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Lorraine Ford: on 8/12/21 at 22:53pm UTC, wrote The latest IPCC report just came out, and the United Nations has referred...

Lorraine Ford: on 8/9/21 at 23:19pm UTC, wrote (continued) Numbers are relationships, and the laws of nature are...

Lorraine Ford: on 8/9/21 at 23:17pm UTC, wrote 1. Physics models of the world are wrong, but not because there is anything...

Lorraine Ford: on 8/6/21 at 22:59pm UTC, wrote From the beginning of the world, or even if the world had no beginning,...

Lorraine Ford: on 8/2/21 at 23:00pm UTC, wrote So information, i.e. consciousness, is NOT about a whole lot of seemingly...

Lorraine Ford: on 8/2/21 at 1:43am UTC, wrote Steve, I’m sorry to be such a pest. I’m laughing to myself when I...

Lorraine Ford: on 8/1/21 at 23:03pm UTC, wrote The world is a system. But what is a system? Well, a set of relationships...

Steve Dufourny: on 7/31/21 at 10:18am UTC, wrote you generalise things wich cannot be generalised , you repeat things of non...


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FQXi BLOGS
January 29, 2022

CATEGORY: Blog [back]
TOPIC: Interview: Information Fueled Engines -- with John Bechhoefer by John Bechhoefer [refresh]
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Blogger John Bechhoefer wrote on Jun. 21, 2021 @ 00:20 GMT
Information as Fuel awardee John Bechhoefer joins "BIV Today" to discuss the prospect of developing microscopic engines. Research published this week delves into how this can be accomplished. Tyler Orton hosts.



Keywords: #IAF

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Georgina Woodward wrote on Jul. 5, 2021 @ 21:43 GMT
I think Information response engine would be a more accurate description than information fueled engine.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 6, 2021 @ 23:50 GMT
Correct!

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jul. 7, 2021 @ 00:22 GMT
But what is information?

The candidates that physics has available are: matter (particles, atoms, molecules, living things); law of nature relationships with their associated categories (representable as equations and variables); and numbers (representable as number symbols).

Obviously, I wouldn’t include the truly stupid idea that binary digit numbers could be information: numbers don’t have a category; to acquire a category, numbers must be equated to a category. And obviously, I wouldn’t include the truly stupid idea that the “binary digits” in a computer could be information: in a computer people have used voltages, transistors and circuits to REPRESENT the binary digit concept; this setup can then be used to REPRESENT Boolean and algorithmic symbols, equations, variables and numbers (and words and sentences etc.).

The only remaining candidate for information is the aspect of the world that absolutely REQUIRES Boolean and algorithmic symbols in order to represent it (as well as equations, variables and number symbols). And please note: you CAN’T derive something representable by Boolean-algorithmic symbols from something representable by equations, variables and number symbols. In other words, Boolean and algorithmic symbols represent NEW physics. i.e. a fundamental aspect of the world not yet covered by physics.

To represent information, you need to use the Boolean-algorithmic symbolic format e.g.: “(variable1= number1 AND variable2= number2) IS TRUE”. Note that information is always about particular situations.

And to make John Bechhoefer’s “decisions” in response to a situation, you also need to use the Boolean-algorithmic symbolic format e.g.: “IF (variable1= number1 AND variable2= number2) IS TRUE, THEN …”.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 11, 2021 @ 00:26 GMT
(continued)

To put it another way, I’m saying that Maxwell’s demon’s subjective point of view is the ACTUAL information.

A simplified version of Maxwell’s demon’s subjective point of view can be represented in the following type of way:

“(variable1>number1 AND variable1< number2) AND variable3>number3 IS TRUE”. (I.e. the extrapolated trajectory of the molecule would pass through the opened door (represented by number1 and number2), and the speed is greater than number3.)

