The universe could be a self-learning computer

Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking, the most famous physicists of the twentieth century, spent decades trying to find a single law that could explain how the world works on the scale of the atom and on the scale of galaxies.

Stefon Alexander, professor of physics at Brown University, decided to learn from the experience of the great scientists. In the preprint, Alexander and the research team took a different approach to the problem.

Instead of trying to figure out which laws of physics apply to the universe, they wondered why the physical world obeys certain laws and not others.

As a result, the researchers concluded that the physical world was not the only true reality, but was the result of numerous repetitions of the universe trying to establish laws that did not work.

According to Alexander, our universe probably acquired the characteristics of many possible universes. It ended up “in a configuration … that was stable” and allowed it to “consistently evolve.”

The researchers compare this process of trying, failing, and retrying to an arcade game with very much extra life. “If you have an infinite number of lives, you play, you die, you play, you keep playing, you die, but you keep playing, right?” he said.

The universe is always able to “keep trying.” In this respect, the universe “learns” what works and what doesn’t as it evolves. Because the universe has no teacher, but learns lessons as it progresses, researchers call this “self-education.

The General Theory of Relativity and the Standard Model came later, when the universe found the stability it was looking for. Alexander compares this idea to Darwin’s theory of evolution.

The team of scientists began with the understanding that physical theories can be viewed as matrix models. A huge matrix can contain all the possible laws that might govern the universe.

“The mathematics of matrix theory seems to contain some components of a certain type of neural network,” Alexander said.

Maybe the universe is setting things up so that it eventually assimilates the standard model and gravity.”

If Alexander is right, then we humans are unable to see everything the universe has learned.

“Perhaps there are other corners of the universe where other interesting things have happened that are completely radical from our point of view,” he said, noting that there is no reason to believe that the universe has chosen to learn the laws that allowed life and consciousness to emerge.

Confirmation of the theory of a self-learning universe would not necessarily rule out Einstein’s or Hawking’s theories, but it would certainly confirm that physicists must explore ideas far beyond traditional boundaries.

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