« Making Sense with Sam Harris

#18 — The Multiverse & You (& You & You & You...)

2015-09-23 | 🔗

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with MIT cosmologist Max Tegmark about the foundations of science, our current understanding of the universe, and the risks of future breakthroughs in artificial intelligence.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Today I was speaking with MAX tag. Mark MAX is a physicist at MIT. He say cosmology must in particular, has published over too hundred technical papers and he's been featured in dozens of science, documentaries and he's down and recently influential voice on the topic of artificial intelligence, because his future Life Institute deals with this and other potential existential threat. X is written one book for the general reader, a book that I found incredibly valuable, entitled are mathematically universe. My quest for the ultimate nature of reality we talk about some of that today are they enjoyed talking to MAX. We talk about the foundations of science and what distinguishes science from non science. We talk about the mysterious utility of mathematics in the natural sciences. We also talk for quite some time about our current picture of the universe from a cosmic logical perspective
which opens onto the fascinating and totally counter intuitive concept of the multi verse, which, as you'll see, entails the claim that there now well be a functionally infinite number of people. Just like yourself. We nearly identical lives and every other possible life at this moment elsewhere in the universe, which is my candidate for the the strangest idea that is still scientific. The plausible. And finally, we talk about the dangers of advances in official intelligence, as we see them in any case was a fast, conversation from my point of view. Max is a fascinating guy and hope. You enjoy, and I hope you'll by his book, because it is well worth reading, and now I give you MAX hey, don't max thanks for coming on a pike s. Thank you for having me straight to be on its really pleasure to talk to you I have a lot I want to talk to you about. I am reading your book arms
fanatical universe, which I will recommend tar listeners in our I'm to talk about some of what I find most interested in that book, but its it by no means exhausts the contents of the book either that there's no conversation we're gonna have here, that's gonna, get into the level of detail that you were present in the book. So it's really consider your book a huge achievement. You ve managed to make up to the minute picture of the state of, physics and cosmology in particular, truly accessible to general reader and that's that certainly not something that all of your colleagues can claim to have achieved. So so congratulations on that. Thank you, kind words. It's important to remember also, of course, that, if, in thinking about these things were reading my book when fields doesn't understand. Quite everything about our cost us dinner. Nobody else does either that's quite okay and in fact, that's really very much poorer, but the charm of studying the cosmos that we still have a great mysteries
that then we can ponder Pierre, and so I'm gonna drive rather directly towards those mysteries and but first I just want to give some contacts here you and I met in San Juan Puerto Rico. At a conference you helped organised on the frontiers of artificial intelligence research and in particular August on the emerging safety concerns there. I hope our eventual gonna get to that. But that's that's where we met and are obvious shared interest is on a high at the moment, but I do want to talk first about just the peer physics and then we will get too of the armies of lethal robots. That may await us That's great! I she's pretty clear to me from our conversations also that we also have a very strong shared interest in looking at this reality out there and pondering when its true nature really is. Let's start their kind of it indications of our knowledge and the foundations of science, because, as you know it,
in science. We are making our best effort arrive at a unified understanding of reality, and I think there are many people in our culture sure many and humanities departments who think that knows, understanding as possible, they think there's no view of the world that encompasses. Subatomic particles and cocktail parties in and everything in between. But I think that, from the point of your science we have believe that there is no way we may use different concepts. A different scales, but there shouldn't be radical. Discontinuity is between differ,
scales and our understanding a reality, and I am assuming that's intuition you share, but Del it was just take that as a starting point, yeah Chauvelin peep when someone says that they think reality is just a social construct or what not other than other people get upset than say. You know, if you think gravity is a social construct. I encourage you to take a step back to my window, you're on the sixth floor, if you'd drill down into what this conflict comes from, it's just that they're using that are worth the reality in very different ways and as a physicist the way I use the word reality as I assume that there is something out there in the pit and of me as a human. I assume that you Common galaxy would continue existing. You know, even if I weren't here, for example, and then we take this very humble approach,
Does the UK there is some stuff that exists out. There are physical reality, those caught and let's look at it, is closely. We can try to figure out what properties it has. If there's some confusion about something you know that's our problem not realities problem? There is no doubt in my mind that our universe knows perfectly What is doing in its it's fun is in some way. We physicists have so far failed to figure, what that way is unwillingness wherein the schizophrenic situation, we can't even make quantum mechanics talk the relativity theory properly, but that's the way it simply a failure. So far in our own creativity and them, I think it's not only
but I guess that there is a reality out their independent of us, but I actually feel it's quite arrogant to say the opposite. Bribes, because it sort of presumes that we, you means pleaded, should go centre stage so upsets, say that there is no reality without themselves ostriches. They pocketful story right make. This is something the things that they don't see, don't exist, but even very respected. Scientists go down. This sum slippery slope, sometimes Niels bore. One of the fund, the Quantum mechanics famously said, no, no reality without observation, which a puts human centre stage, and that denies that they can be things You should call reality without us, but I think that's very arrogant and I think we could use a good those humility. So my starting point is that there is something up Let's try to figure out how it works right of zeal. I will, I think, we'll get
to two are born into the his Copenhagen interpretation. Quantum mechanics at some point, at least on the fly because you probably know. It really is the Darlene interpretation of new age, philosophers and spiritual? Listen! It's something that I think we have reason to be somewhat sceptical about, but inconveniently for us. This scepticism the possibility of understanding reality. Does sort of sneak in the back door, for us is somewhat, paradoxically, by virtue of taking sides seriously in particular evolutionary biology seriously, and this is something you and I were talking about when we last met where I think at one point the conversation I observed, as as almost everyone has who thinks about.
