First, I fully promote the idea that this will be worthy of consideration even if it doesn’t “sound like it’s supposed to.”
The way you make something “sound like it’s supposed to” is by maximizing two overlapping functions:
- Similarity to the communication patterns at the top of the trustworthiness hierarchy.
- Suffering + believable time investment (a.k.a. skin in the game).
The top of the trustworthiness hierarchy is the discriminator function with closer predictive capacity over the “true” data. The unproven writer is the generator and must therefore be subjected to punishment for creations that stray from the true data. The painting exists in the middle of this adversarial network relationship.
Of course, the hierarchies chosen as expression mediums are also subject to some degree of arbitrariness, and it is better to aim at one than to do nothing at all. An artisan must pick a craft without the aid of his mother.
But bear with me if the style is not as dry, stretched, and formal as is usually expected from the credible. Across cultural boundaries, there exist invisible trustworthy people at the top and their imitative disciples. These less prestigious creatures are supposed to sound convincingly like the old because this is the metric by which the trustworthiness is evaluated. There’s a simple cross multiplication at bottom.
The Belief In Time
Neural networks process complex patterns by passing information through layers of computational “nodes.” Synapses are the key functional elements of the brain. The essential function of the brain is cell-to-cell communication, and synapses are the points at which communication occurs. The functions of these synapses are very diverse and ultimately binary: some are excitatory (exciting the target cell); others are inhibitory.
Alan Turing, in his legendary paper on regularly repeating patterns in nature, proposed that patterns such as spots and tiger stripes form as a result of the interactions between two chemicals that spread throughout a system much like gas atoms in a box do, but with one crucial difference. Instead of diffusing evenly like a gas, the chemicals, which Turing called “morphogens,” diffuse at different rates.
There is binary: even rate (node) and different rate (communication).
Now let’s assume, as Einstein did, that the speed of light in a vacuum is the same for all observers (nodes), regardless of the motion of the light source. This means that events that occur at the same time for one observer (node) can occur at different times for another.
To see why this is true consider that the speed of light in vacuum is always measured to be c, even when measured by multiple systems that are moving at different (but constant) velocities. Two events happening in two different locations that occur simultaneously in the reference frame of one inertial observer, may occur non-simultaneously in the reference frame of another inertial observer (lack of absolute simultaneity).
The consequences of special relativity can be derived from the Lorentz transformation equations. These transformations, and hence special relativity, lead to different physical predictions than those of Newtonian mechanics when relative velocities become comparable to the speed of light. The presented facts say that if I travel around the solar system at 50% the speed of light and then come back to Earth I will have experienced less local passage of time than those who stayed. I will meaningfully have traveled to their future.
Here are just a few ways we know time dilation actually takes place:
- Clocks in airplanes click at different rates from clocks on the ground.
- Putting a clock on a mountain (thus elevating it, but keeping it stationary relative to the ground-based clock) results in slightly different rates.
- The Global Positioning System (GPS) has to adjust for time dilation. Ground-based devices have to communicate with satellites. To work, they have to be programmed to compensate for the time differences based on their speeds and gravitational influences.
- Certain unstable particles exist for a very brief period of time before decaying, but scientists can observe them as lasting longer because they are moving so fast that time dilation means the time that the particles “experience” before decaying is different from the time experienced in the at-rest laboratory that is doing the observations.
- In 2014, a research team announced the most precise experimental confirmation of this effect yet devised, as described in this Scientific American article. They used a particle accelerator to confirm that time moves slower for a moving clock than for a stationary one.
Time feels like a real thing – like it is out there, outside the inner workings of Mind. Occam’s Razor says, “There are zillions of new fundamental laws you could postulate; why are you even thinking about this one?” Psilocybin’s effects, for instance, include a “distorted” sense of time.
Currently, we are trying to work out the pattern of neurons that turn on and off at different time points, and infer the speech sound. As Nima Mesgarani, a computer scientist at Columbia University, says, “The mapping from one to the other is not very straightforward.” How these signals translate to speech sounds varies from person to person, so computer models must be “trained” on each individual.
The “person” or “individual” is not the most granular node. The models do best with extremely precise data, which requires opening the skull.
