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Stephen Wolfram on Irreducibility - Dictionary of Arguments

Brockman I 282
Irreducibility/Wolfram: One of the things that might be true about our world is that maybe we go through all this history and biology and civilization, and at the end of the day the answer is “42,” or something. Nothing like that will happen, because of computational irreducibility. There are computational processes that you can go through in which there is no way to shortcut that process. Much of science has been about shortcutting computation done by nature.
Brockman I 283
But even with a smart enough machine and smart enough mathematics, we can’t get to the endpoint without going through the steps. Some details are irreducible. We have to irreducibly follow those steps. That’s why history means something. If we could get to the endpoint without going through the steps, history would be, in some sense, pointless.
((s) The results without the calculations would be meaningless signs for us.)
Wolfram: So it’s not the case that we’re intelligent and everything else in the world is not.
There’s no enormous abstract difference between us and the clouds or us and the cellular automata. We cannot say that this brainlike neural network is qualitatively different from this cellular-automaton system. The difference is a detailed difference. This brainlike neural network was produced by the long history of civilization, whereas the cellular automaton was created by my computer in the last microsecond. >Purposes/Wolfram, >Artificial intelligence/Wolfram, >Understanding/Wolfram.

Wolfram, Stephen (2015) „Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Civilization” (edited live interview), in: Brockman, John (ed.) 2019. Twenty-Five Ways of Looking at AI. New York: Penguin Press.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Wolfram, Stephen
Brockman I
John Brockman
Possible Minds: Twenty-Five Ways of Looking at AI New York 2019

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-09-20
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