Evolution. That one thing we can be sure of is that are that our cognitive capacity is in our common sense and our intuitions about reality have not evolved to equip us to understand reality at the at the smallest possible scale or at the largest or things moving incredibly fast or things at a very old, and we we have intuitions that are tuned four things at human scale, things that are moving relatively slowly and we have to decide whether we can with them or whether we can eat them or whether they are going to eat us, and so you We're talking about this an end. So I know I said that. It's no surprise, therefore, that the deliverances of sites and in particular, your areas of science are deeply counter intuitive and you best you did me one better, though you you said that not only is it not surprising, it would be,
surprising and in fact give you reason to mistrust your theories if they were aligned with common sense. We should expect the punch line at the end of the book of nature to be deeply counter. Intuitive, in some sense, wants you to expand on on that. That's exactly right! I think that's a very clear prediction of Darwin's ideas if you take them seriously that whatever the ultimate nature reality, It should seem really weird encounter intuitive to us, because in a developing a brain advanced enough to understand new concepts is costly and evolution. And it will we wouldn't have evolved, didn't spend a lot of energy, increasingly metabolism etc didn't help in any way. If some cave woman spent too much time pondering what was out there beyond all the stars that she could see or subatomic particles, she might not have noticed a tiger, that's behind her and gone clean, whether the gene pool? Moreover, this is not
The natural, logical prediction, but it's a test or prediction: Darwin lived alone, time ago, when right, we can look. What has happened since then, when we use technology to probe things beyond what we could experience with our senses. Not so the prediction is that whenever we with technology study physics, there was inaccessible to our ancestors. It should seem weird, Let's look at the facts. Cheat at the scorecard. We studied what happened when things go much faster than our ancestors near the speed of light time, slowed down low, so weird that rights they never even got the Nobel Prize, for it goes my swedish from originally countrymen. A noble committee thought I was too weird look at what happens when things are really really huge and you get black holes which were considered so here again, it took a long time until people really started to accept them, and then you what happens when you make things really small, so small that their ancestors couldn't see
then, when you find that elementary particles can be in several places at once, extremely counter intuitive point that It was still arguing about what it means exactly, even though they all concede. The particles really can do this. We urged us, and the list goes on. Ever you take any parameter out of the range of what we were. Our ancestors experienced really weird things happen if you have very high energies, for example, when used smash, two particles together near the speed of light tat, the Lord Hadron collider at CERN. No, if, if you collide approach on an ant approach, on together and out pops the Higgs both on you know that about his intuitive, as if, in July, the forks wagon with an out and out comes a cruise ship, and yet this is the way the world works. So I think that the verdict- whatever the nature reality actually is it's gonna see
really weird to us and if we therefore dismiss physics fairies just because his seem intuitive, where almost certainly dismissed, whatever the correct the areas went once it some actually tell us about it. So I'm wondering now whether the slippery slope is in fact more slippery than we are admitting here, though, because the? How do we resist the slide in Toulouse, total, epistemological scepticism, so so, for instance, why trust our mathematical intuitions or the mathematical
and sects born of them or the picture of reality. In physics, that's arrived at through this kind of boot, strapping over intuitions into areas that are counter intuitive, because I understand why we should trust these things pragmatically of it seems to work. We can build machines that work. You know we can fly in aeroplanes either that there is a difference between an airplane. It flies unwanted, doesn't, but as a matter of a pistol ology. Why should we trust the picture of reality? That math allows us to bring into view? If, again, we are just apes who have used the car
native capacities that have evolved without any constraints that they accord with reality at large and mathematics is clearly in so far as we apprehended discover it invented. An extension of those very humble capacities adds it's a very good question and- and some people tell me sometimes at the theories that physicists discuss conferences from black holes, the parallel universes sound, even crazier than them a lot of myths from old time about fire flame, throwing, dragons and and what not innocent shouldn't. We dismiss the physics decisions with dismiss these myths. To me, there is a huge difference here in that these physics, there is, even though they sound crazy. As you yourself said here, they actually make predictions that we can actually test, and that is really the crux of it. If you take a theory, quantum mechanics seriously, for example in assume that particles,
Some of these, the ones, then you predict that you should be able to build a thing called a transistor which can combine in vast numbers and build this thing called self. I'll phone and actually works as a good luck bit is amused. Technology using the fire dropped, the hypothesis that, whatever this is very linked. They feed to where we should draw the borderline between signed, what science and what's not science, some people think that the line should go between that wits, seems intuitive and not crazy, I'm that which deals too crazy and I'm Org against that, because black horse seem very quickly given time and now that we found but lent loads of them in the sky to me. Instead,
really that the line in the sand at the white signs from was not science is the way I think about it. I, what makes me scientist is that I would much rather have questions. I can't answer then have answers. I can't question one thing you're are emphasising here: is that it's not in the strangeness or see mean acceptability of the conclusion? it's in the methodology by which you arrived at the conclusion and falsify ability and and testable predictions. He is part of that, and I think you would say that a pop parian conception of science ass you as a set of falsified claims, subsumed all of science, because there clearly scientifically cos. Hearing things, we could say about the nature of reality, where we know there's an answer there. We just know that no one has the answer. The very present Example, I often use here's how many birds are in flight over the surface of the earth. At this moment, while we don't know,
We know we're never gonna know because it's just change the aid it before and get into the sentence, but it's a totally coherent, question to ask- and we know that it just has an integer answer, leaving spooky quantum mechanics or hello, universes aside, if we're just talking about earth within birds as objects, we can get the data, but we know in some basic sense that this reality that extend beyond our perception- guarantees that the data in principle exist. I think you say some point your book, that a theory doesn't have to be testable across the board. It just parts of it have to be testable to give us some level of credence in its overall picture. That said, however, I am actually pretty. And pathetic to proper in this, and the idea of test ability works. Fine for even these crazy concepts, like sounding concepts like parlor universes, an
called it as long as we remember that what we test our theories, specific mathematical theories, that we can write down maternal universe is not a theory. There prediction from certain theories, black it isn't a theory either it's a prediction for Weinstein's general relativity theory, and once you have a theory in physics, its testable as long as it predicts at least one thing that you can go check right just then you can falsified. If you check that thing in its wrong where's it. It also make just because it happens to also make some other predictions for things. You can never tests that doesn't make it known scientifically. On is earth does something you can test yeah that calls, for example, the theory of general relativity predict exactly what would happen to you. You fall into the monster black hole in the middle of a galaxy that weighs four million times much of the sun. It predicts exactly you gonna, when you're gonna get spaghetti fired and how someone, except you Never actually do that experiment and then what
an article about it in physics through letters, because you inside the event horizon information can come out, but nonetheless that detestable theory because general until we also predicts loads of other things, such as how you GPS works, which we can test with great precision. When the theory passes a lot of tests for thing that we can make and we started thinking fury seriously, then I feel we have to be honest and also take seriously the other predictions for the road and with everyone whether we like it or not, we can t cherry, pick them say hey. You know, I love what the general military theory As for GPS and the bending a light than the Perry Helium weird orbit,
mercury and stuff? But I don't really like the black hole, something to opt out of that prediction that you cannot do the way that you just say. I want coffee and opt out of the caffeine to buy decaf in physics. If you want to buy the theory by the whole product, and if you don't like any of the predictions well, then you have to try to come up with a different mathematical theory which how about protection but still explains everything else. That's often very hard. People tried four hundred years to do that. Without things gravity theory wait to get rid of a black holes in them, so for pretty much failed, that's why people have been taking is dreaming screaming dragged into believing it properly taking are seriously buckles and it's the same thing with these various kinds. Apparently, universe is also. It is precisely because people have tried so hard to come up with alternative theories that explain how to make computers and Bob LAW, but don't have these weird predictions and failed
started to take more seriously we're going we're gonna get to the parallel universes, because that's really where I think people's intuitions breakdown entirely but before we get there, I wanna one. I want to linger on this question of the price that the primacy of mathematics ended anybody, it's strange utility of mathematics at one point in your book. You cite them there, the off cited paper by M Wagner, who I think he wrote in in the sixties, about in a paper entitled the unreasonable, they adopted unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural Sciences, and this is something that many scientists have remarked on this. There seems to be a kind of mysterious property of these abstracts structures and chains of reasoning where mathematics seems uniquely useful for describing the physical world and making predictions about things that you would never anticipate, but for the fact that them
mathematics is suggesting that something should be so, and this is a lurid many scientists into essentially mysticism or at the very least, philosophical plate, Nazism and sometimes even religion, positing mathematical structure that exists there or even in a purer mathematical concepts like numbers that exist in some almost platonic state beyond the human mind, and I'm wondering if you share some that mathematical idealism- and I just wanted to get your reaction to a an idea that I believe I got from a cognitive scientists who lived and died in the forties. Maybe the fifties Kenneth Craig, who published a book in nineteen, forty three, where he were. I think it's just passing he, this anticipate
Wagner by about twenty years, but in passing he tried to resolve this, this mystery about it, the utility of mathematics and his. It's simply speculated that there was a. There must be some isomorphism between brain processes that represents the physical world and processes in the world that are represented and that this might account for the utility of mathematical concepts ethically more less ass. Nor is it really so surprising that certain patterns of brain activity that are, in fact, what mathematical concepts are at the level of the human brain, can be mapped onto the world of some kind of sameness of structure or homology there does that good that go any direction towards resolving this mystery for your? Do you think it exceeds that? That's an interesting argument, the argument that a brain adapts to the world and Four. Has the world now inside of the brain are brain is clearly
