An interesting and worthy read. As some commenters note (and the author admits), some of these parallels inspired by the thermodynamics metaphor shouldn't be pushed too literally for all ML systems.

During my PhD work I was immersed in these parallels, having worked with Hinton's Boltzmann Machine (and its "Mean Field Theory" variants), and having applied ML to the protein folding problem. The "spin glass" model from Physics seemed to provide insights into both protein structures and neural networks — though, again, the differences between these different complex systems had to be noted as important caveats.

I miss that intellectually stimulating work, and thank the author for the fun reminders.

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Thanks for sharing this, Kevin. It seems to me a good, fair, concise summary of the main options.

I was also raised/trained to be non-religious and scientific, and therefore, like you, had long assumed a Physicalist stance by default.

But arguments by the Biocentrism guys (e.g., "The Grand Biocentric Design") and philosopher David Chalmers have me reconsidering it all.

(And it's also worth perusing some of the writings and quotations of eminent QM scientists — Heisenberg, for example, was really "out there" with strong hints of Panpsychism).

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Evan Steeg

Evan Steeg

90 Followers

AI & digital health innovator. Sci-fi & football fan. Eastern Ontario via NYC, CT, Toronto. Degrees in Math, CS, Bfx. Bikes, hikes, dives & bass riffs.