Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The End of Insight - monkeys lost in their own castles   posted by Fly @ 1/03/2006 11:16:00 AM

This article relates to the nature of belief. When science explanations are beyond the comprehension of intelligent adults, science becomes unsatisfying dogma.

"In my own field of complex systems theory, Stephen Wolfram has emphasized that there are simple computer programs, known as cellular automata, whose dynamics can be so inscrutable that there's no way to predict how they'll behave; the best you can do is simulate them on the computer, sit back, and watch how they unfold. Observation replaces insight. Mathematics becomes a spectator sport.

If this is happening in mathematics, the supposed pinnacle of human reasoning, it seems likely to afflict us in science too, first in physics and later in biology and the social sciences (where we're not even sure what's true, let alone why).

When the End of Insight comes, the nature of explanation in science will change forever. We'll be stuck in an age of authoritarianism, except it'll no longer be coming from politics or religious dogma, but from science itself."

In the near future Google will determine what we "know" or "believe". Asking the Internet will be as easy as asking our own memory and the answers will be more reliable. We won't "know" why; we will only know that the Google answers are right. Google will be the modern oracle.

Perhaps we can avoid this fate by expanding human intelligence and consciousness. Or perhaps a complex universe just won't fit into a human brain.