But Maxwell’s demon’s subjective point of view is NOT part of physics. Instead, poor old physics is stuck in the mud trying to say that information is the uncertainty, from the point of view of a macro-observer, that Maxwell’s micro-demon would have this subjective point of view (and then respond by opening the door).

Do you see the stupidity of physics? According to physics, the following doesn’t exist:

“(variable1>number1 AND variable1< number2) AND variable3>number3 IS TRUE”.

According to physics, there is only the uncertainty that the following might exist:

“(variable1>number1 AND variable1< number2) AND variable3>number3 IS TRUE”.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 12, 2021 @ 23:17 GMT
(continued)

Of course, Maxwell’s demon is a thought experiment; there is no such thing as Maxwell’s demon, or a tiny conscious entity that performs for someone else’s benefit.

But the issue is: how do you represent information, and what possesses that information? Clearly, information is about situation, the particular situation that particular matter finds itself in. Situation (and any response to situation) can only be represented Boolean-algorithmically. And without pre-existing integrated information about the local situation (integrated information requires a logical “AND” in order to represent it), and the pre-existing ability to respond to this integrated information about the local situation, life can never emerge.

But, apart from particle interactions, physics only has its equations, variables and numbers. Physics seems to believe that equations can explain everything.

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jul. 18, 2021 @ 01:11 GMT
ADMIN EDIT: This thread has been closed as off topic.

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this post has been edited by the forum administrator

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jul. 21, 2021 @ 23:48 GMT
Re : The absurd and illogical idea that a differentiated system that can’t differentiate itself (discern difference in its own equations, variables and numbers) could exist at the foundations of the world:

1. Clearly, the idea that a non-conscious (i.e. can’t differentiate itself) mathematical system could exist at the foundations of the world is absurd. No matter whether it is a system consisting of equations, sets, or numbers, you name it, if the system: a) can’t differentiate itself; and b) can’t move itself, it can’t exist.

You need Boolean and algorithmic symbols to REPRESENT this differentiation and movement in the system. However, these Boolean-algorithmic symbols are not themselves a mathematical system: they merely REPRESENT the necessary aspects of the system that differentiate and move the system.

In other words, there are at least 3 parts to a system: a) the mathematical relationships between categories; b) the aspect of the system that differentiates the categories/ relationships and numbers; and c) the aspect of the system that moves/ changes the numbers.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 21, 2021 @ 23:50 GMT
2. More generally, NO system can exist without the system being able to differentiate and move itself. Take the weather, or a computer system: clearly, the actual differentiation and movement in these systems occurs at a low component level i.e. at the level of the system’s particles, atoms and molecules. But for a cell or a living thing, the actual differentiation and movement in these systems is more at the level of the whole thing.

People affect the climate because their actions have an effect on the low-level components of the weather system, but people are not up there controlling the weather. But with computer systems, people have utilised their knowledge of the low-level components of the system (the voltages, transistors and circuits) to deliberately build a useful tool.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 22, 2021 @ 00:23 GMT
I might add that:

Clearly, most people are not aware that the symbolic equations, that they see or write on a page, do not represent something that is independent of people. It’s people that make equations succeed as a form of symbolic representation. People invented symbols in order to represent concepts, categories, relationships and logic; people perceive and differentiate the symbols; and people move and change the symbols.

There are 2 issues here:

1) Symbols can NEVER be independent of people who create, perceive and manipulate them;

2) Nevertheless, can symbols be used to represent a system that is independent of people?

The task of physics is to represent a system that is independent of people. However, to make symbolic equations appear to represent a moving system that is independent of people, a physicist must intervene by: 1) differentiating and analysing the symbols on the page; and 2) moving and changing the numbers and symbols on the page. In short: to make symbolic equations appear to represent a system that is independent of people, a physicist differentiates, and a physicist moves.

So equations can never represent a system that is independent of people, unless you add symbols that represent the system differentiating and symbols that represent the system moving the numbers: i.e. you need to add Boolean and algorithmic symbols like: IF, AND, OR, TRUE, THEN, ELSE. [Despite the delta symbols, the equations that represent the laws of nature do not represent number movement - the equations merely represent category relationship.]

