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Are We Real?
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:55 pm    Post subject: Are We Real? Reply with quote

Lots of people go online and play multi-player games in which they immerse themselves for hours, days, weeks in alternate realities that, as they are playing, seem as real as the very lives they lead when not so engaged.

Jump forward.

The year is 2517. You are sitting in your student digs [probably skiving off from boring lectures that you think a waste of time anyway] and you are playing a similar, but much more advanced game to the ones above, in which you take on the persona of an individual in 2017, and live his/her life in a completely real and immersed way, such that the virtual landscape you inhabit, both internal and external, is indistinguishable from a 'real world' as you play the game. You experience the highs and lows [Simms style] of an alternate life of five hundred years before exactly as if you really were that person.

Do you concede that such a scenario is possible? If you do - and think carefully on this - how do you escape the inevitable mathematical probability that this is in all likelihood the case. Because once you have conceded the possibility, then you have to also accept that there are an infinite way in which such 'virtual realities' could be constructed, and the likelihood of you inhabiting the only 'real reality' as opposed to one of the virtual ones is statistically next to zero.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter, let me just jump in here real quick before this conversation progresses.

I just wanted to point out that it is likely that by 2517 humans will have long since developed technology that will enable the young to learn academic information through direct neural link or a chemical injection of pre prepared memory blocks introduced into the limbic system, as fictitiously demonstrated in the Matrix films.

Information and learned abilities will be accessible, at will, in a technological revolution similar to that which we have experienced with the introduction of the internet and will occur in the mid 2300s. Of course this will only happen after a series of developmental procedures inadvertently cause what will then be known as "Sudden Information Seizures" that cause a number of gruesome and regrettable deaths, however once these side effects are eliminated humankind will embrace the technology and after several decades it will become as commonplace as casual sex.

Since the acquired knowledge of multiple masters degrees will be able to be transmitted to a person in a matter of hours it is unlikely that students will be required to attend university or suffer through lectures of any kind.

Just a quick interjection. Please proceed with the discussion. Out.

P.S. We're real and we're spectacular. Smile
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 6:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Are We Real? Reply with quote

peter wrote:
Lots of people go online and play multi-player games in which they immerse themselves for hours, days, weeks in alternate realities that, as they are playing, seem as real as the very lives they lead when not so engaged.

Jump forward.

The year is 2517. You are sitting in your student digs [probably skiving off from boring lectures that you think a waste of time anyway] and you are playing a similar, but much more advanced game to the ones above, in which you take on the persona of an individual in 2017, and live his/her life in a completely real and immersed way, such that the virtual landscape you inhabit, both internal and external, is indistinguishable from a 'real world' as you play the game. You experience the highs and lows [Simms style] of an alternate life of five hundred years before exactly as if you really were that person.

Do you concede that such a scenario is possible? If you do - and think carefully on this - how do you escape the inevitable mathematical probability that this is in all likelihood the case. Because once you have conceded the possibility, then you have to also accept that there are an infinite way in which such 'virtual realities' could be constructed, and the likelihood of you inhabiting the only 'real reality' as opposed to one of the virtual ones is statistically next to zero.


First, I would tackle the "mathematical probability".

Mathematical probability is kinda worthless. A lot of it is dependent on what you can observe and what you can conceive. So, to say what would probably be the case in a theoretical scenario requires you to first observe something that you are calculating the probability of.

In this case, we need to observe a VR program that the user can not distinguish from reality. We have not observed this. And as immersive as current games may be, immersive does not mean "indistinguishable from". So there is really no mathematical probabilistic argument that exists for there being a Virtual Reality Indistinguishable From Our Own(VRIFOO)! All you can hope for is a "plausible" argument. Then you have to compete with other plausible explanations as well.

Namely, that there are not and can not be any VRIFOOs. I can presumptively believe this until if and only if some unforeseen technology comes that actually manipulate and make use of the brain and nervous system.

