Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Category: Science

The devine language.

I consider myself to be somewhat of an amateur scientist.  By this, I mean that when I look at the world around me, it is with a sense of wonder, but also with a urge to figure out WHY things are the way they are.  It is not enough to merely accept that nature created something, there has to be a way that it was created.

I also believe in a supreme being.  What ever name you have for it, I think that it is out there, somewhere.  This is not to say that I think that he or she is watching our every move, judging our every thought, action or word, deciding what should happen to us in some afterlife.  In fact, I do not believe in an afterlife other than the fact that when we die, the matter and energy that makes you and I up, along with all other living creatures, will be returned and reused by the universe, and through that, our lives have, in their passing, helped to give life to others.

In my pondering of a G-d, I often wonder what it would be like to meet such an entity, and in these thoughts, it occurs to me that there is really only one language that a truly supreme being could speak that would be recognized throughout the universe.  The language of mathematics.

When you look at the universe, all the way out to the furthest star on the edge of the known universe, to the inner universe and the smallest pieces of the atoms that make you, me and the ground we walk upon… it can all be explained, at least in part, with mathematics.  There is, or will be, some equation that will explain in whole or in part, why things work.

So… at least in my way of thinking, the only logical language for G-d to speak, would be in a language based primarily on mathematics.  When you look at the combination of the apparent simplicity of the universe which hides the complexities of it’s substructure, it implies the work of an artist that not only wanted to show the potential beauty of all things, but then, for those that need to see more, like the scientists and dreamers, there is the superstructure of the universe.  The underlying details that make up everything that we are and everything we know.

I know that there are those out there that are going to be upset with my take on this, but remember…  Religion, Spirituality and Faith are all three very personal and unique things to each person.  Two people may say they are Jews or Catholics, but they may not have exactly the same concept of what G-d or heaven is.

Our personal relationship with G-d, the Universe and everything is our own.  Personally, if I had to put a face to G-d… it would have to be something like Albert Einstein or Johannes Kepler.

The Metric System – Isn’t it about time?

This debate has been going on for a long time, but when most of the world is using the metric system, why are we one of the last hold-outs?

When you look at the world, especially from a scientific point of view, it is obvious that the old English system that we presently use is out of date and out of touch with the rest of the world.

The US is joined by only two other countries, Myanmar and Liberia, that have not adopted the metric system.  This is not to say that there is anything truly WRONG with the english units of measurement, but when the rest of the world has moved to a more fine tuned way to measure everything from the very large to the very small, you have to think about the wisdom of holding onto something as antiquated as the old English system.

Another demonstration as to this point is that here in the US, even the scientific community has adopted the metric system for their use, soas to keep in parity with the rest of the world.  This does not always work, however, since there are a few hold outs.  This miscommunication can cause issues and even disasters… who can forget the Mars Climate Orbiter back in 1999?  Two teams and two separate measuring systems, equals one pile of aluminum and titanium with an American flag on it, somewhere on the surface of mars… maybe. I am sure that also been other errors and mistakes that have been made due to the conversion from and to the English system.

So…  if we were to buck up and switch to the metric system, would it be easy?  Not for us older folks that are used to the English system.  We will be the hold outs, the ones fighting it all the way and not wanting any part of it.  But for the children, it will be simple.  They will no longer learn fractions, inches, feet, etc…  it will be meters, liters, etc.  Everything will be different for us, but the world will not end.

The fact is that the we are actually holding out from a system that is leaving us behind.  Metric is the way the world is going and we will need to follow in the footsteps of the world this time.

Here are some interesting links regarding the topic:

US Metric Association

Helium article on the Metric system

xkcd – A Webcomic

Thoughts on Asimov

As a writer, amateur as I might be, I have many people that I cite as my inspirations and “muses”, who have helped me in my decision to make this a labor of love.  Most notable of these are such names as Hunter Thompson, Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, Leo Tolstoy, Issac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke.  Trust me, there are many others out there that have inspired me, but those ones stand out the most.

The reason I started this post this way is because of a thought process I have been on lately.  Something that may be a concern at some point in the not-too-distant future and that is the thought of artificial intelligence.

As we progress with our understanding of technology and it’s interface with humans and biological systems, there arises a chance that at some time a man made creation may become “self-aware”.  Not just aware of ones self, but aware that it does not NEED it’s human counterpart for continuous operation.

When you consider that we are working towards devices that will allow the interface between man and machine on a nervous and eventually a nanotechnological level, it is not hard to consider the converse.  A time when we begin using biological components for mechanical devices, one of those, one day, being a human analog… i.e. a Robot.

These thoughts are nothing new, as I am sure you are all aware.  The king of this kind of thought process was, by and far, Issac Asimov.  He was the one that created what I consider the modern understanding of robotics and the “Three Laws of Robotics”, which will probably be the cornerstone of robotic programming when that time comes  He also authored the series commonly known as the “Robot series”, which was also, unfortunately, butchered into a movie staring Will Smith.

The question does arise, though.  When the time does come that we create a race of mechanical beings that become “aware”, how are we to treat them?  I suspect that it will not be too much unlike another period in time when slavery was acceptable.  Not just black slaves, but there were slaves of many colors throughout the world.  It was considered justified for many reasons.  In some cases it was thought that those enslaved were less that human, in others it was as a form of punishment, like a prison sentence.  In the case that I am describing, I think it will be more along the line of we humans, in our own arrogance, will think:  This is something that is the creation of MAN.  We brought you into existence, we are your lords.  Yes… I know.  That sounds a little over the top… but you get my point and I challenge anyone to tell me I am wrong.

Now, there are probably those of you saying that a “Robot Race” could not exist, they have no way to reproduce.  You would be partly right, but there could be a way.  John von Neumann came up with a theory of self replicating machines that could be used to mine and explore.  Why, then, could that not be taken one step further and a “race” of recently aware robots be able to use those same principles to reproduce and combine the best attributes from their combined programming into the new machine?

The resulting creation would, in some sense, be the offspring of the two, or more, machines.  But would contain the combining of certain attributes of each, resulting in an unique creation based on information from the two hosts.  Not entirely unlike biological reproduction.

One last thought.  As such a race grows and matures, would they see us as their creators?  Would we, for some period of time, assume the role of Gods or Deities to them?  It seems that there would be a chance of this, we would, after all, be the source of their creation.  There would be prototypes that lead to their advancement; a robot “Adam” and “Eve”, so to say.

I wonder how we will handle such a time.  If we will do the right thing and let such an evolution take place, step back and let it follow it’s own course.  Or will our arrogance get in the way, causing us to abuse the trust that might be placed in us by robots, or “Synthetic Life Forms” as they achieve awareness.

Either way, it will be an interesting time.

Thank you for reading.

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