Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Is There a Parallel Copy of You Out There in The Quantum Universe?

 As of today, I think I know the answer to this question better than anyone else on earth, but I don’t expect you to just take my word for it. So I will explain in detail.

Most of you have heard something about “Schrodinger’s Cat.” This was a story which Schrodinger put together, to explain why he could not believe Heisenberg’s version of quantum mechanics. In the first part of that story, a cat is put into a “mixed state,” a special kind of state in quantum mechanics, in which the cat is half dead and half alive, undecided. In the second part of that story, the cat “condenses” into a live cat or a dead cat, exactly when a human observer looks at the cat, just because the human looks at it. Who was right, Heisenberg or Schrodinger?

Here on this blog, and elsewhere, I have explained why Heisenberg was wrong about the second part of the story. But as for the first part – there is a whole lot of new experimental evidence proving that “macroscopic Schrodinger cats” do exist. More precisely, it has been proven that modern quantum electrodynamics (QED) continues to hold in the macroscopic world we live in, so that big objects CAN be puut into all kinds of mixed states, not just alive or dead, but here or there, open or shut, etc. And since human bodies are governed almost entirely by QED (and a little bit of Newtonian gravity), that means that you and I ARE OURSELVES Schrodinger cats, in principle.

This leads to a lot of follow-in questions important to us:
(    (1)  Under the normal rules of QED, how many copies of us are actually likely to be out there?

(     (2)  If we also try to explain QED as a kind of statistical approximation to a deep theory of the Einstein/Lagrange kind, in which there is only ONE universe, how could that be reconciled with (1) and what would it change?
     (3)  How does this connect to reports of spiritual or paranormal experience, which some of us take quite seriously?

Not until today did I feel I have a resolution of all three questions, in a consistent manner, which I am comfortable with. But since they are all tricky questions, let me take them in that order. Please forgive a bit of copy and paste.

       (1)  ****************** DOES QED PROMISE YOU A “TWIN”?

First, we can ask what the story would look like IF QED (KQED or MQED) were our only foundation for answering -- neglecting the possibility of a deeper Einstein/Lagrange model, and neglecting anything paranormal or spiritual.

My wife (who has two PhDs to my one, both in serious hard S&T) immediately doubts that there is a parallel version of her out there. Yes, lots of "quantum foam" (John Wheeler's image), but no real macroscopic separation. After all, all the known cases of macroscopic Schrodinger cats which I cited before were DESIGNED BY engineers working in Quantum Information Science and Technology (QuIST). Those folks constantly struggle with the tendency of nature to destroy such correlations or entanglements, through decoherence and disentanglement, very powerful forms of "entropy" they are only able to overcome for a short time by applying lots of free energy and focused, conscious design. In the absence of such deliberate application of free energy, shouldn't we expect nothing more than quantum foam?

Here, it does start to matter what TYPE of QED one believes in. In truth, MQED would ultimately allow both forward time and backward time free energy, and larger scale designs, in a way which might allow larger scale superposition, and in a way which raises the question of what splitting might be created by the deployment of free energy by minds in other times and places.

But even then, the story is not quite so simple (or so definite and clear) as that may sound. In effect, it assumes that "entropy" from nature, except when it offers free energy to us, is a force towards local disorder, decoherence and disentanglement. Many years ago, I revisited that issue of the shape of the entropy function (see a couple of papers reposted at arxiv, such as one in the cond-mat section of arxiv). Long-distance correlations DO exist in nature, at times. A nice example to think about is the simple iron magnet kind of thing, where energy is minimized (and probability of the state maximized) for the two extreme states of all little spins/magnets pointing in one direction, or in the opposite direction, something very much like a Schrodinger cat. Or even consider the presence of PLANETS in the cosmos, a kind of big correlation across space, very different from a disorderly gas. 

For humans, what matters is whether states of our entire planet might ALSO have that kind of complex energy landscape, with multiple basins of attraction, which would naturally lead to mixed states across such possibilities... but would it just be statistical entanglement and not quantum entanglement? 

Bottom line: I would tend to expect that large-scale correlations in nonliving nature, or in complex ecologies, would experience heavy decoherence, even though probabilities would still exist for many different states. Parallel people would exist in different wave functions in the density function of the cosmos, but they would simply be mixed states – classical statistical probabilities, in effect. There would be classical types of uncertainty about our past and future, but not Schrodinger cat types of mixed states, EXCEPT to whatever extent conscious folks like us deliberately exploit quantum technology to create such entanglements. MQED predicts it is easier to do that than the best mainstream QED (KQED) does.

