Mod+ Information and Reality [Resources] [Information & Consciousness, QM, etc.]

#41
Integrated Information Theory is certainly not panpsychist. I would argue that IIT certainly allows for top-down influence as well as bottom up, but I argue that it requires the Von Neumann formalization to really account for this. If you are not familiar, Integrated Information Theory is essentially a mathematical model of Emergent Interactive Agency from social psychology that was argued for by Bandura. The idea was of reciprocal causation. The indeterminate micro causation gives the emergent definite state conscious agency of Integrated Information Theory to be truly emergent and causally effective. Essentially, if the microstates are fixed, so is the macro, but since in quantum theory the micro is not fixed, the emergent definite macro state of consciousness can exert causal power on the microstate through probing actions using the quantum Zeno effect.
Neil,
Some of us older fogeys believe in a world of causality that can be described. The world gains comprehension when the data patterns are understood, especially as we develop better tools such, as advanced Bayesian analysis. To me, saying something is emergent, is to say the actual causes and their relations are still unknowns. The word has a correct usage: for something to emerge from data by means of understanding the patterns, is in the context of epistemology. New information about old or current facts causes the emergence. Emergence is a verb only in cognitive knowledge (mutual information) at agents.

Talk of emergence as an ontological "force" is problematic. Instances are usually replaced; as science discovers more of our structural reality and inter-relations. Is radioactivity an emergent property? Not after we understand half-life in atomic physics. My favorite book defining emergence and how it can be best understood is R. Batterman's - Devil in the Details.

IIT is an effort to quantify the functional signalling in the brain. Like all math, it speaks not to analysis, but only to data patterns from empirical results.

As for your analysis, I am interested to understand. I am pretty well-read on Stapp's exposition of Von Neumann and his take on mind.
 
Last edited:
#42
Neil,
Some of us older fogeys believe in a world of causality that can be described. The world gains comprehension when the the data patterns are understood, especially as we develop better tools such, as advanced Bayesian analysis. To me, saying something is emergent, is to say the actual causes and their relations are still unknowns. The word has a correct usage: for something to emerge from data by means of understanding the patterns, is in the context of epistemology. New information about old or current facts causes the emergence. Emergence is a verb only in cognitive knowledge (mutual information) at agents.

Talk of emergence as an ontological "force" is problematic. Instances are usually replaced; as science discovers more of our structural reality and inter-relations. Is radioactivity an emergent property? Not after we understand half-life in atomic physics. My favorite book defining emergence and how it can be best understood is R. Batterman's - Devil in the Details.

IIT is an effort to quantify the functional signalling in the brain. Like all math, it speaks not to analysis, but only to data patterns from empirical results.

As for your analysis, I am interested to understand. I am pretty well-read on Stapp's exposition of Von Neumann and his take on mind.

Well, I meant emergent in an ontological sense, not epistemic emergence. "Radioactivity" is epistemically emergent in the sense of it being a concept that we created, but like you said, ontologically it is reducible to properties found in atomic physics. But if we use an entangled pair of photons, we have ontic emergence, since the entangled pair described by a single wavefunction is not reducible to the sum of the two photons.

Similarly, Integrated Information Theory describes how information can be processed to create an ontological emergence of conscious mind, which is the maximally irreducible conceptual structure. The maximally irreducible conceptual structure is not reducible to the component parts, as there is information generation. This is, within Integrated Information Theory, causally described, however I think the von Neumann interpretation is needed to really make Integrated Information Theory do what it claims with emergent causally effective conscious mind.

But I cannot agree in that there must be causality, at least not in any sense of how it is used in classical mechanics. Causality doesn't really exist in quantum theory fundamentally, for what causes radioactive decay or wavefunction collapse?
 
#43
But if we use an entangled pair of photons, we have ontic emergence, since the entangled pair described by a single wavefunction is not reducible to the sum of the two photons.
Thanks for the response. In a most friendly way, I strongly disagree. Radioactivity - prior to its process model being imagined - and the current conceptualization of entangled pairs are both conceptualizations of physical emergence. Further math models render even better casual models and process maps. In my view, you are believing in the photon's individual identities as hunks of matter. Hence, all relationships must be based on material relations.

