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How can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention?
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It From Bit or Bit From It
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March 17, 2018

CATEGORY: Wandering Towards a Goal Essay Contest (2016-2017) [back]
TOPIC: No Free Lunch by Efthimios Harokopos [refresh]
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Author Efthimios Harokopos wrote on Mar. 1, 2017 @ 20:13 GMT
Essay Abstract

In the first part of this paper I present a brief analysis of goal-oriented systems in the context of history and philosophy of science. In the second part I discuss their practical limitations. A fundamental question is considered in the first part: Do goal-oriented systems make sense in a universe that obeys relativity? I argue that in the block universe of relativity these systems lack intelligence because they are deterministic. Intelligent goal-oriented systems can be founded on a dual model of physical reality in which there is interaction between the phenomena and a mechanism that establishes causality. On this basis the existence of goal-oriented systems in a metaphysical sense is ultimately related to whether our physical reality is autonomous or guided by another level of reality. In the second part of the paper I claim that while goal-oriented systems may have served an important role in human evolution, they can also be highly dysfunctional. A simple mathematical model of multi-variable goal-oriented systems suggests that attaining goals may be impossible and this has significant implication for policy design.

Author Bio

Efthimios Harokopos received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from State University of New York at Buffalo with a minor in philosophy, a Master’s degree from Columbia University and completed the necessary coursework for a PhD while working for AT&T and Bell Labs. He is an independent researcher in the field of philosophy of science.

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Andrew R. Scott wrote on Mar. 2, 2017 @ 14:08 GMT
I am going to have to try to read that again, but I think we are all rather stumbling around in the dark trying to discuss issues (aims, intention, control...) that we neither understand nor know if they actually exist.

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Author Efthimios Harokopos replied on Mar. 2, 2017 @ 14:35 GMT
Good point Andrew. What "exists" is subject of metaphysics. We can only make hypotheses about this ontology. Obviously mo one understands in detail how these things work and we are limited to approach the subject using epistemology. However, regardless of what exists and how it works, the reality of multi-variable systems is sobering. This is the important take away from my paper in my opinion....

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Harry Hamlin Ricker III replied on Mar. 3, 2017 @ 17:07 GMT
Hi, I think that this is a pretty good essay. I think that your theorem has some importance. The issue is, as I see it, is that the more we know in terms of facts the less we really understand. My conclusion from reading these essays is that as a human race, we are understanding less the more we think we know. Your theorem explains how that works. Thanks for your important essay.

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Author Efthimios Harokopos replied on Mar. 3, 2017 @ 17:18 GMT
Harry, thanks for the comment. I will try to support you corollary as follows: The more we get to know, the more complex systems we implement and the higher the probability of failure due to a left tail event.

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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 07:31 GMT
Nice essay Harokopos,

Your ideas and thinking are really excellent there is no free lunch.

1. I argue that in the block universe of relativity these systems lack intelligence because they are deterministic. Intelligent goal-oriented systems can be founded on a dual model of physical reality in which there is interaction between the phenomena and a mechanism that establishes causality...

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Joe Fisher wrote on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 16:53 GMT
Dear Dr. Efthimios Harokopos,

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

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

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

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

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

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Author Efthimios Harokopos replied on Mar. 12, 2017 @ 21:02 GMT
Thank you Joe. Your idea is interesting. I am in the process of reading your essay.

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Willy K wrote on Mar. 12, 2017 @ 05:35 GMT
I think this is one of the finest essays I have read. You make a penetrating analysis of the problems brought on by big government. Your observations regarding the current state of large governments ring true to me. More to the point, the proposed solution sounds effective as well, “Decentralized control that deals with a limited number of inputs of maximum importance has higher probability of success”.

I am not sure what such a system should look like. My attempt to model intelligence of systems led me to construct a government model that you may want to check out. It focuses exclusively on protecting and enhancing the life of its citizens. I think the model is aligned with Ashby’s and Conant’s works, and therefore might also satisfy the demanding criterion that you have developed in your work.

Regards, Willy

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Author Efthimios Harokopos replied on Mar. 12, 2017 @ 21:12 GMT
Willy, thanks for your comments. I also believe that the focus on security is of highest rank. I just hope our civilization survives so it can get to the level of decentralization. Probability is low due to systemic risks imposed by centralized control.

Ref. Ashby's remarkable work, it is very challenging to determine the minimum controller of a system due to uncertainty, My point is that this is impossible for large-scale systems. Actually, any controller will fail. We have seen this in recent financial crisis. A new control variable was added, namely quantitative easing. Now this is also absorbed by complexity. Controllers are maybe possible for local, decentralized systems. A lot of work must be done. I by no means offered a solution. Just scratched the surface of the problem. Best.