part of the world, and yet so that processes in the world and our processes in the world that that have a by virtue of brains are right. I have a sameness of fit and mapping sire you even the first part of the argument and disagree with the second part, and I agree that is. Natural, that there will be things in the brain that are very similar it's happening in the world precisely because the boy It is about to have a good world model, but I disagree that this fully answer is the whole question, because the the claim that the he made there that you could come that you mentioned that brain processes of certain times is effectively mathematics. Is that something that most matters most mathematicians, I know, would violently disagree with the mouth had something to do with brain processes at all. They think mass, rather as structures which have nothing to do with a brain or have just pull the brakes that there are those in a clearly your experience of doing math, you're right, your grasp of mathematical concept
or not the moment. Something make sense or you you persist in your confusion. Here memory of the multiplication table your ability to do basic algebra and everything on thy up. All of that is in every instance of its being realised as being realised the state of your brain or you're, not disputing. That was absolutely I'm just quibbling events, but how you'd? What did what mathematics is? What's your definition of mathematics and I think it's interesting to take a step back and ask what do mathematicians today generally define math as because, if you ask people on the street, like my mom, for about their often you master, just the bag of checks for manipulating numbers or maybe as a sadistic form of torture invented by school teachers, have ruined our self confidence at West mathematicians it then they talk about mathematical structures,
and studying their properties. I have a colleague here at MIT, for example, we have spent ten years of his life. Studying this mathematical structure called the eight never mind what it is exactly what he has a poster of it he's on the wall of his office, David Bogan, and it if I went to suggested to him that that thing on his wall is just something he made up somehow but he invented you re very offended. He feels he discovered it there. It was out there and he discovered that it was out there and mapped out its properties in exactly the same way that we discover the planet. Neptune, rather than invent the planet, to write and then went out,
the study is profit is similarly, if you look at something more familiar than he ate deal. Just look at the county numbers, one, two, three, four: five at that. Drawing up the fact that two plus two is for and for us to six most mathematicians would argue that the structure, this mathematical structure that we call the numbers is not distrust So there we invented or invented properties of around that we discover the properties of an indifferent cultures: this has been discovered multiple times independently in east torture. People invented rather than discovered different language for describing it. You know in English, you say one two, three, four five in swedish language, I grew up with you say as to what the Athena them, but them eating. It, the swedish English dictionary entrusted between the two. You see that these are two which women descriptions of exactly the same structure and the family invent symbols. What symbol you used to write?
number two and three is different in the: U S: MRS in India, today or in the roman empire, but again it once you have your dictionaries there. You see that the still only one structure that we discover and then we invented yeah yeah, just drivers, this home with one better example your plate, the right he was really fascinated about these very regular geometric shapes. That now bear his name, platonic solid and he the starboard that there were five of them, the doom, the of the heat when the tattered he'd, when they cause a hidden in data, can hidden. He chose to invent the name dodecahedron any could have called the snow, Deca, he'd runner or something else what that was his prerogative to invent name language for describing them, but he was not free to invent a sixth of chronic, solid yeah yeah. I didn't notice, doesn't exist in that sense that that Plato felt that, though
exists out there and are discovered relevant invented by adding sense. Yet I certainly agree with that and I dont think you actually have to take a position on or are you you don't have to deny that that mathematics is ay, a landscape of possible discovery that exceeds our current understanding? I may in fact always exceed it, so this yes, you know what is that the highest prime number above the car and one we know well. Clearly there Answer that question. If you mean the lowest prime number above all the ones, you know they asked us our yes, the next prime number, that number will be discovered rather than invented and to invent it would be too invented perfectly within the constraints of its being, in fact, the next prime number. So it's not wrong to call that pure discovery, more or less analogous, as you said, to finding Neptune, when you did know it existed or going to the continent of Africa to Africa's
they are whether you ve been there are not right. So I agree with that, but it still seems true to say that every instance of these operations being performed every instance of mathematics inside every prime number being thought about or located or having its every one of those moments has been a moment of a brain. Doing its mathematical thing right, sometimes work computer sometime. Yes, we have increasingly large number of proof now done by machines. Bright and discovery is also sometimes we're still talking about physical systems that can play this game of discovery in this mathematical space. We are talking about this fundamental mystery. Is it? Why should mathematics be so useful for describing the physical world and for making predictions about blank spaces on the map?
exactly, I again I am alarmed and come stumbling into this conversation with some I'm not a mathematician, I'm not a mathematical philosopher, and so I'm sort of the shooting from the hip here with you. But I just wanted to get a sense of whether the this could remove some of the mystery if, in fact, you have certain physical processes in brands and and computers and other intelligent systems were are they are that can mirror this landscape of potential discovery, if that does sort of remove what otherwise seemed a little spooky and platonic and represents a challenge for mapping. You know abstract idealized concepts onto a physical universe, yeah, that's a great way, and then the you know the answer you gonna get to that question. Will the pen dramatic who you ask there are very, very smart and respectable people who
well come down all across the very broad spectrum of views on this. In my book I chose not to say this is how it is. Rather to explore the whole spectrum of opinions that some people will say. If you ask them, but this mystery there is no mystery man there is math is sometimes useful in nature are sometimes not that's it there's nothing to mysterious about it, go away and then that if he got a little bit more towards the platonic side, you'll find a lot of people saying things like come well, it seems like a lot of things in a universe are very accurately approximated, thy mouth and that's great, but there still not perfectly despite the math and then their at them then you have some very, very optimistic, physicists like Einstein and a lot of ST tourists who think that actually is someone
so we haven't they discovered yet, but that doesn't just approximate our physical world but describes exactly the perfect description of it and then finally, the dim the most extreme position on the other side which explorer at length in the book and that's the one of them personally dressing on it. Is that not only is well described by mathematics, but it is not the man s insensitive to obey the same. So you talked about how in the physical world we discover he went at ease and then we invent language described them, simile, mathematics. We discover new entities, you phone numbers comic, some other women names from. Maybe then this man, America reality and the physical earlier actually one and the same, and the reason why we need first here that in your sounds completely loony dunes, of course, you know you look
it is to saying that the physical world doesn't just have some mathematical properties, but that has only mathematical properties, and that sounds really done when you, if you get your wife or your child over many years? This doesn't look like you, wait, a numbers but to me as a physicist, and when I look at them. Of course, when I met on a going away for the first time, a party has these properties that don't strike me as mathematical. Don't tell me you were notice in my wife's mathematical properties, but at the same time as a visit I dunno. I couldn't help notice your I was made entirely out of corks and electrons and what property that an electron actually have. Well, it has the property minus one, but one half one and so on, made up nerdy names for these properties. We physicists such as electric charge, spin and left on number, but election,
doesn't care what language reinvent describe these numbers? The properties are just these numbers, just mathematical pragmatism and Veronica's court same deal. Then the only problem they have also numbers accept different numbers from the electrons, so the only difference between a cork in an electron is what numbers they haven't- properties and if you take seriously that every thing in your right and in the world is made of these particles, particles have only mathematical properties, then you can ask what about the space itself than that these particles are in what properties of space have? Well, it has the property three. For starters, know the number of dimensions, which again is just a number Einstein discover. It also has some more properties called
current apology, but their mathematical too, and if both space itself and all the stuff in space I've only mathematical properties, then it starts to sound a little bit less ridiculous. They did it. Maybe everything is completely mathematical and were actually part of this enormous mathematical object. I don't understand too much more time here, because there are so many other things I want to get into an in your book, but is it? This is a fascinating area for me and again, unfortunately, one that I feel especially on equipped to really have strong opinions on, but I also in listening to what you said there: how is it different from say, in that every description of reality. We arrive at everything you can say about cork sore space or anything is not, as you just said, just a matter of man,
and values. We can also say it a matter of. In this case, english sentences or sentences spoken in human language, we be saying something, as in the end, try as saying that the quest why mathematics is so good at presenting reality is a little like say and why is language so good for speaking in or so good for capturing our beliefs that avid additionality there that can save us the language we invent described mathematics the symbol for the numbers and four plus and multiplication, and so on, is of course a language do so I languages generally are useful. Yes, but there is a big difference human languages notoriously vague, and that's why the radio and the planet. Neptune and the Higgs both on we're not discovered by people the sitting
I'm blubber buying in English, but whether you judicious use of language, the mathematics at all of these three objects were discovered because someone sat down the pencil and paper did about the matter made a prediction that you look over there, that time you'll find Neptune their new planet if you build as gadgets you'll be able to send radio waves, this large hadron collider you'll find a new particle theirs. A power in there, and I think that before I leave this last topic, I just want and then an emotional noted, some people don't like this idea, because they think it sounds counter intuitive. We already laid that tourists the beginning of our conversation. Other people don't like it.
