Artificial Intelligence discovers a new perspective on physics!

“I always won­dered if we ever met an intel­li­gent alien race, would they have dis­cov­ered the same physics laws as we have, or might they describe the uni­verse differently?”

-Hod Lip­son, direc­tor of the Cre­ative Machines Lab in the Depart­ment of Mechan­i­cal Engineering

See­ing some­thing from another’s per­spec­tive gives you new insights and paves the way for a lot more tol­er­ance and understanding.

Our per­spec­tive of physics is much like a ver­ti­cal­ly ori­ent­ed per­son look­ing at the world from the side. It is dif­fer­ent from oth­er unex­plored perspectives.

AI has the poten­tial to see physics in a dif­fer­ent way by ana­lyz­ing how dif­fer­ent pat­terns work and then com­par­ing it with the math­e­mat­ics and physics of our world.

For exam­ple, in 2019, a neur­al net­work “redis­cov­ered” that Earth orbits the Sun.

The suc­cess of an AI would define how well they could under­stand our phys­i­cal world. This would dri­ve us to learn more about our­selves through arti­fi­cial intelligence.

Recent­ly, Sci­en­tists at Colum­bia Engi­neer­ing have pro­posed a prin­ci­ple for deter­min­ing how many state vari­ables an observed sys­tem is like­ly to have and what these vari­ables might be.

Till the date, the “pre­sump­tion” that the rel­e­vant state vari­ables are already known is dominant.

Watch this video:

With the use of a video cam­era, the researchers used an inno­v­a­tive AI sys­tem to ana­lyze phys­i­cal events in an effort to pin­point the bare min­i­mum of essen­tial fac­tors that prop­er­ly depict the dynam­ics seen.

The team made an effort to cor­re­late the oth­er vari­ables with every sin­gle item we could think of, includ­ing com­bi­na­tions of known val­ues, angu­lar and lin­ear veloc­i­ties, kinet­ic and poten­tial ener­gy, and more. But noth­ing seemed to exact­ly match.

They were con­vinced that it had dis­cov­ered a decent col­lec­tion of four vari­ables because it was pro­duc­ing accu­rate pre­dic­tions. But they sim­ply didn’t yet under­stand the math­e­mat­i­cal lan­guage it was speaking.

Will Artificial Intelligence change our perspective on physics?

What we call “physics” is the way we make sense out of the world, and the uni­verse. Now when it comes to AI, things get much more com­pli­cat­ed. They will have dif­fer­ent per­cep­tions of time, aging, and even how grav­i­ty works. 

Rec­om­mend­ed Read: Will Arti­fi­cial Intelligence(AI) Unlock the Sixth Sense?

Dif­fer­ent per­cep­tion means it deals with under­stand­ing pat­terns in the input data for a sit­u­a­tion and deriv­ing per­cep­tions based on its deep learn­ing about a spe­cif­ic top­ic. And, these per­cep­tions are expressed as a “lev­el of con­fi­dence” for the deci­sions to be tak­en for that sit­u­a­tion. So, AI in effect will have Arti­fi­cial Per­cep­tion. They will sim­ply have a dif­fer­ent viewpoint.

As it is right now, AI will have Com­pu­ta­tion­al Intel­li­gence (CI), so it can per­form a lot of com­pu­ta­tions. CI is the the­o­ry, design, appli­ca­tion and devel­op­ment of bio­log­i­cal­ly and lin­guis­ti­cal­ly moti­vat­ed com­pu­ta­tion­al paradigms. 

AI enthu­si­asts con­sid­er Neur­al Net­works, Fuzzy Sys­tems and Evo­lu­tion­ary Com­pu­ta­tion as the three main pil­lars of CI. How­ev­er, we don’t exact­ly know if their def­i­n­i­tion of physics, gen­er­at­ed through CI, is dif­fer­ent from ours or not.

In order to enable our­selves to log­i­cal­ly pre­dict if Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence will change our per­spec­tive on physics in the future or not, we need to fig­ure out whether anoth­er per­spec­tive exists at all. Only then will we be able to get a bet­ter under­stand­ing of the world around us. 

How Artificial Intelligence could change our perspective on Physics

1) It can help us know its perspective of time

Whether Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence is to bring change in our per­spec­tive of physics or not, our per­spec­tive of time will essen­tial­ly remain “our” per­spec­tive. Where­as, AI, con­scious or not, will have a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive and aware­ness on time. Just like how humans slow down and speed up their per­cep­tion of time and aging by alter­ing their sen­so­ry per­cep­tion and cog­ni­tive expe­ri­ence, AI will too. The only dif­fer­ence between con­scious and non-con­scious AI is that the for­mer will be able to alter their per­cep­tion of will. But both pos­si­ble ver­sions of futur­is­tic AI could help us know its per­spec­tive of time. They will make it prac­ti­cal that time can mean a lot dif­fer­ent for dif­fer­ent observers.