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jul. 25, 2021 @ 23:02 GMT
When you symbolically represent information, you are representing the specific, true, number situation that applies to the variables relevant to specific matter.

But to have a rational non-magical view of the physics of the world, you need to have a rational non-magical view of numbers. Not that physics actually has a view about numbers, even though numbers are crucially important to the physics of the world. But these real-world numbers can’t be the exotic and/or Platonic and/or countable entities and/or strings of dots so beloved by mathematicians and others.

So what are real world numbers?

1. Real world numbers can only be (or be derived via relationship from) relationships, just like the laws of nature are relationships; but numbers can only be relationships where the numerator and denominator categories cancel out. This does not imply that mathematical calculations are occurring: numbers are nothing but relationships, NOT finished products.

2. Real world numbers that apply to variables can’t be entities that magically morph, or smoothly change, into other numbers. Real world numbers can only be things that are specifically ASSIGNED to variables, whereby the numbers that apply to other variables are changed because of lawful law of nature relationship.

3. Point 2. above does not refer to a domino effect or a perpetual motion machine. Real world numbers must be continually applied to at least some variables, in order for the system to move forward.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 28, 2021 @ 23:31 GMT
(continued)

The number symbol that represents a number might seem to imply that a number is an end product. But clearly, a real-world number cannot be an end product: a real-world number can only be a relationship. E.g. the number symbol “3” would represent a particular real-world relationship, one of number of equivalent relationships, but NOT an end product “3”.

Physics does not have a view about numbers. However, it’s clear that how one views numbers affects how one views, and models, the world. So until physicists say upfront what they think numbers are, no one can or should take physicists’ models, of how the world works, seriously.

Clearly, a set of equations can’t explain how the world works, how numbers work as part of the system. And clearly, one needs to use algorithmic symbols to represent how systems work.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Jul. 29, 2021 @ 22:50 GMT
Physicists find it difficult to conceptualise what information might be because they are already very hazy about how a system involving law of nature relationships might work.

So for example, depending on one’s view about what real-world numbers are, one necessarily gets different types of systems, that necessarily work in different ways:

1. Many physicists believe that numbers are Platonic entities, though they are hazy about how such a system might work.

2. Many people believe that numbers are (something like) strings of dots, though they are hazy about how such a system might work.

3. But the view that numbers are themselves relationships (where the numerator and denominator categories cancel out) ties in with an already existing system of laws of nature that are also relationships.

However my point is that, depending on how you view the fundamental elements of the system, you get a different type of system that works in different ways to systems with other versions of the fundamental elements. And this leads to further conclusions about the nature of the world.

Note that the “mechanics” of how systems work can only be represented using Boolean-algorithmic symbols. The “mechanics” of how systems work are NOT self-explanatory, and CAN’T be taken for granted.

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jul. 30, 2021 @ 23:22 GMT
The men of physics/ mathematics/ philosophy came up with the logically impossible idea that a differentiated mathematical system could exist that can’t differentiate itself (i.e. discern difference in its own relationships, categories and numbers) [1].

In other words, the men came up with the logically impossible idea that a differentiated system could exist, at the foundations of the world, that has no information about itself.

Next, the men dreamed up the logically impossible idea that complicated statistical calculations involving possibilities and probabilities are occurring at the foundations of the world, and all the while holding onto the logically impossible idea that the system can’t differentiate itself.

The men failed to notice that its only advanced organisms (human beings) that create, discern, and manipulate symbols in order to perform sophisticated mathematical calculations (and have also created computers to simulate the mathematics).

On and on the men go, in their world of dreams, while the world burns. And there again, the men say that human beings (and living things and other matter) can’t act to change world (i.e. change the numbers for the variables): its only the laws of nature that change the numbers for the variables. In other words, the men say that the world is at the mercy of the laws of nature. On and on the men go, in their world of dreams, while the world burns.