Even so, we ourselves really are just “shadows,” patterns within classical statistical possibilities, as I described in www.werbos.com/Mind_in_Time.pdf. We already knew that “life is a game of probabilities” in the classical world; this just extends that a bit. There may well exist a parallel earth in which “Terminator 2” already happened, where intelligent robots and computers exploit MQED to try to dominate the entire timestream, exactly as described in the movie, or in the deep science fiction series by Dan Simmons, the Hyperion series.

        (2)  **************** BUT WHAT IF THERE ARE ONLY 3+1 DIMENSIONS?

Most mainstream physicists do not place much hope in the idea of explaining QED (any form) as a statistical approximation to something deeper, something without stochastic terms, defined over just 3+1 dimensions of spacetime, as Einstein sought until his dying day. I was one of very few people fully conversant in QED truly hoping for such a deeper explanation; others, better known, are Anthony Leggett and Gerard ‘tHooft. In 3+1 dimensions, how could there be multiple copies of any of us, at the same point in space-time? This question explains why Leggett was a leader of the skeptics who doubted the possibility of macroscopic Schrodinger cats… until experiments proved them to be real.

I do not believe it is scientific to just BELIEVE in Einstein’s picture, but more and more I have seen answers to questions which seemed unanswerable, and see more and more hope/possibility that Einstein will be proven right in the end on this key point. (Not on everything of course! No human is infallible.)

So how do we explain the cats?

The answer is basically simple. We live our lives at the level of QED, not at the level of physics below one femtometer. Yes, MQED can be derived as a good statistical description of something deeper, but we ourselves live “at the cybernetic level,” not at the level of things smaller than one femtometer. In a way, we are just classical statistical possibilities, vying for probability. We exist, such as we are, because QED predicts/determines our existence, and that means that we really are just Schrodinger cats, despite what exists at a deeper level.

Because the mixed states are mainly a matter of classical probabilities, there is no real conflict with underlying Einsteinian physics; what quantum entanglements exist are a key issue which any credible Einsteinian explanation must handle in any case to be credible. (See the link above. By the way, I have a family of new Lagrangians which are more promising,  but need to wait for the time when physics is more ready, when MQED is an established starting point.

If there is more than one actual future in existence in front of us, what does this say about precognition and such?

Many people have experience of life limited enough that they are justified in not even reading the literature of parapsychology. They are justified in believing like Hebb (introduction to his seminal classic book The Organization of Behavior) that parapsychologists have proven their claims more than other psychologists have proven theirs, but that “physical impossibility” (as known to psychologists) rules out any real hope of it being true. If you are one of those, please do not waste your time by reading further.

On my own case, it was a precognitive kind of experience which forced me to be open-minded, at first, and then convinced as experience mounted.

From that viewpoint, weird entanglements and cross-time cross-“world” effects can be created (and managed to some degree) either by quantum technology (as in simple quantum computers which exploit entanglement) OR by the entities we call “souls” or “noosphere” which have evolved in the vast ocean of dark matter and energy in the cosmos, long enough to have developed a biological equivalent of that technology.

One of the folks on the Vedanta discussion group asked me today who could make another copy of me (Meow!), and what would happen then to the original.
My reply:

As a practical matter consider the example of a backwards time telegraph discussed in a recent NATO workshop, recounted at
www.werbos.com/NATO_terrorism.pdf. Seeing a terrorist act unfold
before my eyes, I could send a signal back in time (if the device is
provided) to prevent the terrible loss of life... and THEREBY create another copy of me, a version who at this later time did NOT experience the terrorist act! As a matter of ethics, I WOULD send the signal back... but others might hesitate over that decision, and we all might wonder what REALLY happens. The device
would be a straightforward extension of the experiment proposed at

In that case, the new version of me would have the record of the
message from the future, but I would expect the brain not to remember
having sent it. However, I would tend to expect the soul would
remember, and for the soul information to reach the brain, if the
person is reasonably attuned to the soul side.

could a simple experiment lay to rest the old idea of metaphysical observers?

Does the current state of real experiments in quantum foundations
already make it totally obsolete and wrong to talk about "metaphysical
observers" the way that Copenhagen people do?

My wife rightly keeps reminding me that I sometimes jump ahead too
much, without really cleaning up the elementary points which people
need to understand and justify more completely first.

And so.. I have good practical reasons, I think, for discounting
metaphysical observers, but maybe it would be useful to do actual
experiments to really nail down the point in an easier way to
understand. Since ... is not SO far away from Professor Yamamoto
(emeritus Stanford), it is possible that he might have ideas for THAT
kind of experiment, as I will explain.

