawyer might suggest humanity move forward according to legal principles, an athlete might suggest we move forward through conditioning exercises, an artist might suggest moving forward through the power of art, etc. Everyone loves what they do. But science has been the most objectively successful endeavor (so far) of humanity so in some sense this is the "safe bet" as to how to move forward.

I will try to have a look at your essay in in the next few days.

Best,

Doug

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John C Hodge wrote on Apr. 25, 2014 @ 23:19 GMT
“… balkanization of Europe into smaller nation-states…” I think the problem here was each state could war with its neighbor. Suppose a senior authority had the military. Then “…but generally the situation in Western Europe in this period encouraged innovation in all areas of society on a small scale – the scale of the nation-states.”

“And how does one determine which path or paths are “classical” or best?” Let nature choose.

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on Apr. 26, 2014 @ 18:16 GMT
Hi John,

In some sense nature will choose regardless. It's like the old Love and Rockets song lyric "You can't go against nature because if you do, well that's nature too". And even though in the first part of my essay I argue that humanity, at present, is not very good at steering a course, nevertheless we do have some limited ability to steer, so we should try to choose those paths which by some objective measure are considered best or classical. In this way nature still decides, but it is nature informed by a scientific or semi-scientific approach.

Whether people/governments will actually adopt such and approach is another matter and in this case I am less optimistic as is implied in the closing section of the essay.

Best,

Doug

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Torsten Asselmeyer-Maluga wrote on Apr. 29, 2014 @ 13:27 GMT
Hi Doug,

thanks for the comment. At first I was (of course positively) suprised to find you at the contest. I also had a look into your interesting essay but later.

You point to the most interesting point: mathematical models of this simple kind can be only used for large enough populations. Otherwise the individual interaction is to large and on cannot predict something.

More interestingly my model parallels to your model. The solution of the evolution equation is a path integral but now with statistical factor exp(-S) instead of your factor exp(iS). Also I agree with your conclusion (also implicitly included into my essay): the humanity should steer its future by probing different ways or in my case different technologies. You are right again the interaction term in the co-evolution is controlled by the factor g.

For positive g>0 one obtains a repulsive interaction (it is forbidden to use this technology) and for g

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Torsten Asselmeyer-Maluga wrote on Apr. 29, 2014 @ 13:35 GMT
Something went wrong in publishing the post. Here is the complete one:

Hi Doug,

thanks for the comment. At first I was (of course positively) suprised to find you at the contest. I also had a look into your interesting essay but later.

You point to the most interesting point: mathematical models of this simple kind can be only used for large enough populations. Otherwise the individual interaction is to large and on cannot predict something.

More interestingly my model parallels to your model. The solution of the evolution equation is a path integral but now with statistical factor exp(-S) instead of your factor exp(iS). Also I agree with your conclusion (also implicitly included into my essay): the humanity should steer its future by probing different ways or in my case different technologies. You are right again the interaction term in the co-evolution is controlled by the factor g.

For positive g>0 one obtains a repulsive interaction (it is forbidden to use this technology) and for g smaller than 0 one has an attractive interaction(the iphone effect: anybody likes it). The factor can be choosen according to this.

Thanks for the link, I like it.

Good luck for the contest too

Torsten

PS: I rated your essay high, I like it!

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James Dunn wrote on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 15:58 GMT
Corruption is a very real aspect that must be eliminated, controlled, or be accounted for in your proposed system of control.

Corruption = unethical allocation of resources and/or opportunities

in legal systems

Corruption = illegal allocation of resources and/or opportunities

My proposal to eliminate all corruption:

http://eliminate-all-corruption.pbworks.com

How do you propose to model corruption in support of your essay?

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James Dunn wrote on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 16:20 GMT
I rated your essay an 8 mostly because it is potentially implementable and not only rhetoric.

The purpose of including the classical pathway is to provide continuity, a continuous function of sorts; is this correct?

Musing

In quantum entanglement, this would mean two vast similar systems of causality that differ by one or a few causal states. The observation seeming instantaneous is because of shared connections not directly related to both space and time, but connected through non-relativistic causal connections. If it were observable, it would be relativistic and limited to the speed of light.

So how can systems of non-relativistic causality be influenced to warp space-time?

Back to your essay

So how would you propose inclusion of non-relativistic space in a path integral?

Abstractions that seem unrelated in observable space, due to their small contributions and interference pattern-like superposition with final results.

From one point in time to the next, different systems create influences of different potentials driving diverse pathways, new pathways, and destroying or abandoning old pathways.

So modeling resources and opportunities seems to have the nature of quantum potentials or a form of magnitude assertions.

Hmmm, do you have related work published somewhere, even offline?

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 18:42 GMT
Hi James,

Thanks for reading my essay and your 2 comments above.

In regard to the first point -- how does one deal with corruption? This is an important question and one not addressed in my essay. One might say that when a societal "path" is found that is so clearly "good" it will be implemented despite corruption. For example, modern sewage systems are marvels of efficiency when...

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James Dunn wrote on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 19:26 GMT
Predictive algorithms are commonly used in economics. They are also used by government agencies to anticipate international political activities.

I am hazarding to say that a predictive algorithm is feasible for an entire society; similar to finite element analysis or systems of path integrals. Though the number of interacting variables would likely be impractical computationally for real-time assessments. Perhaps a use for quantum computing and related parallel processing.

I still think you have expressed an implementable method of steering the future of humanity. Maybe not perfect, but the bases of something useful.

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on May. 2, 2014 @ 20:57 GMT
Hi James,

Sorry for the delay in reply. I was out of town to give a talk at Cal Poly SLO and one of the people who came to my talk was a professor from the economics department (my talk had nothing remotely to do with economics but he was one of those people who have very broad interests). Anyway he told me over lunch that there are algorithms for markets, governments, economies. etc. Very interesting stuff. But as you mentioned the simple algorithms often didn't work so well and the more complex/realistic ones were computationally prohibitive.

Anyway I also agree with you that my proposal while not perfect (it is far from perfect) is something that could be tried.

Also I will try to have a look over your essay soon,but the trip put me behind on my "day job" requirements.

Best,

Doug

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Cristinel Stoica wrote on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 20:25 GMT
Dear Doug,

I think your essay contains deep connections, and I particularly like the path-integral approach to the evolution of humanity. I think this can be a very fruitful approach, and you pointed it with many concrete examples. Perhaps one idea I have for a while is compatible with yours (which I touch in my essay): I think it should be more freedom in allowing people to organize themselves without being coerced by the geographical boundaries and laws and political systems decided by the others (even if the others are the majority). Perhaps more freedom in allowing people try various solutions is in agreement with your societal path integral, and also with Nature's way of evolution, in which organisms tried various solutions, dictated by the environment, and the fittest solution was selected. Very nice work!

Best regards,

Cristi

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on May. 2, 2014 @ 21:09 GMT
Hi Cristi,

Thanks for having a look at my essay (and as well congratulations to you on your essay from last year). Also I will definitely read your essay since I agree with the general statement that people should be given the freedom to try different ways of doing "things" (organize a society, find a way to cleanly and efficiently supply power to people, make clean drinking water available, make and educational system, make a medical system, etc.) Anyway this is exactly the idea -- let people, on a small scale, try solutions to societal issues to see what works; what is "classical". The point from Jared Diamond's argument in Guns, Germs and Steel, was that in Europe people were forced by geographic boundaries to split up into smaller groups with each group/nation-state trying different approaches to things. In contrast China of the same period was ruled by a single or few people, and if these few people or single emperor had a bad idea (like the sea ban) they could make it happen without any pressure from competing nation-states as was the case in Europe. Of course as you say it would be better if people would be allowed to try their small scale solutions without being "forced" by geographic boundaries (and today these geographic boundaries do not provide a natural splitting of of peoples).

Anyway in the next few days I will have a look at your essay.

Best regards,

Doug

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Anonymous wrote on May. 1, 2014 @ 16:30 GMT
Doug,

You do lay out a good description of how what amounts to 'swarm intelligence' goes about solving problems and many of the pitfalls involved. A point I would make is that reality is fundamentally bottom up and as society expands, along with human knowledge, there is no one specific goal to which we are seeking. Different solutions have different advantages and weaknesses, so we do use...

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on May. 2, 2014 @ 23:59 GMT
Hi John,

Thanks for reading my essay and your thoughtful comments. I also agree that often/usually bottom up approaches are best - especially of the question is "How does one organize a society?". For example, I spent some time in Cambodia and Pol Pot had a top down (strange/alternative) idea of how communism should work. This has had such catastrophic consequences for Cambodia and its...

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Joe Fisher wrote on May. 1, 2014 @ 20:03 GMT
Dear Professor Singleton,

Your abstractions filled essay is superbly written and I do hope that it does well in the contest. I only have one minor quibble that I hope you will not mind me mentioning.

Reality is unique. Quantum Physics is not unique.

