Will artificial intelligence discover new laws of Physics?
Stephen Hawking, in 1980, was speaking at the University of Cambridge when he considered the possibility of an all-encompassing theory of everything, which would combine general relativity with quantum mechanics, our two most important descriptions of reality. He thought that computers would be able to help us. He then made a provocative statement about the increasing abilities of these machines. Hawking said that the end of theoretical physics might not be near. But it may be near for theoretic physicists.
Since then, artificial intelligence has made great strides. Yet physicists are still slow to apply it to the search for deeper and newer laws of nature. They don’t fear for their job. Hawking’s remarks may have been made with a wry smile. It is more likely that the AIs’ deep-learning algorithms produce answers that are more like a \”what\”, rather than a why, which is about as useful to theorists as telling them that the answer to life, universe, and everything is 42.