I feel it sort of insults their ego. They don't want to be thinking, they weren't gonna, think of themselves as a mathematical until you're. What not! But I actually think this is a very optimistic idea if it's true, because it's wrong this idea- that not natures completely mathematical, it means that this fantastic quest of physics, which has exploited the discovery of mathematical patterns to invent new technologies. That means that questions gonna end. Eventually, the physics is doomed one day will he hit the road block when we ve run up and found all the mathematical patterns, they were defined weeping and ever get anymore clues from nature, and now and then we cannot go any further, whether an understanding what technology where's. If it's all mass, then there is no such roadblock weather and thereby the ability for life. Future to progress is really only limited by our own imagination. To me, that's the optimistic view is arnica
in between this claim that it's all math at bottom, with the key that it's all information now gain echo of John Wheeler, who talked about it from bit this concept that at some level, the universe is a computation is that is our connection between these two discussions: orator there are two distinct. The other problem is probably isn't it. I am John Wheelers want to marry dread heroes. I had the great fortune to dip, spend a long time with him when I was opposed talking prince than any really inspired me greatly. My hunch, is that we will one day in the future, come to understand more deeply. What instruments and really is, and its role in physics and often come to understand more deeply, the role of computation and quantum competition in the universe and that will one day come to realize, maybe that mathematics, computation information or just three different, dumb ways of looking at the same time, the same thing we're not there yet, but then,
It will be my guess, or are we there on the topic of entropy as it is, is a relationship between entropy in terms of energy and entropy in terms of information is very unified concept. There are the word: is their Jessica analogy, bridging those two discussions? There thing that's fairly what fairly well understood, even though there is still some controversies, our brewing, but there this is a very active the job of research. In fact, you mentioned that you and I met at a conference that Wolden organizing the previous friends. They organise you at least, and I was called the physics of information where we brought together physicists computer science, people neuroscientist another philosophers and had a huge amount of one discussing exactly these these questions. So I think I think I am somewhat common for two to me. Let these ideas I the most far out and respected their ideas. I explored the book about the role of math,
not to be viewed as the file answered the end on reaches, but rather simply as railway to generate new cool, practical applications of things. The road map. Any new problems, and you hinted on at some of them here. I think I think go. There's a lot of fascinating relationships between information company sure enough and the world are we having discovered yet and road probably have a lot to do with the consciousness of her consciousness. Works as well as my guess, and I think we have a lot of cool assigns to look forward to consciousness- is really that the centre of my interest, but we may not get their eggs. I now want to get into the multiverse, which is probably the strangest concept in science. Now is something that I thought I understood before. Picking up your book, and then I discovered there were there were three more flavors of multi. First then, I realized existed,
I want to talk about the multi verse, but first let us just start with the universe, because a say a term that around which there is some confusion pushes get our barons. What do we mean or what should we mean by the term universe, and I want to start with your level, one multi verses, if it's possible, give us a brief understand. Brief description of the concept of inflation, inflation that that gets us. So what is our universe? First of all, before we start talking about others, many people as some of its tasks, they assume. The universe is a synonym for them for everything that exists and, if so, by definition. That can't be anything more talk. Apparently universes. We just be silly, but that is in fact not what people generally in cosmology mean when they say universe, and they say our universe. They mean those special region of space from which
It has time to reach us so far during thirty point, eight billion years since a big bang, so that's, in other words everything we could possibly see, even with unlimited funding for telescopes and of that's a universe? We can reason we ask. Well, is there more space beyond that? You know from which light has not yet reached us, but might reach us tomorrow, our or in a billion years, and if there is a strong if space goes on far beyond this, if its infinite thorgest vastly larger than the space, we can see then all these other regions which are as big as our universe if they also have galaxies and planets in them, and so on.
It will become an arrogant, do not hold them. Universities as well, because the people who live there were would call about their universe. And then inflation is very leaked this, because it's the best theory we have what created are big bang in made our space, the waiters so vast until expanding, and it actually predicts generically that space is not just really big but vast and in most cases, next infinite, which would mean, if that's true, if inflation actually happened that, but we call our universe, is really just a small part of a much bigger space, so, in other words space than is much bigger than the porter space that we call our universe, and this is something actually I dont think is particularly weird once we get to terminate straight, because it's just history, all over again right, we, we humans, have been the masters of underestimation. We ve had this the old overinflated he go where we want to put ourselves in the centre and assume
that everything that we know about his everything that exists and we ve been proven, again and again and again discovering that everything we thought existed as just a small part of a much grander structure: a planet, solar system, a galaxy, a galaxy cluster, our universe, and maybe it also hierarchy now, apparently university. They were just continue the same trend and then for somebody to just object on some sort of philosophical grounds that things cannot exist if their outside our universe. If you can't see them back to seized very arrogant, much like an ostrich with its head in the sand, rising, if I can't see at the camp exist rubber things, things begin to get very weird, given that this fact that inflation- which, as you said, is, is the best current picture of of how things got started. The given that inflation predicts a universe.
Infinite extent, infinite space, infinite matter, and therefore you have a universe in which everything that is possible is, in fact, actual everything happens. Everything happened in fact an infinite number of times, which is to say that you and I have this path cast an infinite number of times and an infinite number of different ways. You know in one version, you know it's in some universe or some part of now. It was still talking about the level one multiverse here. So we're sit so we're just talking about you know if you could, if you could travel far, a fast enough away. You arrive on some planet disconcerting. They like earth where you and I are having a virtually identical podcast, but for it single change. In turn more you know, I just decide to shave off my eyebrows in the middle of this conversation exactly and voice with friends. This is well stop me there is. It is that in fact, what you think
A majority of cosmology disbelieve believe so. This is a great question, first as a great illustration of what other holdings in science when you start with simply innocent assumptions, namely here that space just goes on forever, like most of us thought, ass, kids and, moreover, that things started out Bluebird randomly everywhere, and you get this totally shocking conclusion. If, when I ask my colleagues that the vessel already, the man would put their money on that some form of inflation happened and that our space is actually much bigger than our universe, whether it's actually infinite or just really huge, thus getting a little more controversial in, and we would love to. Also. We also don't know for sure, of course, whether inflation actually happened.
