Microsoft physicists have published a pre-print research paper that basically describes the universe as a computer that learns. The research is not yet peer-reviewed but it is exciting.
"We present an approach to cosmology in which the Universe learns its own physical laws. It does so by exploring a landscape of possible laws, which we express as a certain class of matrix models. We discover maps that put each of these matrix models in correspondence with both a gauge/gravity theory and a mathematical model of a learning machine, such as a deep recurrent, cyclic neural network," the researchers write. They explain that this establishes a correspondence between each solution of the physical theory and a run of a neural network.
They have appropriately entitled the paper “The Autodidactic Universe." So how does our universe work according to these scientists?
The physicists argue that since we understand the laws of physics as we observe them then the original physical laws would be capable of learning and even evolving. In fact, the universe may have not even have started with a Big Bang, but rather with an interaction between particles.
Where does this lead us? "One implication is that if the evolution of laws is real, it is likely to be unidirectional, for otherwise it would be common for laws to revert to previous states, perhaps even more likely than for them to find a new state. This is because a new state is not random but rather must meet certain constraints, while the immediate past state has already met constraints," the researchers further extrapolate.
Since the universe is ever-changing, then it might mean that it is impossible for us to ever unify physics. What's left for us to do then is to simply marvel at the universe's ever-expanding wisdom and try our best to appreciate it.