Sabine Hossenfelder on Chiara Marletto

here http://nautil.us/blog/the-end-of-reductionism-could-be-nigh-or-not?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication

Chiara Marletto worked with David Deutsch on Constructor Theory https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructor_theory ” a new mode of explanation in fundamental physics, first sketched out by David Deutsch, a quantum physicist at the University of Oxford, in 2012.[1][2] Constructor theory expresses physical laws exclusively in terms of what physical transformations, or tasks, are possible versus which are impossible, and why”

Marletto’s book is indeed titled “The Science of Can and Can’t” it’s about the role of counterfactuals in fostering science growth, It’s about method and so Sabine is on it. I was actually wondering ether I should read Marletto’s book now it is on the list, maybe not

Sabine’s definition of emergence “I have, above, used emergent to mean a property of a composite system that can be derived from the laws of the system’s constituents, but which doesn’t make sense on the level of constituents. Conductivity, for example, is a property of materials, but it makes no sense for individual electrons. Temperature is another example. Waves in water, cyclones, the capacity to self-reproduce—these are all emergent properties.” Thiis is Weak Emergence defintion, the strong one would imply that the emergent propertieds cannot be derivied from the laws of its components at all “There is no known example in the real world for strong emergence (which is why physicists normally use the word “emergence” as synonym for “weak emergence”)”

Plagues and people

30 years before Guns, Germs and Steel, The Fates of Human Societies studied based on agriculture, geography and germs, I was saying 30 years before there was another attempt at a grand narration based on Germs, Plagues and People by William H. McNeill in 1976.

Here the destiny of mankind is seen trapped between microparasites like bugs, viruses etc and the macroparasitism of states and political power. And the 2 things are related in the sense that where you get less bugs you also get more central government, proof is, once we got Covid the government started giving us money for nothing

Anyway I got to know it reading this book review on ACX, go there if you are curious and want to know more, great review https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/your-book-review-plagues-and-peoples

Quantum experiments

experiments that show the otherworldly character of quantum physics, someone would call it also manyworldly

Two-slit ecperiment (conigli di schroedinger ?)

Interferometro di Mach-Zehnder (beginning of infiniti Deutsch, but also https://it.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interferometro_di_Mach-Zehnder#

kw: interference experiments -> link: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05892-6 Two slits and one hell of a quantum conundrum, book by Philip Ball

Renewables, more like Internet than Oil&Gas

Renewable energy behaves more like Telecom/Internet than Oil&Gas, economics-wise, taking into account sourcing and transportation.

Oil&Gas is about exploration, find an oil field and your paramount problem is shipping the oil to the market, provided there is a market. Imagine the Dutch who just discovered an oil field in Sumatra in 1885, with no clear market nearby, how could they feel stranded.

So you fret finding buyers, then booking rail carts to the refinery, sold what is in demand and dump the rest into streams. At early times, you could sell kerosene for light and throw away the exploding part od oil. Over time internal combustion engines are developed and most of oil used. Gas used to be vented, but a market developed there too. Today all oil is used, unless there’s a glut then it stays aboard ships around the world, which is the cheapest stockage, as we learned in 2020.

Wind&Solar, you need not discover them, there are maps and no need to dig a hole in the ground. Rather you have to study government papers to find money buried in there for sustainable projects, but that’s another story.

The story is that the economics of solar and wind is now competitive and so it should be a case of “build it and we will fill it” and the best way to promote renewables in the world would be building power lines from most productive areas to markets, according to forecast consumption.

Sun and wind is there for us, To be clear, if Europe builds direct current power lines going into sahara states, should it expects those pipes to be filled wiht renewable electricity which has found a market ? Smart money would move to north afrcia and build capacity, like in the end some smart money thought it could profit from Sumatra oil and built refineries nearby.

So the global renewable energy build-up should look very much like the global broadband buildup at the turn of the century when most undersea cable would be laid (but demand took time to materailize and the bandwidth glut le to a few telecomm companies, while the slack was picked up by internet players like google etc, dark fiber).

So my question, why are we not building those power lines ? The technolgy is called High Voltage Direct Current Transmmission https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-voltage_direct_current, isn’t it ready from prime time ? Are we waiting to develop a business case for it ? Or we need first figure out how to fit it in our geopolitics ? China has already proposed those links as part of Belt and Roads so now you know. Still, if the econommics of renewable production are right, why don’t we create the market for the would be producer of the world ?

Let’s built it and they will fill it.