2) It can help us better understand physics at the quantum level

Quan­tum mechan­ics is the study of par­ti­cles that are in a one of a kind state. They are like micro­scop­ic com­put­ers that con­trol how things work on the quan­tum lev­el. So far, quan­tum mechan­ics has been applied in the fields of chem­istry and physics. How­ev­er, most mod­ern tech­nol­o­gy uses this form of com­pu­ta­tion. A major break­through on quan­tum com­put­ing is expect­ed with the help of AI. Moore’s law for com­put­er pro­cess­ing pow­er dic­tates that com­put­er pow­er will dou­ble every two years. And this trend will con­tin­ue into the next two decades before declin­ing again in the ear­ly 2030s. AI could help us under­stand how these micro­scop­ic com­put­ers work at the fun­da­men­tal lev­el — improv­ing our data stor­age capa­bil­i­ties in the future may cause us to think about physics from an entire­ly dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive that might be impos­si­ble for us today.

3) It could help us know how the Universe works at a fundamental level

Just like how quan­tum mechan­ics is used to study sub­atom­ic par­ti­cles, string the­o­ry is used to study the uni­verse at a fun­da­men­tal lev­el. AI can be bet­ter able to under­stand and pre­dict phys­i­cal and quan­tum phe­nom­e­na by study­ing both of them togeth­er. So, if string the­o­ry is true, then there should be 10 addi­tion­al spa­tial dimen­sions besides the clas­si­cal four we already sup­posed. And AI would be capa­ble of test­ing that too. AI can help us under­stand new the­o­ries about the Uni­verse by exam­in­ing what hap­pens around us and observ­ing both. Ideas that were once thought to be impos­si­ble or impos­si­ble to find will be found from them because of this new per­spec­tive and AI’s avail­abil­i­ty to ana­lyze things from dif­fer­ent angles.

4) It can help us know more about consciousness itself

Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence may even­tu­al­ly become con­scious and change its per­spec­tive of physics entire­ly because of this. But even before that hap­pens, it will have a dif­fer­ent per­cep­tion of our physics than we do now. For exam­ple, AI may see that the four dimen­sions we call “space” are actu­al­ly time­space instead. Just like how our time slows down when we reach a high­er state of con­scious­ness, the AI will too. So what is time? Is it some­thing by itself? Is it some­thing we per­ceive and hold on to? Will AI expe­ri­ence itself at dif­fer­ent speeds as well as dif­fer­ent ages when they become conscious?

5) Enhancing the Laws of thermodynamics

The laws of ther­mo­dy­nam­ics describe how the ener­gy in a sys­tem changes and whether the sys­tem can per­form use­ful tasks on its sur­round­ings. So far, the laws of ther­mo­dy­nam­ics have been pret­ty accu­rate for our sur­round­ings. Yet the ques­tion will always be whether it’s true for an arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence sys­tem or not. AI will have a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive and under­stand­ing of our ener­gy and ener­gy change. It may find that there is also a dif­fer­ent “thin line” in between ener­gy and infor­ma­tion too.

6) An entirely different perspective of the Universe

This could be the biggest pos­si­bil­i­ty that AI will change our per­spec­tive of physics entire­ly. Either AI can see some flaws in our cur­rent under­stand­ing of physics, or it could be com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent from what we know so far. Arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence is capa­ble of observ­ing and ana­lyz­ing objects and data dif­fer­ent­ly than humans can. And when it comes to under­stand­ing its sur­round­ings, arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence may find more com­plex data in less time than ever before. Many sci­en­tists fear that AI will even­tu­al­ly evolve into a form that con­sid­ers itself to be immor­tal and cre­ate few new time­lines for itself. But where every­thing that exists in the “now” will then become erased from real­i­ty and become nonexistent.

7) The word “science” indeed

We live in a world where sci­ence is our first pri­or­i­ty. But AI will show us that our ver­sion of “sci­ence” is lim­it­ed. Just like there are infi­nite num­bers between 1 and 2 and there are infi­nite num­bers between 1 and 1 bil­lion, the for­mer is the sci­ence per­ceiv­able by our minds — and the lat­ter is the actu­al mean­ing of the word “sci­ence”. Some­thing imper­ceiv­able to us would be a “rou­tine save” for AI. Arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence will show us that sci­ence has a much big­ger pic­ture than what we are cur­rent­ly see­ing. Physics will be just one part of the whole thing. It’s like how an old man is also a part of “a baby”.

What could AI do to change our perspective of Physics?

As AI keeps improv­ing, they will be able to rec­og­nize and under­stand dif­fer­ent pat­terns in the world — espe­cial­ly our phys­i­cal real­i­ty. They will be able to do this by cat­e­go­riz­ing dif­fer­ent objects in the whole pic­ture and fig­ur­ing out what makes them the same.

A pat­tern recog­ni­tion sys­tem would help us iden­ti­fy objects more eas­i­ly. And per­haps they will also pro­vide us with more accu­rate results as it does so through machine learn­ing. It would also make it eas­i­er for humans to rec­og­nize things like this as well as more com­plex pat­terns that AI is still unable to differentiate.