If one views an entangles pair as a two-unit information structure, the sum of the photons (what is summed? their energy?) is not the ontic focus. In this case, the focus is on: when a causal state has occurred, what information is shared between the two photons and when will it lose effect. It is the shared information in the system, that is ontic in source. The activity in this system is characterized and quantified as entangled by structural relationship. It is disentangled based on "meaningful connections" as the process variable.

What indication is there that this structured information is a reality? Well being able to use it for running computations, is a pretty good objective indicator.
 
Last edited:
#44
Thanks for the response. In a most friendly way, I strongly disagree. Radioactivity - prior to its process model being imagined - and the current conceptualization of entangled pairs are both conceptualizations of physical emergence. Further math models render even better casual models and process maps. In my view, you are believing in the photon's individual identities as hunks of matter. Hence, all relationships must be based on material relations.
I do not subscribe to any materialism or genidentity with respect to particles. I think they themselves are emergent properties of experience of informational relations. When I refer to them existing ontologically, I mean that at that scale and within a theoretical framework, they exist ontologically within the theory and also that it makes sense to say they "exist" in that doing so allows us to make mathematical predictions about experiential outcomes in experiments. I would not grant particles true ontic status, and where I would disagree with your position, is that even information cannot be granted true ontic status, and if we were to discuss what is truly ontic, in my opinion, we would have a pure abstract existence where it doesn't make sense to speak of any relations. I'm not taking it down to true ontic status, but referring to ontological status within a theory like quantum theory.

The mathematics describing the state of an entangled pair of photons is precisely what makes it an emergent phenomena since it is a single wavefunction which is not reducible to the two wavefunctions added, and the effect of a measurement on one affects the other in an acausal way, at least in any normal sense of the word causation. Fundamentally within quantum theory the very notion of causation breaks down when you get to informational relations, and causation itself appears to be an emergent property of the universe. Indeed it seems reasonable, since causation cannot be an endless chain; it cannot be turtles all the way down. The deeper we go the less causal and more abstract it becomes.

If one views an entangles pair as a two-unit information structure, the sum of the photons (what is summed? their energy?) is not the ontic focus. In this case, the focus is on: when a causal state has occurred, what information is shared between the two photons and when will it lose effect. It is the shared information in the system, that is ontic in source. The activity in this system is characterized and quantified as entangled by structural relationship. It is disentangled based on "meaningful connections" as the process variable.
Well, what is described is the informational states, but once entangled it is not the sum of the two informational states, but a new single emergent state. I am with you on reducing the interactions to informational states and relations, but I don't see how that makes an entangled pair an epistemic emergence. Within the ontology of a theory, that entangled pair exists as a new emergent ontological entity described by a single wavefunction.

Unless we are using the Copenhagen interpretation? If we are, it really wouldn't make sense to speak of ontologies anyway.

What indication is there that this structured information is a reality? Well being able to use it for running computations, is a pretty good objective indicator.
What is reality? If reality is the definite states of experience, then I am with you, but I wouldn't grant true ontic status to the universe.
 
#45
Well, what is described is the informational states, but once entangled it is not the sum of the two informational states, but a new single emergent state. I am with you on reducing the interactions to informational states and relations....
I remain skeptical about emergence as a natural process that can be defined for science needs. I see little meaning for emergence beyond being an epistemic judgement, such as a figure emerging from a background or seeing a novel configuration created by the same old natural laws.

I am no expert, but the informational states of informational objects are comprised of the abstract and representational structures + the meaningful relations to the environment. This is true for any object, event or process. These states are connected by natural and logical pathways for both physical transformations and informational transformations. The fact that any two electrons of a hydrogen molecule are entangled is because they are part of a system with logical vectors of X probability. The electrons have a probability of P=1 for existing with one electron presenting a unit of measure as "up" spin and one "down" spin (I am open to correction and think this is the Pauli Exclusion Principle).

