Matrix Reloaded and Stephen Wolfram

I saw Matrix Reloaded today. It was pretty good, I guess I’d score it a 4 out of 5. Not like the original Matrix, which was an 11 out of 5! I remember leaving the theater after the first Matrix thinking, “Wow, that movie has changed the playing field of Sci-Fi movies forever.” And it turned out I was right. This time I left the theater thinking, “That was a good movie, and I’m glad I went to it.” Which, compared to some of the crap that you see in the theaters, is a pretty huge compliment.

book coverOne thing I liked about Matrix Reloaded a lot was the idea that reality itself is simply composed of programs that are interacting, running to completion, getting changed, being copied, etc. This is a thought I’ve been entertaining a bit now and then recently, as a result of reading A New Kind of Science.

Now, let me say that as an armchair scientist, I am easily swayed towards the side of any issue that has an good popular science book about it. I’m lazy when it comes to thinking things through to the absolute last detail, so if you write a book that I hear about, buy and read, you’ll likely earn me as a disciple. At least until you are proven to be an ass by other scientists. (My record so far is not bad; in high school it was fractals and chaos theory, a few years ago complexity theory, and now automata. None have proven to be completely without merit.)

Wolfram’s conviction that we need to think things through from a new perspective to make progress on hard problems is very compelling to me. I disapprove of how he tuned out from the scientific community to go make 20 years of progress on his own, but I can also understand why he decided to proceed that way. I think that 20 or 100 years from now, when the Principle of Computing Equivalence has been promoted to a law, Wolfram’s tome will be compared to Newton’s Principia.

As I was writing this, I searched for other references to The Matrix Reloaded and Stephen Wolfram, but didn’t find any. I find it strangely disquieting that either I’m ahead of the curve on this meme, or I am just totally out of touch with reality and seeing connections that I want to see. I suppose only time will tell.


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