But is this: is this is sort of the simplest version on the very worst? Patient simply goes on forever? It's an inference based much like Euclid space or the one we thought about his kids and are in the book. I call this the level one multiverse, but you can just use a synonym space before it and if, in the end, just a drill down a bit more and where the craziness comes in. If you have, if you look at the way, our universe got this way in the where potash came about by this, because we had about ten to the tower. Seventy eight works than electrons here that started out in a particular way. Someone random early on after inflation, which led to the nation of our solar system and our planet than our parents met and so on, and we met in this. This happened, which, if you'd started that works out little bit differently. Things would have unfolded differently and you can actually count them how many different ways you can arrange the works in electrons in our universe, and it turns out that only about a Google Plex different ways where Google,
next, as one with Google Zeros from the Google is one of the hundred yards of the huge number but its finite. So if you have a need for a number of other regions, equally dig a new start erode the dice again and all of them, then, as you can calculate that, if we go about a Google blacks metres away, you will indeed end up with just what you described. The universe is extremely similar to this one except them. One minute ago you all of a sudden didn't decided the start. Speaking hungarian instead and it's a very mind, boggling idea, and we don't know for a fact that is like this, but this is the sort of vanilla flavoured causing logical model. The one that is the most popular today right right will end. I think the weak link in the chain of reasoning here or the place where it were a sceptic, person can get off. This train is in the assumption or belief that inflation,
and implies an infinite universe rather than just a very large one, and so it seems like you could put pull the brakes. They are, but unfortunately, that this concept of a multi verse, judging from your discussion of it in your book- and this is what I didn't know stand before I picked up. Your book seems overdetermined assumes that there are other ways at arriving at this multiverse concept which will get too, and so it's it has able, if site, Typically speaking, there are many reasons to believe in a functionally infinite number of copies of ourselves living out lives of it for all intents and purposes, exactly similar or different to every possible degree right. So if it's true to say that everything that can happen does have under this rubric. That's right just to distinguish between what we know and what we don't know for sure that the part that we
I know for sure, is that space is infinite. Does an infinite number of anything in France for people who feel really bothered by these implications in London get rid of the infinity? In fact it. I have a whole section in the book. Why attack infinity in and list all the ways in which it can get it the infinity so there's a lot of interesting opportunities then, and we're gonna no more, I think in the next five or ten years. However, what I think seems pretty much inescapable at this point. There is a vote, the ultimate, the full realities at least much larger than what we can see. There's just no way that space ends exactly at the edge of our universe. In fact, If you had made that's claim, you know one minute ago I could falsified. Now my look with a telescope, because I can see light. That's travelled from one minute farther away and that's pretty far out of six to the way the sun, Sun, eighth of the weight of the sun already home under
so we should probably get used to the idea that we live in a much grander reality then than we thought we did, and I think that's a good thing, but yeah now I bit, I don't think people's intuitions recoil at the very, very large or even I think people are prepared to embrace the infinite and the eternal in some sense, even though we could debate whether thinking about a beginning is actually more understandable and thinking about an eternal universe. Given how squarely the beginning begins to look, but think what what really will blow the mind of anyone who thinks about it, long enough it and ends and seems very difficult to accept. Is this idea at the level one multiverse? What is implied by the that just a sheer concept of infinity that that everything that is possible is in fact actual
on some level. Everything is true, and that was just spell out why this should be disturbing and why this may in fact, be at least at first glance, a real embarrassment to science, because at science prides itself on being parsimony, yes and right? This is not only this seemingly. This is not only unparliamentary, as this is the least parsimonious idea imaginable I disagree. Actually, I want to get there, but I don't leave our listeners confused here so that some might not even know what I mean by parsimonious because of in common parlance, just in stingy or you are not wasteful and in science we talk,
bout, a theory or or the very style of thinking that a scientific has been parsimonious in not being theoretically, wasteful and and there's this concept of arms razor, which many people have heard of which admonishes monitors ass, not to multiply quantities without reason. And so you know, if gravity, if the concept of gravity can explain why whites forgot to lift heavy, are massive objects than just use gravity and don't posit the existence of view invisible elves said are also holding down the rocks exactly, and so it's that's. Why we're we're bias towards simple explanations over what seem like needlessly caught a complex ones exactly, and so this, on its face, see.
James. Incredibly, on parsimonious, because again we're saying that is essentially everything. That's possible is true in thinking about this. I I guess in in one sense it it can seem parsimonious when you think of me, think I'd like to having to it to invite people to a party you to come up with a guest list for a party in your your face, with many hard decisions, and you could sorted today about it. You could enjoy invite everybody. I know, even in a worse than that, you could say well Leah, less, invite everyone on earth and then just call whatever their already doing the party, that's in fact simpler than coming up with a guest list that excludes people So tell me why this is not embarrassing. With respect to constraints like outcomes razor with pleasure, I mean I'm a big fan of outcomes razor you with me no accident. Framed equation of gravity here in my office. If I would, it were to add some Elvis about the you know, it would make the equation sprained here much uglier and more complicated,
so so Alchemy outcomes razor, it means that you do You don't want to add wasteful things. Dear theories want to keep it simple, as you can so, let's drill down and ask what is it that we feel is a wasteful, in this inflationary universe, is it that way worried about wasting space a hardly because even Newton Stereo Physics had an infinite space. Space was the space of Euclid.
Because I've ever known actions was it that you are worried about wasting Adams. No because again, if you just have that's, wouldn't allow people thought we had earlier also was, but somehow in people. I think feel that its wasteful in terms of information at the sound so complicated, the Czech described all possible ways in which you and I could have this conversation and so on. However, in physics, road, where we really really value the simplicity of, is not the solutions to equations but equations themselves. The fact that we can just on one blackboard right down equations that can describe everything around us in the world. That's the parsimony and the theory of inflation together with the theory of general relativity, is extremely simple in parsimonious and that's why it's become so popular? Could you get much more out of it? Then you put into it you put in these very simple equation. We can predict all that stuff. If, if you go no farther you
then there are the standard model, a particle physics and so on it. Together with just those equations and the little cheek with thirty two numbers, we can calculate hundreds of thousands of numbers every single number, with ever measured in the physics round the world that's parsimony indefinitely wages, a simple the math is simple, never find the solutions are complicated. Think of Magyar falls the equations described the water flow there, there call the nebular stokes equations and their simple enough. You can put them on your t shirt but look at the solution is so complicated without the spray and all the above, the water droplets in the turbulence when yet we we feel that this is a perfectly beautiful explanation and what's happening having these equations coast equations or some,
right right will as less press on into the the multiverse to level to accept this will push people's intuitions in the direction of feeling like I was at the very least we were trying to have our cake and eat it too. On this question of of parsimony. So take us too that the level two multiverse and perhaps say why, this is relevant to the question of fine tuning and damn at which, and the question of fine tuning, as many people will recall, is relevant to this idea of that many religious people have of why religion. The idea of a creator, God in particular, makes sense, given the apparent fine tuning of our universe, the pleasure first, let me just say one more thing about the level on multiverse
you're, so that their business don't worry too much about what you said about everything happening somewhere. Someone might worry that their an ax murderer parallel universe, oh, they are, but I want to put the Middys may saying that if you, if you ve sir travelling through space, these vast distances new fine, all these other planets, whether other things are happening on the vast majority of them. The vast majority of the other other author egos who look like them or not action orders were doing very reasonable things, and so, but if you like, but there people are really the rare flukes, but but the rare flukes but wait a minute. The rare flukes are not only true there. An infinite number of them is just proportionally it's a lesser infinity than the other infinities opened up of apparently benign lawful behaviour. He avenant suddenly, when I get on aeroplanes, I worry about it. That's gonna crash. You know
