Solution to Science We Can't Understand? Computers
They could reveal discoveries we just don't get: Samuel Arbesman
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Feb 25, 2013 12:51 PM CST
Could computers start figuring out things beyond our understanding?   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Computers may some day help us pore through reams of scientific literature, combining ideas to make discoveries. But what if they go further? Already, a computer program has come up with equations to explain physics laws—equations that so far, no human fully comprehends, writes Samuel Arbesman at Slate. In the future, computers could develop "answers to the riddle of the universe that are going to be too complicated for us to understand, answers that machines can spit out but we cannot grasp."

How will people deal with this? Well, we can work on our own, "human-understandable versions" of computers' mathematical proofs. When that's not possible, "our limits shouldn’t worry us too much. The non-understandability of science is coming," Arbesman writes. "We’ve grasped the low-hanging fruit of understandability and explanatory elegance, and what’s left might be possible to be exploited, but not necessarily completely understood." We can still make technological use of these discoveries and applaud ourselves: "We made these machines, so their discoveries are at least partly due to humanity." Click for Arbesman's full piece.

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Showing 3 of 33 comments
Feb 26, 2013 2:21 PM CST
Regular mathematics does not work at the quantum level. Brushemantics is required.
Feb 25, 2013 4:07 PM CST
Feb 25, 2013 3:52 PM CST
Granted Orville Wright saw the world transform from Horse and Buggies to Super Sonic Jet air craft. Some things have changed fast… Some things have Not… If a computer determining some secret of the universe and even the programmers of that computer can’t decode the how or why.. Its findings will be worth the same as cow manure. The Helpfulness to man would be zero.. Theories have to have understandable logic. And thus its intellectual strength would be far less relevant than the account in the Bible.