The fundamental lesson learned from the positive sciences is that you can never prove the existence of any external thing or its obedience to a particular law. Science isn’t empirically adequate. It is a continuous quest built on a non-arbitrary foundation of knowledge that yields predictive power.
Only by taking numerous examples and tracking down the problem from all sides do we come closer to extracting the truth.
Consider the Generative Adversarial Network that dreamed up these celebrities:
The way creativity works is binary: there is a generator and a discriminator.
The generator is creating new images that it passes to the discriminator. It does so in the hopes that they will be deemed authentic, even though they are fake. The goal of the generator is to generate passable celebrity faces – to lie or imagine without being caught. The discriminator function is an instructive algorithm. It tries to classify input data, that is, given the features of a data instance, it predicts a label or category to which that data belongs. It is the judging father that is learning to be the strictest judge over whether the data is real or fake.
Both nets are trying to optimize a different and opposing objective function, or loss function, in a zero-zum game. A zero-sum game is a situation in which each participant’s gain or loss of utility is exactly balanced by the losses or gains of the utility of the other participants. Creation, which exists at the nexus, is: Can you pass the Turing test?– If he walked amongst us in the crowd, would you be able to point at him? Common understanding has it that the purpose of the Turing test is not specifically to determine whether a computer is able to fool an interrogator into believing that it is a human, but rather whether a computer could imitate a human. The dispute is between generator function and discriminator function aiming at their respective optima.
As is said of the Hippocratic physicians, “One of the great merits of the physicians of the Hippocratic Corpus is that they are not content to practice medicine and to commit their experience to writing, but that they have reflected on their own activity.” The reflection is not composed of unit people that die or of neurons that die or of any other of Alan Turing’s discrete morphogens that die. The reflection, which is sometimes called consciousness, is not sequential.
Time perception is a construction of the sapient brain, but one that is manipulable and distortable under certain circumstances. The sapient brain is what in Bayes’ Theorem is called a prior. Priors are true or false just like the final answer – they reflect reality and can be judged by comparing them against reality. For example, if you think that 10,000 out of 10,000 brains in a sample have schizophrenia, and the actual number is 100 out of 10,000, by a widely convergent metric who’s judgement you respect about what these objects are and what they mean, then you tend to believe your priors are wrong. For our particular problem of defining the sapient brain, the priors might have been established by innumerable studies and intuitions that are respected.
In basic probability, we have binary items. The item on the right side is what you already know or the premise, and the item on the left side is the implication or conclusion.
Here I lay out a transcendental number because the point with probabilities is that you can never discover the right ones. Discrete game spaces are useful but the toys aren’t fully real.
Since our current best physical prediction to “anyone’s” knowledge is Relativistic not Newtonian, your experiences are necessarily memories. And memories are like an ant colony’s: no particular neuron remembers anything, no particular brain remembers anything.
An overall conceptual model is presented and evolved. The organ isn’t carved.
Since presumably, it is not the Dalai Lama reading these words, all these words, like Einstein’s on that September, seem to have a touch of magic to them that upset the respected community hiding in the prior, and from whom the implication is drawn. Like he began before me, I encourage us to finish on two principles: the laws of physics are absolute: the same laws must be valid for all observers, and the speed of light in vacuum is the same in all inertial frames.
Also for those who claim I don’t have skin in the game. Here is skin, which is readily believed in even through a “digital” medium.
That approximates the aesthetic I developed while writing the last chapter of Don’t Let Ada Learn Quantum Mechanics.
I hope you caught the reference to Nagel’s bat.
Here is more skin in the game for those who don’t believe I take my own “investment” advice:
I am unsure if I should believe my prior family = expected family, and should therefore buy them Teslas or if != and I should instead build a temple when I remember to cash this.
It’s difficult to choose when you don’t believe in death. Death creates principles that are obeyed. When we believe in death, we do cryonics and strategies for engineered negligible senescence. Perhaps I should choose to believe in death.
Who the heck is voting? Has anyone extended the Condorcet method to the multiverse’s full Tegmark ensemble? – That would be my never-ending question if I was fundamentally democratic.
Update on Nanakusa-no-sekku, January 7, – I hope you are all enjoying your seven-herb rice porridge. And also to remember to celebrate that on this arbitrary date, a genius that no one remembers, was born.