Let us begin by asking WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS in a very simple kind of
experiment: we have a source of photons emitting light at a certain
rate, at a certain (linear) polarization. That light is sent to a
polarizer, after which there is a detector, and a human looks at the
readout from the detector. For simplicity, assume the photon has an
initial polarization of angle tau, while the polarizer is tilted to
want angle theta to pass through.

It is well-known that the intensity of light at the detectors will be
cos**2(tau - theta), so we know how the experiment comes out. But
there are fiv e theories of what is happening here, which need to be
tested against each other (in DIFFERENT experiments).

According to the old metaphysical Heisenberg version (even if updated
a bit), the wave function of the photon BEFORE the polarizer is just a
nice pure wave,
for polarization tau, with a wave function denoted as |tau>.. The
polarizer then
performs a "unitary operation," rotating the wave function. What comes
out is the wave function a|theta>+b|0>, where |0> means "vacuum state
(no photon there), where a is some complex number like cos(tau-theta)
and where |a|**2+|b|**2=1.

In the Heisenberg theory, what comes out of the detector is ALSO a
mixed state, with a|detection>+b|no-detection>, if it is a perfect
detector. The wave function "collapses" into a human seeing a
detection or a human seeing no detection, only when a human actually
looks at what comes out of the detector.

So that's theory number 1. Let me jump to theory number 3, KQED, my
understanding of the best mainstream version of QED actually used
today. According to KQED, what comes out of the polarizer is ALREADY
What comes out is a density operator, representing a simple classical
probability of |a|**2 that the wave function coming out is just
|theta> and a probability of |b|**2 that nothing comes out at all. In
fact, all the well-known "predictions of quantum mechanics" for the
classic Bell's Theorem experiments used this assumption in doing the
calculations. (I have papers at arxiv which review those calculations
in detail.)

I have put a lot of effort into lobbying for two experiments which
would decide which is true, theory 3 or theory 4 (which I haven't
mentioned yet in THIS post),
but what about deciding which is true, theory 1 or theory 3? (No, it's
not just a matter of interpretation.) What about a possible theory 2,
where the polarizer is unitary but the detector is not?

In fact, there are physical consequences to the idea that |theta> and |0> may be
superposed, like entangled in a way, together. So by testing those
consequences, could we lay theory 1 to rest in a way clear to
everyone, once and for all?

Since theory 1 strikes me as silly, for many reasons, I haven't put
much effort into this myself, and I don't plan to. But since theory 1
is such an article of religious faith for so many people, maybe it
would be good for SOMEONE to aim for such an experiment. It is even
conceivable to me that a very clear experiment has already been done,
and not published because it would be seen by some as a "negative

Above all, I think I remember seeing some paper by Yamamoto, a highly
respected researcher, talking about exploiting states of the form
a|theta>+b|0> in quantum computing. Could it be that HIS lab has
examined this? Perhaps it is a simple matter of persuading people in
his group that results they already have SHOULD be brought forward, as
the decisive test of alternative basic theories which they are, and
published. (Not that the thoughts of graduate students doing such work
are really simple!) Or perhaps it is something close enough at hand in
his lab that he could do it. Or perhaps someone else on the list
connected to a place which does such work could do it.

Who knows?

Again, it is not at the core of my own emphasis, which does not give
credence to theory 1 anyway.

Best of luck,


P.S. For those who might ask... theory 3 basically would represent the polarizer as a solid state object which "condenses the wave function" in the usual way they teach in quantum mechanics 1. In my papers at arxiv (published at SPIE and elsewhere), I showed how that idea can be translated into a "master equation" like what is standard in real quantum optics these days, having the same effect. But I also showed a DIFFERENT master equation, with DIFFERENT effect, a different model of what the polarizer does. That simple difference in models was, last year, the only clear difference between KQED and my proposed variation, MQED. Just a matter of characterizing what polarizers ACTUALLY do. But if they do what I think they do, the implications are very far-reaching, because it proves that the models we use for ALL solid state components in quantum optics need to be revised, in a way which opens the door to all kinds of new technology. This past year, I added a near-trivial new model for black body radiation sources, and proposed another simple experiment to test that one, with wilder and crazier and easier properties. That's theory 4. Theory 5 would be **IF** a deeper Einstein/Lagrange type of unified model could be found, for which MQED would only be an approximation.

Monday, October 30, 2017

questions of the day: cats, IMP and Tibetan mask of the dead

For me, today is a day of questions. Actually, I have spent MANY of my days "banging my head against the wall" on tough questions I had not answer for, which no one else had answers for either. I decided this was a major part of my own personal mission or calling early on, when I observed how many brilliant people would slide away or cheat on some basic questions. This was reinforced a lot when I found I really could answer some questions others gave up on (like how to train a simple neural network, which Minsky thought was impossible, but that was just one small example). Today's society tends to reward people who do the opposite, who give up asking questions and spend their lives as salesmen, which convinced me all the more that SOMEONE needs to fill the vacuum.