I know that in the multiverse it is going to crash and it's not gonna to crash, but that doesn't traumatize me, particularly we know the fraction of all the pearl yours is worse. Gonna crash is much less than one in a million anyway. So right, it's only those kind. Fraction of the max is the jet wiped out in any way about it, and then in the in that way, that people shouldn't worry too much about being axed. Murders Well, now I come to the relying on proportion: proportionality, their weak. We care about the exact, so the level two multiverse you can again synonymously called simply space. If you want it, Asian is able to actually not only make an infinite space but is actually able to make fit within this in the number of regions in each seem infinite that whoever lives inside of them through some, some very, very weird properties of Athens, gravity. Theory. Let's talk about in the bucket what's interesting about this- is that them
when you ask how diverse is space, you might think all we know in some places are podcast goes like here and other places. We talk about other things. But at least the laws of physics are the same everywhere. You might think at least. Even if we learned people learn it, when things in history class. If the some Harrison wealth learns different things in his history class, because The cork start out differently. Therein history played out of me. This is gonna, learn the same thing in physics class, but the level two multiverse changes that also because it turned out that a lot of things that we thought were fundamental laws of physics. The were true everywhere in space were actually not. It seems an item I like to think about it, as if I were a fish swimming around in the ocean. I would think that is the law of physics. The water is something you can swim through his eye the only kind of water I know, and it seemed to be. That way We were I look, but if I were
We smart fish. I could solve equations discovered equations for water and I could solve them and see that directly three solutions, not one the water solution and also ice and steam equivalent lead. There are a lot of hints down physics that, where we called empty space is also like that that it can freeze, Melvin come in many different variants, and the thing is inflation is so violent that if space actually can be in many different forms, when inflation will do with it will create each of those kinds of space and an infinite amount of it. So if you go really really far away, you might find yourself in a in apart space where there are not actually six kinds of works like there are here, but maybe there ten kinds of works for the level to multi. Wasn't it they re diverse, also a lot of things that we learn in school and our fundamental parameters of physics, for example, that the number eighteen hundred and thirty six
It's kind of hard wired into our world into the proton is one thousand eight hundred and thirty six times heavier than an electron. Why is that? Well, Bang theory suggests that actually that's one of those things that also changes depending on what kind of space you have, so it might be two thousand and fifteen somewhere else, six hundred and sixty six somewhere else, explains this fine tuning problem that you mentioned, because we, the stubborn, as I alluded to earlier, that there are these thirty two numbers, pure numbers, but though units or anything that we measured, though we can use to check it nothing else, and we wonder a lot about where they came from so It is that the confidence of nature tat you could you just list a few of them to give people a sense. Yeah thought this. Eighteen, thirty six is one of them. How much heavier proton? Isn't a neutron you can transfer,
in different ways and other one which is super talked about these days, is that the density of dark energy mix up about seventy percent of all this stuff in our universe and them turns out it? If you think of each of these parameters, written on a knob that you get twist, you shouldn't touch the norms, that's might the knobs. That's my advice is between most of them life as we know it would be completely destroyed. The sun would explode, or some not very bad would happen. That's the fine tuning, the dimension that it seems like the many. These parameters have been dialed in exactly the right value is needed to support life. And for some of them that the the fine tuning is incredibly fine, we're talking about yeah what ten decimal places or beyond right yeah, even even for something as basic as this has strongly electric forces. If you change it by about two percent, when in one direction or the other than you wouldn't have any enough oxygen or enough carbon anymore,
Life on earth in the most point in one of all, is dark energy dimension, which is fine tuned over a hundred decimal places an ounce. The religious people are? Religious people are getting very excited here, so so some have, but nothing not alone, but there is in the level two multiverse gives an alternative explanation, because if it's actually the case, that this number is his violin randomly in an indifferent huge swathes of space. Then them, since you can calculate that you're only get a form galaxies in those places where the dark energy is, is just right where you, in this, by a friendly Goldilocks zone of doctrine of the dark energy, then,
Of course, this question what what Thomas Dark energy them is only get to be asked in those places where there is life, so we shouldn't be surprised at all that that you actually find the document to be in that less friendly range and its basically, we hate unexplained surprises in science. We usually when you get an unexplained surprise. Instead stated. That means it's. Our theory has been ruled out and what this does is in gives an explanation of why we're measuring these values and steer the famous visit. Stephen Weinberg even use this argument to predict the Mount the dark energy here before they actually discovered dark energy. In an eternal, this prediction was there's really quite good. So that's one of the feathers and half of the level two multiverse. We don't know, of course, yet whether that exists
it's it's kind of hard to get rid of. Even a string. Theory turns out to be wrong: the competitor Luke Quantum gravity. It also seems to have multiple solutions for space, and it's a pretty general property of mass that if you have some complicated equations, they have many solutions and inflation has this amazing property of beings create to force the transforms potential existence in the actual existence. So any kind of space the chat exists. Inflation will create a huge swathes of it on the basis of the great enable are basically of possibilities. So the connect less level two multiverse. What, with the level one multiverse an eleven one, we were too can essentially about the universe, as we know it, extending infinitely or almost infinitely beyond and the horizon of what we can make out and sword. It really
talking about more space and more matter and that and that, if it and if its infinite just suggest that everything that happens that can happen within the laws of physics. Does happen with the level two we're talking about inflation. Creating an infinite number of bubble universes, which wearing the laws of physics themselves very in every conceivable way, and we are not just into Jack- doesn't sound keyword, instead of talking about bubble. Universes weakens just keep saying space there's one space, but if anything the camp, but it's not it's not space in a straightforward sense that that is what is actually but the reason. The reason we can never get to another part of level to multi words is because, in order that goes there, you would have to go through a region of space. Would you still inflating and stretching out? So I if, if you're at yet you have kids in the back,
seek asking: are we there? Yet you know you sally. I will be there in one hour a little bit later. They asked. Are you there in a will be there in two hours, since it said the inflation can actually create this funny situation, were you how many even infinite regions is based the stuff fitting into one single pieces they, so that's, that's one. Clarification is still just as one space but messy, and the second thing is it's not that the actual laws of physics or different. It's just that things that we thought were laws of physics turn out to actually just be different solutions: the laws of physics. Exactly your ice is not the different law physics from liquid water esteem. They turn out to be
three different solutions to a topic: wages, waterin- and this is cool trend- that's happened and in science, where the world, for example, Kepler very smart guy right who was a guy, you figured out the planet's go, run ellipses. He tried to predict from first principles why the orbit of the planets and our solar system were the size that they were. Came up with a really beautiful theory that he put it at something like you put a cube inside of it, though he Dron inside and make us a hidden, etc. This is supposed to match up with mercury in Venus and Morrison an earth Jupiter set turn up now. You know people would laugh at that, because it doesn't sense that you should know the predict exactly the orbit of earth than the orbit of Mars
was there are many solar systems where the answers are different tonight. So how could you passed, but it's not like the size of earth orbit, is something that's in the laws of physics. It just came about sort of randomly from the birth of the way our solar system was born and what the level two multiverse does is it is it simply downgrades lot of other stuff that people thought were fundamental laws of physics like how many corks there are and says. Actually that, too is a historical, accident had to do with the way this region of space God created right, was actually shirt shuttling. Some of the subject matter of physics into the subject matter of history, albeit a high degree of actually of Bavaria, erudite kind. That's exactly right, then that means actually that that's something autumn would like, because it makes physics self simpler.
