Saturday, September 29, 2018
"The Un(solv)able Problem" in Scientific American
The October 2018 Scientific American has an essay on p. 28 that is one of the most abstract ever. It is “The Un(solv)able Problem”, by Toby S. Cubitt, David Perez-Garcia, and Michael Wolf.
This starts out with a long statement of the Spectral Gap Problem about how electrons in small atoms get activated to energy states at all. There are “gaped” and “gapless” systems proposed for materials. It rather reminds me of “air gap” security for power plants from Internet intrusions.
But soon the authors get to the “Liar’s Paradox”. If Kavanaugh tells you “the sentence is a lie”, is Kavanaugh telling the truth or lying? That seems to really matter right now.
Then they get into Alan Turning’s Halting Test. And later the problem of tiling an infinite bathroom floor, for a David Lynch movie.
All of this relates to Godel’s incompleteness theories (Stanford reference). Hence we need procreative life forms, aiming toward personhood (and God’s) to make decisions that have real consequences, to reverse the effects of entropy.