COMPUTING, PANCOMPUTATIONALISM AND INFO-COMPUTATIONALISM . Gordana Dodig Crnkovic School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Mälardalen University, Sweden http://www.idt.mdh.se/personal/gdc/ Computing and Philosophy Global Course 2008 http://www.idt.mdh.se/kurser/comphil.
COMPUTING, PANCOMPUTATIONALISM AND INFO-COMPUTATIONALISM
Gordana Dodig Crnkovic
School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Mälardalen University, Sweden
Computing and Philosophy Global Course 2008 http://www.idt.mdh.se/kurser/comphil
Hand with Reflecting Sphere (Self-Portrait in Spherical Mirror) , M.C. Escher
THE UNIVERSE FOR A HUMAN
Eye , Maurits Cornelis Escher
The Major Paradigm ShiftsIn our Understanding of the Universe
In much the same way as sciences develop through successive paradigm shifts, on a more general level there is also a succession of paradigm shifts in our understanding of the universe ..
Our present-day knowledge of the universe spans over many orders of magnitude in space with variety of organizational (functional) levels.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcbrKPj1V_UTour of Universe
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BjHvwSvpOw&feature=related100 Million Light Years zoom
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6QYDdgP9egThe Origin of Life - Abiogenesis
In Egyptian mythology, the sun god Ra (or Re) was the supreme power in the universe. The giver of life, he was often merged with the god Amun as Amun-Ra. Some myths present Ra as the ruler of all the gods. Others say that he was the only god and that all other Egyptian gods were merely aspects of Ra.
In old Hindu myth, the tortoise supports elephants that hold up the world, and everything is encircled by the world serpent.The god Vishnu took the form of a turtle.
In the mythology of ancient China, a turtle's shell formed the vault of the heavens.
For many Native American peoples, the world rides on the back of a giant turtle swimming in the ocean.
Aristotle Libri de caelo (1519)
The Nuremberg Chronicle (1493)
The Mechanical Universe
The Clockwork Universe
The mechanistic paradigm systematically revealed physical structure of the Universe in analogy with the artificial.
The self-functioning automaton is a basis and canon of the form of the Universe. Newton Principia, 1687
Computation, Information, Cognition
“Every epoch and culture has a different conception of the Universe. For Ptolemy, Descartes, and Newton the Universe was best conceived in a mechanistic way as some vast machine. For others it is, in its entirety, a living organism. [Thales of Miletus, Spinoza, and Kafatos & Nadeau 1999.]
Our current understanding in terms of information and computing has led to a conception of the Universe as, more or less explicitly, a computer.
On such a pancomputational and paninformational view (Zuse 1967; Lloyd 2006; Chaitin this volume ), if all physics is expressible as computation – so the whole universe can be represented as a network of computing processes at different levels of granularity – then we can consider information as a result of (natural) computation, and the Universe as a network of computing processes that are defined by the information they manipulate and produce.“(Dodig-Crnkovic, Stuart 2007)
We are all living inside a gigantic computer. No, not The Matrix: the Universe.
Every process, every change that takes place in the Universe, may be considered as a kind of computation.
The universe is on a fundamental level an info-computational phenomenon. GDC 2005
KonradZuse was the first to suggest in 1967 that the physical behavior of the entire universe is being computed on a basic level, possibly on cellular automata, by the universe itself which he referred to as "RechnenderRaum" or Computing Space/Cosmos.
Computationalists: Zuse, Wiener, Fredkin, Wolfram, Chaitin, Lloyd, Seife, 't Hooft, Deutsch, Tegmark, Schmidhuber, Weizsäcker, Wheeler..
Info-Computational Universe: Self-reflective observer is an integral part of the explanatory model.
Mechanic Universe: Nature objectivized through agreement of neutral observers agents who are outside of the model.
God-centric. Gods decide rules for nature and humans.
The Major Paradigm Shifts
in our View of the Universe
The Universe of Natural Objects and Processes
Both mechanistic and computational universe describe the natural world as physical.
Historically, scientific study of nature was part of Natural Philosophy.
Arcimboldo Giuseppe, Summer
Natural Philosophy – as Unity of Knowledge
Natural philosophy or the philosophy of nature (Latin PhilosophiaNaturalis), was a study of nature and the physical universe dominant before the development of modern science in the 19th century. Newton was natural philosopher, with physics in focus.
Gradually modern science has developed into a multitude of highly specialized fields with specific vocabularies and research cultures.However, a need for common understanding is becoming increasingly manifest. Complex phenomena studied on the intersection of several research fields such as computing, biology, neuroscience, cognitive science, philosophy, physics, and similar information/computation intensive fields seem again to form a core of a new, now life-centric natural philosophy.
Konrad von Megenberg. Buch der Natur (1481)
Info-computationalism has a potential of connecting not only sciences and philosophy but also humanities and the arts within the same universe.* The common ground is formed by the possibility of communication and the expectation on agents to be well informed both about their own fields of expertise but also about a wide variety of connected knowledge fields or artistic fields.
Intelligence is no longer taken to be exclusively rational intelligence expressed in form of propositional knowledge but also as embodied, emotional intelligence which is a crucial part of the cognitive repertoire of living organisms .
The whole of the embodied organism has place in the Info-Computational universe in which life is understood as an distinctively info-computational phenomenon.
* A fascinating study of the relationships among mathematics, music and art seen through I/mind´s eye can be found in Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter (1979)