The operators predicting the transformations of entanglement are not addition/multiplication of physical units of measure. They are logical and meaningful processes and are open to computation.

Nothing new "emerges" in entanglement, in my judgement. The balanced relation of spin (as an informational structure) is there because of the natural outcome of forces and masses of a molecule of hydrogen. The entangled relation remains when the molecule's electrons are moved apart in special ways that do not disturb the information structure.

The idea here, and my overarching point is to highlight the methodology of separating the physical transformation patterns changing by physical laws; away from the informational changes, which are changing logically.
 
Last edited:
#46
I remain skeptical about emergence as a natural process that can be defined for science needs. I see little meaning for emergence beyond being an epistic judgement, such as a figure emerging from a background or seeing a novel configuration created by the same old natural laws.

I am no expert, but the informational states of informational objects are comprised of the abstract and representational structures + the meaningful relations to the environment. This is true for any object, event or process. These states are connected by natural and logical pathways for both physical transformations and informational transformations. The fact that any two electrons of a hydrogen molecule are entangled is because they are part of a system with logical vectors of X probability. The electrons have a probability of P=1 for existing with one electron presenting a unit of measure as "up" spin and one "down" spin (I am open to correction and think this is the Pauli Exclusion Principle).

The operators predicting the transformations of entanglement are not addition/multiplication of physical units of measure. They are logical and meaningful processes and are open to computation.

Nothing new "emerges" in entanglement, in my judgement. The balanced relation of spin (as an informational structure) is there because of the natural outcome of forces and masses of a molecule of hydrogen. The entangled relation remains when the molecule's electrons are moved apart in special ways that do not disturb the information structure.

The idea here, and my overarching point is to highlight the methodology of separating the physical transformation patterns changing by physical laws; away from the informational changes, which are changing logically.
Entanglement does not remain if you measure one of the pairs of photons. Measuring one instantly affects the other because they exists as a single entity, and this measuring makes two objects. This is experimentally confirmed so I am not clear how you could say this is just epistemic.

Informational states at the quantum level do not evolve logically. There are the wave equations, but these are punctuated by discontinuous seemingly purely random "actual outcomes" that changes the information state of the system. This is not computable, ie not logical.
 
#47
Entanglement does not remain if you measure one of the pairs of photons. Measuring one instantly affects the other because they exists as a single entity, and this measuring makes two objects. This is experimentally confirmed so I am not clear how you could say this is just epistemic.

Informational states at the quantum level do not evolve logically. There are the wave equations, but these are punctuated by discontinuous seemingly purely random "actual outcomes" that changes the information state of the system. This is not computable, ie not logical.
I am not a point by point response kinda guy.
I did not say that exporting information from an entangled pair is an epistemic event. I am saying that measuring and exporting information from a system is an informational event.
The entangled relation remains when the molecule's electrons are moved apart in special ways that do not disturb the information structure.
Exporting information during a measuring process surely "disturbs" the structured information of the entangled pair.

If it is not clear, I am suggesting that physical structure (close proximity) is not the ONLY structure in science. When you say "Measuring one instantly affects the other" I cringe. Rather than "affects"; I think it clearer said as, determines an outcome. There is no physical effect or change at the other electron. Its information - as to spin - is just determined (still structured at that instant).
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#48
Hey guys, I think this may benefit from a separate thread?

I only ask because the idea of the Resources thread is to allow some back and forth up to a point but then to spin off new threads. This way anyone looking into them gets some useful commentary in the thread but also without being overwhelmed by an ongoing discussion.

thanks!

Sci
 
#49
I am not a point by point response kinda guy.
I did not say that exporting information from an entangled pair is an epistemic event. I am saying that measuring and exporting information from a system is an informational event.

Exporting information during a measuring process surely "disturbs" the structured information of the entangled pair.