And it makes history more complicated, that's a fascinating idea, and it is one that closes the door to this. Otherwise, embarrassing problem of fine tuning, which is how did we, how that we find ourselves in a universe. That seems perfectly tuned to support life and intelligent life and in beans exactly like ourselves, in a position to wonder about these things, and there have been other efforts to close that door just with, what's been called there. The anthropic principle, which you stated earlier just that the only place we can find ourselves, is placed its compatible with with our existence, and so that should surprising, and yet it has seems Verizon NET, essentially that we should exist at all that the universe could have been, an infinite number of ways, and it just happened to be this way well in, according to the level two multiverse the universe is essentially an infinite number of ways, and there are an infinite number,
universes that are not compatible with life, is kind of it said darwinian principle of universe, emergence that the only places you can find yourself are the places if you can find yourself and every place that is possible in some sense exists. Yeah. I don't like the use of the term anthropic principle, for these are things that the word principle makes it sound like it somehow optional, just threat use of logic, which of course, is now adoption of you know that the sledge. Why are you really really support? Is that out of all the eight planets and our solar system, we are living on earth rather than Venus Waste, nine hundred Fahrenheit right now or unregistered her withered surfaces than on probably not very surprised, I wouldn't call out and the principal list.
Common sense, that the vast majority of our solar system listen, it's not very friendly for our kind of life and the vast majority of space is horrible, found kind of life, and therefore we shouldn't be very surprised that we were living in a special way, a very your special part of space, and we can see the added any kind of that we're living in a special part of the space we can't see either. I agree as a kind of pseudo mystery based on a needle sleigh. Retrospective poster look at probability. I could ask the same question with respect the array meant of objects on my desk at this moment, I'm looking at my desk objects The strewn everywhere, I very messy desk. What are the chances that these that the pan would be exactly where it is in the chances that you bet your mother's mothers. Mother met your mother's mothers, father, you know, given the way things were fifty years before, that room looked eloquence as it happens.
But the to happen, but I'm sure you'd only there's not asleep over that one now now so One way of closing the door to the this mystery of fine tuning, which doesn't entail, yet another multiverse, so a level tumulty verse is this idea that we could be in a simulation. I don't this to originates with your friend, Nick Bostra M or if, if other people have a right to know, other people have arrived at this independent But the only argument is older, but make Bostra made a very detailed arguments for why we he thinks it's likely that we limit assimilation right. So so and yes, I guess what we can open the door to that too, so they hit argument in brief. Is that if you imagine ourselves I in the distant future or or beans like ourselves, that make vast gains? our ability to produce computers and it stands for and they will stimulate universes and
means very much like ourselves on those computers, assuming that there is such a thing is possible in. There is really no reason to think it isn't and then, by just dint of numbers, you expect simulations to vastly outnumber real universes, and therefore you would expect that you should be in a simulation rather than in a real universe. That argument or to stand on his own unrelated to this issue of of, tuning or or a where the multiverse, but if take and seriously that the prospect of being an simulation it does answer. It's fine tuning argument as well correct, so it s a fascinating, a question. I give a detailed argument in the book, for I think we're not living in a simulation won't get into now and into the time, but just to get a sense of what might be fishing gear Just suppose you by the simulation argument again and said that we are living in a simulation. This is not the actual reality. There's some sort of basement reality, whether computer.
Are there simulating us with different laws of physics and then its going by that, then you can make your point again I think you should be assimilation within the simulation for exactly the same reasons, and then you can make to repeat the argument ad absurdum, legit and then decided. You assimilation within its innovation within assimilation almost forever something something seems fishy there. As I explained in more detail in the book that the fundamental flaw in the argument, I feel is that if we aren't assimilation, then there's no reason to believe. The laws of physics that the complete the simulating computers are obeying, have anything it there was a lot of it is that we think yeah see around us. World is this? Isn't the real reality where the nation is happening anyway and the simulation arguments kind of complete these to? Finally, those in case you still worried about living assimilation. I d give you some advice living really interesting. Life do interesting things
let it go. I was running, it doesn't get bored and shut you down right right will. Might my concern about the simulation is given my record of being critical of. Religion is that if the Mormons are running a simulation at some point, the future that I could be living in a universe where Mormonism is precisely true in a simulation were Mormonism is precisely to or any other religious conception. I'll, see you in Hell MAX this visit, your vision of purgatory out. Is it so low list might be a good bridge- and now I am mindful of of your time here, so we were, but we're not doing anything like justice to the content of your book. I we're gonna skipper over the other ways in which you can arrive at a conception of a multi verse, in particular the quantum mechanical issues addressed by whoever it, and all of that is fascinating, and his is just another route into infinite copies of ourselves. Having infinite versions of this pod cast and no doubt, and in some of those podcast some we treat these views
That's it at much greater length, but I think it's a good bridge to a I wear it, which is where you and I met at the conference that you organize through your institute, will at one question I have for you is. I came away from that conference really came into the conference really as a as an utter novice on this topic I hit is more or less ignored a I having accepted the rule, Where is that their more less with no progress had been made? All the promises had been overblown and there was not much to worry about, and it was kind of it, but just a dead end scientifically and I heard Vito our mutual friend, Elon Musk and other people, like Stephen Hawking, worrying out loud about the prospect of of ai and very much in the in the near term. You know whether whether it was five years or fifty years were talking about in a time frame that that any rational person, certainly an irrational person who has kids could worry about, could make either huge games which could well destroy us. If we don't
anticipate the ways in which machines more intelligent than ourselves could fail to converge with our interests and and could fail to be controllable, ultimately controllable by us? At mentioned this in the pot get a few times and end of recommended Nick Boss terms book on this topic, Super intelligence, which show is really a great summary of of the problem. So I my question, for you is you and I both answered the edge quest? in my response to which it is also my blog. The edge question was on this topic right after the conference in San Juan the organised, and I notice that there are many smart people, many of whom should be very close to this. The data here who are really deeply sceptical that there's anything to worry about area who is a friend and colleagues of of mine and, and perhaps yours like Steven Pinker, and when's grouse take a very differently I am here and more or less have said they
surgeons, about a ire totally overblown, and that there is no reason to think that that there should be safety concerns that will decide. Get into the end zone and basically trade in it like the, why to Kay scare I'm just wondering what what you think about that and when what accounts for that, so this is it. This is fascinating. I've noticed this this is a question war than any other, where I think a lot, where, first of all that there is there so unfamiliar questions that lot of very smart people actually get to view about them, and also there are some interesting to be clear on the fact that people who say don't worry very often disagree with one another for example, one camp who say, let's not worry, because we're never gonna get machine smarter than people you have, or at least not for hundreds of years and this time It includes a lot of famous business people in love. Re people in the a I feel also. You had Andrew Andrew AIM, for example, saying recently that
wearing a body I'd becoming smaller than people, including promise like worrying about We're population on Mars is a good measure for that check. Many have to respect that. It might very well be we will not get anything like human level I for hundreds of years, then you have another group, a very smart people who say: don't worry for sort of the opposite reason that they say: let's not work. We are convinced that we are going to get human level ai, probably in our lifetime. Weather is good, but it's going to be fine, like I call these additional utopian and there's a fine addition in this also have a beautiful what a beautiful books by people icons more of a bag records.
Now and then also a lot of leading people in the eye field fallen until that can't play. They think that is going to succeed. That's why they working on it so hard right now, and we are convinced that it's not gonna go wrong. So, for starters, I would love to have a debate between these two groups of people that they both don't worry about- why they differ so much in this time. Mines and my own attitude about this is. I agree. We certainly don't know for sure there we're gonna go Human never lie or they. If we do, it's gonna be a great problem, but we also don't know for sure that it's not going to happen. As long as we are not sure that it's not gonna be a disaster in our lifetime, it's it's good strategy. The pay some attention to it now, just like you, even if you re doing your house, is probably not gonna burn down, still good to have a fire extinguisher and not leave. The camels
when you go to bed and takes up precautions, I was very much the spirit of this conference. Look at concrete things. We can do now the increase, the chances of things going well and finally, I think we have to stress that, as a whole, the other things you could worry about like nuclear war, some new horrible layers of whatever this question hey. I is not just something negative, it's also something which has a huge potential upside, of so many terrible problems in the world. They were failing to solve because we don't understand things well enough and if he can amplifier intelligence with artificial intelligence, it will give us great power to do things better for the life in the future, but as with any powerful technology that can be used for good, can also the use, of course, to screw up and when we ve invented a less powerful tack and the past like when we landed fire. We learn from mistakes.
