SCIENCE DOJO

The Limit of Human Understanding

Science Dojo


Someone Asks a Stupid Question and a group of scientists has 20 min to answer it.

Science Dojo Episode 4: Can you absolutely define a limit to human understanding?


thequestion
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:04 PM
Neural net mathematics is the mathematics that describes all possible information functions of neurons and neuron like machines and cells.
My first question is if we agree that the functions of neurons describe our entire individual ability to understand the world around us?
My Second question is if we accept neurons as being responsible for our ability to reason and think... and we accept neural net mathematics as the finite description of those functions.... Is it possible or likely that there are some functions that cannot be described in neural net mathematics and that those functions might also exist as processes in nature?
My Last Question is if functions that exist in the real world are not intelligble to any human... ever... could there be a machine (Which henceforth will be called the Dave Machine) that predicts the outcome of some real phenomenon but is completely and provably unintelligible to us?

theanswer
Dave Pena @dave.pena 
Have you ever wondered what the limit of human ingenuity, intelligence and imagination is? Can we understand everything about the Universe? Is everything explainable?
I’ve mulled this problem over off and on for a few years. Lured a friend or two into a conversation about whether any limit exists for the human mind. Most people I've talked to have felt that ANY problem that is currently unresolved can be solved by some sufficiently intelligent person given the correct context of information to solve the problem; all we need is time for that person to pop into existence.
At face value, I can see why anyone would think this. Look at all that we have built. Look at all the previously "unanswerable" problems that we have solved. There is mountain of everyday evidence that directly suggest there is no problem too large for the human mind. Most conversations end with some form of : “The human brain you see… is the most complex thing in the Universe and therefore capable of anything.”
I am here today, writing this to you, my audience, to attempt to burst that bubble. First, right off the top, the human brain isn’t the most complex brain on planet Earth (see dolphin) and most importantly your brain and therefore your ability to understand is limited by the functions of certain cells located in your nervous system (neurons).
Neurons are the principal cells of the nervous systems. They are amazing cells. If you have a group of them, they start to connect to each other and form synapses (one of a handful of ways neurons can communicate with each other).These groups of connected neurons are called neural networks, and the way they are connected can come to represent common functions for an input signal. A simple example would be that one neuron is activated only if two neurons it is connected to fire. This network of neurons would constitute a simple AND function. In this example, any neuron on its own does not represent the AND function, rather the entire network abstractly represents AND. You get the idea, neural networks can come to represent a huge number of abstract functions. Maybe any function?? Certainly any knowable function. What function can your neural network represent (something that you can know) that is not representable by neural networks? That is a contradiction.
Imagine this for me. Imagine letting an infinite number of arbitrarily numerous groups of neurons (and associated cells, and firing states, if you are a stickler for that sort of thing) connect in arbitrary ways from which you can see all the functions any neural net could ever represent. You write all of those functions and configurations into a huge book and you label that book neural net mathematics.  What is contained in this book?????? YOU! Well you as in the way your brain and every neuron in your body is connected and currently behaving. Every instance of those connections of you, ever, is written inside this book, in fact... every human brain... ever is written in this book... Also every dog brain and bird brain and really any being, ever, that has or will rely on neural nets to process information. The book is admittedly large, but if you believe (Like I do) that the functions of neurons are themselves representing the thoughts and experiences we experience, then, really, this book contains all possible thoughts for any being relying on neural networks to process information around them. How big is this book? Pretty big... maybe if you wrote down all of the functions that are describable in our Universe you might have the same book, but never smaller? You can probably see that any function we add to neural net mathematics, we simultaneously add to our functions of the Universe book. That is, having a neural net function in a Universe that cannot exist in that Universe is a contradiction.
Ok good, now we have defined our great and ultimate limit. No natural human who has ever existed or will ever exist can ever have a thought that is not described by our book which we have labeled neural net mathematics. We also know that the total number of function describable in that book cannot be larger than those describable in the Universe. So if that book of the Universe is ALL the things that there are to know and solve. What we are really asking when we ask if: there is some limit to human ingenuity, is if the section in our book for neural net mathematics labeled human neural nets contains all the functions not only of the neural net mathematics book but also those of the Universe book. My suspicion is that our human brains cannot even perform all of the functions in the neural net mathematics book…  I encourage you to see if you can think like a hammerhead shark using electroreception. Someday, maybe soon… we will describe all the functions a known network can perform and we will have determined the general connectivity of the human brain and other animals. Maybe on that day we find out we are missing a couple capabilities and therefore functions that other animals have, and they are missing a few of ours. Now take those deficits and multiply them across all that is possible in the Universe. You might, like I do, feel genuinely foolish at having ever believed it possible for humans to completely describe the universe.
Is there a limit to human ingenuity, intelligence and imagination? Yes, definitely. Can we understand everything about the Universe? Probably, not. Is everything explainable? Laughable, but enjoy our conversation on the topic. Was there something basically wrong with my argument? Comment and let me know.

