Meet Dr. Piet Hut, astrophysicist at the Institute of Advanced Studies at Princeton University, who envisions new ways to understand science and to be aware of the reality of the universe. Part 4/5.
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Male Host: There are considered to be several areas of study where such a change is necessary. As science is beginning to reach the bounds of what it can do with purely object-oriented ways of thinking. Dr. Piet Hut: One of them is quanta mechanics. In quanta mechanics you cannot really say this is a property of an object. If you measure something and one day you find certain properties. If you measure in a different way, you really get different properties, which are not always compatible with each other. Male Host: The uncertainty in quantum mechanics is not simply a lack of knowledge about an object but a limit to the value of a single set of properties in explaining the object that is the problem. In quantum mechanics every experiment for the unknown is also an interference for that reason. The subject-object relation becomes very important at the subatomic level. Dr. Piet Hut: The second point of course is neuroscience. When people start and making images of the brain, by definition, they start making some sort of dictionary, some sort of correspondence or transformation between objective properties and personal experiences. Male Host: In the study of the brain for example, the subject has a personal experience and has to communicate to the researcher, has to tell the researchers what he or she is thinking about or feeling during the experiment. This information gets correlated with the chemical and electrical processes in the brain that the researcher is studying. Dr. Piet Hut: So there would be no sense in understanding consequences, if you only would measure the electrical processes, you want to know how to correspond this human conscious experience. So this is a second place of the subject comes in. Male Host: The third place where science and technology need the role of the subject is in robotics. Past attempts that predicting the future, even as recently as 40 years ago fail to consider the most important technological advancement in the home today, the use of computers. However, 40 years ago, it was a common prediction in the science fiction community, about robots. Dr. Piet Hut: The idea was that in the few decades, every house would have a robot which would clean the floor and do all kind of things. But here we are, 50-40 years later, and we still don’t have robots in the house. Male Host: The basic art of robotics is simplicity itself. A few wheels and arm, which moves. Mechanically, a robot is no more complicated than a car which is produced by the millions every year. Dr. Piet Hut: What is the reason that we don’t have robots is that we don’t know how to program the robots. We don’t know how to write a software to clean the floor. It sounds crazy because cleaning the floor seems easier than anything else. But we can write the software to beat the strongest chess player in the world. We cannot write a software to clean the floor. This shows that we don’t know how to make a tool, a robot, which is a subject. Male Host: But when man attempts to build and program a robot, he’s really building a subject, a subject that moves around by itself. A subject that responds, anticipates, and behaves. Dr. Piet Hut: And I think that the reason that the we are still not very good in building robots is because we don’t understand the subject. As a culture, we spend 400 years really focusing on objects and we have neglected the subject. And now, we have to come back and really become more balancing in our understanding of empirical studies and our understanding of experimental experience. Male Host: We all live in a society which is dominated by technology and science and its object-oriented approach to existence. So no matter how little interest we have in science in still influences the way we think. In the scientific focus on the object has a very strong influence in society. A focus which had some negative results. Dr. Piet Hut: So no matter how little interest you have in science or how little you know about it, you'

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