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It From Bit or Bit From It
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Sounding the Drums to Listen for Gravity’s Effect on Quantum Phenomena
A bench-top experiment could test the notion that gravity breaks delicate quantum superpositions.

March 17, 2018

CATEGORY: Wandering Towards a Goal Essay Contest (2016-2017) [back]
TOPIC: Digital Physics: "Take the World From Another Point of View" by Jonathan Khanlian [refresh]
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Author Jonathan Khanlian wrote on Mar. 10, 2017 @ 16:39 GMT
Essay Abstract

This essay will try to reconcile a“top-down” and “bottom-up” point of view of creation. By “top-down”, I am referring to the notion of an agent with free-will that manipulates its environment in order to reach a desired goal. By “bottom-up”, I am referring to a deterministic system that follows logic operations. Computer programs will be used to reconcile these two points of view, and the concept of “emergence” can be seen as a bridge between them.

Author Bio

Jon is an actuary and a filmmaker.

Download Essay PDF File

Patrick Tonin wrote on Mar. 11, 2017 @ 11:22 GMT
Hi Jon,

I liked your essay, nice and short and to the point.

You have asked one question: why is there something rather than nothing, if you read my similarly short essay (A Universe of information and consciousness), you will find a possible answer.

All the best,


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Author Jonathan Khanlian replied on Mar. 12, 2017 @ 22:03 GMT
Thanks for reading my short essay and commenting on it, Patrick. I will come by and check out your essay. I'm glad it's short; I hate reading:)

Did you happen to see the final question (right above the movie ad) regarding Kolmogorov complexity? That's the question I'm hoping people will discuss, but if you got answers on consciousness and information, I guess we can talk about that too...

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Patrick Tonin replied on Mar. 13, 2017 @ 05:08 GMT
Hi Jon,

Yes, I have seen the final question. To me, the answer is that the Kolmogorov complexity of the Universe is very very low. I have shown in previous work that all fundamental constants can be derived from just Pi and the golden ratio, but obviously this will be considered by most as just pure numerology but I believe that view will change one day ...

All the best,


Ps: please rate my essay once you've read it.

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Patrick Tonin replied on Mar. 13, 2017 @ 05:43 GMT
I have posted a reply to your other questions on my page.

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Shaikh Raisuddin wrote on Mar. 13, 2017 @ 06:29 GMT
Quote: "... every program that flows through the hardware of

a computer is deterministic"

Yes, but COMPUTER VIRUS has a difference with being goal directed and replicating.

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Author Jonathan Khanlian replied on Mar. 14, 2017 @ 02:31 GMT
Thanks for reading, Shaikh. I'll swing by and read your essay.

Even if a virus program encodes the goal of replicating itself, I don't think it is running on random bits or anything like that. A computer virus, along with its infected host, still follows a deterministic process, albeit not the same process had the original program not been infected with the virus... so I'm not sure it this consideration you've brought up leads to anything different in terms of what the short essay was considering.


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David Brown wrote on Mar. 14, 2017 @ 13:29 GMT
Greetings, Jon. "What is emergence? Could the crossover point when something "emerges" correspond to the point when a system become more easily understood and predicted with a higher-level model than a more detailed model?" In terms of first-order logic, one might say that a theory "emerges" from another theory when its logical consistency can be proved in terms of a more powerful theory, e.g., proving that Peano Arithmetic is logically consistent under the assumption that Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory is logically consistent. If a computer operator system A can be successfully simulated by a more powerful computer operator system B, then one might say that system A "emerges" from system B when the simulation is being executed. One might define "emergence" from a bottom-up viewpoint or from a top-down viewpoint. One might say that the social sciences "emerge" from physics, chemistry, and biology, or that physics, chemistry, and biology "emerge" from the social sciences specialized to a narrower conceptual domain based upon more precise experiments than are possible in the social sciences. With regard to physics, Verlinde's ideas on emergent gravity might be worth considering.