INERT LIGHT THEORY

Based on my observation, I have concluded that all of the stars, all of the planets, all of the...

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on May. 3, 2014 @ 22:11 GMT
Hi Joe,

Thanks for reading and commenting on my essay. In regard to the level of abstraction this is an occupational hazard with academics but in my defense I did give or try to give specific examples for all the abstract statements e.g. the discussion of how to heat water.

I did not follow exactly the arguments you presented about light. If you mean that light is stationary/does not move in its own rest frame this is true (but also a bit of a tautology) and the rest frame of a light beam is a bit of an odd thing. But light is rather odd in that respect. For example in the rest frame of a light beam is infinitely time dilated with respect to some non-light ray outside observer and thus it takes zero proper time for a light ray to travel any distance. Let's assume Minkowski space-time i.e. no cosmological expansion to complicate things. Thus in some sense one could say a light beam is "everywhere at once" in this Minkowski space-time -- at least in the coordinate direction in which it travels which is infinitesimally length contracted. .However in an outside laboratory frame (say the Earth with the light beam going by it) the light beam definitely moves and it takes finite Earth time for it to travel over a fixed distance (again measured in the Earth frame). Thus what I think you are saying about light may be true in the light's rest frame but certainly not in other frames (at least all experiments up to now do show that light moves if one takes a general frame).

I will try to have a look at your essay in the coming week.

Best regards,

Doug

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Joe Fisher replied on May. 5, 2014 @ 13:19 GMT
Doug,

One must never assume, because it makes an ass of u and me. Reality is unique, once. Minkowski's abstract space-time is just as unrealistic as all of the other abstractions you keep quoting.

Joe

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Thomas Howard Ray wrote on May. 2, 2014 @ 15:22 GMT
Very novel, Doug! I especially like the classical application of quantum theory embodied in eqn 2, a function that maps completely to itself given an infinity of paths.

Though our approaches are different, I think we agree that the inexhaustible variety of paths and combinations of paths always available, is requisite to a robust sustainable system.

All best,

Tom

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on May. 3, 2014 @ 22:21 GMT
Hi Tom,

Thanks and I do think there may be some connection between our approaches. I only now glanced at your abstract (I will take a closer look and give more detailed comments later this coming week). Anyway from your abstract you mention "global material and communication resources, distributed laterally rather than hierarchically". This does seem to resonant with the idea of more uniformly distributing resources which would allow more groups of people to try out different ways of solving societal, economic, political questions. The US which used to be more laterally distributed is unfortunately becoming more hierarchically distributed and I think this has a bad influence on innovation. This was the reason for my example in the essay of the Haijin or "sea ban" which was imposed by two Chinese dynasties. Since everything was very hierarchically structured the (bad) decision could be made with no push back from other groups at the same lateral level since there was no "the same lateral level".

Good luck with the contest and I will have a look at your essay hopefully within a week.

Best,

Doug

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on May. 4, 2014 @ 10:23 GMT
Thanks, Doug. Your mention that your wife is Thai reminded me of an economist (I don't remember who) at the University of Michigan who had married a Japanese woman, and drove around Ann Arbor -- (this was the late 70s or 80s, IIRC, when Japan was handily overtaking the U.S. auto industry) -- with a bumper sticker that read, "Buy American, marry Japanese!"

When we can all freely choose our own boundaries -- whether social, political or economic -- hierarchies die of their own unnecessary weight.

Best,

Tom

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Chidi Idika wrote on May. 3, 2014 @ 00:10 GMT
Dear Professor Singleton,

Am not an expert but it seems to me, theoretically at least, that if “The classical path is given the most weight…” then a particle almost always will follow the classical path. Does not this beg the question?

Or perhaps, as you point out, it is a bit tricky deciding what we should mean by “classical path”

Another question is: ordinarily is this so-called path integral approach not already how societies run? Think of the small scale “experiments” as being run by start-ups/entrepreneurs; same as has been the google case, for instance.

Meanwhile, to think of a Kardashev scale and us yet at the base! It is interesting. I found your essay educating.

Best Regard,

Chidi

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on May. 3, 2014 @ 22:53 GMT
Hi Chidi,

Thanks for reading my essay and your good questions. In *physics* macroscopic objects follow essentially the classical path. The non-classical quantum paths do not contribute much. However for quantum systems paths which deviate from classical path can have a greater influence.

Now in my essay I was using the path integral as a loose metaphor for the idea that in the...

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Chidi Idika replied on May. 4, 2014 @ 04:46 GMT
Hi Doug,

Great thinking. Even greater attitude!

All the best,

Chidi

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Judy Nabb wrote on May. 3, 2014 @ 09:49 GMT
Douglas,

I liked you analogy, which mimics how nature works biologically. Even in science we far too often put all our eggs in one basket, ignoring anything bot the ruling fashion or paradigm of the moment. That habit can dangerously prolong the life of inadequate paradigms.

As all our paradigms are incomplete or inadequate serious blockages to advancement are inevitable. It seems a logical conclusion that we should have a proportion of universities dedicated to properly testing and falsifying the science outside ruling paradigms currently only rejected and resisted because it is 'outside'.

More breakthroughs come from 'outside' than within yet we still ignore diversity in principle, when we shouldn't. Do you agree?

I discuss eugenics, which increasing temps us away from natures diversity down that potentially dangerous narrow path.

Judy

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on May. 3, 2014 @ 23:05 GMT
Hi Judy,

Thanks for reading my essay and I do agree with the statement that I think there would be more breakthroughs scientifically, economically, socially, etc. if we diversify our approach to trying solutions to address the various questions/problems that come up in these areas. This is the essential statement/point of my essay. Now this "try many different approaches" idea has surely been successful in science/engineering. This is one of the themes behind the brilliant TV series and book by James Burke which I mention in my essay. Big advances often/always come people trying different, unusual, unexpected approaches to science questions. And often at the beginning the researchers themselves do not see the end point of their initial investigations. their genius of course lies in that *eventually* they realize the importance of what they have stumbled on to. It's more rare that some big, grand project is tried from the outset and found to work as advertised right of the bat.

I'll have a look at your essay in the coming week.

Best,

Doug

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Georgina Woodward wrote on May. 3, 2014 @ 10:29 GMT
Hi Douglas,

well done for relating your answer to physics. It was a pleasure to read. You took us from the immense threats we can not deal with to your international, personal experience of how water is heated, to the disinterest of US politicians in scientific details. While giving good advice on choosing solutions to problems.

Re. clean water, I wonder why rainwater tanks are not more popular. They have the great advantage of making one look forward to, and really appreciating, rainy weather. The dry spells, especially when the tank runs dry, make one appreciate how good it is when there is running water on tap.

Good luck, Georgina

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on May. 3, 2014 @ 23:19 GMT
Hi Georgina,

Your essay was already on my "to read list" (which is now becoming longer) so thanks for reading my essay and for your excellent question about the more important issue of clean water versus hot water.

In fact in the house of my wife's family, who lives in the rice farming region of Northeastern Thailand close to the Laotian border they do in fact catch rain water in addition to getting water from wells. And the rain water is really great -- it has a totally different, cleaner, better taste compared to the water we have here in the central part of California where I currently live (California is undergoing a severe drought so we would have trouble getting water from rain here, but this rain water solution is definitely workable in some parts of the world, and in fact it is used). To be sure during the dry season in Thailand they use just the well, but during the rainy season they can enjoy water from the sky. One does have to clean the rain water which is caught in this way since they let it run down the slanted roofs (designed for this purpose) and any dirt on the roof will get in the rain water. But they have methods of cleaning the rain water once it is captured in the containers (they have large holding vases for this purpose). Also the dirt issue is largest in the transition between dry and rainy season when the roof has accumulated a lot of dust.

I'll look at your essay soon.

Best,

Doug

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Anonymous replied on May. 13, 2014 @ 11:58 GMT
Hi Doug,

because you wrote "Also if one wanted a weightier question one could ask how one supplies clean drinking water to society" I found this article about drinking water it offers many kinds of contamination for consideration but does not mention, at all, that these sources of contamination can be avoided by collecting and drinking rainwater from roofs.Contaminants in drinking water In...

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John Brodix Merryman wrote on May. 3, 2014 @ 16:32 GMT
Doug,

While I take issue with some consequences of your concept, primarily that it will take us where we are going to go, rather than possibly where we might want to go, this is a reality I find far more intellectually intriguing than simply that we will muddle through to a happy place, if we keep a positive attitude. Given that, I thought I'd offer up something of my own version of a path...

