Everything is digital

John K Clark (johnkc@well.com)
Sat, 7 Mar 1998 10:54:45 -0800 (PST)


On Tue, 3 Mar 1998 Reilly Jones <Reilly@compuserve.com> Wrote:

>And just who would be granting said moral standing to such entities?
>I would grant future AIs with a majority of analog components, I
>just won't grant that anything purely digital could ever be

What somebody does is more important than how they do it. Decreeing the moral
superiority of analog over digital is as arbitrary as claiming that white
skin is good and black skin is bad. Besides, the question is probably moot.

>consciousness must access the entire universe, not just 50% of it.

I have no idea where you got that figure but I have a very strong hunch that
everything is digital. We already know that English is digital (26) so are
the letters in the genetic code (4) the number of natural elements is
digital (92) and the speed light can move at in a vacuum (1). Spin is digital,
so is the quantity of electric charge (1/3e), and the type of electric charge
(2), and baryon number, and electron family number, and muon family number,
and magnetic moment, and parity, and the number (6) of different types of
quarks, and the number (3) of "color" charges that quarks come in.

Polarization is digital. Pick a direction at random, and for any photon of
unknown polarization there are only 2 choices, it must be polarized in that
direction or at right angles to it. If it makes it through your polarization
filter, it could make it through a thousand set in the same direction, and so
could any twin photon correlated with it. If it doesn't make it through then
the photon was polarized at right angles to the polarization filter, as can
be proven by the correlated photon.

Even space and time are probably digital. Today's Physics can tell us nothing
about what happens when time gets smaller than The Plank Time of 5.4 * 10^-44
second or distance gets smaller than The Plank Length of 10^-33 cm, photons
of that wavelength are so small and have so much energy that they become
Black Holes, and Black Holes contain a singularity. We had no choice, we've
already made a defacto quantization of space-time. However, I admit we can't
be certain that it's for real, because at these very small distances Quantum
Mechanics and General Relativity are not compatible, so obviously the last
word has not been spoken. We need a quantum theory of gravity before we can
know for sure.
John K Clark johnkc@well.com

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