Le energie rinnovabili non sono come il settore Oil&Gas, somigliano piuttosto a Telecom/Internet, tutto dipende da dove si trovano.

Il petrolio lo trovi in giacimenti, quando hai il giacimento hai il problema di portarlo al compratore. Nei tempi eroici Rockfeller monopolizzò vagoni ferroviari e oleodotti in USA . Immaginatevi invece gli olandesi che nel 1885 trovano il petrolio a Sumatra e non c’è ancora un mercato in Asia, nemmeno una raffineria nè un compratore.

Invece oggi, negli anni pioneristici delle rinnovabili, tutti vogliono avere più rinnovabili e meno co2 nel proprio kix energetico, non se ne producono abbastanza, nonostante le sovvenzioni. Ma tutti dicono che ormai gli economics di solare ed olico sono giusti, sono i migliori, LCOE più basso e allora perchè non crescono più velocemente. Una modesta proposta, costruiamo una o più linee HVDC verso i paese del Sahara e vediamo se le riempono di elettricità rinnovabile

le linee HDVC sono linee a corrente continua ottimali per il trasporto su lunghe distanze oltre, gli 800 km. Se ne potrebbero stendere tante sul fondo dei mari come all’inizio del secolo, in pieno di boom internet, si stendevano migliaia di km di fibra ottica su cui far passare il traffico internet. Sulle prime, tropa fibra, molti fallimenti e fibra rimasta spenta. Ma col tempo, ce l’avete costruita e noi l’abbiamo riempita, Google et al. hanno comprato dark fiber per anni e non hanno più smesso

Possiamo ripetere l’impresa con le linee elettriche, facendo partire un boom di investimenti in rinnovabili nei paesi più dotati di sole e vento ?

Income inequality

the world taken as a single country would be as unequal as the most unequal country on earth, South Africa

World’s inequality was reduced in the past 30 years, for the first time since maybe the 1820’s and this was mainly due to China getting back into the world economy. No longer, right now China is more unequal than the average, so its growth will add inequality

Will Africa grow and reduce world inequality? Very likely no, african countries need growing on avergae 7-8% a year and historically they have not recorded that steady growth ever. And also India needs growing and pulling its population out of poverty, will it succed?

So, unless advqned countries takes a decisive action within, world inequality will soon stop oing down and will start growing again

Thanks Branko Milanovic for that clear view http://glineq.blogspot.com/2021/05/notes-on-global-income-inequality-non.html

and 2 charts from here https://twitter.com/BrankoMilan/status/1211317792361926658

Attractive profits, complements and value stacks

Laws of Tech: Commoditize Your Complement from Joel Spolsky essay about tech companies keeping control of chocke point in the tech stack, and commoditize the djacent stacks as a way of preempting competition

rekated, I think, the law of attractive profits by Clayton Christensen that states “When attractive profits disappear at one stage in the value chain because a product becomes modular and commoditized, the opportunity to earn attractive profits with proprietary products will usually emerge at an adjacent stage.” HBR breaktru ideas of 2004 https://hbr.org/2004/02/breakthrough-ideas-for-2004

Chris Dixon on complements https://cdixon.org/2009/09/10/non-linearity-of-technology-adoption

christensen and spolsky really say the same thing but chosse to show the arrow of causation in different directions, C is worried how the managers of an incumbent company, the sort of company that does portfolio decisions within an estabilished business, can chase profits in other segment of the value chain once they are commoditizied. SPolsky speaks to startups which have doggedly built a business in one segment and need preventing competition, in an environent marked by disruption

Natural Abstraction Hypothesys

Testing The Natural Abstraction Hypothesis: Project Intro

“Our physical world abstracts well: for most systems, the information relevant “far away” from the system (in various senses) is much lower-dimensional than the system itself.”

Reminds me of Hofstadter example with the sort of billiard balls, how does he call it?

Detusch rather talks of emergent phenomenon, we can usefully do thermodynamic calculations on a pot of boiling water but if we wnated to he reductionists we should do impossible calculations on the dynamics of bubbles and the result would be the samme.

In the lesswrong post the hypothesis is developed in relation to AI and its “alignment”, I still do not grasp the full extent of this concept, mostly theoretical and detached from reality

“the natural abstraction hypothesis would dramatically simplify AI and AI alignment in particular. It would mean that a wide variety of cognitive architectures will reliably learn approximately-the-same concepts as humans use, and that these concepts can be precisely and unambiguously specified”

“If true, the natural abstraction hypothesis provides a framework for translating between high-level human concepts, low-level physical systems, and high-level concepts used by non-human systems.”