In the book "This Will Make You Smarter: 150 New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking", Rudy Rucker, a computer scientist, state:
A little-known truth: Every aspect of the world is fundamentally unpredictable. Computer scientists have long since proved this.
How so? To predict an event is to know a shortcut for foreseeing the outcome. A simple counting argument shows that there aren't enough shortcuts to go around. Therefore most processes aren;t predictable. A deeper argument plays on the fact that if you could predict your actions, you could deliberately violate your predictions, which means the predictions were wrong after all.
We often suppose that unpredictability is caused by random inputs from higher spirits or from low-down quantum foam. But chaos theory and computer science tell us that non-random systems produce surprises on their own. The unexpected tornado, the cartoon safe that lands on Uncle George, the winning pull on a slot machine odd things pop out of a computation. The world can simultaneously be deterministic and unpredictable.
(full entry available here)
My first question relates to references. Where can I read about computer scientists "proving" the world is "fundamentally unpredictable"?
Second, can someone elaborate on the argument? For instance, consider the phrase
if you could predict your actions, you could deliberately violate your predictions, which means the predictions were wrong after all.
This is just bad modelling. If human agency (mine) affects the world, then my model should incorporate my action. And thus, I can predict what my action would cause to the world. So I don't see how this argument holds.
I also don't understand how the world can be deterministic and unpredictable. Rather, what happens is that the world is so complex that it is, to us, given our current state of our knowledge, unpredictable. But this is epistemological unpredictability and not necessarily ontological unpredictability, which is what you would assume is the meaning of "the world is unpredictable". The author seems to not know this difference.
Can some one please explain?