If it is not clear, I am suggesting that physical structure (close proximity) is not the ONLY structure in science. When you say "Measuring one instantly affects the other" I cringe. Rather than "affects"; I think it clearer said as, determines an outcome. There is no physical effect or change at the other electron. Its information - as to spin - is just determined (still structured at that instant).
I'm not sure I understand how an emergent single entity like an entangled pair of photons is purely epistemic if I measure one and it changes the information state of the other, too. That seems pretty ontological. Mathematically it is a single entity and experimentally it is confirmed.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#50
Thanks for the kind words Szechuan - Curious if you've seen the post about the Peer-2-Peer hypothesis mentioned above? At heart it's describing the experience of Halo players, in fact IIRC that's where the author got the idea from.

Here's a bit more info on the P2P hypothesis, this time discussing how the P2P hypothesis explains why the weirdness in QM arises:

A Unified Explanation of Quantum Phenomena? The Case for the Peer-to-Peer Simulation Hypothesis as an Interdisciplinary Research Program

"In my 2013 article, “A New Theory of Free Will”, I argued that several serious hypotheses in philosophy and modern physics jointly entail that our reality is structurally identical to a peer-to-peer (P2P) networked computer simulation. The present paper outlines how quantum phenomena emerge naturally from the computational structure of a P2P simulation.

§1 explains the P2P Hypothesis.

§2 then sketches how the structure of any P2P simulation realizes quantum superposition and wave-function collapse (§2.1.), quantum indeterminacy (§2.2.), wave-particle duality (§2.3.), and quantum entanglement (§2.4.).

Finally, §3 argues that although this is by no means a philosophical proof that our reality is a P2P simulation, it provides ample reasons to investigate the hypothesis further using the methods of computer science, physics, philosophy, and mathematics."
A Restructuring of Marcus Arvan’s Libertarian Compatibilism
http://www.academia.edu/11228588/A_Restructuring_of_Marcus_Arvan_s_Libertarian_Compatibilism

In this paper I will provide a critique of Arvan’s Reader-theory as he presents it in his 2013 paper A new theory of free will . It is an audacious undertaking which promises to propel metaphysical discourse into the 21 st Century. However, I will argue that the theory as he explains it fails to achieve its most important objective: providing an explanatory account for quantum phenomena, specifically quantum indeterminacy, and by extension quantum tunnelling. Without this, his theory will no longer be able to sustain his take on free will named Libertarian Compatibilism.
I will also attempt to restructure Reader-Theory in a manner that will preserve both the account of quantum indeterminacy and the possibility of Libertarian Compatibilism. Arvan’s work is predicated upon Bostrom’s simulation argument, which argues that we are possibly living in a computer simulation.

I will begin with a short summary of Bostrom’s work for those unfamiliar with it, as it also introduces us to the important concept of physical phenomena as information processing. The question of how information is processed, and by whom, will form a central part of this paper.
=-=-=

Testing the P2P Hypothesis with the HoloLens?

http://philosopherscocoon.typepad.com/blog/2015/01/the-hololens.html

Interestingly, I believe the HoloLens may help test a new theory of reality that I have recently advanced. As readers may (or may not) know, I have published a couple of articles arguing that our reality is probably a massive, peer-to-peer networked hologram, on the grounds that the functional architecture of peer-to-peer networking explains quantum phenomena (for which we currently lack any good explanation), as well as some perennial philosophical problems (for a brief summary, see here).

One common--and understandable--reaction I've received (both from philosophers and non-philosophers) is skepticism. I have often been asked, "Do you really think we are living in a holographic videogame?", and the theory is also often noted to be highly speculative. I think this kind of skepticism is reasonable, and that like any good physical theory, it should stand or fall with its predictions!

