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← What Is Time? One Physicist Hunts for the Ultimate Theory

wice's Avatar Jump to comment 19 by wice

@andrew.trapp (#5)

For me though, the most striking feature of time is simply that the past is determined, while the future is undetermined.


1. are you sure that the future is undetermined?
2. are you sure that the past is determined?

it may seem like a silly question, but it's really not obvious, at least not for me. as far as i know, the first question is entirely open, and although the answer to the second was thought to be evidently 'yes', some physicists (e.g. stephen hawking) currently suggest that it may be an open question as well.

consider a simple cellular automation. its 'future' states are determined by its current state (and by its rules of generation), but its past states are not. you can reach the same state from several different past states.

let's suppose that it's possible to build a consciousness with a deterministic turing machine. i wonder if we built a neural network from a cellular automaton, that could act as a 'conscious observer' of the world of the automaton, would it see its world as something that has a determined or undetermined future and that has a determined or undetermined past?

Mon, 01 Mar 2010 10:11:00 UTC | #445274