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Time is the Domain of Human Minds

George Gilder

Posted April 07, 2021

George Gilder

If you missed yesterday’s Prophecy, go here to catch up.

Moving on…

So, is it “quantum computing” allowing us to close the gaps by escaping from a domain of barren binaries into a symbol system as complex as human experience and physical reality itself?

Rene and Mapes write of “cognitive qubits” that “can decipher traffic chaos, global markets, nuances of reflectivity, neurons of infants, velocity of raindrops, and brush strokes of painters, like fortune tellers read tea leaves.”

Well, maybe, but quantum computers are merely, massively a new form of analog device that lacks accessibility to human senses.

Is it “big data” and “machine learning” providing virtual densities and granularities that eclipse human senses and project us into simulations that substitute for real life and thus can become it? Again, we face the issues of state. What is actually the case and what is a mathematical symbol system.

Is it the “internet of things,” a kind of all-of-the-above answer that links everything we can define and distills it in a 3D metaworld? We are still confronted with the need to resolve on a single reality that we can trust.

Even Stephenson’s “metaverse” won’t work if it engulfs us in “snow crashes” — white noise blizzards on the holographic frames and platforms of our lives.

Is Web 3.0, the next generation internet where “virtually enhanced physical reality” converges with “physically persistent virtual space,” is it a “metanet” or a “metaverse”? Or is it just a transcendental version of Bob Metcalfe’s exponential “Ethernet?” or even J.C. Licklider’s original “Intergalactic Computer Network”?

Mapes and Rene expound their solution. The critical path solution is the blockchain: “Using Distributed Ledger technology…could enable us to reliably verify factual data about the world while enabling the freedom to collaboratively explore, edit, mashup, and remix reality” …confirming differences between real and projected “empirically valid and creatively expressed” domains.

They say it is all ultimately spatial. But on page 70 they have a chart for the “Scale of Intelligence” that positions chimpanzees, Neanderthals, idiot humans, and Einstein along a line that ends with “recursively improved AI.” Einstein is thousands of times closer to the chimp, the neanderthal, and the idiot than to the self-improving AI.

We have some problems here in comprehending the basic limitations of AI, which I recount in Gaming AI. AI, however much it improves its speeds and frequencies, is not going to become a mind.

Today’s Prophecy

Einstein had some insights about space and time that AI poring through big data may not capture. Walking with Kurt Godel in Princeton in the 1950s, he discussed the limits of logical systems, their incompleteness and uncertainties, their self-referential redundancies. The ultimate computational technology behind next generation networks will have to operate in that baffling convergent realm of space-time that Einstein explored.

Blockchain with all its limitation and challenge at least begins by time-stamping everything as the definitive insignia and ID. Time is what remains scarce when all else — space, data, and matter — are seen as abundant. Time is the constraint that requires humans to imagine and decide before they can deterministically know.

Time is the domain of human minds, with patterns of connectivity as complex as the entire global internet. Regardless of what we call it, that “spatial web” is going to have to be a temporal, a time-bound system that serves humans rather than usurps them.


George Gilder
Editor, Gilder's Daily Prophecy

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