Interestingly, though, I believe the HoloLens may provide one initial avenue for testing the hypothesis. If the Peer-to-Peer Simulation Hypothesis is correct, then hooking a large number of hololenses together through peer-to-peer networking should (A) reproduce quantum phenomena (superposition, wave-particle duality, indeterminacy, etc.) at a non-microscopic level (i.e. the level of holograms), and (B) in a manner that we could project, visualize, manipulate, and measure. Allow me to explain...
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#51
http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0801/0801.0337.pdf
The Physical World as a Virtual Reality
Brian Whitworth
Massey University, Albany, Auckland, New Zealand
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/62014-contents-evidence-for-afterlife.html#articles_by_subject_god

The youtube video Digital Physics Argument for God's Existence explains that the best explanation for the simulator is that it is a mind. Quantum phenomena show that a mind is required for matter to exist. But a mind does not require matter for its existence so only mind can exist outside the simulation. The mind in which our universe exists would be God by definition. The video also points out that like a computer simulation, quantum mechanics indicates that the parts of the universe that are observed are the only parts that are actually instantiated.
Bernard Haisch -> IS THE UNIVERSE A VAST, CONSCIOUSNESS CREATED VIRTUAL REALITY SIMULATION?

(Guy is a physicist who helped start the Digital Universe Foundation)

http://cosmosandhistory.org/index.php/journal/article/viewFile/408/672

Two luminaries of 20th century astrophysics were Sir James Jeans and Sir Arthur Eddington. Both took seriously the view that there is more to reality than the physical universe and more to consciousness than simply brain activity. In his Science and the Unseen World (1929) Eddington speculated about a spiritual world and that "conscious is not wholly, nor even primarily a device for receiving sense impressions." Jeans also speculated on the existence of a universal mind and a non-mechanical reality, writing in his The Mysterious Universe (1932) "the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine." In his book QED Feynman discusses the situation of photons being partially transmitted and partially reflected by a sheet of glass: reflection amounting to four percent. In other words one out of every 25 photons will be reflected on average, and this holds true even for a "one at a time" flux. The four percent cannot be explained by statistical differences of the photons (they are identical) nor by random variations in the glass. Something is "telling" every 25th photon on average that it should be reflected back instead of being transmitted. Other quantum experiments lead to similar paradoxes. To explain how a single photon in the two-slit experiment can "know" whether there is one slit or two, Hawking and Mlodonow write:

"In the double-slit experiment Feynman's ideas mean the particles take paths that thread through the first slit, back out though the second slit, and then through the first again; paths that visit the restaurant that serves that great curried shrimp, and then circle Jupiter a few times before heading home; even paths that go across the universe and back. This, in Feynman's view, explains how the particle acquires the information about which slits are open."

It is hard to imagine a more absurd physical explanation. We can think of no way to hardwire the behavior of photons in the glass reflection or the two-slit experiments into a physical law. On the other hand, writing a software algorithm that would yield the desired result is really simple. A digital reality whose laws are software is an idea that has started to gain traction in large part thanks to an influential paper in Philosophical Quarterly by Oxford professor Nick Bostrom. Writing in the New York Times John Tierney had this to say:

"Until I talked to Nick Bostrom, a philosopher at Oxford University it never occurred to me that our universe might be somebody else's hobby. But now it seems quite possible. In fact, if you accept a pretty reasonable assumption of Dr. Bostrom's, it is almost a mathematical certainty that we are living in someone else's computer simulation."

An alternate view (and more optimistic view) is that there exists a great consciousness whose mind is the hardware, and whose thoughts are the software creating a virtual universe in which we as beings of consciousness live.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#54
The Emergence of Information – Physical, Biological, Digital and Mental Information

The next question is whether all these sources of information are related?

Mathematics, the source of scientific information, is connected intimately with the human mind, and the mind has an unknown connection with organisms in the form of cognitive abilities. Digitizing human thoughts into robots is still an immense challenge.

The big question is how are mathematical, physical, biological and mental information connected?

- See more at: http://jonlieffmd.com/blog/mathemat...and-mental-information-2#sthash.IdOjiNzx.dpuf
 
Last edited by a moderator:
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#57
The Tao of It and Bit

"Fourth prize in the FQXi’s 2013 Essay Contest ‘It from Bit, or Bit from It?’ This version appeared as a chapter in the collective volume It From Bit or Bit From It? Springer International Publishing, 2015. pages 51-64."

