[FOM] Freeman Dyson on Inexhaustibility

John McCarthy jmc at steam.stanford.edu
Sat May 15 07:43:25 EDT 2004

Maybe physics is inexhaustible, but maybe it isn't.  Here's why it
might not be.  Consider the Life World based on Conway's Life cellular 
automaton.  It has been shown that self-reproducing universal
computers are possible as configurations in the Life World.
Therefore, one could have physicists in the Life World, but their
physics would not be inexhaustible.  They could discover or at least
conjecture that their fundamental physics was a particular cellular
automaton.  However, their mathematics could be the same as ours - and 
therefore inexhaustible.

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