A Second Thought on Computation, and Time

In the note below, I discussed what I believe to be a rather shocking observation, that the interjection of previously unknown information could literally change the path of time itself, for the simple reason that, without the unknown information, the states where that information is known are inaccessible. In short, if something was impossible to know ex ante, but was then spontaneously discovered, that shock of information could fundamentally change the path of literally everything through time.

I’ve been doing some follow up work on stable systems, which lives at the intersection of my work on A.I. and physics, and I’ve realized that information shocks are actually a common phenomenon that are already studied, but they’re not described as such.

In my model of physics, there’s no real difference between momentum and information: additional momentum carries with it information that could change a system, and information is, in its most elemental form, momentum. This is a theoretical and mathematical device that has elegant consequences, that, for example, allows you to think about the interjection of additional momentum into a system as new information for the system.

Typically, exogenous momentum temporarily disrupts a system at equilibrium, but then that system returns to an equilibrium that is probably more or less the same as its initial state. We can formalize this with information theory using a “within delta” concept, but the idea is, typically, with a complex system, exogenous momentum is simply dissipated, making disruptions temporary. So, for example, if I dip my finger in a cup of coffee, it generates ripples, but eventually, the liquid will settle to a state that is more or less the same as it was before I disturbed it. The photoelectric effect would be another example of this, except in that case, exogenous momentum fundamentally changes the system, since the momentum shows up, breaks the electron free, leaving the material in a state that was probably inaccessible beforehand. But this result is arguably destructive, since it’s not that different from hitting a piece of glass with a bat.

The truly impressive feat would be to add momentum to a system in equilibrium that leaves it in a higher energy equilibrium, without that energy dissipating. Interestingly, pregnancy seems to be an example of this, since exogenous information is interjected into a human being, producing something new, and stable, with more energy than beforehand. Eventually, the child is born, resulting in a net system of three people with its own set of properties and states, that were certainly inaccessible prior to the pregnancy.

In this view, life is a stable, self-sustaining computational engine that grows in capacity (i.e., the prevalence of life expands) and complexity (i.e., animals have become more intelligent), over time. So if the emergence of life was deliberate, its purpose seems geared towards accomplishing what is basically impossible for human beings to do, because of our clumsy command over thermodynamics. Specifically, systems produced by human beings end up being overpowered by entropy, whereas life seems to swing the other way, locally dominating entropy, expanding in scope and complexity over time.

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