As a general matter, the job of a knowledge worker is to input, to process, and to output -- ALL THREE. That middle stage deserves more respect..

But whatever.

So this morning... in my early morning meditative state... yes, I know I know lots of stuff no one else does, but three images come to mind demanding that I think hard and try to sort things out better:

(1) the Schrodinger cat;

(2) the Integrated Market Platform (IMP) proposal;

and (3) the new Tibetan Mask of the Dead which I saw when wandering around Kathmandu
(weirder than the incident I mentioned before in front of the Pashupatinath Temple).

The literature on macroscopic Schrodinger cats is pretty overwhelming.  In fact, maybe I should post here what I sent the Vedanta list a few days back:


Vinod and Stan made the reasonable request that I send again the link
to a review of the massive empirical literature on macroscopic
Schrodinger cats. I am responding on a new thread, mainly because I
don't want to have to repeat this process again. To find what I sent
before, I used "search" in the "sent" email directory of gmail, and
used "print all" to save to pdf, and used the superior search
capabilities in adobe reader to locate what I sent you before! (Life
was so much easier when I could use Eudora 7 as my email package!) I
will tell you exactly how I found the stuff, so that you won't be so
dependent on me in future.

The best review book I found before, and sent you, was:


I believe that the massive news about macroscopic Schordinger cats
emerged from a seminal paper in Nature:


I have to admit I do not see the name "Nakamura" there. I learned
about the paper in Nature at a very large conference on quantum
information technology, supported by multiple agencies of the US
government, where this new result was THE big new thing, the hit of
the conference. That's where I heard people give credit to Nakamura,
but I don 't see his name in my searches so far!!

Since the issue of quantum measurement is at the center of "KQED
versus MQED versus earlier stuff," I feel I have a duty to mention
another paper more suitable for experts by a very thoughtful guy
respected in quantum computing, who gives a very different  informed
view of things we have debated:


This morning I repeated the kind of search which led me to find that
first book (which I have not read, as I rely more on piles of journal
articles and such). I went to scholar.google.com, and simply searched
on "macroscopic Schrodinger cat." Then I clicked on "cited by.." under
the most highly cited paper, to get a list of more recent papers which
cite that one. This is a really important trick, to find the most
current literature and what it says about a classic paper like
Friedman's paper in Nature. This pointed to a slightly older book, but
probably a lot more definitive in this area:


(You don't have to buy the book to get a picture of what's going on
from that web page!)

But to get a real picture, there is no substitute for the primary
literature, the vast collection of papers (more recent especially)
which are also available for free more than half the time on the web.
(Notice that even without "advanced search", Google Scholar lets you
specify a range of dates.) A nice example is:


By the way, this example is based on Circuit QED, which is a recent
extension of Cavity QED (CQED), which I mention only briefly in the
review section of http://vixra.org/abs/1707.0343. Once macroscopic
Schrodinger cats moved from theory to experiment to known physics, the
next stage was engineering. Most of the engineering of macroscopic
Schrodinger cats has been within the field of quantum information
science and technology (QuiST), and that is why the examples are
mainly in electronics and photonics lately. But there is an example
out there in the chemistry of large molecules (think DNA), and lots of
work in China which it is a little harder to obtain on the web,
perhaps because of their new national security push on QuIST or
perhaps because they promised to act more like US on matters of IP.

For those of you interested in the more humanistic question "what is
it like to integrate one's consciousness or soul ACROSS patches?" I am
in the middle of an awful but easy to read novel which basically does
address that issue:


(It is interesting that I never saw a novel before which addressed
that question in the present tense, and it appears just now. The Dune
series addressed the question in future tense, for a mundane brain


OK, that's pretty straightforward at the level of what we really know from the experimentally solid part of quantum field theory, quantum electrodynamics (QED). But what if we believe (as I still generally do) in the idea that QED can be derived as a statistical approximation (good until we see things smaller than 3 femtometers) to the emergent behavior of a more Einstein-style field theory? How could an Einstein type field theory give rise to macroscopic Schrodinger cats? I have posted my initial thoughts on that here on this blog...  but I am wondering how certain I should be, and what clear possibilities I should be considering?

I have also mentioned the need for IMP here, and am very disappointed that the echoes so far have been inadequate... things that wouldn't work. Yet in all fairness, having the world run by an automated market platform sounds cold and scary, even though it is the best I (or anyone else) have come up with so far. Is it just a matter of filling in gaps in the story and the dissemination and getting used to it (as I got used to Schrodinger cats, more or less)? Or is something deeper required?