And we invented the fire extinguisher and things were more or less fine white, but with more powerful tact like nuclear weapons, synthetic biology future stupid Wednesday. I am, he don't want it learn from mistakes. We really want to get it right, the first time you might be there and we have well yeah. That's that's why, in my view, and in the views of many people there. That's what makes this a. I issue unique because we're talking about ultimately autonomous systems that exceed us in intelligence and, as you say, that the temptation to turn these systems loose on the problems that the other problems that we confront is going to be exquisite. Of course we want something, can help us cure Alzheimer's or Pure Alzheimer's, on its own and stabilize economies, and do everything else that give us a perfect, you know climate science etc. I so
There is nothing better than intelligence and to have more of it would seem an intrinsic good, except if you imagine failing to anticipate the way this ill you can, you can essentially get a you know what I got a good described. Isn't elegant explosion, where this thing could get away from us, and we would we would not be able to say. Oh no, sorry, that's not what we meant here. Lesson blitz modify your code exactly, but many smart people just have a fundamental doubt that any sort of intelligence explosion is possible as s the sense on that they view would very much like other things like fire or nuclear weapon, and where, in all technology is power. Fallen. You don't want to to fall into the wrong hands and you don't know people can use it maliciously or stupid lay, and but we understand that and they think it it doesn't really go beyond that difficult. There's no reason: may people trivialize us by saying that there's no reason to think that computers or work or going to become malicious, like it
and and you where they're gonna, spawn armies of Terminator robots because they decide they want I'll human beings. But that's really not the fear. The fear is not that they will be spontaneously become malevolent its debts. We could failed to anticipate some way in which their behaviour could diverged. However, subtly, but enough, ultimately fatally from our own interests and to her this thing get away from us in a way that we can no longer correct for. That's that to me as the concern exactly we should not fear malevolence. We should fear competence is, if you have an interest in what is intelligence to day I and restructure it simply the ability, it simply being really good at accomplishing a gold whatever they are just computer is considered very intelligent if it's really good at winning in chess, and them there
another game called losing chest which has the opposite go away. You try to lose in there. I check computer is considered good in terms of its if it loses the games better than any of the others so that the goals haven't therein. I have nothing more to do with how competent it isn't. That means that we have to be very careful. If we build something more intelligent than us, they also have its goals, aligned
with our goals. Fussily example, if you have a super intelligent if you're, very intelligent self driving a car with speech recognition- and you tell it- take many airport as fast as possible- you're gonna get the airport chased by helicopters and covered involvement through to be like. That's not what I wanted and it'll be like. That's what you told me to do hurt like well, that's not meant, but this illustrates how challenging it can be difficult, write them. They did this their lot of beautiful myths from antiquity going all the way back to King MIDAS on exactly this theme, but he thought it would be a great idea of everything you touch turned to go until he touched his dinner and then touched his daughter and got what he asked for and competence. If you think about why we have done more damage to other species, then
Other species has on earth. It's not because evil this, because we're some competent right, you hit. What about you. For example, do you personally hate ants? Would you say? No? No, that's a great analogy. It's just that I can't so far as I my disregard for them is fatal too many of them and I'm so unaware of their interest, that my mere presence is a threat to them, and that has it in his our civilizations, presents to every other species. And what we're talking about here, if you can, if you're busy it's very hard to resist the slide into this, not being
possible but inevitable. The moment you light admit that intelligence and sentience ultimately is just a matter of what some appropriate computational system does, and you admit that we're gonna will keep making progress building such systems indefinitely unless we destroy ourselves. Some other way will then at some point where we're going to realise in silicon or some other material systems that exceed us in in every way and may ultimately, I have a level of experience and an end in sight, end of form instrumental goals, that's right, a which are no more com Agnes into our own. Then we are of those of ants If we learn that active answered invented us, that would still not put us in touch with them. Needs are concerns. That's right, then, and there, for example. Above all, you actually know that in a certain sense, your genes- Heaven
and you may build your brain so that you could read, make copies of your genes. That's why you like to eat food on starve to death, then, and that's why humans for love and do other things to make copies of our genes, but even though we know that you still choose to use birth control, which is exactly the opposite of what our genes one and if, as you say, it will be the same when he answered, and I think some people dismissed the idea that you can never have things more than human cells. Play some mystical reasons, because they think that there is something more than corks and electrons information processing going on in us. But if you take the scientific approach that you really are your corks then there is clearly no fundamental. We love physics. It says that we can never have anything and more intelligent and a human. We know that we were constrained very much by now how many horse could fit
into a stolen and stuff like that, Sweden constraints that computers don't have an them and becomes systems more. A question of time and, as you said there such relentless pressure to make smarter things, because its profitable and interesting and useful that I think the question isn't if it's gonna happen. But when and finally just a comeback was ants again to drive home the point that it's really competence, rather than malevolence. That we should see her dad was thinking about whether to convince you were not right, someone might say. Well, I I know that SAM. Actually, he saw me on the street once and he went out of his way to not step on me. That made means I feel safe. I don't worry about Trading SAM Harris. But that would be a mistake because sometimes rejoicing at night and you just don't see the ants and the ants just aren't sufficiently high up on your list of goals that for you to pay the extra attention and see if there are any on their before your stuff
We put your feet downright and suppose. Now you in charge of this stuff, you green energy projects and just as you're about to let the water flood this hydroelectric, damn that you, but you built someone points out that doesn't until right in the middle of it, Now you actually know that the ants dont want to be drowned right and when you have this decision, what do you do well to bear for the answer exactly and weak one. I think one a plan, things ahead so that we don't end up in the role of the ants right will listen MAX now, I'm excruciatingly, mindful of the time you ve been incredibly generous with yours, and that there is just a ton we could talk about, but I just think this is some very useful and I think our listeners will feel the same, and I just stood to close. I just want you
you won, t tell people where they can find more about you in your work on line what you're one of Europe's various said, websites and social media accounts that you might want out their sleep people, King voter, our mathematical universe, dot Org, Are they can simply looked my book on Amazon, the one and only ever written you just Google take March you'll, find it and then- this book basically sunrises what I feel I've learned so far during my life, ass, a scientist and it's written for intelligence, curious people who have not spent the restriction of study physical science and have tried very hard inviting the book not only to talk about them, cool things we learned, but also about the joy of doing science, the process of it. That's why the book is a pile of my quest for the ultimate nature realities. So if, if you listen to,
to read this book. Then I want to be my quest, but our quest near- and I highly recommend that you do ended up- put a link to the boy. And to your relevant websites on the blog post, where I in bed, this podcast so less max. Thanks Ganz, really been a pleasure talking to. Thank you SAM. It's been an honour and a pleasure thanks if you find this podcast, I believe there are many ways you can support it. You can review I tunes or stature? Where we happen to listen to it, you can share. Social media with your friends, you can blog about her discuss it on your own podcast or even supported directly, and you can do this by subscribing through my website at Samara
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Transcript generated on 2020-03-24.