thechat dojotable
Shawn @shawn 6:01 PM
Dave is the questioner
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:02 PM
Welcome to another episode of
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:02 PM
File Uploaded: ninjadojoBegin.png

We are doing something a little different today
Ok, I am asking the question today it is kind of leading so indulge me. You can use the internet to do whatever you want, but I still want a 20 min time limit.
Shawn @shawn 6:02 PM
to do whatever I want eh
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:03 PM
hahaha
rocketbot @rocketbot 6:03 PM
😬
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:03 PM
yea whatever you want
hahaha how did rocketbot get in
rocketbot @rocketbot 6:03 PM
wooooooowweeeeee
Jonte Jones @jonte.jones 6:03 PM
One-handed typing it is.
typing
Shawn @shawn 6:03 PM
haha
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:03 PM
Ready?
Jonte Jones @jonte.jones 6:03 PM
Yup!
Shawn @shawn 6:04 PM
I suppose
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:04 PM
Neural net mathematics is the mathematics that describes all possible information functions of neurons and neuron like machines and cells.
My first question is if we agree that the functions of neurons describe our entire individual ability to understand the world around us?
Jonte Jones @jonte.jones 6:04 PM
I would agree with that statement.
Shawn @shawn 6:05 PM
Hmm
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:05 PM
hahahah agree or not SHAWN!
timer is ticking
Shawn @shawn 6:05 PM
I'll agree
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:06 PM
My Second question is if we accept neurons as being responsible for our ability to reason and think... and we accept neural net mathematics as the finite description of those functions
Is it possible or likely that there are some functions that cannot be described in neural net mathematics and that those functions might also exist as processes in nature?
Shawn @shawn 6:06 PM
Although often we rely on machines that can feed us information that we can't know with our neural machinery
Jonte Jones @jonte.jones 6:06 PM
But we make sense of those machines with our neural machinery
Shawn @shawn 6:07 PM
That is true - that's why I ultimately agreed
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:07 PM
so if there was a ven diagram
neural net mathematics
and mathematics of the universe
how much do those
overlap
Shawn @shawn 6:08 PM
Should we accept neural net mathematics as a finite description of the functions our neurons have?
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:08 PM
well you can accept that neurons have finite number of functions
Jonte Jones @jonte.jones 6:09 PM
I think the overlap would only occur in relation to human abilities to understand the mathematics of the universe, Neural net mathematics may be insufficient or wholly inappropriate in describing universal process. But they work in allowing US to understand those processes.
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:09 PM
I guess my thought is
if it cannot be explained in some way with neural net mathematics
it cannot be explained or understood by any human
ever
the ultimate barrier to human understanding
is this thought crazy?
rocketbot @rocketbot 6:10 PM
rouff rouff I just learned to love
Shawn @shawn 6:10 PM
I don't think I would support that statement much
Take the Force Learning algorithm as an example
Sussillo and Abbott 2009
Jonte Jones @jonte.jones 6:11 PM
I guess I see neural net mathematics as simply a filter by which we can understand how our brains might process something rather than the mathematics needed to explain non-brain phenomenon.
Shawn @shawn 6:11 PM
They use a network with pretty simple connection paradigm that had been used before but applying different learning rules were able to make the network do much more interesting things more efficiently
I may be misunderstanding the question but neural net math isn't very old
so its a little premature to know if it can adequatley describe the nervous system
or if it is lacking
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:12 PM
I am saying that whether it is known currently or not
Jonte Jones @jonte.jones 6:13 PM
But, correct me in I'm wrong, I think what Dave is getting at is that we need neural net mathematics to help explain how our brains could process this Force Learning algorithim?
rocketbot @rocketbot 6:13 PM
rocketbot not scientist but think you should see doctor
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:13 PM
there is a set of mathematics that describes all neuronal functions
our brains use those functinos
Shawn @shawn 6:14 PM
hmm what do you mean by neuronal function?
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:14 PM
to understand
or even generate
Force Learning algorithm
10 mins gone
hhahahhaha I can see you guys stewing
rocketbot @rocketbot 6:15 PM
😬
Shawn @shawn 6:15 PM
I mean Force learning is a biologically implausible way to teach a network to mimic different patterns of activiity that are then assigned to different outputs - but those are like infinite