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on May. 4, 2014 @ 22:04 GMT
Hi John,

Thanks for reading my essay and your good questions/comments. What you describe above (the connection between time and temperature) is what one gets when one does a Wick rotation (lets time --> -i*time_E where the "E" stands for Euclidean) so that one has a Euclidean path integral. Then one makes a comparison between this Euclidean path integral with the statistical mechanical partition function and thus finds a very powerful analogy between time and temperature (actually I think the connection is between time and inverse temperature but in any case there is a strong connection). Also in his comment on my essay Torsten Asselmeyer-Maluga made the point that it might have been more correct if I had phrased things in terms of the Euclidean path integral vs. Minkowskian path integral, which is probably true, but as well I am only using the path integral (either Euclidean or Minkowskian) as a loose metaphor to suggest that like a thermodynamic/QFT system people should try out different approaches to societal questions. The one difference is that (even though I think people have at present only a very crude ability to steer things) people should take and active role in deciding which societal path or paths are good or "classical". By the way in Torsten's essay there is also some type of thermodynamic evolution but with some input/control from people/society (this is the "g" coupling in his essay). Anyway you might find his essay of interest and hopefully I got the gist of his point correctly.

I'll have a look at your essay in the coming week.

Best,

Doug

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John Brodix Merryman replied on May. 4, 2014 @ 22:39 GMT
Doug,

Thank you for taking the time to put that in a broader context.

Don't feel obligated to read those prior contest entries, I just put them up for reference.

There are other aspects of this which I see as worth noting. For one thing, if time were a vector from past to future, you would think the faster clock would move into the future more rapidly, but since it ages/burns quicker, it actually falls into the past faster. The tortoise is still plodding along, long after the hare has died.

As an effect of physical actions, the reason it is asymmetric is simple momentum. Actions don't stop and go the other way, whatever the entropic effects.

As probability precedes actuality, determinism isn't an issue, since the input into any event can only happen with its occurrence. Equally we don't need to presume the past remains probabilistic, by branching off into many worlds, as physical actions determine the fate of the cat.

As I often describe it, the earth isn't traveling some dimension from yesterday to tomorrow. Tomorrow becomes yesterday because the world turns.

Thanks,

John

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Peter Jackson wrote on May. 5, 2014 @ 16:29 GMT
Douglas,

I commend your words highly. I've found quite the opposite attitude is often prevalent. Commonly fine words are spoken but not practised. Any hypothesis beyond the ruling paradigm causes a sprint for cover within the brackets of conformity. A minor example was the top two peer scored essays last year, including mine, entirely ignored in the judging.

I note and agree your comment above that; "Big advances often/always come (from) people trying different, unusual, unexpected approaches to science questions." Which is well documented as being the case, but many fail to make it or take years, while often banal repeats of present doctrine flood the journals with information overload. Dan Shecktman's rejection for 40 years is typical of the few that do emerge.

I believe my own essay this year is self evidently groundbreaking; showing that a classical derivation of quantum mechanical predictions is possible allowing convergence with SR and fundamental advancement across a broad range of a sciences. I predict all those schooled in the present nonsensical QM will again run for the nearest brackets or beach, as do editors. Are you really any different Douglas? A top score coming if you are, or were they really just words? That is human nature. I agree with Judy above and suggest thinking outside the Earth centred frame may help intellectual evolution.

I look forward with interest to you comments on my, rather different, essay.

Best wishes

Peter

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on May. 5, 2014 @ 18:39 GMT
Hi Peter,

Thanks for your comments and I will definitely take a look at your essay. I wasn't aware of the Dan Shecktman case so googled it and as you imply he got (initially) pretty bad treatment. Quasi-crystals of course now are "well respected" science and I think Penrose even discussed them in mathematical terms. There are so many stories like Shecktman's (Alfred Wegener and continental drift theory comes to mind since this was just on "Cosmos" episode last night) that maybe this is inevitable, bad side feature of the scientific method -- one needs to have some way of deciding which new proposals/hypothesis in science are good/correct so one must critically exam each of these new proposals and think of tests which would either confirm or refute the proposal/hypothesis. However during the criticism phase the person proposing the new hypothesis or the critic, or both become "invested" in the theory or the criticism of the theory and then objectivity is lost. I'm not sure what can be done about this (one does need to critically exam new ideas and keep those that agree with experiment and discard those that don't). From what I understand of the Shecktman case he just stuck to his guns and eventually people came around. Wegener was not as lucky -- he died in 1930 during an expedition to Greenland to make measurements of the ice thickness and weather. People eventually started to come around to the idea of continental in the 1950s. Anyway I'm not sure if there is a good answer to this question.

Best,

Doug

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Peter Jackson replied on May. 6, 2014 @ 09:55 GMT
Doug,

I suggest there IS a good answer, which is to actually apply the scientific method (SM) not just pay it lip service and use instant 'front cerebral cortex' judgements to ignore things, which is what really happens.

What I do is construct coherent hypotheses and test them to destruction, but NOT against prior beliefs and assumptions, which is what most do. Sometimes...

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on May. 7, 2014 @ 17:39 GMT
Hi Peter,

I will definitely look at your essay. I took a peek already and the prose is very strong and I like Bell's Theorem stuff although it can be tricky to understand -- for me at least. Therefore I look forward to reading your essay.

By the way you may be interested in some recent work related to Bell's Theorem. First there is the EPR=ER (Einstein-Rosen) proposal of Susskind...

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James Lee Hoover wrote on May. 5, 2014 @ 17:23 GMT
Douglas,

Such deliberate reasoning in solving the problem of steering a future seems quite foreign in American society. Reason is not a guiding force in the overall social structure, not in business, not in government, maybe in science. But then again motivations and goals are different. Business has profit. Government leaders have election and re-election and science perhaps discovery. This simplistic statement of goals and motivation in itself shows the multifaceted problems our problem poses.

How do we come together and actually decide the path we move toward? I speak of solutions but have a sketchy idea of how to get there. Your practical experiences speak of cultural differences and expectations in supplying hot water, which too suggests the difficulty of reaching goals.

Jim

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on May. 5, 2014 @ 20:20 GMT
Hi Jim,

Thanks for reading my essay and your question/observation. Yes many parts of our society -- politics, business, to some extent even science -- are not driven by logical reasoning and following data/experiments, but are driven by self-interest. The example I give at the end of my essay where as part of an APS delegation I went to DC to lobby congress members to support science tries...

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Anonymous wrote on May. 6, 2014 @ 16:38 GMT
Hi Doug,

Been following you eventually and I like your combination of candour and expertise; most "experts" are way too mortified by fear of being per adventure caught wrong that they speak from both sides of the mouth or they play dumb. I will very much appreciate your honest critique of my essay taking seriously the equations supplied therein.

By the way, I don't find that the rating pattern in this essay contest is free of most of the bias accused of establishment science. People vote their "favorites" here however disconnected this may prove to be with the issue of content. Also people fear retaliation with low rating. And people (myself inclusive) tend to read top-rated essays first. After all it is NOT often that the rejected stone turns to be the chief cornerstone; it happens in fact RARELY.

In short I came here hoping I may get your combination of expertise,candour and responsiveness.

Thanks for being there, Doug.

Chidi

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Chidi Idika replied on May. 6, 2014 @ 16:48 GMT
That was me above, didn't know I had been logged out.

chidi

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on May. 7, 2014 @ 17:54 GMT
Hi Chidi,

Many thanks and I will have a look at your essay soon. Also in almost any human undertaking there is always some unfair, subjective aspect to the undertaking. Also let me say I learned to "love" being wrong during my stays in Russia. If you give a talk there you'll be grilled very vigorously to see how well your idea holds up. This is a bit disconcerting at first coming from the US where people may think your idea is wrong but will be afraid to engage you out of a false idea of niceness and also for fear that they may be wrong or ask a "bad/stupid" question. You learn a lot when people push your ideas. Also the Russians make you understand this is nothing personal (i.e. tearing into your ideas) since they'll invite you out for vodka and snacks after.

Best,

Doug

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Lawrence B Crowell wrote on May. 6, 2014 @ 20:42 GMT
I discuss the Kardashev scales of technological collectives (civilizations) in my essay, but with a different take. I argue there are limits to this; probably anything beyond level II is highly improbable. This means it is not likely our observable universe is a simulation or “matrix.”

The climatologists who simulate the future climate of this planet are performing in some ways the sort of scheme you propose. The quantum superposed amplitudes of course are replaced by a stochastic ensemble of paths or possible outcomes. It is not hard to imagine something of this sort being applied to other systems on Earth, including ourselves.

LC

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on May. 7, 2014 @ 18:07 GMT
Hi Lawrence,

Nice to "see" you again in the FQXi contest. I already had on my list to look over your essay and comment. Yes in regard to the Kardashev scale I use this only to point out that at present humanity, while having plenty to be proud of, is not really that advanced. But we do have some ability to crudely steer a direction so we should have some semi-scientific way of doing this. But I only use the Kardashev scale since it is well known. As you say it could be there may be some barrier to ever developing into a Type III civilization. Also in reply to another reader I mentioned there is another scale based on amount of information a civilization can harness/acquire instead of the level of power it can use/control. But the Kardashev scale is better known.