1. Obviously, these men have strong religious beliefs about the way they think the world ought to be, and their strong religious beliefs have trumped logic.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Jul. 31, 2021 @ 10:18 GMT
you generalise things wich cannot be generalised , you repeat things of non sense, it is due to your psychology and frustration for me, or even due to your education and past . It is not our falut lorraine if you have had bad moments with odd men, don t generalise . And about the religious beliefs, maybe you could learn what were the philosophies of best thinkers in physics. In fact nodody knows the main philosophical cause of this universe, nor you , nor me , nobody and the mathematical accident seems having enormous problems about the tranasformations energy matters. Your boolean algebras and variables and computings cannot expolain the deep philosophical unknowns.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Aug. 2, 2021 @ 01:43 GMT
Steve,

I’m sorry to be such a pest. I’m laughing to myself when I write about “the men”. But it is not just a joke: you can’t deny its true: it IS men that have come up with particular types of ideas/ views about the world, and who continue to vigorously defend these ideas/ views as if the ideas/ views about the world were truth itself.

And you must admit that the ideas/ views of these men have a LOT of followers, mainly men, people who also never question that the ideas/ views are truth itself. E.g. people who never question the idea that a set of equations could represent a system, and then wonder why the equations never ever seem to represent a system.

You and Tom are very smart people who can actually do the equations as well as, or better than, any physicist; and better than I can now. But I’m saying that the equations are only PART of the picture, and can never represent a whole system.

Importantly, for a person like you who wants to save the world (and who DOESN’T want to save the world?), physics does NOT allow you to act to save the world, or to act to do anything at all. According to the crazy ideas/ views of physics, its only the laws of nature that change the numbers for the variables. This is important: the ideas/ views of physics say that you CAN’T act to save the world: the only actors are the laws of nature.

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Aug. 1, 2021 @ 23:03 GMT
The world is a system. But what is a system? Well, a set of relationships does not make a system. It is necessary that a differentiated system can differentiate itself (i.e. a system requires information about itself); and it is necessary that a system can move itself.

When a physicist manipulates the equations that symbolically represent the law of nature relationships, HE differentiates the symbols, and HE makes the number symbols move. In other words, the physicist is part of the model of the system.

If you extract the physicist from the model, you need to symbolically represent the aspect of the system that differentiates, and the aspect of the system that moves. [Despite the delta symbols, the equations that represent the laws of nature do not represent number movement: the equations merely represent category relationship IF one or more numbers (that apply to a category) are changed.]

The system needs to differentiate its own relationships, variables and numbers; this aspect of the system is called “information” or “consciousness”; for living things to exist, the system needs to analyse the relationships, variables and numbers, producing higher-level information. The system needs to move its own numbers; this aspect of the system is called “agency” or “free will” or “creativity”.

While equations are used to symbolically represent the law of nature relationships, you need to use Boolean and algorithmic symbols to represent the other aspects of the system.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Aug. 2, 2021 @ 23:00 GMT
So information, i.e. consciousness, is NOT about a whole lot of seemingly mysterious sensations/ feelings/ experiences.

On the contrary, sensations/ feelings/ experiences are about the differentiation of information, that is, information about a subject’s internal and external situation.

Sensations/ feelings/ experiences are about a necessary aspect of the system: the differentiation of information. The differentiation of information is the necessary thing; the sensations/ feelings/ experiences are just the means to that end and/or just the way differentiation is.

However, differentiation/ information/ consciousness can only be represented using Boolean and algorithmic symbols. At it’s lowest level, this information is about the state of the categories and numbers. So this is an example of how you would symbolically represent information: “variable1=number1 AND variable2=number2 IS TRUE”.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Aug. 6, 2021 @ 22:59 GMT
From the beginning of the world, or even if the world had no beginning, there never ever was a differentiated system that couldn’t differentiate itself. There never was a world that had no information about itself; there never was a world that was not conscious of itself.

