Author Topic: Mobi's blog  (Read 5172 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline mobius

  • Posts: 2255
  • inactive; PM with questions
    • View Profile
Re: Mobi's blog
« Reply #30 on: June 15, 2018, 02:50:24 am »
PHILOSOPHY 407 WITH PROFESSOR(HOBO) MOBIUS

I will get back to the biblical reviews but first I had some other ideas I wanted to lay out;

chance = ignorance

This begins a series (which I probably won't finish) I've been wanting to do for a while explaining my personal philosophies on life. It's kind of necessary to discuss things in a certain order however, starting with the simpler concepts so the more complicated ones can be understood. I may do research but not much (which means I’ll probably do a lot). These are intended to be thought experiments without getting too technical. Some of these things at least at the beginning may seem very simple but it will get more complicated as we go along.

I begin this by making entries each of which will focus on a concept. I explain my stance on these concepts and how I think they relate to us as humans or human society and separately to the physical universe. A few terms I will be using (possibly abusing but I don’t care);
immaterial: means lacking relevance or importance; not made of matter, not physically real.
abstract: for the purpose of this blog, an “abstract” is a creation of the human mind. It’s a word or set of phrases with meaning, but it’s more than that; it describes and relates to many layers and structures in the mind. Abstracts however have no meaning what-so-ever without a human in the picture. A quick example is the word “tree”. Trees exist without people there to see them, but the word itself means nothing to the tree without humans. Trees don’t talk like us; trees have been around for thousands of years before we started speaking “tree” and likely could exist for thousands more if we disappeared.

Today I will attempt to define a deceptively simple concept: Chance and randomness.  What is it?

If you roll an ordinary 6 sided die; what is the outcome? Is it random?

You'd probably say definitively: "yes"

But let's look at it more closely;
You may say "I don't know the outcome" or its "one of 6 possible outcomes." We can calculate with probability a more detailed answer. But we cannot say with certainty what the outcome will be. So, the statement “I don’t know” still holds true. It is still uncertain, even if uncertain within a limited boundary. We call this outcome "random".
But what if we could know?
What if we could calculate exactly how the die will roll and where it will land? If we knew or could somehow predict the exact motions of your arm, the die, the table it rolls on etc... it's conceivable that we could know what the outcome would be with every roll. Whether or not this is realistic is immaterial. The point is that: in this exercise; I can know with exact certainty the outcome 
Would you call this random?
Since you know what the answer is going to be, we say no. Because there is a pattern, or there is "order".

Take now the example of computer games and programs; when programming a game where you want a random element (like dice rolling). Since the computer programmer is dictating in a very direct and precise manner how this game works (inherently this is how programming works for the most part); they necessarily calculate everything with 100% (or as close as they can to that) accuracy. It's (as far as I know atm) impossible to create a 'true' random program, hence the name 'pseudo-random'. What is usually created is an algorithm with a huge number of 'seeds' which generate many different patterns so complex an ordinary person cannot predict them on their own.
Another simpler way of getting this randomness is to simply remove yourself from the deciding process. Example: pick up a menu and pick a food item at random. What do you usually do? Close your eyes and put your finger down on a random spot. You've eliminated your vision so your hand was less guided. If you couldn’t limit your senses you’d have a very difficult time *not* making a conscious decision and feeling honest with yourself as calling it random.
So, going back to the original question: what is randomness?
It appears that if we have answers, have knowledge and can predict or understand outcomes, we don't call it random. If we lack knowledge or understanding or simply remove ourselves from understanding the whole picture; the result is we don't know how the outcome was arrived at, thus we call this outcome random or chance.
Thus in my opinion, chance and ignorance are essentially one and the same. Randomness is an abstract; a mental construct we use to 'explain away' our ignorance of the matter at hand. Randomness is immaterial to the universe.
'It is better to travel well than to arrive.'
-Buddha



soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/a-tax-980147606/raindrops
deviant art: http://rhubarb338.deviantart.com/

Offline Simon

  • Administrator
  • Posts: 2528
    • View Profile
    • Lix
Re: Mobi's blog
« Reply #31 on: June 15, 2018, 03:20:57 am »
For game programming, pseudorandomness with seeded algorithm is unpredictable enough.

If security matters, you can buy stronger randomness. Random.org takes it from atmospheric noise (weather measurements) and even better would be atomic decay, that's as random as you can get.

Quote
It appears that if we have answers, have knowledge and can predict or understand outcomes, we don't call it random. If we lack knowledge or understanding or simply remove ourselves from understanding the whole picture; the result is we don't know how the outcome was arrived at, thus we call this outcome random or chance.

Who is "we"? Many say that atomic decay is random. Some say that Downward Reduction is random, but I claim that learning some principles gives a huge edge on Downward Reduction.

-- Simon
« Last Edit: June 15, 2018, 03:32:37 am by Simon »