What you say about climatologist simulations sounds right (I don't know enough in detail about these types of climate models). In my area one might use the example of lattice gauge calculations which take huge amounts of computing power to simulate quark bound states (i.e. protons, neutrons, mesons, etc.)

My suggestion in the essay is to try something like this (i.e. choosing different social organization paths) in the social context. Of course the number of paths on can try in a social context will be much more limited than in the context of climate simulations or lattice QCD simulations.

Best,

Doug

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Gbenga Michael Ogungbuyi wrote on May. 7, 2014 @ 10:19 GMT
Dear Professor Doug,

Your article is a proof of your wealth of experience. Your thought is original. It held my interest through out and wish you an astounding accomplishment in this competition.

Kindly read my article as well and give it a rating. Here is the direct link considering the enormous entries STRIKING A BALANCE BETWEEN TECHNOLOGY AND ECOSYSTEM http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2020



Best wishes

Gbenga

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton wrote on May. 7, 2014 @ 18:08 GMT
Hi Gbenga,

Thanks for reading my essay and kind words. I will have a look at your essay -- hopefully within a week.

Best,

Doug

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Ajay Bhatla wrote on May. 7, 2014 @ 23:18 GMT
Dear Douglas,

Very well expressed essay.

The idea of many paths is the same I make in my essay(here) but from a very different perspective.

It seems you are only looking at BIG investments by institutions and nation-states. I am, however, looking from the perspective of individual or tiny groups of people.

You suggest the need for "weighing" and the need to find a "best" path? Cannot weighing approaches be necessarily different? Cannot different paths be more effective as communities, cultures and environments are quite different around the world?

My essay is here.

- Ajay

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on May. 12, 2014 @ 16:14 GMT
Hi Ajay,

Sorry for the delayed response. This is finals week and giving finals is *almost* as nerve racking as taking them (almost :-)).

In regard to the amount of investment from institutions/governments my suggest would in fact be at first to fund a lot of small scale projects. Usually when one makes a big investment in a single or small number of projects this can easily fail (and often does). My suggestion is the try as many different paths/approaches to different problems as possible and then based on certain objective criteria decide which path or paths are best. And I agree that in societal terms there may be more than one path since people have different ways of weighting things. In my health care system example some society's may be OK with a slightly lower cure rate for certain rare diseases as long as the system is cost effective and treats as large a number of people as possible. Other societies may be willing to pay more for health care and treat more of the rare diseases. So yes if there are different weightings in different societies one will get different "solutions" or paths. I talk about this toward the end of the essay.

I'll try to get to your essay soon.

Best,

Doug

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Charles Gregory St Pierre wrote on May. 8, 2014 @ 03:06 GMT
Dear Douglas,

Very interesting and enjoyable read. Humanity has had time to try a very large number of paths. With the result that we are HERE. I think a Kardashev value of .76 for our civilization to be very, um, flattering. First, does the earth qualify as 'a' civilization? And second, clearly the 'entropy' of a society, or perhaps more directly the free energy of a society, bears on how much a society has control of those resources.

One of the characteristics of the late evolution of a society, (the present state of ours?) seems to be the closing off of alternative paths. Instead of open competition, with its many paths, we have oligopoly; instead of social mobility, we increasingly have oligarchy. Instead of Congressmen open to evidence and data we have those whose choices are dictated by measures other than the actual success of a path. Clearly the best paths, or even viable paths will not likely be selected in such a situation. So one of the first tasks presented humanity, us, may be how to open more paths. And this may involve increasing the free energy available, as was done, for instance, in WWII.

You made the important point that paths do not always scale in a simple manner. This is especially be the case when responding to global issues, when the metric is not the same as smaller scales. The world is round. Yet we must start somewhere, and adjust as we go.

You've made important points with simple examples. Excellent.

I remember the Connections series. The episodes I saw were excellent. Some are available on YouTube. They are also available on DVD.

I hope you find time to read my essay.

I wish you good luck in the competition.

Charles Gregory St Pierre

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on May. 12, 2014 @ 16:41 GMT
Hi Charles.

Yes I will definitely read your essay since you very well understood and criticized my essay (i.e. you found some of its shortcomings). First I agree that at present it is not the practice to try many different paths and that paths are being shut off. And of those few different paths/approaches that are tried there the choice of path is often not take based on objective...

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Anonymous wrote on May. 9, 2014 @ 04:37 GMT
Dear Douglas Alexander Singleton,

You mentioned the path of what is called Energiewende in Germany. My essay addressed a quite different subject that was more important for me personally: peace. Having dealt with power electronics and batteries, I know the importance of energy and its connection to politics. Instead of considering single paths from A to B and intentional steering, I rather asked how to contribute to more basic influences; I arrived at the insight that there might be imperfections in the traditional notion of humanity, cf. my requests to Mohammed Khali and Sabine Hossenfelder.

You will certainly agree that hope for cold fusion is irresponsible, and the promising project DESERTEC almost abandoned. Germany's decision to give up nuclear power was mainly an ethical rather than profit-oriented one.

The territory of Germany is simply to small as to cope with possible nuclear disasters. Not even a final place for nuclear waste has been found.

What about the various academic paths, I realized at MEI how close Moscow related to old German tradition. When I was a member of AWS, I often also felt like at home. However, close relations like for instance between Wilhelm II and Nikolaus II in 1914 don't guarantee good decisions. I will read your essay because I expect expert details.

Curious,

Eckard

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on May. 9, 2014 @ 20:12 GMT
Hallo Eckard Vielen Dank, dass Sie meinen Aufsatz gelesen habe. Ich werde weiter auf Englisch zu schreiben, da mein Deutsch ist, dass von einem Schüler der fünften Klasse.

I very much admired the German Energiewende. When I was in Potsdam on sabbatical we lived in guest housing of the Fachhochschule Potsdam and just a short distance from the campus. On our way to the Volkspark we would pass a solar power project being run by the students which supplied some power to the campus. By the way what is the opinion of Germans in regard to the Energiewende? My impression was overall favorable but since I was only there for 4-5 months I did not maybe get a complete picture. By the way in the US when the media reports about the initiative they generally point out what is not working about the the Energiewende, which then is in stark contrast to my limited observations. But long ago I realized a good part of what one reads/hears in the news is slanted to one particular view point or the other. US News is especially bad about this. BBC is OK and PBS news in the US is good (but no one watches because it's less "entertaining" than watching Fox News. Also Deutsche Welle seems good/balanced). Also I had never heard about DESERTEC so googled it. This looks like a great idea, but it seems you are indicating it is being abandoned. By the way the US had large stretches of desert in the southwest which might also be useful for such a project.

Again thanks for your comments and I will have a look at your essay soon.

Alles beste,

Doug

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Eckard Blumschein replied on May. 12, 2014 @ 00:00 GMT
Douglas,

I think, those pioneers who built first wind and solar power plants and the government that fostered them did steer humanity toward the better although the economy was rather bumpy. China's cheap solar modules benefited from agreed subventions to be payed by Germany's costumers of energy. You are right, the natural conditions are certainly better elsewhere. However, it turned out that the calculated costs of nuclear power didn't correctly include the need to get rid of nuclear waste and cope with possible risks. Presently, the stability of supply with gas seems to be at risk due to political crises. Environmentalists don't like the use of coal although the damage caused by digging and burning coal is perhaps more benign than by freaking. Anyway, people were told and believe that fossil sources will run out earlier or later, and sustainability is important. Many people did also not forget WWII and are in particular opposed to nuclear weapons. They organized resistance against transport of so called Castors with radioactive wast. I as an old engineer felt mainly challenged by the persisting lack of storages. My elder son has to do with protection of power grids that must be reconstructed in order to optimally distribute electricity.

What about my essay, I see it an unwelcome challenge to anybody who was educated to believe in Einstein's relativity up to consequences that were shown in Schlafly's essay, who feels emotional in terms of his own nation, and who is not ready to accept really basic question in mathematics, physics, and other fields including ethics. I will appreciate criticism.

All best,

Eckard

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Anonymous replied on May. 29, 2014 @ 05:30 GMT
Douglas,

The reason why you didn't comment on my essay might be your disagreement with paths of reasoning that I adopted from Galileo, Nobel, Michelson, and Shannon who deviated from current Ein(stein)stream.

On the other hand, I am sure some basic arguments must not be ignored:

- The only acceptable human perspective is that of mankind as a whole, not of any single national path; ethics must be adapted appropriately.

- The future is open.

- Non-causality only occurs as an artifact.

- All paths of reality are directed ahead.

- War, malnutrition, illnesses etc. were necessary and must be substituted instead of fighting against mere symptoms of irresponsible developments.

- Within foreseeable future mankind has only one earth.

- Paths of obvious fraud, e.g. claimed achieved cold fusion, are futile.

