Spacetime is just a headset: An interview with Donald Hoffman

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Spacetime is just a headset: An interview with Donald Hoffman


Quote:Prof. Donald Hoffman talks to Essentia Foundation’s Hans Busstra about his theory of conscious agents, according to which space and time are cognitive constructs in consciousness, not an objective scaffolding of the world outside. The interview also touches on Prof. Hoffman’s personal history and life, bringing the warmth of his humanity to the academic rigor of his theories.

'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


[-] The following 2 users Like Sciborg_S_Patel's post:
  • tim, Ninshub
Thanks Sci, is is a fantastic interview, and it is good to see that DH is trying to think wider than just his proof that either Darwinian evolution is false, or reality looks nothing like space-time. However, because I don't believe RM+NS is an explanation of consciousness, his proof is not as interesting as it otherwise would be.

25:22 "The observer is some sort of measuring device" I feel DH either missed the point here, or was merely reflecting other physicists' views. The point is, of course, that the measuring device is simply made of particles, and it is just as consistent with QM to consider an enlarged wavefunction that includes the particles of the measuring device and eventually the brain of the person doing the experiment. However consciousness only observes one outcome - so it seems to be involved at that point.

I'm going to extend this response as I listen to more of the interview.

Very early in the interview, DH made the argument that the concept of spacetime was doomed because as you zoom in to examine any structures you will need more and more energy - standard QM - and that this energy is equivalent to mass and will end up forming a black hole! As I have said before, I am loathe to accept physical arguments that rely on infinite values - singularities - at all. So I suspect black holes may not be what they seem or may not really exist. This in turn makes me suspicious of GR.

I mean when we are discussing such wild ideas in science, it is better to look at all the possible alternatives. Throwing away spacetime would itself involve discarding GR which depends on it!

Also, the brain depends on quintessentially low energy physics - nowhere near the energies where spacetime might or might not break down.

Perhaps I am inclined to treat his work as yet another argument against Darwinism. OTH I like him as a thinker who is willing to push his ideas as far as possible.
(This post was last modified: 2022-11-10, 12:12 PM by David001. Edited 2 times in total.)
[-] The following 3 users Like David001's post:
  • tim, Typoz, Sciborg_S_Patel
I have just discovered that adding to an existing post is kind of invisible - so people don't get alerted to look at the change - so extending a commentary piece by piece doesn't work very well!
[-] The following 1 user Likes David001's post:
  • Sciborg_S_Patel
(2022-11-10, 04:59 PM)David001 Wrote: I have just discovered that adding to an existing post is kind of invisible - so people don't get alerted to look at the change - so extending a commentary piece by piece doesn't work very well!

Okay but why would you want to do that anyway ? That's no different from continually altering the same post which would be ridiculous, because if someone gave you a like based on what they'd read, you'd be changing it again and again ( with add ons which they might not necessarily agree with).
(2022-11-11, 10:20 AM)tim Wrote:
(2022-11-10, 04:59 PM)David001 Wrote: I have just discovered that adding to an existing post is kind of invisible - so people don't get alerted to look at the change - so extending a commentary piece by piece doesn't work very well!

Okay but why would you want to do that anyway ? That's no different from continually altering the same post which would be ridiculous, because if someone gave you a like based on what they'd read, you'd be changing it again and again ( with add ons which they might not necessarily agree with).

I really want discussion, not just likes.
(This post was last modified: 2022-11-11, 11:08 AM by David001. Edited 1 time in total.)
(2022-11-09, 04:39 PM)David001 Wrote: 25:22 "The observer is some sort of measuring device" I feel DH either missed the point here, or was merely reflecting other physicists' views. The point is, of course, that the measuring device is simply made of particles, and it is just as consistent with QM to consider an enlarged wavefunction that includes the particles of the measuring device and eventually the brain of the person doing the experiment. However consciousness only observes one outcome - so it seems to be involved at that point.

I really do hate to react to a small portion of a good post.  But it it is your key premise.

Consciousness is part of nature, so it must have some quantum propensities.  Consciousness doesn't only "see" final outcomes.  Like the quantum wave function, possible choices and similar past events are also part of awareness.  So are possible futures.  Physically there is a single coherent outcome.  But information science tells us that the pre-outcomes and unused plans also have a real effect as information objects.

Literature's and romance's red-meat are just these substances of alternate choices and remorse for plans not executed.
(This post was last modified: 2022-11-11, 10:25 PM by stephenw. Edited 1 time in total.)
[-] The following 1 user Likes stephenw's post:
  • Sciborg_S_Patel
(2022-11-11, 11:07 AM)David001 Wrote:
(2022-11-11, 10:20 AM)tim Wrote:
(2022-11-10, 04:59 PM)David001 Wrote: I have just discovered that adding to an existing post is kind of invisible - so people don't get alerted to look at the change - so extending a commentary piece by piece doesn't work very well!

Okay but why would you want to do that anyway ? That's no different from continually altering the same post which would be ridiculous, because if someone gave you a like based on what they'd read, you'd be changing it again and again ( with add ons which they might not necessarily agree with).

I really want discussion, not just likes.

Forget the likes, then. What if someone agreed with your first thoughts and then you changed it. But before you changed it, they made a related post?  This is a great discussion, isn't it.
(2022-11-11, 06:41 PM)tim Wrote:
(2022-11-11, 11:07 AM)David001 Wrote:
(2022-11-11, 10:20 AM)tim Wrote: Okay but why would you want to do that anyway ? That's no different from continually altering the same post which would be ridiculous, because if someone gave you a like based on what they'd read, you'd be changing it again and again ( with add ons which they might not necessarily agree with).

I really want discussion, not just likes.

Forget the likes, then. What if someone agreed with your first thoughts and then you changed it. But before you changed it, they made a related post?  This is a great discussion, isn't it.

Well, a conversation about DH's ideas would be more interesting.

Have I pissed you off in some way?
(2022-11-11, 09:37 PM)David001 Wrote: Have I pissed you off in some way?

No, of course not. But why would you ask that now  ? You p*ssed me off in 2014/15, and many others (that's why I never made another post on Skeptiko), but you didn't ask me then if you'd p*ssed me off, so why ask now ?  No, you have not pissed me off.
(This post was last modified: 2022-11-12, 12:03 AM by tim. Edited 3 times in total.)
(2022-11-12, 12:00 AM)tim Wrote:
(2022-11-11, 09:37 PM)David001 Wrote: Have I pissed you off in some way?

No, of course not. But why would you ask that now  ? You p*ssed me off in 2014/15, and many others (that's why I never made another post on Skeptiko), but you didn't ask me then if you'd p*ssed me off, so why ask now ?  No, you have not pissed me off.

I am going to reply to you privately by PM.

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