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Digital physics and life beyond death

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July 30, 2005

Digital physics and life beyond death

p. Today I found an interesting but quite old article written by "Kevin Kelly":http://www.kk.org/index.php for the "Wired Magazine":http://www.wired.com/wired/: God Is the Machine. This article deals with recent progresses around "Konrad Zuse":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konrad_Zuse 's "thesis":http://www.idsia.ch/~juergen/digitalphysics.html: the universe is a computer. This domain of science is known as "Digital Physics":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_physics.
Inside I encountered a new term from the galaxy of information science:

bq. The input of computation is energy and information; the output is order, structure, extropy.

Again, from the US Wikipedia:

bq. "Extropy":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extropy, coined by Tom Bell [...] in January 1988, is defined as the extent of a living or organizational system's intelligence, functional order, vitality, energy, life, experience, and capacity and drive for improvement and growth. Extropy expresses a metaphor, rather than serving as a technical term, and so is not simply the opposite of "entropy":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy.

p. So, "extropy" is more than a synonym for "negentropy":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negentropy:

bq. Negentropy import is entropy export.
"Negentropy" is a term coined by Erwin Schrödinger in his popular-science book //What is life?// (1943).

p. Back to Digital Physics with "Ed Fredkin":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Fredkin (author of the "Digital Philosophy":http://www.digitalphilosophy.org/):

bq. The more Fredkin investigated the metaphor, the more real it looked to him. By the mid-'80s, he was saying things like, "I've come to the conclusion that the most concrete thing in the world is information."

p. Maybe Digital Physics is the horizon of Knowledge Management... maybe...

p. Other researchers are mentionned, among them and as always in these strange theories, Stephen Wolfram and his book, dealing with a new kind of science ;-) (A New Kind of Science).

p. But the most appealing theory stands in the religious part:

bq. Probably the trippiest science book ever written is The Physics of Immortality, by "Frank Tipler":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Tipler. If this book was labeled standard science fiction, no one would notice, but Tipler is a reputable physicist and Tulane University professor who writes papers for the International Journal of Theoretical Physics. In Immortality, he uses current understandings of cosmology and computation to declare that all living beings will be bodily resurrected after the universe dies. His argument runs roughly as follows: As the universe collapses upon itself in the last minutes of time, the final space-time singularity creates (just once) infinite energy and computing capacity. In other words, as the giant universal computer keeps shrinking in size, its power increases to the point at which it can simulate precisely the entire historical universe, past and present and possible. He calls this state the Omega Point. It is a computational space that can resurrect "from the dead" all the minds and bodies that have ever lived. The weird thing is that Tipler was an atheist when he developed this theory and discounted as mere "coincidence" the parallels between his ideas and the Christian doctrine of Heavenly Resurrection. Since then, he says, science has convinced him that the two may be identical.

"Omega Point":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega_Point, the same term used by "Pierre Teilhard de Chardin":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Teilhard_de_Chardin...

Posted by Jean-Philippe on July 30, 2005 at 12:05 AM 478 Comments, 4865 TrackBacks

Filed in Digital Physics, Imported, Konrad Zuse, Sciences, Stephen Wolfram

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