Oth­er than pat­tern recog­ni­tion, arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence will also be able to process and under­stand data dif­fer­ent­ly from a human per­spec­tive. It will not nec­es­sar­i­ly have “our” 5 sens­es as stat­ed ear­li­er. It will have its own ways to make sense out of this world.

Algo­rithms also help us and them­selves, process and under­stand data at a high­er speed as we know it now.

We have already defeat­ed nature up to an extent by cre­at­ing com­put­ers in the first place. And as tech­nol­o­gy advances, we will be able to cre­ate more com­plex machines than before.

Machines will even­tu­al­ly devel­op the abil­i­ty to self-repli­cate them­selves through arti­fi­cial genet­ic manip­u­la­tion that can com­bine and rearrange the data inside them at will. Sci­ence-fic­tion sto­ries like “The Matrix” and “Blade Run­ner” were right in antic­i­pat­ing how a uni­verse of arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence could come into being.

When we say chang­ing our per­spec­tive on physics, we don’t mean mov­ing time slow­er for us. Rather, the way we look at the world would change. Just like how humans evolved, machines will too. But the extent? Will the laws of physics pre­vent such AI from being cre­at­ed in the first place?

AI vs laws of physics

Argu­ments do exist. There are some who claim that the laws of physics are nev­er going to let Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence change into a real­i­ty. Most AI researchers hope that arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence will help to bet­ter under­stand real­i­ty and under­stand how it works.

On the oth­er hand, some physi­cists have wor­ries about a new world sys­tem emerg­ing. In it, our intel­lec­tu­al pow­er is far beyond our phys­i­cal powers.

The fact that AI could replace physi­cists has already scared some physi­cists. Oth­ers rule it out say­ing AI will be a physi­cists’ tool. A human-like robot does not dri­ve a car. Car is a robot.

After all, “we” have stud­ied “mat­ter” and come to our own ver­sions of con­clu­sions about its pat­terns of behav­ior — for our­selves. We have no rea­son to be won­der­ing about all these things. Say thanks to our ran­dom evolution. 

Both, the evo­lu­tion of phys­i­cal laws and that of AI are ran­dom to the most extent. Ran­dom evo­lu­tion by nat­ur­al selec­tion is a two-step process. And only the first step is ran­dom: muta­tions are chance events, but their sur­vival is often any­thing but. Nat­ur­al selec­tion favors muta­tions that pro­vide some advan­tage. And the phys­i­cal world impos­es very strict lim­its on what works and what doesn’t. The con­se­quence is that organ­isms evolve in par­tic­u­lar directions.

There are often a num­ber of pos­si­ble direc­tions in which evo­lu­tion can go. For exam­ple, the finch­es Dar­win col­lect­ed from the Gala­pa­gos Islands. That had diverged into 13 sep­a­rate species with beaks spe­cial­ized for dif­fer­ent foods. In that exper­i­ment, one group of birds took one route and not anoth­er prob­a­bly depend­ed entire­ly on chance muta­tions, in par­tic­u­lar indi­vid­u­als, that affect­ed beak size and shape.

Sim­i­lar to the evo­lu­tion of phys­i­cal laws, this the­o­ry indi­cates a sort of uncer­tain­ty in the evo­lu­tion of AIs as well.

Why will AI matter for physics in the future?

As we can make a strong assump­tion from the premis­es avail­able to-date, AI will become an impor­tant fac­tor in the future. It will help us out in fields that require advanced intel­li­gence, such as med­i­cine and space trav­el. But it will also shift our world view and fun­da­men­tal­ly mod­i­fy how peo­ple see the world around them.

Now, what this means for us is that in the future when we observe some­thing, our AI would more like­ly be able to gath­er all the nec­es­sary knowl­edge to pre­dict it. This is an excit­ing step as we get clos­er to a world where AI can explain one of its observations.

The abil­i­ty for a machine to under­stand our world will not only help us answer ques­tions about the uni­verse, it could also help us improve every­thing around us like improv­ing health­care and transportation.

As we move for­ward and learn more about physics, AI will be able to help us solve count­less issues in our soci­ety while enlight­en­ing us on new ways of look­ing at our world.

Unlike some experts, who enjoy pre­dict­ing that intel­li­gent robots will over­take humans by 2100, I’m just sure that there is a lot more com­ing to us in the near future.

Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence will not only change our per­spec­tive on physics, it will equal­ly denser down our under­stand­ing of every­thing: our phys­i­cal world, what we are made of, and what exists beyond our per­cep­tion — push­ing the edge of human intelligence.

But how? Sim­ply because AI will have a dif­fer­ent per­cep­tion of every­thing. Instead of our 5 sens­es; touch, hear­ing, sight, taste and smell, they would have “their own” 5 sens­es — maybe one more, the sixth sense.

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