- While the topic "How should humanity steer the future?" suggests taking the somewhat illusory position of someone who steers e.g. by selected funding, I see the possibilities to anticipate discoveries and inventions rather limited.

Let me tell a story: A man who chaired an institute about 30 years ago dared promising to government and party in what was the GDR (Eastern part of Germany) to deliver exactly 40 inventions in honor of their 40th anniversary. Most of these planned inventions were, of course, close to fraud.

Don't you agree?

Best,

Eckard

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George Gantz wrote on May. 15, 2014 @ 13:45 GMT
Doug - Thanks for the QP primer and thoughtful essay. I was interested in your description of the process of small scale experiments and selection through a path integral process, and realized that it is similar to the mutation / selection / propagation process exhibited in evolutionary dynamics. The key, of course, as you point out, is the process by which options are chosen / fit to "the classical path." In evolutionary terms, this is analogous to selection in the fitness landscape. If you have a chance, I'd appreciate any comments on my essay The Tip of the Spear - we are dealing with a similar concept from different perspectives.

Cheers - George

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton wrote on May. 15, 2014 @ 20:59 GMT
Hi George,

Yes I'll have a look. I'm working through the essays I promised to read. Thanks also for you comments on my essay.

Best,

Doug

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Peter Jackson wrote on May. 16, 2014 @ 18:42 GMT
Doug,

I replied (above and) on my blog but re-post it below for your convenience. I didn't explain entanglement; The only actual relationship required is that the common axis of the ('helical') paths of the particles is conserved. The equatorial plane of the sphere is then common to both. That's all that's needed. The Bloch sphere 4-vectors (setting angles) are than related ('entangled')...

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on May. 17, 2014 @ 19:32 GMT
Hi Peter,

I'll reply on your thread. I did have some more things to say (hopefully useful or interesting) although I have to admit I still do not feel I completely understand all the issues. But again as I said this is mostly connected with the subtle issues (at least for me) in Bell type arguments -- not only your work but also Bell's original paper and most other things on this topic. But again let me reply more fully on your thread.

Best,

Doug

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Peter Jackson replied on May. 19, 2014 @ 12:23 GMT
Doug,

My anon reply to your anon post on mine is below, with attachments. I think nobody really understand all the spooky issues as, just like SR, there's a genuine failure of logic somewhere.;;

~

"Doug,

It took me a few years too. What Bell does is 'limit' the inequalities possible from random variables, so although the experimental results vary from QM (as they're...

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attachments: 8_Kit._FIG_5.jpg, 1_Electron_Model_Max_Planck_inst..jpg

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Peter Jackson replied on May. 21, 2014 @ 18:33 GMT
Doug,

Again I replied to your interesting post on mine as below. We seem to agree then that words are quite powerless compared to action;

~

Thanks. Your findings closely fit mine. I have two '4th tier' acceptances from a score of submissions. I estimated penetration by ~2020 so I am an optimist - but tenacious. One referee rejected a paper as it identified 'quasar era' peaks...

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on May. 18, 2014 @ 22:47 GMT
Dear Douglas Alexander Singleton,

I very much enjoyed your application of a key theme of physics to the essay topic of 'steer the future'. I fully agree with the applicability of it and the implication that one should try "all paths". This is a bottom-up approach that explores a wider variety of approaches and allows comparison between realities, not just ideals.

You use the path integral as a "loose" metaphor. I do the same with the thermodynamic concept of free energy. I believe these are valid metaphors. I do not address astronomical catastrophes, so much as societal catastrophe such as another Pol Pot arising to enforce "equality" on all of us.

This approach also suggests that 50 states experimenting with any problem, such as healthcare, offers the same advantage that decentralized Europe enjoyed over centralized China [per Diamond].

I find we arrive at very similar positions based on the imaginative application of physics paradigms to humanity. Yours is worth a 10, since that's all I can give it. It's actually worth more.

I hope finals are over and you find the time to read my essay and comment on it.

My best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on May. 19, 2014 @ 18:00 GMT
Dear Dr. Klingman,

Many thanks for reading my essay and from your comments I think you understood the main thrust of my proposal. To allow a broad range of trials to answer questions (be they scientific questions or societal questions) and then based on the outcomes and using some objective (or as objective as possible) criteria pick those solutions which are best. And the path integral is just a loose metaphor as you note. The example you give of seeing at how each of the 50 states of the US deals with some social issue was exactly something that I had in mind. One of these 50 different approaches will probably give one a hint at how to so something better. Yet I don't think to any large degree this is done (i.e. look at the success or failure of smaller programs at the state level and then choose the best and try to scale up.

Anyway I will have a look at your essay soon.

Best,

Doug

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Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on May. 28, 2014 @ 21:49 GMT
Hi Doug,

I'm very pleased that you liked my approach, as you appear to be the only other author to apply a physics metaphor to the problem.

We do agree on the central point of your essay, which is to 'try all paths' instead of a centralized command and control.

You mentioned that the path integral approach is a very close connection to thermodynamics/statistical mechanics. I have recently re-awakened to the fact that the Wick rotation will convert the partition function into a path integral and vice versa. I've spent some time on this amazing fact, and I plan to spend more.

Perhaps we can continue this discussion offline.

Congratulations on your current well-deserved high ranking in the contest.

By the way I received the 23 May 2014 issue of 'Science' in the mail this morning. It has a whole special section dedicated to "the Science of Inequality". There may be a new field budding.

My best regards

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Jayakar Johnson Joseph wrote on May. 19, 2014 @ 04:06 GMT
Dear Douglas,

I think we may have to work out for the transformation of a path integral in Corpuscularianism into three definite line integrals in notation with three eigen-rotational states of a string-natter segment, while in accordance with the Principle of stationary action in calculus of variations.

Thus with this aspect, the probability of Societal steering in the right path may be more definitive while we work on a holarchial approach with the society.

With best wishes,

Jayakar

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on May. 22, 2014 @ 06:15 GMT
Hi Jayakar,

Thanks for reading and commenting on my essay. I will have a look at our essay in the coming week.

Best,

Doug

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Christian Corda wrote on May. 21, 2014 @ 22:34 GMT
Hi Doug

Congrats, this is indeed an intriguing Essay. Here are my comments/questions:

1) I think you implicitly dedicated this work to Richard Feynman.

2) Has Kardashev's classification of civilizations any link with stellar classification? I suspect this because he was an astronomer.

3) I find the "Historical Path Integral" by James Burke which starts from the standardization of precious metals till nuclear weapons and energy very enlightening for clarifying what you point out in your Essay.

4) I agree with you that number of publications and citations are not great measures of actual scientific progress.

5) You emphasize that deciding on how to weight a particular societal path is very subjective and may lead to different groups choosing different paths as best or "classical". Is this the analogous of the probabilistic behavior of quantum mechanics in your nice metaphor?

6) I appreciated a lot the subtle irony that you used in some points of your Essay, in particular in the last discussion concerning the conflict between the non-scientific "cherry picking" of data which helps politician get re-elected and the scientific faceless data which, although being informative, will not help politicians get re-elected.

You wrote an very enjoyable Essay. I am going to give you an high score.

I wish you all the best in the Contest.

Cheers,

Ch.

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on May. 22, 2014 @ 06:11 GMT
Hi Christian,

Thanks for reading my essay and your complementary questions and comments. I'm a great admirer of Feynman's and certainly he did try a lot of different "paths" -- bongo player, safe cracker, bar fly (but without drinking), and physicist. The Kardashev scale is logarithmic as is the case of the brightness scale for stars so this may have been connected with Kardashev's background in astronomy (although the log formula I gave was a later invention (due to Sagan?). Kardashev originally had only a discreet range of civilization rankings.

Someone else mentioned that James Burke's old programs can be found on Youtube but so far I have only been able to find "The Day the Universe Changed" and "Connections 2" (which in my opinion was good but not as good as "Connections"). Anyway that is a good way to describe Burke's narrative -- a historical path integral.

Good luck as well with the contest. Best,

Doug

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KoGuan Leo wrote on May. 24, 2014 @ 13:29 GMT
Dough,

You are a fine human being I can sense it. You have adventure soul. We have many in common. I also admire Feynman and he is a great scientist and even more admirable that he is a great human being as well. I also use his "sum over histories" idea in my KQID theory. You summed up your suggestion: "one should loosely adopt this quantum mechanical approach of trying “all paths”. Those societal “paths” which are judged best/classical would be given the highest weight in steering humanity forward."

I wish you the best, if you have time please comment on mine. Good luck on this contest.

Leo KoGuan

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KoGuan Leo wrote on May. 24, 2014 @ 13:30 GMT
Sorry, Doug, not Dough.

