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The Biggest Questions in Science Today.

 
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peter
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2020 8:49 am    Post subject: The Biggest Questions in Science Today. Reply with quote

Always a good one this. What do you guys think are the biggest questions that science currently has to grapple with. At a guess I'd say that the reconciliation of quantum mechanics with gravitational theory - the fabled 'unified field theory' - has, still, to be the Everest of scientific questions, but aside from this (or contradict me on this one if you like) what else do we have.

I'd think that the understanding of human consciousness would have to be up there - the nature of thought in relation to the physical matter of the brain (I mean, what the f*** is it?). And quantum computing/AI as well; But these are the big things. At a slightly smaller, more disciplinary level, what do we have? Any ideas? I'd be interested to learn your thoughts on this.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2020 10:51 pm    Post subject: Re: The Biggest Questions in Science Today. Reply with quote

peter wrote:
I'd think that the understanding of human consciousness would have to be up there


We used to think that when computers got powerful or fast enough they would just develop thought on their own, but recent developments in AI have shown that's not correct. In fact, self-awareness is something that has to be structurally built in.

Sure, an iterative AI that adapted its own structure in an evolutionary manner could do so, but the way we're currently building and using AIs for deep learning it's just not going to happen.

Now, what exactly the structure is that allows it, is a pretty interesting question...
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2020 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was very interested to read that a new and very powerful class of antibiotic has been developed by a deep learning AI system, fed with all of the relevant information and then given the task of developing a novel product.

Under test, it appears that the new products were able to kill numbers of the currently multi-resistant strains of bacteria that conventional antibiotics can no longer handle. This, I think, gives us some idea of just how far and fast we are going in the field of AI.

Not sure to what extent deep learning mimics the thinking process of us humans - but it somehow seems natural to assume it does. But another question on similar lines - how will we know when a computer is thinking, becomes sentient if that is the same thing? Will we adopt the policy that we do with all other humans (and to a lesser degree animals) that if it looks like an elephant, sounds like an elephant, it is an elephant!
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2020 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In physics, the questions relating to dark matter and energy must be up there with the biggest. I mean, that eighty percent of the mass and energy of the universe remains hidden from us in some form, we know not what, has to be something of a concern doesn't it?
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2020 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, the Dark Matter one is fun. I think there was some research lately suggesting it's essentially just interstellar dust. I'll see if I can dig it up...
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2020 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, never mind! The last two weeks have been surprisingly active on the Dark Matter front.

Scientists shed light on mystery of dark matter
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2020 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow! I'm struggling to grasp the idea of a particle that neither absorbs, reflects or emits light; what does it do with it then? Nothing I guess. Is this D-Star hexaparticle such a particle then? Is an Bose-Einstein condensate such a ........thing?

Sounds like these guys might be onto something!
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