but you can have neuronal functions with just 1 neuron right
Jonte Jones @jonte.jones 6:15 PM
I think there is a distinct difference in understanding/knowing how our brains can make sense of concepts and then understanding HOW concepts or phenomenon come about separate from our ability to cognitively process them.
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:16 PM
so @shawn do you believe that your neurons can connect in such a way as to describe any function that can or does exist in the universe
Shawn @shawn 6:16 PM
that is a hard question Dave
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:16 PM
that the ven diagram for neural net math and universe is two completely overlapping circles
Shawn @shawn 6:16 PM
I don't know - I mean there's a lot of big leaps to take to say that
1 is to treat neurons solely as firing rate machiens
which may not be a good assumption with some more work coming out
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:17 PM
do you guys feel it is more plausible that neuralnet math must be some subset
Jonte Jones @jonte.jones 6:17 PM
Hmmm, okay. @dave.pena you rewording that question made me second guess my initial answer.
Shawn @shawn 6:17 PM
I don't know all math
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:17 PM
I am not limiting neuralnet math to what has been described
Shawn @shawn 6:17 PM
it is hard to compare
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:18 PM
I must say that what can be conjured by neurons MUST be all of known math
to humans
to say that isnt the case would mean... that we know something we cannot know
Shawn @shawn 6:18 PM
you're saying that all known math exists because its is restricted by what our neurons can do
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:18 PM
exactly
Shawn @shawn 6:18 PM
but that isn't exactly true becasue there have been some geometric proofs discovered by computers
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:19 PM
if we are able to understand them....
but that may bring me to my last and final question
Jonte Jones @jonte.jones 6:19 PM
I see. So you're excluding the possibility that there could be some alternative, non-human way of wiring brains for them to understand different math or understand current math in entirely different ways?
rocketbot @rocketbot 6:19 PM
woooweeee rocketbot don't know how gang will get out of this humdinger
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:19 PM
My Last Question is if functions that exist in the real world are not intelligble to any human... ever... could there be a machine (Which henceforth will be called the Dave Machine) that predicts the outcome of some real phenomenon but is completely and provably unintelligible to us?
Jonte Jones @jonte.jones 6:20 PM
I think the possibility for such a machine could exist. But I don't think we could consciously make it for that purpose.
It'd have to be something we stumble upon.
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:20 PM
we could run into it
right
or it could be a consequence of some other machine
Shawn @shawn 6:21 PM
I'm not sure that it would happen
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:21 PM
that doesnt rely on neuronal
math exclusively
speculate @shawn
Shawn @shawn 6:22 PM
the real problem with a lot of the real world isn't our inability to describe the dynamics of it
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:22 PM
what about dark matter
Shawn @shawn 6:22 PM
the real problem is the gathering the amount of information you would need to describe it
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:22 PM
and dark energy
Shawn @shawn 6:22 PM
like chaotic systems
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:22 PM
thats us putting a bandaid on space
or random fucking constants
Shawn @shawn 6:23 PM
I mean I don't knwo much about dark matter or energy
Jonte Jones @jonte.jones 6:23 PM
The study of dark matter and dark energy came from us observing real phenomenon that we were already capable of understanding and expanding on it.
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:23 PM
except we could not explain it
Shawn @shawn 6:24 PM
your'e saying these weird constants and needing dark matter to balance the amount of matter in the universe etc is because it could be described by math that we could never comprehend?
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:24 PM
2/2 =1 remainder of 5
Jonte Jones @jonte.jones 6:24 PM
Not yet. But we understood its consequences and extrapolated.
Shawn @shawn 6:24 PM
because of how our brains work
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:24 PM
I am saying it is possible
Shawn @shawn 6:24 PM
it is possible
but so is the opposite
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:25 PM
and we could describe a reasonable barrier to human understanding
Shawn @shawn 6:25 PM
its hard to say things won't change in time
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:25 PM
we know what the line must be
TIME IS UP!!!!
Jonte Jones @jonte.jones 6:25 PM
I think that's my stance. We don't know what we don't/can't know until we encounter it.

