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Previous Programs

2019 Intelligence in the Physical World
Awardees

2019 Information as Fuel
Awardees

2018 Agency in the Physical World
Awardees; RFP download

2016 Physics of the Observer
Awardees; RFP download

2015 The Physics of What Happens
Awardees; RFP download

2013 Physics of Information
Awardees; RFP download

2010 The Nature of Time
Awardees; RFP download

2008 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
Awardees; RFP download

2006 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
Awardees; RFP download

James P. Crutchfield
Art and Science Laboratory

Project Title

Function and Intelligence in Thermodynamic Agents: Mutually Incompatible Realities

Project Summary

Encountering others who do not share our basic beliefs is challenging, sometimes even emotionally troubling. Of late, this seems to be an increasingly common experience in our personal and political spheres. Is the emergence of such incompatible worldviews consistent with physical principles? Isn't there a unique world "out there" that we should all (eventually and with enough time and sufficient resources) come to agree on? This project seeks to give a proper mathematical explanation for the emergence of incompatible worldviews and to draw out the physical consequences. Recent theoretical advances in optimal modeling allow us to show how and why incompatible worldviews arise, as complex adaptive agents strive to predict the world they experience. Though the incompatibilities are fundamental and inescapable, understanding how they come about will point a way to equitably addressing the challenges they present.



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