Quo vadis Wolfram?
Reading the fat NKS book I wondered what bugs him? The central idea is obvious, you can generate complexity with simple programs. Then you read about emergence of order from randomness (Chapter 6) which I like less, as explained earlier in this thread.
Recently in a short article which appeared in his blog
Wolfram spelled out what really bugged him: “Physicists often like to think that they're dealing with the most fundamental kinds of questions in science. But actually, what I realized back in 1981 or so is that there's a whole layer underneath.” It is governed by very simple rules that can generate all sorts of rich and complex behavior.
Then came the first question: “. . what about our physical universe? Could it be operating according to one of these simple rules? “Of course, that's not at all how most of today's physicists like to think. They like to imagine that by pure thought they can somehow construct the laws for the universe--like universe engineers.” In other words they continue being Platonists searching for the truth in the world of ideas. Might this imply that Wolfram is somewhat different?
“So in a sense we have to go below space and time--to more fundamental primitives. What might these be?” A network of interacting programs in which space and time do not apply. Such a network does not exist in a space. “There is not a ‘space’ there but a bunch of points.” Which are actually connections. The programs exchange pieces of the network. “And in general each possible sequence of rule applications might correspond to a "different branch of time".”
Then comes the hammer:” But now we're deriving something like that for the universe: we're saying that these networks with almost nothing "built in" somehow generate behavior that corresponds to gravitation in physics.” He then mentions two ideas alien to physics: 1. That physical theories could emerge from something more fundamental and 2. “. . our whole universe and its complete history could be generated just by starting with some particular small network, then applying definite rules.”
All these ideas so weird to physicists simply indicate that Wolfram started thinking biologically. His small network might be regarded as a mathematical zygote from which our theoretical universe emerges.
We are told that Wolfram developed Mathematica for studying these “weird” ideas. Why not create a tool which will model a simple causal network of programs which exchange pieces of the network. As a starter he might consider my proliferon.