Science Dojo Episode 4: Can you absolutely define a limit to human understanding?


thequestion
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:04 PM
Neural net mathematics is the mathematics that describes all possible information functions of neurons and neuron like machines and cells.
My first question is if we agree that the functions of neurons describe our entire individual ability to understand the world around us?
My Second question is if we accept neurons as being responsible for our ability to reason and think... and we accept neural net mathematics as the finite description of those functions.... Is it possible or likely that there are some functions that cannot be described in neural net mathematics and that those functions might also exist as processes in nature?
My Last Question is if functions that exist in the real world are not intelligble to any human... ever... could there be a machine (Which henceforth will be called the Dave Machine) that predicts the outcome of some real phenomenon but is completely and provably unintelligible to us?

theanswer
Dave Pena @dave.pena 
Have you ever wondered what the limit of human ingenuity, intelligence and imagination is? Can we understand everything about the Universe? Is everything explainable?
I’ve mulled this problem over off and on for a few years. Lured a friend or two into a conversation about whether any limit exists for the human mind. Most people I've talked to have felt that ANY problem that is currently unresolved can be solved by some sufficiently intelligent person given the correct context of information to solve the problem; all we need is time for that person to pop into existence.
At face value, I can see why anyone would think this. Look at all that we have built. Look at all the previously "unanswerable" problems that we have solved. There is mountain of everyday evidence that directly suggest there is no problem too large for the human mind. Most conversations end with some form of : “The human brain you see… is the most complex thing in the Universe and therefore capable of anything.”
I am here today, writing this to you, my audience, to attempt to burst that bubble. First, right off the top, the human brain isn’t the most complex brain on planet Earth (see dolphin) and most importantly your brain and therefore your ability to understand is limited by the functions of certain cells located in your nervous system (neurons).
Neurons are the principal cells of the nervous systems. They are amazing cells. If you have a group of them, they start to connect to each other and form synapses (one of a handful of ways neurons can communicate with each other).These groups of connected neurons are called neural networks, and the way they are connected can come to represent common functions for an input signal. A simple example would be that one neuron is activated only if two neurons it is connected to fire. This network of neurons would constitute a simple AND function. In this example, any neuron on its own does not represent the AND function, rather the entire network abstractly represents AND. You get the idea, neural networks can come to represent a huge number of abstract functions. Maybe any function?? Certainly any knowable function. What function can your neural network represent (something that you can know) that is not representable by neural networks? That is a contradiction.
Imagine this for me. Imagine letting an infinite number of arbitrarily numerous groups of neurons (and associated cells, and firing states, if you are a stickler for that sort of thing) connect in arbitrary ways from which you can see all the functions any neural net could ever represent. You write all of those functions and configurations into a huge book and you label that book neural net mathematics.  What is contained in this book?????? YOU! Well you as in the way your brain and every neuron in your body is connected and currently behaving. Every instance of those connections of you, ever, is written inside this book, in fact... every human brain... ever is written in this book... Also every dog brain and bird brain and really any being, ever, that has or will rely on neural nets to process information. The book is admittedly large, but if you believe (Like I do) that the functions of neurons are themselves representing the thoughts and experiences we experience, then, really, this book contains all possible thoughts for any being relying on neural networks to process information around them. How big is this book? Pretty big... maybe if you wrote down all of the functions that are describable in our Universe you might have the same book, but never smaller? You can probably see that any function we add to neural net mathematics, we simultaneously add to our functions of the Universe book. That is, having a neural net function in a Universe that cannot exist in that Universe is a contradiction.
Ok good, now we have defined our great and ultimate limit. No natural human who has ever existed or will ever exist can ever have a thought that is not described by our book which we have labeled neural net mathematics. We also know that the total number of function describable in that book cannot be larger than those describable in the Universe. So if that book of the Universe is ALL the things that there are to know and solve. What we are really asking when we ask if: there is some limit to human ingenuity, is if the section in our book for neural net mathematics labeled human neural nets contains all the functions not only of the neural net mathematics book but also those of the Universe book. My suspicion is that our human brains cannot even perform all of the functions in the neural net mathematics book…  I encourage you to see if you can think like a hammerhead shark using electroreception. Someday, maybe soon… we will describe all the functions a known network can perform and we will have determined the general connectivity of the human brain and other animals. Maybe on that day we find out we are missing a couple capabilities and therefore functions that other animals have, and they are missing a few of ours. Now take those deficits and multiply them across all that is possible in the Universe. You might, like I do, feel genuinely foolish at having ever believed it possible for humans to completely describe the universe.
Is there a limit to human ingenuity, intelligence and imagination? Yes, definitely. Can we understand everything about the Universe? Probably, not. Is everything explainable? Laughable, but enjoy our conversation on the topic. Was there something basically wrong with my argument? Comment and let me know.