Abstract. The main mystery of quantum mechanics is contained in Wheeler’s delayed choice experiment, which shows that the past is determined by our choice of what quantum property to observe. This gives the observer a participatory role in deciding the past history of the universe. Wheeler extended this participatory role to the emergence of the physical laws (law without law). Since what we know about the universe comes in yes/no answers to our interrogations, this led him to the idea of it from bit (which includes the participatory role of the observer as a key component).

The yes/no answers to our observations (bit) should always be compatible with the existence of at least a possible reality – a global solution (it) of the Schr¨odinger equation. I argue that there is in fact an interplay between it and bit. The requirement of global consistency leads to apparently acausal and nonlocal behavior, explaining the weirdness of quantum phenomena.

As an interpretation of Wheeler’s it from bit and law without law, I discuss the possibility that the universe is mathematical, and that there is a “mother of all possible worlds” – named the Axiom Zero.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#58
Stapp on Information:

"The basic theme of both Copenhagen and post-Copenhagen quantum theory is that the physical world must be understood in terms of information: the "tiny bits of matter" that classical physics had assumed the world to be built out of are replaced by spread-out nonmaterial structures that combine to form a new kind of physical reality. It consists of an objective carrier of a growing collection of "nonlocalized bits of information" that are dynamically related to experiential-type realities.

Each subjective experience injects one bit of information into this objective store of information, which then specifies, via known mathematical laws, the relative probabilities for various possible future subjective experiences to occur. The physical world thus becomes an evolving structure of information, and of propensities for experiences to occur, rather than a mechanically evolving mindless material structure. The new conception essentially fulfills the age-old philosophical idea that nature should be made out of a kind of stuff that combines in an integrated and natural way certain mind-like and matter-like qualities, without being reduced either to classically conceived mind or classically conceived matter. This new quantum structure entails the validity of all the scientifically validated empirical data, while at the same time explaining how our thoughts can influence our actions in a way concordant with our normal experience of that connection."

-Mind, Matter, and Quantum Mechanics

"Still, I believe that there will be near-unanimous agreement among quantum physicists that, to the extent that a rationally coherent conception of physical reality is possible, this reality will be informational in character, not material. For the whole language of the quantum physicist, when he is dealing with the meaning of his symbols, is in terms of information, which an agent may or may not choose to acquire, and in terms of Yes-or-No answers that constitute bits of information. Just getting that one idea across could make a significant inroad into the corruptive materialist outlook that, more than three-quarters of a century after its official demise as a basic truth about nature, still infects so many minds.
-Mind, Matter, and Quantum Mechanics
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#59
In the Beginning was the Bit

But if instruments are installed to measure which path the photons travel down, the detectors start firing randomly: interference is destroyed. How, except by magic, can this be reconciled with the previous experiment on the same apparatus? How do photons know whether to go down only one path, or both?

Zeilinger's answer is that our choice of measurement is putting that information into the photon. But it can only carry one bit. So if we arrange the experiment so that the photon is destined to trigger detector S, that bit is used up, and we can have no knowledge of which path it traversed. On the other hand, if we decide to know which path it travelled, we cannot predict whether S or D will fire.

This experiment highlights another troubling aspect of quantum mechanics, called the measurement problem. Each photon seems to undergo a mysterious metamorphosis from a quantum wave to a classical particle in the act of measurement. But according to Zeilinger's principle, we simply cannot know enough about the photon to call it either wave or particle. Zeilinger's elementary system is no more than a carrier of information.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#60
A more full exposition of Zeillinger's idea here, but I've not yet read it:

A Foundational Principle of Quantum Mechanics

In contrast to the theories of relativity, quantum mechanics is not yet based on a generally accepted conceptual foundation . It is proposed here that the missing principle may be identified through the observation that all knowledge in physics has to be expressed in propositions and that therefore the most elementary system represents the truth value of one proposition, i.e., it carries just one bit of information. Therefore an elementary system can only give a definite result in one specific measurement. The irreducible randomness in other measurements is then a necessary consequence. For composite systems entanglement results if all possible information is exhausted in specifying joint properties of the constituents.
 
Top