Playing Chess in the Game of Life

In the discussion after my comments to The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow:

I have asked what it looks like to be a pattern in the Game of Life (the analog of the Theory-of-Everything in The Grand Design). John Clark has compared in this respect the Theory-of-Everything with the rules of Chess. I find such a comparison intriguing as I am not sure if I understand what it looks like playing chess in the Game of Life. Below there are some related comments, although the question remains open.

08.07.2012 11:49 Evgenii Rudnyi:

I have a general question first. Let us assume the M-theory or any other Theory-of-Everything you like. In the last chapter of The Grand Design, there is a comparison of such a theory with the Game of Life: simple rules deterministically produce complex patterns.

Now is my questions. We observe different patterns like

I have done it according to my will
Free will is illusion
the “free will” noise

The formation of these patterns follows rules of the Theory-of-Everything. Small particles moves this and that way and occasionally we have a pattern above.

What I cannot comprehend though is why some people, which after all are also just occasional conglomerates of small particles obeying the Theory-of-Everything, react very differently when they see some pattern above.

Do you know what part of the Theory-of-Everything responsible for such behavior of a conglomerates of particles in this case?

08.07.2012 19:29 John Clark:

If you knew the Theory-of-Everything (assuming there is one and there might not be) that would be a very nice thing to know but it would be a little like knowing the rules of Chess, it’s important but it alone won’t make you a grandmaster. If you want to understand why people are the way they are I don’t think the Theory-of-Everything would help you much, you’d do much better studding Evolutionary Biology, neurology, or computer science.

09.07.2012 19:59 Evgenii Rudnyi:

I understand that when we come to a human being, complexity growth. My question though would be in principle. In The Grand Design they say that as it is impossible to use the very basic physical theory in practice, one needs effective sciences. Yet, if I have understood correctly, the authors mean that the theory considered in the book can describe everything including human beings that nothing more than biological machines.

I do not not understand in this respect your analogy with chess. Do you mean that I have freedom to play my own game in the M-theory?

10.07.2012 18:03 John Clark:

You may know all the rules of chess but that does not mean you know what all the complex interactions those rules could lead to, and that is why you are not a chess grandmaster despite knowing the rules of the game. And even if a Theory of Everything existed and even if every high school student understood it that would still not be the end of science because all the initial conditions would still need to be found, and even more important all the astronomically, possibly infinitely, large number complex interactions would also be unknown. I don’t see how a Theory of Everything would help you much in meteorology or biology or poetry, those things are too complex for that approach.

10.07.2012 21:35 Evgenii Rudnyi:

I understand but the question in principle still remains. Who play the chess, I or the M-theory?

13.07.2012 20:14 Evgenii Rudnyi:

My question would be not about responsibility, I am not that far. Let us take a chess game (the example from John). We have two people playing chess and then for example the M-theory.

How would you characterize the relationship between the M-theory and players. In what sense it is possible to say that the players play their own game? How unpredictability would help here?

You have mentioned the chaos theory when you have written about predictability. Frankly speaking I do not understand the point, the chaos theory claims. If I understand correctly, it basically says that the uncertainty in the initial condition brings unpredictability. Yet, I do not understand where the uncertainty in initial conditions come from. If we discuss things in principle, then we should consider the case when the initial conditions are known exactly.

14.07.2012 08:40 Evgenii Rudnyi:

If you mean predicting future by human beings, then this is not the question I am interested in. To this end, one can also employ Wolfram’s computational irreducibility.

“Because I’ve seen so many cases where simple rules end up generating immensely rich and complex behavior.”

“And that’s made me think it’s not nearly so implausible that our whole universe could come from a simple rule.”

“But really it’s all completely deterministic.”

“That somehow knowing the laws of the universe would tell us how humans would act–and give us a way to compute and predict human behavior.”

“Of course, to many people this always seemed implausible–because we feel that we have some form of free will.”

“And now, with computational irreducibility, we can see how this can still be consistent with deterministic underlying laws.”

It seems that your viewpoint is similar. If not, please tell where there is the difference.

My question was rather philosophical. It is unrelated to practical things, well, the M-theory is anyway unrelated to human practice. In my view, for engineering it does not matter whether the underlying principles is based on natural numbers of on the M-theory.

Still, let us look again at the game of chess. If we look at it in principle, then it is actually the Game of Life mentioned in the last chapter of Grand Design. The conglomerates of atoms move other conglomerates of atoms according to completely deterministic laws. Could you please demonstrate how to introduce separate level of descriptions in this process to bring some sense in playing chess? (but please not at the practical level, let us still stay at the level in principle).

17.07.2012 19:05 Evgenii Rudnyi:

My question was a bit of different nature. I understand that one could use the Game of Life as programming environment. That is fine. Now with this environment we implement two Deep Blues and let them play with each other in chess. So there are are changing patterns in the Game of Life that we interpret as two Deep Blues playing chess with each other.

My question would be what is the meaning of this event. What does it mean that two Deep Blues are playing chess with each other in?

Is this the same when two people are playing chess with each other?