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KoGuan Leo wrote on May. 24, 2014 @ 14:02 GMT
Doug,

I like your comment to John: "Anyway if one were to follow the "path integral" proposal one should look at how wealth is distributed in countries that have a low Gini index (which means more fair wealth distribution)" also your comment to Joe's comment on light: "But light is rather odd in that respect. For example in the rest frame of a light beam is infinitely time dilated with respect to some non-light ray outside observer and thus it takes zero proper time for a light ray to travel any distance. Let's assume Minkowski space-time i.e. no cosmological expansion to complicate things. Thus in some sense one could say a light beam is "everywhere at once" in this Minkowski space-time -- at least in the coordinate direction in which it travels which is infinitesimally length contracted. .However in an outside laboratory frame (say the Earth with the light beam going by it) the light beam definitely moves and it takes finite Earth time for it to travel over a fixed distance (again measured in the Earth frame). Thus what I think you are saying about light may be true in the light's rest frame but certainly not in other frames (at least all experiments up to now do show that light moves if one takes a general frame)."

Thanks for your generous effort to make humanity to be human. I share your goal. I hope we can be friends. If you have time please read my essay.

I rated your essay ten (10).

I wish you well,

Leo KoGuan

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on May. 26, 2014 @ 01:32 GMT
Hi Leo,

Thanks for reading my essay and our comments. Yes Feynman is a very good and interesting physicist. I will try to have a look at our essay especially as you mention that it has some connection to "sum over histories" which at least on the surface would appears to give some connection to one of the themes of my own essay.

Best,

Doug

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Chidi Idika wrote on May. 25, 2014 @ 15:15 GMT
Hi Doug,

Bear with me. But am wondering if you still can find a little time for this essay . And give me a no holds bared comment. If it be all I take from this contest I will be just fine!

And should you want more discreet interface my email is thereon.

Regards,

Chidi

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on May. 26, 2014 @ 01:35 GMT
Hi Chidi,

Yes I have your essay on my list of to read essays. I will try to get to it in the next 1-2 days.

Best,

Doug

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Philip Gibbs wrote on May. 25, 2014 @ 16:50 GMT
Doug, I like you "metaphor" of the path integral. It is good that you manged to get some real physics into your essay as we are supposed to. I am sure you know that when Dirac first though of a path integral in physics he saw it is more of a metaphor than a real theory. Feynman realized that it really works and is not just a metaphor. perhaps the same is true of your idea here.

I appreciate the idea that it is not just the classical path that counts. We need some thinking away from the mainstream to contribute its part. It is just a case of getting the right Lagrangian so that everything has the right weight and leads to the correct unbiased answer. I think some AI technology will use this kind of technique to get the right conclusions from the sum of human thinking and help steer humanity

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton wrote on May. 26, 2014 @ 01:59 GMT
Hi Phil ,

Man thanks for reading my essay and your comments. Yes, my invocation of the path integral is to be taken as a very loose metaphor -- and as you reminded me this was in fact the spirit in which Dirac put forward the idea. I could have written the whole essay without the path integral metaphor, but I wanted to bring some connection to physics into the essay. The basics thrust of the essay is that humanity should be open to trying different paths *and* then should select those paths as "best" which lead to a good outcome based on objective criteria. Also I want to emphasize the suggestion is an experimental one in that one should try these paths out on a small scale and those which prove to be good then scale up.

Physics/science for example used to be more open to trying different approaches. At the beginning of the 20th century SR, GR and QM showed that that idea that humanity almost knew all there was to know about the natural world (modulo some "i" dotting and "t" crossing) was wrong. Moreover these theories were almost immediately validated up to a certain limit by experiment. At present none of the small number of ideas of what comes next (string theory, loop quantum gravity, large/warped extra dimensions) has any unambiguous experimental support. For this reason my proposal is experimentally based -- if some societal path does not give good results based on some objective criteria it should be abandoned. A lot of bad results have occurred when people have tried to do top down social engineering and the refused to abandon a given approach when it was proven experimentally not to work e.g. Pol Pot sticking with his odd agrarian version of communism even when it was apparent to everyone that this was a very wrong path.

Anyway thanks for reading my essay and best of luck in the contest.

Doug

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Member Tommaso Bolognesi wrote on May. 27, 2014 @ 17:12 GMT
Dear Douglas,

no doubt your essay scores high in terms of originality, although, based just on the title, I had hoped for some deeper connection between the path integral concept and some novel way to look at the business of steering our future. However, you are honestly declaring that the metaphor is loose, which, in a way, makes the reader (or this reader) more relaxed and more willing to appreciate the several interesting examples that you mention. Your prose is fluent and, occasionally, pleasingly humorous. The idea to keep the reader under a multi-continental shower for such a long time is quite effective.

One small criticism. I liked the idea to distinguish (in the first section) between large and small events, and the associated dualism of known unkowns and unknown unknowns; there are unpredictable small events which can have a large positive impact on the course of humanity (this made me think of complex systems, emergence, and the antipodal butterfly that I mention in my essay, which is, however, malicious). I got the impression that the rest of the paper would concentrate on these events - the most interesting type, of course! However that distinction is basically lost in the remaining three sections, where nothing seems to relate to it, at least not explicitly. What you do is basically support the idea of trying many alternative implementations of small projects, while somehow forgetting that dualism. In fact, it seems to me that these projects could only deal with the `known unknown` case, and not with the more attractive (and difficult) alternative. But maybe I have missed some intended logical link. In this case, I`d appreciate your reply.

Best regards

Tommaso

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton wrote on May. 27, 2014 @ 19:59 GMT
Hi Tommaso,

Thanks for reading and commenting on my essay. Your criticism is on point. I was not able to weave the idea of unknown unknowns (and how one avoids negative examples of these and steers toward positive examples of these) into the essay as much as I would have liked or should have. This is discussed in much more detail in the book by Nassim Taleb "The Black Swan" which I reference. Taleb's point is that one should try to build a society which is accepting and encourages good "black swan events" (i.e. events for which one can not even begin to calculate probabilities) and which is hardened against bad "black swan events". My path integral metaphor (i.e. try many paths approach) is a way of trying to access the good "black swan events". My essay does not give much/anything in terms of how to harden society against bad "black swan events" (and in this regard Taleb also does not give much advice -- more than I was able to do but still not much -- since his view is that since these events are fundamentally unpredictable it is hard to prepare for them. He does make some suggestions, but nothing very concrete. If a bad "black swan event" occurs because of it's unpredictable nature one can not say definitely if one could ever prepare enough. This is a bit fatalistic and Taleb gives some more insight into how to harden society against bad unknown unknowns.

Anyway thanks for reading and for your very good and perceptive comment. I will try to have a look at your essay before the 30th. I am traveling for a day to my summer position at UNAM, but hope to settle in quickly and get back to reading the various essays I promised to read and had listed to read.

Best,

Doug

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Mohammed M. Khalil wrote on May. 27, 2014 @ 20:26 GMT
Dear prof. Singleton,

Wonderful essay! I enjoyed your path integral analogy very much, and I strongly agree with your opinion. Humanity should try as many paths as possible to reach the most successful one.

You write "If on the other hand one funds many small scale projects there is a better chance one or more of these approaches will prove beneficial." This brings to my mind the rising importance of small science projects vs. big projects, which I discuss in my essay. I would be honored if you read it and told me your opinion.

Best regards,

Mohammed

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on May. 29, 2014 @ 03:29 GMT
Hi Mohammed,

Thanks for reading my essay and your comments. I will try to get to as many of the essays as I can before the looming deadline.

Best regards,

Doug

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Robert de Neufville wrote on May. 28, 2014 @ 02:36 GMT
Great essay, Douglas. The path integral metaphor is beautiful and evocative (and among other things reminds me how much I loved Feynman's little book on QED). I completely agree with you on the advantages of social experimentation. I think Diamond is right to argue that Europe's fragmentation gave cities and states the space to experiment that eventually produced modern liberal democracy and capitalism.

You anticipated and addressed almost all the caveats that struck me. As you say, institutional structures may not scale up (or down—it's easier in many ways, for example, to address the entire US health care market at once than in pieces). And politics constrains what's possible, since we aren't governed by technocratic utility maximizers.

I would also add that while we may not have the ability to control which black-swan events befall us—this is what I write in my own essay—we can nevertheless make society more resilient to unexpected shocks. We can't prevent lightning from striking, but we can ensure ourselves against damage. In general, I think we should prepare not just for our median, best guess about the future, but for as much of the space of potential futures as possible.

Again, great essay. It deserves to do well.

Best,

Robert de Neufville

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on May. 29, 2014 @ 03:48 GMT
Hi Robert,

Thanks for reading my essay and your comments. Yes one of the things that my essay touches on (but as noted above by Tommaso I did not weave in enough detail into my essay) is that society should try to minimize the effects of bad black swan events, while simultaneously trying to be more ready and open in accepting good black swan events. And these are exactly the points you mention above. One example of how society should be more open to good black swan events is Hero's steam engine. Hero of Alexandria invented a simple form of steam engine some time in the first century. However the society at the time viewed it as a toy and the world had to wait until James Watt re-invented the steam engine in the 1780s. Of course Hero's steam engine was a far cry from Watts' but the basic ideas were there, but the mind set of the society at the time did not grab on to this as anything useful. Contrast that with modern society where when things like the laser and NMR first came out people did not immediately see the usefulness of these scientific advances, but within decades they are integral parts of our technology and science. So the same thing seems like it would be a useful tact to try with other parts of society.

