Thursday, October 13, 2016

Stephen Hawkings The Meaning of Life (John Conway's Game of Life segment)

back in the nineteen seventies an unexpected breakthrough was made by a
mathematician named John Conway here in Cambridge
he devised something called the game of life
a simple simulation that shows how a complex thing like the mind might come
about from a basic set of rules
the simulation consists of a grid a bit like a chessboard extending infinitely
in all directions
each square of the grid
can either be lit up which he called alive or dark which he called yet
whether a given square is dead or alive
depends on what is happening in the eight other squares that surrounded
for example if a living square like this one has no living squares nearby
the rules say will die of loneliness
if a living square is surrounded by more than three other living squares the
square will also guide of overcrowding
but if a dead square is surrounded by three living squares
it becomes lit for his book
once you set an initial state of living squares and let the simulation run these
simple laws determine what happens in the future
the results are surprising
as the program progresses shapes appear and disappear spontaneously
collections of shapes move across the GRIK bouncing off one another
there are whole kinds of objects species that interim some can even reproduce
just as life does in the real world
these complex properties emerged from simple those that contain no concepts
like movement or reproduction
it's possible to imagine that something like the game of life with only a few
basic laws might produce highly complex features
perhaps even intelligence
it might take a grid with many billions of squares but that's not surprising
we have many hundreds of billions of cells in our brains