From: Osher Doctorow [EMAIL PROTECTED], Fri. Sept. 6, 2002 8:36AM After my discouragement of yesterday, I have decided to give myself one more chance to try to be compatible with everything-list. I have just downloaded J. Schmidthuber's *A computer scientist's view of life, the universe, and everything,* (1997), and it is well enough written that I apparently will be able to understand it. I also have one of the other two papers that were available on the everything-list site, which I understood fairly well several weeks ago.
I will take this opportunity to write/type a few words about Knowledge (K for short) rather than information (I), distinguishing between them as the semantic (meaning) part of that whose syntactic part is information vs information itself. There are several directions in which I have developed K, but the simplest way is to consider that K contains primitive pointlike or stringlike elements which may have fuzzy truth values (on a scale between 0 and 1 for the non-trivial cases) or probabilities or both assigned to them. Let us call these K-points for brevity. Each K-point has MEANING, and I will regard this as a primitive undefined concept in this presentation, although one can develop things from several other viewpoints. The word *MEANING*, however, is to be used in practice rather similarly to its dictionary definition(s) and intuitively is like ideas, thoughts, cognitions, provided that they are accompanied by *understanding* rather than merely regarded as sounds or sights or perceptions with nothing that can be specified behind them. I do relate it here at all to the computational linguistics idea of *meaning*. Knowledge (K) is regarded as continuous or piecewise continuous and connected or piecewise connected, and could theoretically either increase or decrease or remain constant, although in fact I postulate somewhat analogously although apparently not structurally related to entropy in thermodynamics that K increases in time in the universe. In fact, letting E symbolize entropy, I postulate that the rate of increase of K in time exceeds the rate of increase of E in time, symbolically: 1) Dt(K - E) > 0 where Dt is the partial derivative with respect to time, although I am open to generalizing it to covariant or gauge derivatives and so on. Equation (1) has an interesting interpretation, namely, that instead of disorder increasing overall in the universe with time, the ordered part of Knowledge increases with time - possibly by matter converting to radiation in whole or in part, or possibly by some other scenario. Even the notion of a radiation form of life is not excluded in these considerations - in fact, it may be indicated. It might be in some places combined with material form of life, as in the human brain, where the global aspects may relate more to radiation and the local aspects more to matter. There is a well accepted physical theory of the initial radiation-dominated era of the universe succeeded by a matter-dominated era in which radiation still plays an important part, and several theorists consider that a radiation type of era will eventually constitute a third era. Does this mean that digital computes do not do anything? No. They calculate very fast. They store discrete steps and discrete Knowledge representations (or attempted representations via syntax) and discrete syntax. When they calculate very fast, they sometimes produce numerical approximations to solutions of differential or integral equations which we do not know how to produce otherwise, and this helps increase Knowledge, although I think that is it qualitatively somewhat inferior to CAUSAL KNOWLEDGE. There is factual knowledge (details) about the real world, there is causal knowledge about what causes or influences what in the real world, and there is speculative or even fictional or fantasy *knowledge* about things or events or processes that are not considered to be real or to have real analogs in the real physical or even psychological worlds. Digital computers can help factual knowledge, but so far they have not helped causal knowledge much. Does K (Knowledge) relate to multiple universes, multiple histories, etc.? This is a more advanced question than I can deal with here. I think that multiple universes and multiple histories are interesting ideas, but that at the present time their logical and physical and philosophical structures have not been well established. If they exist, then I have no doubt intuitively that K applies to them as well. Finally, the mathematical formulation of Causal Knowledge in my Rare Event Theory (RET) resides in fuzzy multivalued logical x-->y or its probability-statistics analogs or proximity function - geometry-topology analogs. There are 3 types of x-->y, which correspond respectively to Rare Events (Lukaciewicz and Rational Pavelka fuzzy multivalued logics (FML) in the non-trivial case), Fairly Frequent Events (Product/Goguen FML), and Very Frequent Events (Godel FML). Here Events is short for Events and/or Processes. I spent about 23 years showing the correspondence here since 1980 with my wife Marleen. Some of it is in my paper in B. N. Kursunuglu et al (2000), Kluwer Academic: N.Y. 89-97, and references therein. Osher Doctorow