Thanks again for reading and your excellent comment. I will try to read your essay before the deadline.

Best regards,

Doug

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Janko Kokosar wrote on May. 29, 2014 @ 17:16 GMT
Dear Douglas Singelton

You found a good analogy between path integrals and diversity, which is necessary in selection of good ideas. Another analogy are also neuronal networks. You also included the Black Swan theory. The first condition is that there is a lot of ideas. Capitalism and free market are also more successful than socialism because this diversity is allowed. Non-diversity was also one of the causes for the last financial crisis.

But we need also large scale planning or state initiative. Military research, for instance, gave that the internet arose. Similar diversity in needed also for publication of scientific papers, but here it is almost embargo for papers which are not from universities. It is written by Gibbs. This is analogically as free market embargo. Your formula for relations between energy and civilisations is also in connection with the paper, which try to find explanation, how life evolved. He claims that more developed life forms use more energy and so they are increasing entropy. I claim that mammals use more energy than lizards. Even today more developed cultures use more energy and causes more pollution (entropy). But, I think that computer technology reduces entropy, a little.

My essay

Best regards

Janko Kokosar

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Anonymous replied on May. 30, 2014 @ 15:22 GMT
Hi Janko,

Thanks for reading my essay and now that we have more time I will be able to read yours.I still have a list of other essays I promised to read, but the points you make are interesting and appear to have some connection to some of the themes in my essay. In regard to capitalism vs. socialism I would say one needs a socialistic form of capitalism :-) or probably more plainly...

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on May. 30, 2014 @ 15:23 GMT
Hi the above was me.

Doug

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Janko Kokosar replied on May. 31, 2014 @ 21:30 GMT
Hi Doug

If you will read my essay, you will see that I think similarly as you. My arugment is that gaussian curve go from -infinity to plus infinity. I wish to say that university people have better chances for good idea, but, people outside the university has smaller chances, but this chance is not zero. Thus, for them we need better stronger filter. But the politics of arXiv, for instance is that almost absolutely reject our papers. (endorser, almost zero possibility).

About capitalsm I agree with you, it should be regulated.

But I only wish to say, that ideas (arXiv) or products (capitalism) come also from less state planed projects or from people with less capacity, although with less probability for sucess. If we cut gaussian curve that all that remain is very close to average, we loss, let us say 99% of all possible good products, or good ideas.

Best regards

Janko Kokosar

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Member Tommaso Bolognesi wrote on May. 29, 2014 @ 17:51 GMT
Douglas,

I have responded to your comments in my thread (under the common accidental Anonymous nickname!).

I also added the following:

PS - I know that the deadline is approaching. I did rate your essay, a few days ago, after commenting. You write that you hope to find more time to give a more thorough reading to my work. If this means that you have not yet rated it, please do (the deadline is approaching). Rating here is definitely a complex system. I`ve been for a long time in the top 15, but a couple of days ago, probably due to a malicious antipodal butterfly, I jumped to around rank 30 in one shot, which looks strange to me under both a continuous and a discrete mathematical viewpoint.

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Ray Luechtefeld wrote on May. 29, 2014 @ 17:58 GMT
Hi Douglas,

Thanks for the interesting essay.

I think you might find some connection with my essay on computationally intelligent personal dialogic agents. This system (I have a prototype developed as part of a NSF CAREER award) can "steer" individual interactions by providing guidance in the moment of action. I envision many kinds of evaluation incorporating a multitude of factors as the system "tests" different interventions in human dialogue. It will be able to take your idea of evaluating many small projects and moving them to the level of conversations.

I'd appreciate a rating, if you can do that, since I am a bit short on ratings, and also appreciate it if you know of any potential collaborators in the further development of the dialogic system.

Thanks,

Ray Luechtefeld, PhD

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on May. 30, 2014 @ 15:41 GMT
Hi Ray,

Yes I'll have a look at your essay -- we have been given one more week so time is not such an issue. If you have some method or device to evaluate quickly human conversations/interactions which could as well be used for evaluating small scale projects this would be useful.

Best,

Doug

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Anonymous wrote on Jun. 1, 2014 @ 04:08 GMT
Hi Doug,

Your essay is extremely interesting, and I realize that it is of direct relevance to my work. Thank you very much for conceiving of it and crafting it so beautifully. I have downloaded it and I will be studying it further.

I started to expound upon such relevance, but I realize that any such discussion should be conducted after you have had a chance to read my work (if you haven't done so already).

In any case, I've rated your essay highly. I feel that it has some extremely important information for the optimization of our future course. All the best!

Warmly,

Aaron

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Aaron M. Feeney replied on Jun. 1, 2014 @ 04:34 GMT
P.S., You've probably read it, but if you haven't, I think you'll love Feynman's lecture on the principle of least action, Vol. 2, Ch. 19 of his Lectures on Physics.

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on Jun. 1, 2014 @ 15:42 GMT
Hi Aaron,

Your essay is downloaded and sitting on my desktop (along with about 5 or 6 others I wanted to read). One point of intersection that I already see is that in your essay you want to remove the element of surprise via some future viewing device (if I got it right). One of the threads of my essay is that ideas of Nassim Taleb that there are fundamentally "unknown unknowns" that one can not avoid, but which one can (potentially) organize ones society around so as to mitigate the effect of bad unknown unknowns and take advantage of good unknown unknowns. However Taleb did not have in mind any kind of future viewing device. Anyway I need to read more thoroughly, but I will get to it.

Also thanks for reading my essay and yes we can discuss further after I have had a closer look at your essay.

Best,

Doug

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Aaron M. Feeney replied on Jun. 7, 2014 @ 02:39 GMT
Hi Doug,

I'm so happy with the great success of your essay here. It is so well-deserved. As this this the last day of the forum, there is no time for the discussion I still would very much like to have with you. I suggest that we can communicate via email, at your convenience. When you have a chance, I would welcome an email from you to initiate that. You can reach me at the following address:

foreknowledge.machines{AT}{g.m.a.i.l}.{c.o.m}

All the very best to you! Congratulations on your fantastic win.

Warmly,

Aaron

P.S., Later tonight, there will be some posts at the bottom of my page that I have reason to believe you will enjoy.

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Vladimir F. Tamari wrote on Jun. 1, 2014 @ 05:40 GMT
Doug,

I found your essay very readable well-thought-out and relevant. Far be it for me to judge how humanity should steer the future (I have made Einstein say as much in my essay) and particularly the very reasonable and logical multiple path search optimisation method you have suggested.

My instincts however are that in social and political action people just go ahead and do what they know best, the tried and true, the easiest, or in a society like Japan, what is least likely to be criticised by friends and neighbors. In other words searching out different possible paths may go against the grain of human nature.

Or indeed of physics, Feynman notwithstanding. In my Streamline Diffraction Theory the streamline is the path integral along which energy flows as light diffracts. And according to my Beautiful Universe theory, nature follows these streamlines to propagate energy, form atoms and all sorts of fields. In all these cases, Nature finds a unique path from A to B. Perhaps humans have evolved to act that way too. Picasso said "I do not seek, I find". Perhaps for humanity to get out of its present difficulty, such confidence, even arrogance and sense of venturing linearly along a a single path (and I do not mean that Bali bridge!) is needed.

Yours is certainly the safer way, though!!

Best wishes

Vladimir

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Anonymous replied on Jun. 2, 2014 @ 04:53 GMT
Hi Vladimir,

Thanks for having a look at my essay and your comments.

Yes, whether my proposal or any proposal would be implemented is a big question. The people entrusted to enact laws for society and provide direction are often driven by the desire to stay in office which is a very poor motivator for (or at least is uncorrelated to) building a well functioning and logical society....

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on Jun. 2, 2014 @ 04:55 GMT
The above was me.

Doug

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Vladimir F. Tamari replied on Jun. 3, 2014 @ 13:40 GMT
Doug,

A Da Vinci quote that I like is "the greatest misfortune is when theory outstrips performance" - so whether the theory is your many-paths exploration or my single-streamline to the goal, the devil is in the details and in the actual working out of these generalised ideas. The 'genius' leader leading his country to glory or to infamy is an extreme case of this singular path concept and it is not what I have in mind - what I am saying is that things are so complex and intertwined (society with economics with the environment with media etc etc.) that one does not have the luxury of cool testing this or that path, but is - in a way - forced by circumstances to adjust the aims and methods in real-time, keeping the goal in sight.