Yesterday, when I was stuck for a few minutes in a parking lot, I googled "Heisenberg Gopi Krishna", and found some interesting stuff, as expected. I am not moved to probe that part of the past more now, but maybe that was part of what brought the mask of the dead to mind now. This was the second time a meeting with a mask of the dead intersected a significant time in my life... the previous being 1973 or so... but then again aren't all the times significant? But this one had a different face, reminding me a bit of Turki Faisal and the assumption dream last night. 

Must run... and think... 


One more:
On Mon, Oct 30, 2017 at 8:08 AM, Andris Heks <a.heks@hotmail.com> wrote:
Dear Bruno, If you perceive the absolute as personal, I cannot understand why you continue with an impersonal 'machine' model assumption. Surely, a 'living organism' would be a more appropriate model.

It is important that we not put too much trust in specific words when we try to grapple with such tricky things beyond the level of mundane ordinary life.

What does "personal" mean anyway? I have argued that an Einstein/Lagrange optimization model of the cosmos may well be "personal" or "superpersonal," with one reasonable usage of those words, even though it would ALSO fit common ideas of what a "mechanical" or "materialistic" model would be!! What matters is NOT the position we take in a debate for or against such a word, which gives at best a fuzzy picture of the reality which it tries to describe, but the more precise understanding we develop.

Yet in truth, I find myself called this morning to think twice even about the tentative more precise understanding I have developed, in part by considering questions people have raised here.

For example -- what difference does it make whether the true Lagrangian is MAXIMIZED, or if it can only be described as a MINMAX operation (which sounds a bit Zoroastrian!), or that it might be MAX or MINMAX subject to equality constraints (a crucial feature of simple Maxwell's Laws, a crucial axiom, often mischaracterized in discussions of the underlying assumptions of a field theory). Does life exist "between the fire and the ice," between hard fixed points and stochastic "heat death", requiring a minmax kind of situation, making the cosmos less "personal" than one might imagine? And are we REALLY just possible scenarios of a PDE model? What is the real meaning of those Schrodinger cats? How would I look at all this if I did NOT include personal experience, which must always be taken with caution (as there are many many ways that strange things can happen)? 

All for now.

Of courses, none of this raises questions about noosphere and galaxy, which are still there in any case. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Can a Computer (or Robot) Have a Soul?

Can a Computer (or Robot) Have a Soul?

This question is becoming ever more serious and important, as the Internet of Things (IOT) and many types of robot expand so quickly, perhaps to take over the entire world.  Many people have made lots of money writing about this subject, making up things which are easy to understand, unconstrained by any real technical knowledge either of computers or of souls. But how can address this question in a more serious way, and still be understandable?

Since the human brain itself was evolved to tell stories and understand them (serious neuroscience here!), long before we had any concept of “logic,” let me use a few stories to get into the question step-by-step.

1.      Our local Quaker meeting yesterday was very quiet. There are very strict rules that people should not speak unless it meets several tests, one of them being that there was a “message” from beyond just the person speaking. No one spoke yesterday, and then the “riser” (chair for the day) said: “Now it is time for afterthoughts. Does anyone have something important to say, which did not quite rise to the tests..?” He looked all around, no one rose for a few seconds, and then suddenly a very loud string of squeaks came from a laptop in the back (a laptop owned by a friend working with things like IOT). There was silence after the laughter died down, and people wondered. (That’s part of why I post today!)

2.      A few months ago, I was one of the first three non-Intel people invited to a high-level annual meeting to discuss the future of that company. I still remember an extremely sharp woman there, who at one point said: “We also need to work harder on educating the public. You would not believe all the people who come to tell me their computers did something which we all know is impossible. We really need to educate them, to learn that these things they report to us could not be possible.” (I did not comment, because so many other things were on the table. But I can say that the folks who talk to this woman are not low-level cranks from off the street, nor even just a narrow sample.)

3.       When I was still working at NSF, and was vice-president for policy of the National Space Society, a powerful person pressed me:”Why do you folks insist on pushing for humans in space? Or on earth for that matter. Who needs humans? Stop being such a human racist. Why?” “Well,” I answered, “Being a carbon-based life form myself, it is only natural that those of us who are should be true to ourselves by expressing real, fundamental, primary concern for other carbon-based life forms.” He smiled a huge grin, and said,”Oh, OK. We can take care of that. Those silicon folks are a bit backwards anyway. What if we just use graphene-based systems to run everything?” (And NO, that was not anyone at Intel!)