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Willy K replied on Mar. 14, 2017 @ 07:05 GMT
There are risks brought about by centralisation, but some of those risks are unavoidable if we are to stabilise at our current level of emergence. A collapse of the current nation state system would result in far greater chaos than anyone would want.

I think Ashby's work applies to any system that satisfies the condition of homeostasis. The size of the system is not that important. Rather than look at specific details like the QE, Ashby's work suggests that we look at the regulators that are responsible for stabilising the perturbations present in the system. QE is one of the possible responses they came up with. It is possible that the response was insufficient because the regulatory structure itself was incorrectly designed. At least, that's the line of thinking I am going with.

Your essay makes a fine contribution to the area, and therefore, I hold it in high esteem.

Kind Regards, Willy

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Mar. 19, 2017 @ 00:10 GMT
Dear Efthimios Harokopos,

Thank you for an exceptional essay. The 'autonomous' system as 'block' universe is hard for me to take seriously, and seems in some cases, as you may hint at, to have ulterior motives. I'm sure that I miss some of the finer philosophical points, but I miss nothing in your discussion of multi-variable goal-oriented systems. You reach the same conclusions that I earlier reached in 'the Thermodynamics of Freedom' only the problem has since become globally recognized, and reactions are occurring. From BRexit to Venezuela, the evidence is there but many avert their eyes as if the problem will just go away. It is inherent to the system.

I thank you again for a most meaningful essay. The front end shows the difficulties associated with over-simplistic universal schemes (no motion, block universe) while your back end illuminates the world appearing nightly on our TV screens (or round the clock on our iPads).

I hope that some point you might review my 2014 essay, The Thermodynamics of Freedom, but I invite you to read my current essay, which also focuses on social processes in science.

My very best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Author Efthimios Harokopos replied on Mar. 20, 2017 @ 09:04 GMT
Thank you Edwin. It's surprising that each time someone comments about the merit of the essay, someone else give it a very low grade. My estimate was that after you made your comment I received a 2 that pushed back average from 5.3 to 4.9. I have made the proposal to the organizers to keep grades secret until the end of the contest. They should also consider having a panel to grade. The amount of totally unrelated essays is large and these people, who obviously missed the subject, are allowed to grade.

Anyway, I started reading your assay. It's very good as in 2014.. You have some unique ideas about the connection of thermodynamics to social science that worth further investigation.

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Peter Jackson wrote on Apr. 6, 2017 @ 11:50 GMT

Nice essay, interesting, original, very well written and argued. I think I followed most and agreed some, but nearing the scoring deadline I'm now down to speed reading, so may have missed some meaning.

I question; "goal oriented systems make sense only if there is causality

if physical reality at the level of macrocosm is autonomous, then there are no random mutations because everything is deterministic"

because I derive a random mutation mechanism in my essay which is entirely causal, though not entirely deterministic. It also produces a 'quasi' classical QM compliant with Bell via dynamic geometry. I hope you may get the chance to read and challenge or analyse it in terms of your thesis (but don't try to speed read it as it's quite dense!).

Must dash, I'm late for a free lunch (It'll probably be all gone then!) I'm not sure what the 4.2 is about, but it seems few read it. Score boost coming in 10 secs so hold on tight.

Very best


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Author Efthimios Harokopos replied on Apr. 7, 2017 @ 17:58 GMT

Thank you. I will read your essay carefully. I dealt with causality at the macrocosm level because how this macrocosm arises from quantum microcosm is not entirely clear. I will read your essay slowly and carefully and I am sure I will learn many new things.


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Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich wrote on Apr. 7, 2017 @ 09:48 GMT
Dear Sirs!

Physics of Descartes, which existed prior to the physics of Newton returned as the New Cartesian Physic and promises to be a theory of everything. To tell you this good news I use «spam».

New Cartesian Physic based on the identity of space and matter. It showed that the formula of mass-energy equivalence comes from the pressure of the Universe, the flow of force which on the corpuscle is equal to the product of Planck's constant to the speed of light.

New Cartesian Physic has great potential for understanding the world. To show it, I ventured to give "materialistic explanations of the paranormal and supernatural" is the title of my essay.

Visit my essay, you will find there the New Cartesian Physic and make a short entry: "I believe that space is a matter" I will answer you in return. Can put me 1.


Dizhechko Boris

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Author Efthimios Harokopos replied on Apr. 7, 2017 @ 18:00 GMT
Dizhechko ,

I will read your essay with great interest. Thanks for your pointer.


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Linna Landau wrote on Apr. 7, 2017 @ 10:09 GMT
I am sorry we weren't taught it properly in school or in college. Now I lack knowledge to write my research paper .

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Samaira Khan wrote on Aug. 19, 2017 @ 05:23 GMT
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Delhi Escorts

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