Erik Verlinde (University Amsterdam) Emergent Gravity and the Dark Universe, YouTube, 2016

In the comments sections of my essay for this contest, I have posted some more comments related to your ideas. Also, for those who really believe in the Fredkin-Wolfram paradigm, it seems to me that at least 2 modifications to Einstein's field equations are necessary: one to prevent the endless expansion of the universe and another to prevent energy-density from becoming arbitrarily large.

— D. Brown

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Author Jonathan Khanlian replied on Mar. 15, 2017 @ 21:12 GMT
Thanks for reading my essay, David. Very interesting thoughts there about how the word “emerge” could be used in a top-down sense. Maybe it would be useful if we had multiple versions of the word. Your simulation example seems like a computation with intent and purpose in what it is trying to show, where my example seems to be noting phenomena (e.g. Hey, I’ll call this pattern “gliders” and think of it as an “object”!) that is a consequence of a computing system with no intent. It’s funny that either way we are just talking about a deterministic computer program.

I watched a little of Erik’s video last night, but it was pretty late and the talk would have required a lot of googling for me. I’ll try again when I get more energy, but I like the idea of time and space emerging from simpler concepts. And with regards to your thoughts on Wolfram/Fredkin-type models, it sounds like you are talking about getting rid of infinities?? If so, I agree. Please check out “Digital Physics” (the movie) if you get the chance; I tried to inject some fun into these topics.

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Mar. 15, 2017 @ 06:58 GMT
Hi Jon,

I enjoyed your essay and found a number of interesting things in it. I particularly liked:

"If you're able to see the forest for the trees, or if you have access to the high-level programming language, you can interpret the system from the [top-down] view."

And I very much liked,

"I think humans are more like information systems than physical systems. After all our cells turn over so we aren't made of the same stuff we were just a short time ago."

That interests me from two perspectives. First, a consciousness field is compatible with such cellular turnover. Second, I don't believe information exists other than as a change in physical structure, and your statement seems completely compatible with my view of information.

And I think your focus on 'gliders' in 'The Game of Life' is an excellent toy model to debate the meaning of 'emergence'.

Today's been a very very busy day, and the list of essays seems to never quit growing. I did watch the trailer and will watch it later!

Best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Author Jonathan Khanlian replied on Mar. 15, 2017 @ 21:29 GMT
Thanks, Edwin (not "Eugene"), for reading my essay and watching my movie trailer! And thank you for correcting my quote without even noting it:) "Forest FOR the trees" not "Forest FROM the Trees".

That first quote you liked is a point that Ray Kurzweil often brings up... and I do think it is compatible with your view that information needs a substrate/physical structure/hardware. And that thought about whether or not "gliders" should be considered emergent came from David Chalmers... God I steal all the best ideas... Luckily their recycled in an informal way, often with tweaks, which allows me to avoid litigation most of the time:)

Please let me know what you think of the movie if you get a chance to watch it!


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Author Jonathan Khanlian replied on Mar. 15, 2017 @ 21:34 GMT
Whoops, my reply should say "That SECOND quote you liked is a point that Ray Kurzweil...". He likens us to the shape of a river, where the water molecules change constantly, but the meandering pattern evolves more slowly.

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Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Mar. 16, 2017 @ 00:28 GMT

You're a fun guy. Not at all 'stiff' like they said!

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Vladimir F. Tamari wrote on Mar. 15, 2017 @ 11:21 GMT
Hello Jon

I enjoyed reading your essay, but the concepts of up dow down up can be easily misunderstood, particularly when programs are interposed. Rather I will say I watched the trailer of the movie and liked its two main characters - the Woody Allenish protagonist with his sense of humor, and cellular automata (on an old Mac another nice element). In my Beautiful Universe Theory I propose a sort of universal physics based on one special type of CA

More power to you.

