Turing Church newsletter 10/09/2021

Turing Church news, thoughts on the Nobel Prizes, reading list.

Greetings to all subscribers, and special greetings to the paid subscribers!

If you scroll to the end you will find a link to my review of “The Simulated Multiverse” by Rizwan Virk (to be published on October 15). This book (like its predecessor “The Simulation Hypothesis”) is a very good introduction to the simulation hypothesis for everyone. Warmly recommended.

See my book “Tales of the Turing Church” for my own introduction, and I’ll discuss the simulation hypothesis in the next Turing Church podcast.

I’m thinking about how to structure my next book. To keep the book short and simple, I would like to avoid long detailed discussions of scientific and philosophical ideas, and link to “Tales of the Turing Church” for explanations instead. But I will need to refer to the content of some more detailed essays that I have written after publishing the second edition of “Tales of the Turing Church” (e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25). I’m thinking of including revised versions of these essays in appendices. I would then summarize the core points in the main text and refer to the appendices for more detail. Thoughts?

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I have been following the Nobel Price announcements.

I was hoping that the Nobel Prize in Physics 2021 would go to Alain Aspect, John Clauser, and Anton Zeilinger for their work on quantum entanglement. But the Prize went to Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann, and Giorgio Parisi for their studies of chaotic and apparently random phenomena. Manabe and Hasselmann received half of the Nobel Prize for their Earth’s climate studies. Parisi received the other half of the Nobel Prize “for his revolutionary contributions to the theory of disordered materials and random processes.”

Hoping that Aspect, Clauser, and Zeilinger will receive their deserved Nobel Prize in Physics one day, I am happy to see Parisi honored by a Nobel Prize. "Giorgio Parisi is a giant,” says a press release issued by Sapienza University of Rome. The press release links to the video of a public event with Parisi after the announcement (in Italian).

Immediately after the announcement it wasn’t very clear what exactly Parisi received the Nobel Prize for. But a scientific background document issued by the Nobel Committee clarifies that Parisi received the Nobel Prize for solving “the problem of replica symmetry breaking.” An expert has posted a Twitter thread to explain:

I was hoping that the Nobel Prize in Medicine 2021 would go to Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman for harnessing the power of mRNA and developing mRNA Covid-19 vaccines, hopefully the first of many applications to come. But this wasn’t the case, and I can’t shake the suspicion of political motivations.

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Reading list

The Simulated Multiverse: An MIT Computer Scientist Explores Parallel Universes, The Simulation Hypothesis, Quantum Computing and the Mandela Effect” by Rizwan Virk (to be published on October 15).

This excellent book is the sequel to the previous book by Rizwan Virk, “The Simulation Hypothesis: An MIT Computer Scientist Shows Why AI, Quantum Physics and Eastern Mystics All Agree We Are In a Video Game” (see my review in the last Turing Church newsletter).

The Simulated Multiverse” brings together two intriguing pictures of deep reality: the simulation hypothesis and the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.

In “The Simulated Multiverse” Virk elaborates upon his previous book and introduces a very intriguing twist: it’s not just one timeline that is simulated, but many.

“The universe spawns multiple timelines as multiple processes that are each exploring slightly different paths,” says Virk. The universe is constantly “creating multiple timelines, branching and merging and pruning.”

Why? Because the universe is “looking for better outcomes,” just like our evolutionary computing simulations explore networks of alternative paths to find good paths, where “good” depends on the purpose of the simulation. The good paths are retained, but the others are pruned because it doesn’t make sense to waste computing resources on useless computations.

The last chapter of the book outlines spiritual and religious implications of the simulated multiverse theory. According to Virk, the metaphors used by religions should be updated, and the simulation hypothesis is the latest update. I totally agree.

See my full review of “The Simulated Multiverse” published in turingchurch.net, which includes a short Q/A with Virk.

The Ophiuchi Hotline” by John Varley. I have been re-reading some of the “Eight Worlds” science fiction novels and short stories by John Varley, and reading “The Ophiuchi Hotline” for the first time.

This is powerfully addictive vintage science fiction with a twist. The twist is that Varley anticipated many of today’s “woke” trends. For example, in the Eight Worlds universe changing gender is as easy as changing shirt (there is seriously powerful biotech) and people change gender all the time. “Instant sex changes are considered a matter of fashion, rather than gender-identity, and many long-standing human sexual taboos no longer exist,” notes the current version of the Eight Worlds Wikipedia page.

Varley has been compared to Heinlein, and the Eight Worlds universe is seriously intriguing. There is a solar system wide human civilization ready to jump to the stars, advanced tech all over the place, unwelcome aliens with ultra-tech and superior powers, and hints at a “Church of Cosmic Engineering” (see my reminiscences of the late lamented Order of Cosmic Engineers, a precursor of Turing Church). If you want to tweak your love of vintage science fiction esthetics and make it inclusive of today’s “woke” cultural trends, start with “The Ophiuchi Hotline.