The last day of meetings in the Krakow section of the World Copernicus Congress
The third day event which closed Krakow links from the scientific project which was held to commemorate the 550th anniversary of the birth of Nicolaus Copernicus was again filled with debates by Polish and foreign experts in the fields of philosophy and economics.
The philosophical section was opened by Prof. Bernard Carr (Queen Mary University of London) and prof. Jean-Pierre Lasota-Hirszowicz, whose views on the anthropic principle are still controversial. The audience got acquainted with concepts that are still not agreed upon among physicists, trying to answer questions such as: is the universe compatible with life? When does time start and why does it run?
As emphasized by Prof. Bernard Carr, the anthropic principle, which Brandon Carter first formulated in 1973 during a congress held in Krakow on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the birth of Nicolaus Copernicus, despite his name, has nothing to do with humans, it is about understanding how the universe works. This is not the anthropocentric approach, in which the Earth and humans are at the center, or the mechanistic approach proposed by Newton, in which the universe is independent of the observer, so our presence in it doesn’t matter.
Within the anthropic principle, two versions are distinguished: the weak, in which an observer can only exist in a fairly old universe that also has other properties, such as an abundance of carbon, and the strong, which assumes that the laws of physics, physical constants and initial conditions must be such such that there is an observer.
Prof. Jean-Pierre Lasota-Hirszowicz presents a more skeptical view of the anthropic principle, because it has certain limitations: it only makes sense if there is a multiverse, also demotivating, resulting from our ignorance (we don’t know why certain constants have the value May). He proposed a different approach – the uncertainty principle, saying: until we know what the universe and life itself are, don’t ask questions about their adjustment to life. In his opinion, the theory of fine-tuning is extreme reductionism.
The topic of the anthropic principle also appeared in the afternoon plenary discussion entitled “The Human Universe”, in which, among others, prof. Michał Heller (Pontifical John Paul II University) and prof. Claude Diebolt (University of Strasbourg).
Prof. Heller proposed his own new concept, which he called the anthropic structural principle. Its purpose is to answer the question – what would the structure of the universe be like for biological evolution to occur in it? According to prof. Heller, every living system must be a dynamic system. In the sense given by modern physics, it consists of 3 elements: a set of states that a system can occupy, moreover, there must be a time in which this system can develop, and a state in which the system remains dynamic, i.e. one must result from the other. Scientists from Krakow believe that the evolution of the universe is a necessary environment for biological evolution.
As part of economics, the panel “Digital revolution and its consequences for finance and the real economy”, chaired by dr hab. Katarzyna Śledziewska, prof. University of Warsaw Invited experts spoke about changes in artificial intelligence, digitalization and technological progress not only in economic issues, but also in everyday life. Attention is drawn to the need to provide education to all of society that will enable them to freely use the latest technological achievements and move in a post-digital, zero-emission world.
In turn, the panel discussion “Macroeconomic Forecasting. Theory and Practice”, moderated by Prof. Krzysztof Malaga from Poznań University of Economics, pays attention to the current direction of macroeconomic modeling, what are the main sources of errors in this area and how they are changing under the influence of criticism caused by the crisis. Among the specific issues addressed are: issues such as accuracy requirements and verification of forecasts in the face of unpredictable events (such as pandemics or wars), the question of whether models should be used to predict or more precisely understand reality, as well as the impact of capacity building computing and artificial intelligence in both development forecasting techniques and future economic growth.
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