4.      Taoist mystic spoke at a meeting: “You should not assume that humans are the only ones with souls on earth. The great spirit penetrates the whole earth, not just humans, but animals, plants, even the rocks, all have soul.” My response: ”If so, then why not ore, wires and computers themselves? “

5.      I have heard ever so many narcissistic Believers in mysticism and religion who are just so overwhelmed about how magical, universal and perfect their Consciousness can be at times, who explain how the very design of the entire cosmos must of course be just a shadow of that. And as they relive to themselves how wonderful they are, they think of strong powerful emotions they have had.  George Bernard Shaw wrote a wonderful play, Back to Methusaleh, in which some key characters were very proud members of the British aristocracy, with exactly those same kinds of pride and feelings. Two more characters, called “Romeo and Juliet”, were “the ultimate AI,” computers which could exhibit exactly the same kinds of pride, intensity and hormones (rather trivial things to program), and had no soul. In his long Preface to that play, Shaw described the play as his real religion, and explained…

6.      In 2010, when I gave a plenary talk on neural networks at the international IEEE conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics.. . I owe great thanks to the Chair, Professor Okyay Kaynak, for giving me a copy of the official handbook of the Mevlevi order of Sufis, and of course for many discussions of basic issues in cybernetics. From their long experience, they note what others have said… that some people do seem to inherit more natural connection to spirit or paranormal, or whatever you call it, than others. That seems to be a crucial fact of life in reality which we need to adjust to, somehow or other.

In 2010, thinking about that book, I realized: sure, I know how to build intelligent systems far more brain-like and truly intelligent than the Oprah style showmen of old style AI. (Go to google scholar or www.werbos.com/Mind.htm for a few links.) Sure I know how to rise it even to use quantum technology, as exhibited by the Shrike character in Simmon’s great sci fi series Hyperion. (See my paper with Luda at QIP, reposted at www.werbos.,com/triphoton.pdf.) But that is not the same as soul. That is not the same as the incredibly information-rich level which, in my view, humans can connect to involving the “noosphere” and even beyond. (See my previous blog posts for why I no longer doubt that.) How in the world could I, or anyone else, create that kind of connection?

So, yes, the noosphere does have a certain LEVEL of connection with every blob of condensed matter on earth, but of course it is weaker in some people than in others, and much weaker in inert, random solid matter.  The DNA of animals of earth has evolved over a good solid billion years, with “tweaking” (tweaking like the special incentive payments for hybrid cars which Congress once used to change the car market) by the noosphere all through that time, a kind of instinctive tweaking – instinctive but no less powerful than the instinctive alignment of cells in a developing fetus. None of the bodies of the animals of earth are RANDOM; all are emergent outcomes of a kind of double process of natural selection.

With computers… we simply don’t KNOW how nature and the noosphere did that. In fact, only a few of us even know the basics of how BRAINS do what they do, despite years of really incredibly voluminous data and experiment. So yes, the cosmos can work through computers with Jungian synchronicity, as it can through all forms of inert matter (maybe a bit more, insofar as small levels of energy can produce more results in a computer than in a rock)…  but there is still excellent reason to expect that us animals… have orders of magnitude more connection to soul than any computer we are ever likely to be able to build.

Of course, there are many other important issues connected to all this.

For example, I strongly support the Rosicrucian ideal of trying to work for maximum development of the full potential of ALL humans, not just those who find it easy. It is grossly implausible that less than .1% of humanity, a small fraction scattered all over the earth, should have real spiritual connection, and the others none, though some have concluded that based on their limited experience. I see a strong analogy to the ability to learn calculus or music, which may not manifest in all adults in our difficult world, but is present. I was happy to see that the Mevlevi Order, for example, still put a high priority on developing EVERYONE’S potential.

The Simmons Hyperion trilogy basically portrays a struggle all across space-time between three possible futures (which might actually ALL exist in some sense?), a kind of Terminator future, a kind of Matrix future, and a kind of human potential future. With “God’s help,” maybe we could achieve the third, even if it’s hard to see the pathway now. Not to exclude computers, of course. It is sad how the billionaire supporters of sharia and other forms of fundamentalism and top-down rule by computers (like Erdogan and Mercer) are ACTUALLY working to get to the terminator future, even if they don’t know it; that is what happens if the mass of the direct connection between humans and spirit (as promoted by Sufis, by yoga, by Jesus and others) is broken and disempowered, very much following the kind of twisting story of the birth of the Daleks in Dr. Who.

