The beginning of infinity: explanations that transform the world / David Deutsch. p. cm. unboundedness is the 'infinity' referred to in the title of this book. “The exercise content and evaluations in this book are outstanding. Liz “Fitness For Dummies is a real rarity: a f Beginning English Conversation. The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations that Transform The World · Read more The Mathematics Of Infinity · Read more.
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The Beginning of Infinity is a book, by David Deutsch, broadly about explaining reality, thinking rationally, and the beginning of infinite human progress. "Brilliant and exhilarating Deutsch is so smart, and so strange, and so creative , and so inexhaustibly curious, and so vividly intellectually alive, that it is a. of explanation. A previous book by the physicist. David Deutsch  touched on all these themes. His new work, The Beginning of Infinity, is even more ambitious.
The design process for the watch involves stepwise refinement with the correction of errors that result in a functioning watch. The stone also went through a refinement process, but the fundamental difference is there was no error correction feedback. The watch cannot be properly understood without knowing its purpose. And if there is purpose, there must be intent, and therefore a designer.
A mouse has all the same attributes as a watch, so it was quite reasonable to conclude that it must be designed as well, therefore has a designer. And he is right. However, we now know the purpose of the mouse: to replicate its genes. The designer of the mouse is not a person; it is the stepwise process known as natural selection, with a system of error correction that removes mouse designs that fail to reproduce their genes. These ideas are clearly central to the book, as can be seen by the watch the author is examining on the front cover.
The watch and a good scientific explanation share the fact that small changes made to either will break them. Bad explanations and stones can be changed significantly, and they still function as they did before. The author explores the concept of a universal system, which means a small digital system that can be used to create new things without itself being modified.
Digital systems are required because they have built in error correction. Variations are rounded to the nearest decimal digit, whereas in analog systems the errors can accumulate.
An example is the alphabet, which can generate any new word using the same letters, or ten digits that can generate any possible number.
Language itself is a digital system. While we can make an infinite number of sounds, of which only a subset are used for our words.
The first universal digital system was the genetic code, which somehow evolved from the original chemicals on the Earth. For example, for the first few billion years the DNA system only created bacteria. Much later we got multi-celled organisms, and in the first DNA computer was made, a possibility inherent in the original design of DNA.
He points out that while the equations of Heisenberg and Schrodinger describe the behavior of subatomic particles, there is no single explanation in words, or interpretation, that is universally accepted.
Life is actually sustained by our knowledge of how to manipulate that hostile environment.
Sustainable has two conflicting meanings. One is to keep us alive, surely a good thing. The other meaning is to keep things the same.
But static societies fail when unexpected changes occur, as they always do. Our survival depends upon the ability to adapt to change, which means the current mode of production should not be sustained.
Hence the praise for unsustainability. Paul Ehrlich was the ultimate resource pessimist. His fallacy is to compare the known inventory of present resources, extrapolated into the future, with the unknown possibility of finding new resources, or technical innovation that reduces the need for them. The predictions of this kind of pessimist tend to be very wrong. After blasting environmentalists like Paul Ehrlich, he then addresses climate change.
These conditions are the valuing of creativity and the free and open debate that exposed ideas to criticism to reveal those good explanatory ideas that naturally resist being falsified due to their having basis in reality.
Deutsch points to previous moments in history, such as Renaissance Florence and Plato's Academy in Golden Age Athens , where this process almost got underway before succumbing to their static societies' resistance to change. The source of intelligence is more complicated than brute computational power, Deutsch conjectures, and he points to the lack of progress in Turing test AI programs in the six decades since the Turing test was first proposed.
What matters for knowledge creation, Deutsch says, is creativity. New ideas that provide good explanations for phenomena require outside-the-box thinking as the unknown is not easily predicted from past experience.
To test this Deutsch suggests an AI behavioural evolution program for robot locomotion should be fed random numbers to see if knowledge spontaneously arises without inadvertent contamination from a human programmer's creative input. If it did Deutsch would concede that intelligence is not as difficult a problem as he currently thinks it is.
Deutsch argues that a great deal of fiction is close to a fact somewhere in the multiverse. Deutsch explains that interference offers evidence for this multiverse phenomenon where alternate histories affect one another without allowing the passage of information, as they fungibly intertwine again shortly after experiencing alternate events.
According to Deutsch, our perspective on any object we detect with our senses is just a single universe slice of a much larger quantum multiverse object. Deutsch speculates on the process of human-culture development from a genetic basis through to a memetic emergence. This emergence led to the creation of static societies where innovation occurs, but most of the time at a rate too slow for individuals to notice during their lifetimes.
It was only at the point where knowledge of how to purposefully create new knowledge through good explanations was acquired that the beginning of infinity took off during the enlightenment.