As Futurists, once in a while we should check what are the boundaries, what are the real limiting factors to our life besides our imagination? Mike Korns a Computer Scientist and long time Future Salon participant took the time to look into the latest research regarding Quantum Physics. And the boundaries are quite different than they used to be last time I checked, which is very fascinating. (Details further down)
At the Planetwork conference last weekend Spot Draves showed his Electric Sheep and also offered, unfortunately too late, to talk about the interesting background to his art. It was the highest rated suggestion of the conference, but because he offered it too late, not enough people voted for him, so other sessions were selected. But next Friday the 18th at 7pm, SAP Labs in Palo Alto 3410 Hillview Avenue [map] you will get all the background and some more great Electric Sheep graphics. Here is his Abstract:
Electric Sheep is a distributed screen-saver that harnesses idle computers into a render farm with the purpose of animating and evolving artificial life-forms. Each clip of animation has a genetic code, and the collective voting of users determines its fitness. In the next version a P2P network distributes the bandwidth of sharing the video and votes.
Now to the Hard Science part or Extreme Physics as Mike calls them, which with the current fascination of everything extreme should really peak your interest.
Here are some suggested readings if you want to prepare for next Fridays talk:
“Three Roads To Quantum Gravity” by Lee Smolin
“The Search for Superstrings, Symmetry, and the Theory of Everything”, by John Gibbon
“The Odd Quantum”, by Sam Trieman
“Loop Quantum Gravity”, in Scientific American Jan 2004
“The Myth of the Beginning of Time”, in Scientific American May 2004
“Parallel Universes”, in Scientific American May 2003
The following is Mike Korns outline:
Extreme Physics: The Theory of Everything (Part One)
With two speakers he will not have the time to go through everything. This is why it is called part one. He will be back in September with more about the implications of the research findings on our everyday life.
Confession: I am not a theoretical physicist The Theory of Everything (TOE) has relevance for everyday people like you and me. The TOE has evolved into a Theory of Quantum-Gravity. We will study the current contending theories from a human viewpoint, without math. The current three TOE’s: Superstrings, M Theory, and Loop Quantum Gravity. How far are we? - We do not yet have a Theory of Everything; but, we know a lot more about what we don’t know than we didn’t know before.
Our Picture of the Universe changes as we mature.
(Before 11,000BC): primitive mysticism, disjoint images, experiences, survival rules.
(11,000-600BC): agriculture, pantheism, astronomy, geocentric universe.
(600BC-1700AD): geometry, monotheism, mechanical engineering, cyclic universe.
(1700AD-1900AD): chemistry, ballistics, Newtonian entity-deterministic-universe.
(1900AD-2000AD): computers, medicine, biotech, quantum probabilistic universe.
(2000AD-2099AD): quantum & DNA computation, information-theoretic-universe.
As we mature, old mysteries are solved.
(Before 11,000BC): why is game plentiful in one place and not in another?
(11,000-600BC): are the star cycles and the crop cycles related?
(600BC-1700AD): are the heavens and earth governed by the same fundamental laws?
(1700AD-1900AD): are the non-organic and organic governed by the same laws?
As we mature, new mysteries arise.
Can the essence of a human be kept outside of the physical body?
Why is it impossible to travel faster than the speed of light?
What is Heisenberg uncertainty, and how does it work.
Why does the Two-Slit experiment work like that?
How does entanglement work and why?
How are particles created, from nothing, in empty space, and why?
Why does starting from the same point, in space and time, yield different outcomes?
Is this the only universe, or are there parallel universes?
What happens inside a black hole?
What happened before the big bang?
Space and time are intertwined.
Space-time is a malleable fabric distorted by gravity.
Each frame of reference, in space time, is equally valid: there is no preferred place-time.
Constant acceleration is indistinguishable from constant gravitational pull.
The speed of light is a universal speed limit.
As objects move faster they compress in size.
As objects move faster time slows down for them.
The Standard Model
All physical phenomena can be explained with 17 fundamental particles.
Physical forces can be explained with the fundamental particles.
All particles behave like probabilistic waves and particles simultaneously.
Every event in space time has a range of future possible outcomes.
Even large objects, such as atoms and molecules, can exhibit quantum behavior.
Superstring Theory & M Theory
Whereas theoretical physicists try to create a TOE to fit the data.
Modeling elementary particles as tiny vibrating strings solves many problems.
The math only works if there are 11 dimensions.
The other seven dimensions are rolled up into very tiny balls.
Strings cannot be compressed beyond a certain discrete size.
Singularities in the Standard Model disappear.
Strings can only vibrate a certain discrete frequencies.
The fundamental rate of change (time) becomes discrete.
Oops: there is more than one Superstring theory that fits the data??
Proposes that all five Superstring theories are really part of a larger theory.
Loop Quantum Gravity
Whereas theoretical physicists try to merge quantum & relativity axiomatically.
There is no preferred space-time reference frame at the quantum level.
Space, time, and gravity are discrete and therefore quantized.
Space is modeled upon a malleable spin network.
Space-time is modeled upon a malleable spin foam.
Singularities in the Standard Model disappear, and the math is quite elegant.
All physical phenomena can be explained as relationships between edges and nodes.
Physical phenomena can change the relationships between edges and nodes.
The configuration of the spin foam evolves over time.
LQT might be verified when the Planck satellite begins operation in 2006.
Epilogue: The Future of the Human as Finite Information
All current theories of everything require that space and time be discrete.
Quantum theory is NOT a Newtonian entity model; it is an information theoretic model.
The Standard Model currently identifies 17 fundamental particles.
Even if there are thousands more, a discrete universe is still finite.
A discrete universe would contain large scale repeating patterns: (multiple you’s).
In a quantum universe, time travel would allow you to do it all over again – differently.
In a discrete quantum universe, the inside of a black hole is a new beginning.
In a discrete quantum universe, the essence of any human is a finite information packet.
Can't wait for both of these sessions. See you there.
Friday June 18th 7pm - 9pm (Dinner afterwards)
SAP Labs LLC
Building D, Room Southern Cross
3410 Hillview Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94304
(Driving directions to building D via Highway 101)
(Driving directions to building D via Highway 280)