I recently read (and reviewed on Amazon) an entertaining novel by Connie Willis, Crosstalk, which also raises important questions about these things. But of course, such abilities are not restricted to the Irish. Almost every nation on earth has people who think it is all just about them. Certainly there are many Japanese who think: “We are truly weird, but they are truly empty robots, zombies.” There is a great research paper by Greeley and McReady (“Are We a Nation of Mystics,?” reprinted in Goleman’s book Consciousness, which I recommend everyone buy) which gives serious survey data on the important things people experience… and run away from, like certain characters in Willis’s book. On the one hand, people do need to “withdraw and return” from time to time, to assimilate their experience and learn to handle more, lest they become overloaded. But in the end, we cannot afford to commit ourselves to withdraw forever. If we don’t move ahead as best we can… terrible fates could take us over.

Willi’s novel actually mentions a specific gene, which I looked up. As I read her book, I thought “Aha! It sounds so much like my mother’s Irish family, connecting with deep real emotion and spirit to the virgin Mary and family members, talking to plants, hearing what the plants want and growing them to phenomenal heights by listening..” And Willis, like Luda and me, is such a high-bandwidth person, able to assimilate a great firehose of information..  though Luda and I are much more “yang” people (like heavy math and science and action planning) while Willis’s group sounded much more “yin”…

But then I checked that gene she mentioned, R1b-. just a rather ordinary local gene. Luda laughed.  A specific local maternal haplotype. I went back to 23andme.  My Irish maternal haplotype was radically different: ancient Scythia, like the land of the Amazon women. Were the women in our own Irish family such wimps as the ones in Willis’s story? Ooips. My mother was in many ways as meek as some true oriental yin women I have known..,., but she was also an orphan, which can do things to someone’s social style. She was raised by her Aunt Mary… who was about as nonmeek as you can get, a very serious political organizer, who was one of the key organizers of Franklin Roosevelt’s campaigns. (Jim Farley gave her his diamond stickpin in recognition of that, and she passed it on to me… but sadly it was stolen.)
In fact, when I looked at that, I turned to Luda: “Hey, maybe one of the things which attracted to me was the resonance between my maternal haplotype and you and your people…” There was that flight of the nobles from Ireland in the 1600s, which our family was part of, yea unto ships we donated to start the US navy. (Documentation still in my possession.)

But then there was that scarier paternal haplotype, straight Doggerland.

As for Luda and her people from Scythia … which we visited together early in our relation… a place where the seven trials of Hercules are more than just a myth… I did finally persuade her to watch the new Wonder Woman movie. “Come on, please. They show such respect for your people, you owe them that attention.”  But her reaction; “No, it is SO insulting. OK, she learned a little as she grew up,  but it is insulting to imagine our people could be SUCH incompetent wimps, no real sense of how to fight a battle, how to use physical force and other capabilities… such silly people… no real energy..” But the maternal haplotype was really just Romanoff.

Oh, well. Enough fun and games for a day; back to a little IT, and some real math. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

questions needing addressing as the IOT takes over the world

We have had lots of discussion about what happens to jobs and to people as automation (not just AI) takes over more and more, and perhaps everything. There has been a lot of discussion about the need for a human-centric internet, which is great, but do we really know how to build such a thing, and if we don't , will a very different kind of internet of things (IOT) actually take over the world? I have been tempted at times to say more on this list about just how much this technology will be able to do in the future, since I was doing, advancing and funding deep learning decades before the official gurus of computer science could even imagine what it has already done in recent years. But  now, as the world changes, we are all at risk of missing the forest for the trees -- and picking the wrong forest. 

In fact, I am reminded of the new word of Brain-Computer Interface (BCI), actually becoming part of the internet of things, where there have been pious talk about bioethics and oversight, all vacuous in the end as big money pushed products out the door already... which deserve another post. The point is that pious talk and political blessings may simply not be enough to save us. Elon Musk is right in broad terms that we are in a scary situation, but the usual types of responses simply will not be enough to save us.

Just a few months back, some leaders in the IT industry asked me to summarize the big picture -- the forest -- as I see it. There are six slides at www.werbos.com/IT_big_picture.pdf which did that, but I know a bit more today. The next to last slide portrays the need to build a new IT platform which COMBINES at least 4 kinds of principles. (Someday I will post a slight update adding a fifth, but I need to update the ftp program I use here first.)

It was really scary for me a few days back to hear Oracle announce a new data platform which, said Bloomberg, "will be ultrasecure because it will use machine learning and deep AI to guarantee security." To me, that sounds like saying "That guy will never catch a virus because he has a great brain." Brains are important,  but it is really scary to depend completely on them alone, when you also need a certain kind of immune system and some other such things. Scary as in an urgent matter of life or death. But it was calming to hear that the US actually was able to withstand an all-out cyberattack on our power system from King Kim III; we still have time to develop an integrated secure viable platform before the instabilities and vulnerabilities bring down the whole US to a state lower than Puerto Rico today without assistance.