Best wishes


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Author Jonathan Khanlian replied on Mar. 15, 2017 @ 21:55 GMT
Thanks, Vladimir! I will check out your FQXi essay and leave a comment, since it might be easier to get through that essay, than the longer essay on your website at the moment. I love Cellular Automaton (and even simpler models), so I look forward to seeing what your CA model is all about.

If you don't get Amazon Prime in Tokyo, you can still find "Digital Physics" on iTunes and Vimeo to rent. There's plenty of Cellular Automaton and other trinkets in the movie to keep FQXi essay enthusiasts engaged...I hope:)


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Vladimir F. Tamari replied on Mar. 22, 2017 @ 01:49 GMT
Thanks - I shall try to see it. Good luck

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Joe Fisher wrote on Mar. 15, 2017 @ 16:25 GMT
Dear Jonathan Khanlian,

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 Jonathan Khanlian replied on Mar. 15, 2017 @ 22:08 GMT
Joe, Are you a bot? :) I swear I read this exact comment under another essay forum. But I'll swing by and read your essay. Keep in mind, I don't like infinities, especially ones bigger than Aleph-Null, so I'm coming in with that bias...Fair warning :)

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Joe Fisher replied on Mar. 16, 2017 @ 15:19 GMT
Dear Jonathon,

My essay proves that the real visible Universe was not created. This means that all of the Roman Catholic Popes who have ever lived were wrong about the accomplishments of an invisible God. The Roman Catholic Church has a nasty habit of executing heretics and destroying their writings. I am not a “bot”.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Author Jonathan Khanlian replied on Mar. 17, 2017 @ 21:33 GMT
Ok, ok, Joe. You've passed the Turing Test; I don't think you're a bot anymore. I will try to take a look at your essay very soon. I will be on vacation for the next week, so my FQXi community engagement might be low, but I will check it out soon.



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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Mar. 17, 2017 @ 07:54 GMT
Nice essay Khanlian,

Your ideas and thinking are excellent for eg…

‘ By “top-down”, I am referring to the notion of an agent with free-will that manipulates its environment in order to reach a desired goal. By “bottom-up”, I am referring to a deterministic system that follows logic operations’

A Good idea, I am probably referring to another deterministic...

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Author Jonathan Khanlian replied on Mar. 17, 2017 @ 21:53 GMT
Thanks for your thoughts, Satyavarapu (aka SNP.Gupta)

I will be on vacation for the next week, so getting some time to read FQXi essays may be difficult. But I will try to check out your essay at some point soon.

But in the meantime, I'll just ask: What is "dynamic" in your "Dynamic Universe Model"? Are the laws of of nature dynamic? I believe most models of the universe are implicitly "dynamic", in the sense that they evolve and change over time.

Oh, and check out Digital Physics(the movie)!



Akinbo Ojo wrote on Mar. 24, 2017 @ 14:03 GMT
Hi Jon,

A short, concise essay that is well-written. I share your views that things like free-will are illusions that have underlying them processes that are largely deterministic. However, there is a role for spontaneously occurring events without a cause and this when mixed with the largely deterministic processes may convey the impressions of free-will, etc.

All the best in the competition.



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Author Jonathan Khanlian replied on Mar. 30, 2017 @ 21:30 GMT
Hi Akinbo,

I remember you from the last essay contest; I think we shared some thoughts on issues with infinity, if I remember correctly. Thanks for reading my short, non-technical essay. The non-causal events in a largely deterministic model reminds me of unitary evolution with a random “collapse” of an observable property…(not that I really know what I’m talking aboutJ I’ll try to get over to read and rate your essay soon.

Thanks again,


Akinbo Ojo wrote on Mar. 24, 2017 @ 14:04 GMT
I think I better rate your essay right away. Enjoy your vacation!

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Bayarsaikhan Bayarsaikhan Choisuren wrote on Mar. 25, 2017 @ 12:50 GMT
Dear Jonathan Khanlian,

This question is right

“How did physical systems that pursue the goal of reproduction arise from an abiological world?”.