And yet, the nonsense idea that a non-conscious system (that we can represent mathematically) exists at the foundations of the world is the basis of many people’s ideas about the nature of the world.

It’s not just physicists, mathematicians and philosophers that hold these nonsense ideas, it’s the general public who have been fed a steady diet of nonsense ideas about the nature of the world since they were born. And it’s not just the extreme fundamentalist religious sects and other lunatics that have propagated nonsense ideas; its physicists, mathematicians and philosophers that have propagated nonsense ideas and continue to propagate nonsense ideas about the nature of the world.

But there never ever was such a thing as a differentiated world that couldn’t differentiate itself.

This information/ consciousness aspect of the world can’t be derived from the aspect of the world that is represented by equations, variables and number symbols. You need to use Boolean and algorithmic symbols to represent the information/ consciousness aspect of the world. Information/ consciousness is an entirely separate aspect of the world, that exists in conjunction with the aspect of the world that is represented by equations, variables and number symbols.

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Aug. 9, 2021 @ 23:17 GMT
1. Physics models of the world are wrong, but not because there is anything wrong with the equations that represent the law of nature relationships. Physics models of the world are wrong because the physicist is part of the model: the physicist differentiates the symbols, and the physicist moves and changes the symbols. In other words, the symbols don’t represent a complete, standalone system.

To represent a complete standalone system, you need to add symbols that represent the system differentiating, and symbols that represent the system moving and changing the numbers, i.e. you need to use Boolean and algorithmic symbols.

2. Physics models of the world are wrong because physics can’t tell you what numbers are. Some might say numbers are Platonic objects; some might say that numbers are (something like) strings of dots. But the only feasible model for numbers is that numbers are relationships, just like the laws of nature are relationships, but numbers are relationships where the numerator and denominator categories cancel out. We represent number relationships with number symbols, which make numbers look like finished products. But numbers are relationships, not finished products.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Aug. 9, 2021 @ 23:19 GMT
(continued)

Numbers are relationships, and the laws of nature are relationships. So the laws of nature only change numbers (that apply to categories) by virtue of further relationship, IF and WHEN other numbers (that apply to other categories) have changed for some other reason. Its this “other reason” that can only be represented with Boolean and algorithmic symbols. Despite the delta symbols, the equations that represent the law of nature relationships merely represent category relationships; the equations that represent the law of nature relationships do not represent the system moving and changing its own numbers.

3. Boolean and algorithmic symbols do not represent lawful relationships. Boolean and algorithmic symbols represent the information/ consciousness and the agency/ free will/ creativity of the system, or more correctly the parts of the system.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Aug. 12, 2021 @ 22:53 GMT
The latest IPCC report just came out, and the United Nations has referred to the situation as a "code red for humanity". But unfortunately, we live in a world of nutcases:

1. Most physicists and philosophers, and their worshipful followers, who say “the laws of nature are in control” [1];

2. Fundamentalist Christian leaders like Brian Houston [2], and their followers who say “God is in control”;

3. Etc. etc.

Is there anyone out there who still believes that PEOPLE have some control over situations?

Fortunately, there are still realists in the world who believe that people DO genuinely have some control over situations, i.e. that people do genuinely change some of the numbers for the variables.

But the nutcase physicists and philosophers and their followers believe that people only have the superficial appearance of control over situations. Because they can’t come to terms with the idea of the type of world where people and other living things could genuinely change some of the numbers for the variables.

(You need to use Boolean and algorithmic symbols to represent the information/ consciousness and the agency/ control/ free will/ creativity of people and other living things.)

……………………

1. Physics says that people are “in control” of a situation in EXACTLY the same sense that a ball placed at the top of an incline is “in control” of the situation as it rolls down the hill.

2. Brian Houston was recently charged by police.

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