thechat dojotable
Shawn @shawn 6:01 PM
Dave is the questioner
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:02 PM
Welcome to another episode of
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:02 PM
File Uploaded: ninjadojoBegin.png

We are doing something a little different today
Ok, I am asking the question today it is kind of leading so indulge me. You can use the internet to do whatever you want, but I still want a 20 min time limit.
Shawn @shawn 6:02 PM
to do whatever I want eh
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:03 PM
hahaha
rocketbot @rocketbot 6:03 PM
😬
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:03 PM
yea whatever you want
hahaha how did rocketbot get in
rocketbot @rocketbot 6:03 PM
wooooooowweeeeee
Jonte Jones @jonte.jones 6:03 PM
One-handed typing it is.
typing
Shawn @shawn 6:03 PM
haha
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:03 PM
Ready?
Jonte Jones @jonte.jones 6:03 PM
Yup!
Shawn @shawn 6:04 PM
I suppose
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:04 PM
Neural net mathematics is the mathematics that describes all possible information functions of neurons and neuron like machines and cells.
My first question is if we agree that the functions of neurons describe our entire individual ability to understand the world around us?
Jonte Jones @jonte.jones 6:04 PM
I would agree with that statement.
Shawn @shawn 6:05 PM
Hmm
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:05 PM
hahahah agree or not SHAWN!
timer is ticking
Shawn @shawn 6:05 PM
I'll agree
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:06 PM
My Second question is if we accept neurons as being responsible for our ability to reason and think... and we accept neural net mathematics as the finite description of those functions
Is it possible or likely that there are some functions that cannot be described in neural net mathematics and that those functions might also exist as processes in nature?
Shawn @shawn 6:06 PM
Although often we rely on machines that can feed us information that we can't know with our neural machinery
Jonte Jones @jonte.jones 6:06 PM
But we make sense of those machines with our neural machinery
Shawn @shawn 6:07 PM
That is true - that's why I ultimately agreed
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:07 PM
so if there was a ven diagram
neural net mathematics
and mathematics of the universe
how much do those
overlap
Shawn @shawn 6:08 PM
Should we accept neural net mathematics as a finite description of the functions our neurons have?
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:08 PM
well you can accept that neurons have finite number of functions
Jonte Jones @jonte.jones 6:09 PM
I think the overlap would only occur in relation to human abilities to understand the mathematics of the universe, Neural net mathematics may be insufficient or wholly inappropriate in describing universal process. But they work in allowing US to understand those processes.
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:09 PM
I guess my thought is
if it cannot be explained in some way with neural net mathematics
it cannot be explained or understood by any human
ever
the ultimate barrier to human understanding
is this thought crazy?
rocketbot @rocketbot 6:10 PM
rouff rouff I just learned to love
Shawn @shawn 6:10 PM
I don't think I would support that statement much
Take the Force Learning algorithm as an example
Sussillo and Abbott 2009
Jonte Jones @jonte.jones 6:11 PM
I guess I see neural net mathematics as simply a filter by which we can understand how our brains might process something rather than the mathematics needed to explain non-brain phenomenon.
Shawn @shawn 6:11 PM
They use a network with pretty simple connection paradigm that had been used before but applying different learning rules were able to make the network do much more interesting things more efficiently
I may be misunderstanding the question but neural net math isn't very old
so its a little premature to know if it can adequatley describe the nervous system
or if it is lacking
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:12 PM
I am saying that whether it is known currently or not
Jonte Jones @jonte.jones 6:13 PM
But, correct me in I'm wrong, I think what Dave is getting at is that we need neural net mathematics to help explain how our brains could process this Force Learning algorithim?
rocketbot @rocketbot 6:13 PM
rocketbot not scientist but think you should see doctor
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:13 PM
there is a set of mathematics that describes all neuronal functions
our brains use those functinos
Shawn @shawn 6:14 PM
hmm what do you mean by neuronal function?
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:14 PM
to understand
or even generate
Force Learning algorithm
10 mins gone
hhahahhaha I can see you guys stewing
rocketbot @rocketbot 6:15 PM
😬
Shawn @shawn 6:15 PM
I mean Force learning is a biologically implausible way to teach a network to mimic different patterns of activiity that are then assigned to different outputs - but those are like infinite
but you can have neuronal functions with just 1 neuron right
Jonte Jones @jonte.jones 6:15 PM
I think there is a distinct difference in understanding/knowing how our brains can make sense of concepts and then understanding HOW concepts or phenomenon come about separate from our ability to cognitively process them.
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:16 PM
