In search of infinity
The other day I was sitting idly at my computer, slowly absorbing information from the wired through the usual channels. Sometimes certain word fragments and ideas have a mental "stickiness" that refuses to leave you, a hominid trap made from epistemology. Today's trap was the concept that (and I'm paraphrasing here) "In cybernetics, ultimately everything either falls back to equilibrium or runs away to infinity. Everything else is unstable". This thought hung around, like a lonely uncle at Christmas dinner. Something about the absolute nature of the statement struck me. As cybernetics is the study of regulatory systems, I thought I'd apply this concept to some complex systems that I am familiar with. Civilisation at the moment is certainly humming along at equilibrium. But what if it wasn't? What could cause civilisation to run away to infinity? Potentially a self-improving AGI of the kind people get all scared about this could catapult civilisation into evermore increasing levels of technological aptitude. But is this technological runaway really stable? Now there's a thing called the Second Law of thermodynamics
which states that entropy increases over time. If you take it to it's logical conclusion, you get things like the inevitable heat death of the universe. I'm going to bridge these two concepts and say if our little hypothesis is right, an AGI could help us potentially transcend the fundamental laws of our universe.
The basic human need to be watched was once satisfied by God. Now, the same functionality can be replicated with data-mining algorithms. - Morpheus (Deus Ex)