“Listening to the Logos rather than to me, it is wise to agree that all things are in reality one thing and one thing only”
–Heraclitus (Greek philosopher 500BC)
Plato's Allegory of the Cave
Plato's Cave is written as a dialogue between Plato's brother Glaucon and his mentor Socrates, narrated by the latter.
Astronomers Create First Realistic Virtual Universe (Harvard University Illustris Simulation)
The Illustris simulation is the most ambitious computer simulation of our Universe yet performed. The calculation tracks the expansion of the universe, the gravitational pull of matter onto itself, the motion of cosmic gas, as well as the formation of stars and black holes.
ARE YOU LIVING IN A COMPUTER SIMULATION?
NICK BOSTROM Faculty of Philosophy, Oxford University
This paper argues that at least one of the following propositions is true: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor-simulations is false, unless we are currently living in a simulation.
Introduction to the Philosophy of Mathematics (Ray Monk)
A good introduction to the philosophy of mathematics by Ray Monk. He considers the issue of the nature of mathematical truth, what mathematics is actually about, and discusses the views of Plato, Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, Frege and Bertrand Russell... What are numbers? What is mathematics actually about? Is it something discovered or is it something constructed by the mind? From the time of Plato onward, people have regarded mathematical truth as an ideal. Unlike ordinary, empirical truth, mathematical truth seems necessary, eternal, incorrigible, and absolutely certain. This talk considers some of the ways in which philosophers have tried to account for the special nature of mathematical truth. Ray Monk is a British philosopher well known for his writings on Wittgenstein, Bertrand Russell, and the physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. This talk is part of the Philosophy Cafe series given at the University of Southampton.
Here’s the Entire Observable Universe in One Image. Pablo Carlos Budassi created this image by combining logarithmic maps of the universe from Princeton and images from NASA...
Physicists May Have Evidence Universe Is A Computer Simulation
Physicists say they may have evidence that the universe is a computer simulation. How? They made a computer simulation of the universe. And it looks sort of like us. A long-proposed thought experiment, put forward by both philosophers and popular culture, points out that any civilisation of sufficient size and intelligence would eventually create a simulation universe if such a thing were possible. And since there would therefore be many more simulations (within simulations, within simulations) than real universes, it is therefore more likely than not that our world is artificial. Now a team of researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany led by Silas Beane say they have evidence this may be true. In a paper named Constraints on the Universe as a Numerical Simulation, they point out that current simulations of the universe - which do exist, but which are extremely weak and small - naturally put limits on physical laws.
The Tao of Physics
The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism is a 1975 book by physicist Fritjof Capra.
Taming the swarm - Collective Artificial Intelligence (on swarm intelligence)
Swarm intelligence (SI) is the collective behavior of decentralized, self-organized systems. SI systems consist typically of a population of simple agents or boids interacting locally with one another and with their environment. The agents follow very simple rules, and although there is no centralized control structure dictating how individual agents should behave, local, and to a certain degree random, interactions between such agents lead to the emergence of "intelligent" global behavior, unknown to the individual agents.
Radhika is a professor at Harvard and a core faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. She studies collective behavior in biological systems and how such behaviors can be applied to computing and robotics.
Pilot waves and the double slit experiment. The experiments involve an oil droplet that bounces along the surface of a liquid. The droplet gently sloshes the liquid with every bounce. At the same time, ripples from past bounces affect its course. The droplet’s interaction with its own ripples, which form what’s known as a pilot wave, causes it to exhibit behaviors previously thought to be peculiar to elementary particles — including behaviors seen as evidence that these particles are spread through space like waves, without any specific location, until they are measured.
Particles at the quantum scale seem to do things that human-scale objects do not do. They can tunnel through barriers, spontaneously arise or annihilate, and occupy discrete energy levels. This new body of research reveals that oil droplets, when guided by pilot waves, also exhibit these quantum-like features. These arguments have injected new life into a deterministic (as opposed to probabilistic) theory of the microscopic world first proposed, and rejected, at the birth of quantum mechanics.
New research suggests the electron is unimaginably spherical. The most accurate measurement yet of the shape of the electron has shown it to be almost perfectly spherical. The discovery is important because it may make some of the emerging theories of particle physics - such as supersymmetry - less likely...
Max Tegmark is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the scientific director of the Foundational Questions Institute. Here he introduces his book that describes his Mathematical Universe Hypothesis.