Your thought that

“Humans are more like information systems than physical systems. After all, our cells turn over so we aren’t made of the same stuff we were just a short time ago. Our design is encoded in our DNA, and our epigenetic environment compiles ourselves into existence. From this point of view, “biological” and “a-biological” things are made of the same stuff...possibly information, but at the very least, particles. The line between an agent and its environment is blurred.” is something great.

To achieve this something great, I think, there something is missed, which will occur after a unification of fundamental interactions, while discovering their exact mechanisms.


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Author Jonathan Khanlian replied on Mar. 30, 2017 @ 21:31 GMT
Thanks for reading my essay! I’ll try to see what ideas you have written in yours, and see if I can understand them. Maybe you’ll have some insight into those exact mechanisms we’re all in search of.


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Don Limuti wrote on Mar. 28, 2017 @ 02:21 GMT
Hi Jon,

Hoped the vacation was super.

I liked the programming metaphor (low level languages & high level languages) combined with top down agents and bottom up minions. A possible fertile ground for emergence.

Technologically we are trying to push for this emergence .....will we get true AI or just more augmentation?

Thanks for your original essay. Do take a look at my essay (it has a short run time, no compiler required.)

Don Limuti

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Author Jonathan Khanlian replied on Mar. 30, 2017 @ 21:44 GMT

The vacation was great! Thanks for asking. Now I’m back to the future… in good ol’ 1985.

“Emergence” always sounds like a fuzzy/magical word to me, so I would guess that any engineering that leads to an AI that passes some benchmark, such as the Turing Test, will have aspects of "intelligence" that we could describe as “emergent” in some high-level abstract sense, but it will really be the logical consequence of a system with explicit rules (including statistical inference neural net models) and environmental training data that should be credited with this achievement... not some "emergent" inexplicable magical transformation. So I think we will get true AI, however you define it... and I think we will augment our own intelligence by merging with these technologies.

I’ll swing by and read your essay as soon as I get the chance. I love short essays!! (I'm a slow reader)


Don Limuti replied on Apr. 6, 2017 @ 23:17 GMT

Thanks for your support! It is on my queue to watch "Digital Physics" ....You do know my website is could be interesting!

One of your key words is augmentation.....Perchance are you acquainted with Doug Engelbart?

Will give you a review of video,

Don Limuti

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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Apr. 6, 2017 @ 23:11 GMT
Dear Jonathan Khanlian,

You can down load whole book from viXra, it was my first book. Thank you for your post, on my essay....

Thank you for your post Jonathan. Dont say it is advt. I would love to see that movie. Can you please give some web address reference?

Best Wishes to your essay....

Best Regards


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Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich wrote on Apr. 7, 2017 @ 03:39 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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Don Limuti wrote on Apr. 7, 2017 @ 04:20 GMT

What a treat: The Mother of all Demos youtube was awesome! A better title would be The Demo that Started it All.

Even more awesome was the eulogy given by Ted Nelson (inventor of hypertext) for Doug Engelbart:

I worked for Doug for a year or two after that 1968 Demo ......He was the real deal!

Doug at SRI was loggerheads with John Mccarthy at Stanford, Augmentation vs. AI .... No contest in my humble opinion. Anytime I hear the term AI bantered around, I know it is BS, augmentation is king!

Thanks very much,

Don Limuti

PS: The YouTube of the cat breathing fire was very good. I was able to find the Trailer for Digital Physics but could not find the movie. Could you send the URL?

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Roger Granet wrote on Dec. 26, 2017 @ 02:13 GMT

I only now read your essay and would say that I mostly agree with your points. If I'm interpreting it correctly, it sounds like you have a fairly physicalistic/naturalistic (everything that exists is physical) point of view? That's my viewpoint, so maybe i'm reading my views into yours. Saying that there are things like consciousness, laws of quantum physics/logic, mathematical...

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