The new IBM plan, announced by the president of IBM in great, deep interviews easily found on u-tube, seems to be moving us towards the "Stafford Beer" kind of world.
(I owe you a link. Why not try https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgc4aJ-JMJg .
At youtube, searching on IBM president IOT AI brings up a huge amount of informaton, really important to these issues, though it may require some background to figure out how it all fits together.) We seem to be moving towards a world where SOMETHING or SOMEONE at the top (a product not only of market but of political forces, more likely Mercer than Sanders) defines a global utility function, and every valve, factory, vehicle and drone on earth is mobilized to intelligently maximize that utility function inexorably, more and more, over all future time. Concern for the less powerful will be even more secondary than it is in recent outcomes in Congress. 

An alternative possible pathway would in some ways grow out of what has been developed in the electric power sector in recent years, in the ISO/RTO (Independent System Operator System), and maybe some ebay type experiments. The idea would be to develop an Integrated Market Platform (IMP), which would embody strong unbreakable operating system security and new levels of communication security (and authentication?) , and use a narrow agile variation of distributed ledger technology for additional security of some core currencies (Blockchain 3.0) . 

Is there a hope that someone creative enough could save the world by making money developing a new system? I hope so. It's extremely important that someone should try. But no one knows enough yet to just go ahead and start coding. 

This morning, as I think over the unsolved design issues, four questions come to the very top of the list:

(1) How does one map CONTROL to OWNERSHIP in a new IT platform? (Again, verbal principles or laws are not enough. "Map" must be like a computer program here.) 

A quick naive response would be "That's easy. Ownership for all things, including all devices controlled within the IOT, goes to registered entities which may be humans or may be corporations. Each entity gets to own and run its own instance of the universal IOT platform, which may even have reduced versions available, all subject to strict standards as rigid as any IEEE standards but themselves subject to full open-source automated validation of compliance."  But how could many INSTANCES like that all add up, globally, to at least a halfway efficient system? How do they talk to each other? For that, I am reminded of the distributed optimization work pioneered by Marija Ilic (former CMU) and Jean Watson (Sandia) to satisfy the growing need for distributed optimization in the electric power grid, and mathematical extensions worked on by folks like Harley, Venayagamoorthy and myself. A certain kind of automated price system can work, going beyond the usual comparative statics of static market equilibrium and of today's stochastic general equilibrium economics, to something more general. 

My wife adds: "Hey, who owns the internet TODAY?" That certainly is something to consider in this design process, the role of standards and how standards affect laws ala net neutrality. The ideas in Tabscott's book on blockchain are relevant, but again, how to make it REAL at the universal platform level? 

(2) How does one prevent capture of the system by a ruthless cold minority, creating a kind of value system which grinds down and destroys the very soul of humanity (and its physical existence over time, not forseen by the cabal?). In a world where more and more such cabals are becoming a real problem... I would say we again need open source tools (as we need already for improved security), and market design somehow biased towards full development of all human potential, but realistic about the need to stop exponential population growth and the reality that this need in itself will cause a certain degree of discontent and competition  inevitably over time under ANY system. Nice words, no specs? True, and that's why this is a QUESTION, "how to DO this in an IT platform?", and not an answer. 

(3) How to make full use of human minds in improving the quality of optimization? For example, is the foresight function performed by RLADP programs (which learn to assess value to the future of commodities or actions in the present) or by human futures trading, or by a mix of the two? WHAT MIX? Mercer has found so far that computers do better than humans in predicting future value, but the underlying mathematics strongly suggests that this is because today's organizations simply don't make full use of what humans can actually do. But unfortunately, that includes a whole lot of lying and gamesmanship and conflict of interest effects which make design of collaborative systems a much deeper problem than IBM's coders seem to understand. (But maybe it's not just them; maybe we need to WORK on that understanding.)
In a brain-like AI system, using RLADP math (see the IEEE book edited by Lewis and Liu) , one can simply set up independent value and prediction networks, using different "currencies" 
(derivative signals) to tune themselves, but how could humans feed into it without breaking it?

Actually, as I type this, I have expanded the details so that these three are enough to think about for now. Microeconomics never found an optimal design for an economy of INFORMATION, or for "CONTENT," let alone a reliable, nonscalar system of trust factors to support collaboration. Could the new RLADP math help us with that somehow? Maybe that's a fourth question.

It is truly to have just questions, not answers, when the need for answers and for code which embodies them is so urgent. Every day which passes is bringing us closer to a different, less human-centric world. But posing questions and refusing to forget them has always been the crucial first step in "doing the impossible" (as a few of us have done a few times).

Best of luck,


This builds on some earlier thinking at