Shedding the Shackles of Determinism

This is a science-journalism article in Quanta Magazine by Philip Ball that covers many of the people and thoughts I’ve been pursuing here in recent years.

A New Idea for How to Assemble Life

As soon as I saw the title, I asked myself is “assemble” being used here in the same way as “construct” in constructor theory (Deutsch & Marletto). At that point I used a retweet to file it away for later, but was prompted to read it today thanks to an excellent post from A J Owens over at Staggering Implications blog.

Although I’ve been a little sceptical – probably misunderstanding – of Lee Cronin’s “Chemputation” work, I see instantly he and Sara Walker are the focus of the piece and that Sara is the link here to Chiara Marletto and David Deutsch. In fact as well as these names we have several references to Arizona State and Santa Fe. Paul Davies as PhD Supervisor to Jessica Flack. It’s all connected, but how much does it mean?

(Strangely, having asked AJ the check question that the piece linked Assembly and Constructor theories? – I notice I had already noted the explicit connection back here, though I hadn’t spotted the Walker connection when I asked.)

The “driving” (or guiding) forces in nature, patterns built into layers of complexity, and ergodicity, the history of paths through combinatorial “phase” space, spell the end of (reductive) determinism.

“Information is in the path,
not (just) in the initial conditions”
Sara Walker.

Loving the 4 layers of actuality:

    • Assembly Universe (all unconstrained combinatorial possibilities)
    • Assembly Possible (possibilities constrained by physical laws)
    • Assembly Contingent (additionally constrained by viable pathways)
    • Assembly Observed (as actually observed/observable)

Also loving the fact that “AI” as an acronym is being spread at just the same time AI as “ChatGPT” style “Artificial (Stupidity) Intelligence” is exploding into public consciousness. Now as well as “Active Inference”, we have “Assembly Index”.

Shall have to take a closer look at AJ’s more critical review. Exciting stuff either way.

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