DEFINING HOW THE UNIVERSE USES COMPUTATION VS CALCULATION
Richard: Q: — “Curt: So when matter is able to form a stable relationship that persists that is a computation rather than a calculation? I was under the (false?) impression that matter can only calculate and that life can only compute. Life, memory, consciousness, language are more and more precise levels of computation?” —
This is one of my failings of inconsistency. techically only conscious life can calculate (Transform inputs into outputs by rules). The physical universe can compute by trial and error. We don’t have a word for the space between compute and calculate. So the best thing to say is that it takes life to calculate (as you said), and the universe otherwise can only compute.
Or we can take it farther that only life can compute, only conscous life can calculate. but then we have to find some way of talking about the universe’s physical functions (which are closer to addition subtraction) and would rightly be categorized as arithmetic.
We will always be stuck in soem of these battles becasue we want to avoid neologisms, and instead just improve the precision of terms.
And so I try to pick the term that does the best job, and ‘compute’ is the most universal term at all scales, while calculate implies deduction and induction and therefore requries sentience (consciousness really).