Quantum Mechanics, Free Will and the Game of Life

Quantum Mechanics, Free Will and the Game of Life

The Times focuses on the enduring influence of the Game of Life, a cellular automaton invented by Conway more than a half century ago. And if so, might these cellular automata provide even more support for free will than the Game of Life? One prominent explorer of quantum cellular automata, Nobel laureate Gerard ‘t Hooft, flatly rules out the possibility of free will. In a 2009 paper, “The Strong Free Will Theorem,” Conway and Simon Kochen argue that quantum mechanics, plus relativity, provide grounds for belief in free will. Especially in dark times, my faith in free will consoles me, and makes me feel less bullied by the deadly Game of Life.

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