NBIA Colloquium by Charles H. Bennett (IBM Research)

Friday, July 19 at 3:15 PM in Aud. A

Speaker: Charles H. Bennett (IBM Research)

Title: Using algorithmic information to evade the hard problem of consciousness in cosmology and ethics

Abstract: David Chalmers's "hard problem of consciousness" - the inability of a complete understanding of a physical system's dynamics to reveal whether it is conscious - plagues both ethics ("Which systems have rights?") and cosmology ("Is our view of the universe - e.g. classical, far from thermal equilibrium not long after Big Bang - typical of what a cosmological model predicts an observer in that model would observe?").

I suggest how to evade these difficulties using algorithmic information theory, a computerization of Occam's Razor.

Brief Bio-sketch: Charles Henry Bennett is a physicist, information theorist, and IBM Fellow at IBM Research. Bennett's recent work at IBM has concentrated on a re-examination of the physical basis of information, applying quantum physics to the problems surrounding information exchange.

He has played a major role in elucidating the interconnections between physics and information, particularly in the realm of quantum computation, but also in cellular automata and reversible computing. Among a number of things, Bennet has discovered and developed quantum cryptography, quantum teleportation, entanglement distillation, and is considered one of the founding fathers of modern quantum information theory.

This has been acknowledged in numerous awards and prizes, including the Harvey Prize (2006), the Dirac Medal (2017), the Wolff Prize in Physics (2018), the Claude E. Shannon Award (2020), and, most recently, the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics (2023).

Refreshments in the NBIA Lounge after the talk!