so @shawn do you believe that your neurons can connect in such a way as to describe any function that can or does exist in the universe
Shawn @shawn 6:16 PM
that is a hard question Dave
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:16 PM
that the ven diagram for neural net math and universe is two completely overlapping circles
Shawn @shawn 6:16 PM
I don't know - I mean there's a lot of big leaps to take to say that
1 is to treat neurons solely as firing rate machiens
which may not be a good assumption with some more work coming out
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:17 PM
do you guys feel it is more plausible that neuralnet math must be some subset
Jonte Jones @jonte.jones 6:17 PM
Hmmm, okay. @dave.pena you rewording that question made me second guess my initial answer.
Shawn @shawn 6:17 PM
I don't know all math
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:17 PM
I am not limiting neuralnet math to what has been described
Shawn @shawn 6:17 PM
it is hard to compare
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:18 PM
I must say that what can be conjured by neurons MUST be all of known math
to humans
to say that isnt the case would mean... that we know something we cannot know
Shawn @shawn 6:18 PM
you're saying that all known math exists because its is restricted by what our neurons can do
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:18 PM
exactly
Shawn @shawn 6:18 PM
but that isn't exactly true becasue there have been some geometric proofs discovered by computers
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:19 PM
if we are able to understand them....
but that may bring me to my last and final question
Jonte Jones @jonte.jones 6:19 PM
I see. So you're excluding the possibility that there could be some alternative, non-human way of wiring brains for them to understand different math or understand current math in entirely different ways?
rocketbot @rocketbot 6:19 PM
woooweeee rocketbot don't know how gang will get out of this humdinger
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:19 PM
My Last Question is if functions that exist in the real world are not intelligble to any human... ever... could there be a machine (Which henceforth will be called the Dave Machine) that predicts the outcome of some real phenomenon but is completely and provably unintelligible to us?
Jonte Jones @jonte.jones 6:20 PM
I think the possibility for such a machine could exist. But I don't think we could consciously make it for that purpose.
It'd have to be something we stumble upon.
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:20 PM
we could run into it
right
or it could be a consequence of some other machine
Shawn @shawn 6:21 PM
I'm not sure that it would happen
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:21 PM
that doesnt rely on neuronal
math exclusively
speculate @shawn
Shawn @shawn 6:22 PM
the real problem with a lot of the real world isn't our inability to describe the dynamics of it
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:22 PM
what about dark matter
Shawn @shawn 6:22 PM
the real problem is the gathering the amount of information you would need to describe it
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:22 PM
and dark energy
Shawn @shawn 6:22 PM
like chaotic systems
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:22 PM
thats us putting a bandaid on space
or random fucking constants
Shawn @shawn 6:23 PM
I mean I don't knwo much about dark matter or energy
Jonte Jones @jonte.jones 6:23 PM
The study of dark matter and dark energy came from us observing real phenomenon that we were already capable of understanding and expanding on it.
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:23 PM
except we could not explain it
Shawn @shawn 6:24 PM
your'e saying these weird constants and needing dark matter to balance the amount of matter in the universe etc is because it could be described by math that we could never comprehend?
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:24 PM
2/2 =1 remainder of 5
Jonte Jones @jonte.jones 6:24 PM
Not yet. But we understood its consequences and extrapolated.
Shawn @shawn 6:24 PM
because of how our brains work
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:24 PM
I am saying it is possible
Shawn @shawn 6:24 PM
it is possible
but so is the opposite
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:25 PM
and we could describe a reasonable barrier to human understanding
Shawn @shawn 6:25 PM
its hard to say things won't change in time
Dave Pena @dave.pena 6:25 PM
we know what the line must be
TIME IS UP!!!!
Jonte Jones @jonte.jones 6:25 PM
I think that's my stance. We don't know what we don't/can't know until we encounter it.
    • ED
    • January 10, 2017
    Reply

    Thank for this thought-provoking post. It is a very interesting mental exercise. While we, as humans, emphatically want to believe that we can understand everything in the universe given enough time, you have logically shown that there are things in the universe that are impossible for us to understand. From your argument, I can see that this would be true today, but I do not believe this logic extends into infinity. That is, given enough time, human neural functions may evolve and this evolution may result in additional neural functions. These evolved neural function may enable us to understand parts of the universe that we previously could not. Therefore, infinite time might allow us to understand the universe.

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