Best wishes,

Vladimir

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Don Limuti wrote on Jun. 3, 2014 @ 05:08 GMT
Hi Doug,

Thanks for bringing some basic physics into tbe essay mix. Calculating the best probabilities for the future is the method to steer to desired goals.

I advocate a technique to use when the goals are fuzzy... universal education. Take a look, I think you will find it interesting.

Thanks,

Don Limuti

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on Jun. 4, 2014 @ 04:18 GMT
Hi Dom,

I'll try to have a look. I agree that having universal education is crucially important to society especially when the goals are fuzzy (I think I know what you mean by this -- that it is not clear exactly what one wants from the outset but having a broad knowledge base gives one a better chance of ending up at a good end point rather than a bad one).

As a side comment education in the US is getting less universal through the rising cost of education.

Best,

Doug

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Chidi Idika wrote on Jun. 3, 2014 @ 08:59 GMT
Hi Doug,

Thank you for your thoughtful comment on my thread. And I have a reply you may want to see. And I'll love to know you did see it.

Bests,

Chidi

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on Jun. 4, 2014 @ 04:13 GMT
Hi Chidi,

The link in the above didn't work but I will pop over to your page to see directly. I am horribly behind in essays I promised to read.

Best,

Doug

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James Lee Hoover wrote on Jun. 4, 2014 @ 03:26 GMT
Doug,

Your reply to my comments above:

"My suggestion for how to choose a path for some particular societal question would be to run as many small scale "experiments" as possible and see which ones work best and then scale up to see if they still work at a larger scale, etc. For example if one wants a health care system try various health care systems at a small scale and see which works best according to criteria such as mortality rate, cost effectiveness, timeliness, patient satisfaction, etc. and then expand those health care experiments to a larger scale which work best according to the criteria that are picked. Of course unlike physics the choosing of criteria will be a bit subjective and different groups may weight things differently and thus choose different systems/paths."

Such small scale experiments are a great idea. In fact, Vermont has taken this ACA ("Obamacare") opportunity to try a one payer system in Vermont with the state as the one-payer. This will offer a contrast to the for-profit ACA.

Having had browser problems with ratings, I am rechecking those I've read and found that I rated yours on May 12th.

I would like to see your thoughts on my essay: http://www.fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2008

Jim

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on Jun. 4, 2014 @ 04:33 GMT
Hi Jim,

Very cool that Vermont is trying a one-payer system. Also while you suffered from browser problems I suffered from laziness problems :-(. I did have a chance to read and am heading over to comment on your page.

Best,

Doug

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James Lee Hoover replied on Jun. 4, 2014 @ 05:11 GMT
Doug,

I appreciate the time you took to read my essay and your constructive remarks. Such an honest effort with insightful suggestions is very helpful to the author.

Regards,

Jim

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Gbenga Michael Ogungbuyi wrote on Jun. 4, 2014 @ 07:09 GMT
Dear Doug,

I seize the opportunity of this extension to employ you to read my article-You did promise to do so but I have not seen you on my thread. I read yours and even added to increase your leadership by rating you accordingly. I hope to read your comments and rating as well.

STRIKING A BALANCE BETWEEN TECHNOLOGY AND ECOSYSTEM using this direct link http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2020

All the very best for your assiduous contribution in the contest so far.

With high regard

Gbenga

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on Jun. 5, 2014 @ 01:32 GMT
Hi Gbenga,

I am working my way through the remaining essays I promised to read and the I had marked to read based on title/abstract. I should be able to get to your essay soon.

Best,

Doug

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John C Hodge wrote on Jun. 4, 2014 @ 14:04 GMT
DAS

I liked your essay as well. Yes. I see the similarity.

Hodge

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Lawrence B Crowell wrote on Jun. 5, 2014 @ 02:18 GMT
Doug,

I wrote the paragraphs following this one on my blog site. I read your essay quite some time ago and scored it. I remember being favorably disposed to your paper, but I don't remember what I gave it. I was going to write something about whether this idea of a path integral is a Euclideanized form and is then really a sort of neural network "Boltzmann machine" idea. However, I never got back to writing about this. I have been rather occupied in the last month or so.

The solution a ~ t^{1/2} is the matter dominated result and t^{2/3} is the radiation dominated result. If you have

da/dt = a*const*sqrt(ρ)

then for a ~ t^n, then for ρ ~ a^{-3} matter density you have

t^{n-1} ~ t^n t^{-3n/2}

this means that n -1 = -3n/2 + n === > n = 2/3, and for ρ ~ a^4 for radiation, this gives n - 1 = -2n, so n = 1/2. This is a fairly standard result. I did write e^{3t/2} and I really meant t^{2/3} and t^{1/2}. This is a rather curious mistake, and I am not sure why I wrote this. This appears to be a rather embarrassing brain fart.

Your comments about interactions and entanglements are interesting. It is a bit late for me to go into this, so I will do so tomorrow. There is something odd occurring with entanglement is that the gravity field is not local in the way other fields are. The nonlocality of gravity, or really quantum gravity, changes the nature of entanglement. Most QFTs are local, such as the Wightman canonical quantization condition and causality one gets in basic QFT texts. Gravitation is different, and I think entanglement monogamy and such may no longer apply.

Cheers LC

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John Brodix Merryman wrote on Jun. 5, 2014 @ 18:06 GMT
Doug,

I posted a response to your very objective and clear questions.

Regards,

John Merryman

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Steven Kaas wrote on Jun. 7, 2014 @ 01:11 GMT
Path integrals have surprising applications in optimal stochastic control -- the engineering field normally most closely associated with "steering" in uncertain situations. ("Normally", because some situations are so uncertain that you don't even know things like the dimensionality of the state space, in which case you have to use the even more general optimal sequential decision...

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Steven Kaas replied on Jun. 7, 2014 @ 01:52 GMT
(continued) However, your essay's use of path integrals as a metaphor leads to a different, and independently interesting, connection. You refer to the importance of allowing small-scale experiments to build up evidence and social momentum for larger-scale social changes. By itself, this is just a matter of advantageous information-gathering (along multiple subsystem paths) partway through a...

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on Jun. 15, 2014 @ 04:28 GMT
Hi,

Sorry for taking so long to reply, but after the contest ended I took a bit of a break. Anyway thanks for your detailed and extensive comments. And for the references. Very interesting and most of these works attempt a much more rigorous application of statistical physics, path integral, and various other tools developed in physics to study different problems. Actually the most recent...

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Wilhelmus de Wilde de Wilde wrote on Jun. 13, 2014 @ 15:04 GMT
dear Douglas,

Congratulations with your high score and place in the finalists pool.

I hope that the discussions are not at an end so I have the pleasure to sent you the link to my essay "STEERING THE FUTURE OF CONSCIOUSNESS" and hope for a comment on my thread.

best regards and good luck

Wilhelmus

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton replied on Jun. 15, 2014 @ 04:00 GMT
Hi Wilhelmus,

Thanks and as well congratulations on making it into the next round. Yes there is no reason the discussion should end, but without the pressure of the deadline they can continue at a more leisurely pace. I'll have a look at your essay and leave comments.

Best wishes and good luck as well,

Doug

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Peter Jackson wrote on Jul. 8, 2014 @ 10:47 GMT
Doug

Congrats on 3rd spot, I really hope it converts to a place better than my 2nd spot last year!

Following from our interesting conversation I had an epiphany re-reading Bell (p146). He validates the model I use, of spin direction relating the detector spin, but the different assumption he used, of entirely random spin axis in all planes, becomes clear as the problem causing the Wigner-d'Espagnet inequality limit. I use propagation on the axis, consistent with quantum optics, and only detector electron orientation freedoms, which also then give the 'intermediate value' distribution.

I wonder if you'd be so kind as to have a look at this short (2 page) updated summary and comment for me.

Classical_reproduction_of_quantum_correlations_popular_summa
ry B.


Many thanks, Best of luck, and Best wishes

Peter

PS; if you prefer do reply direct to; peter.jackson53@ymail.com

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Author Douglas Alexander Singleton wrote on Jul. 8, 2014 @ 23:33 GMT
Hi Peter,

Thanks for the congratulations and as well making it to the top 40. The link above did not work but I found the article. I am still out of the country (visiting a colleague at UNAM in Mexico City) and will return tomorrow to the US. It may take some time to respond. I did quickly scan the article but did not figure out exactly what experiment was being proposed. Are you using a correlated electron/electron pair? electron-positron pair? I think from your essay you had in mind an electron-positron pair (and as well this was Bell's original model -- I think).

Actually in this regard I had a recent discussion with a colleague at UNAM and for an electron pair one can write down the correlated spin-0 wave function

= (|up, down> - |down, up>)/sqrt(2)

but for the electron - positron case what does one do? The issue is that electron and positron are distinguishable while this is not the case for the electron-electron pair (or photon pair used by Aspect).

Anyway I'll have a look once I get settled back in the US and send any question/comments if I come up with something.

Saludos,

Doug

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