Unlike aTomic, I do not believe that will happen. We like to think of the brain as a computer, but it is not. In most ways, it is nothing like a computer. Theoretically, if you have Beethoven's Fifth Symphony on a computer, it occupies a specific space on the hard drive. You can point to that specific space and say, "There is the physical computer space that Beethoven's Fifth Symphony is at!"

You can't do that with the brain. We can say that chemical reactions and neural links are why we can store information, but we can not point at a part of the brain and say, "And this piece of gray matter is Beethoven's Fifth Symphony!" Because of this and many other key differences, we will not be able to "upload" anything into our brains or from our brains with the current technology we have.

https://aeon.co/essays/your-brain-does-not-process-information-and-it-is-not-a-computer
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Are We Real? Reply with quote

Orlion wrote:

Unlike aTomic, I do not believe that will happen. We like to think of the brain as a computer, but it is not. In most ways, it is nothing like a computer. Theoretically, if you have Beethoven's Fifth Symphony on a computer, it occupies a specific space on the hard drive. You can point to that specific space and say, "There is the physical computer space that Beethoven's Fifth Symphony is at!"

You can't do that with the brain. We can say that chemical reactions and neural links are why we can store information, but we can not point at a part of the brain and say, "And this piece of gray matter is Beethoven's Fifth Symphony!" Because of this and many other key differences, we will not be able to "upload" anything into our brains or from our brains with the current technology we have.


I gotta get this out and then I'll leave it alone.

300 years ago in 1717 everything we were certain about the human brain and human physiology would have led us to believe that almost nothing we've achieved and learned in the past 300 years, in that regard, was possible let alone conceivable and we've unlocked many of those unfathomable secrets without computer aids until only recently. It is, in my opinion, very likely that 300 years from now (500 years according to peter's proposal) technology and the understanding of the composition of the most minute details of human anatomy will be such that many of the notions we believe to be impossible today will not only be possible but exceed our wildest expectations.

As long as we are speculating about conditions 300-500 years hence the terms "can't" and "won't" shouldn't be employed in the conversation.

I will concede that none of us will be around to say "I told you so."

Just sayin. Big Grin
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aTOMiC wrote:
I just wanted to point out that it is likely that by 2517 humans will have long since developed technology that will enable the young to learn academic information through direct neural link or a chemical injection of pre prepared memory blocks introduced into the limbic system, as fictitiously demonstrated in the Matrix films.


By the time 2517 gets here, we will be cyborgs--we won't need a chemically-injected instant skill or knowledge because we will simply upload information directly via our wetware interface. The easiest way to access that information will be via out implanted hot spot, connecting us to whatever passes for the Internet at that time with download speeds in the hundreds of Gbps range. The information gained that way can be displayed directly onto our eye--we can see it in front of us but no one else can.

Back to the original question, though...do you feel real?

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hashi Lebwohl wrote:

[color=green]By the time 2517 gets here, we will be cyborgs--we won't need a chemically-injected instant skill or knowledge because we will simply upload information directly via our wetware interface. The easiest way to access that information will be via out implanted hot spot, connecting us to whatever passes for the Internet at that time with download speeds in the hundreds of Gbps range. The information gained that way can be displayed directly onto our eye--we can see it in front of us but no one else can.


Every time I get out they pull me back in. Big Grin

Hashi, I have no doubt that 500 years from now they will laugh at the primitive notions we have today. I was just trying to be cute about pointing out that "university" and "lectures" will have long since disappeared by 2517.
Besides the cybernetics you are discussing will be fully explored and then abandoned between 2085 and 2167 in favor of purely organic human enhancements. Hell, knowledge will be shared instantaneously by individuals via a world wide consciousness completely without mechanical or technological contrivances. Humans will be genetically altered to be born with the ability to access the global knowledge storehouse as naturally as breathing.

But yes. Back to Peter's idea.

I can't for the life of me believe that people from the future would want to experience the dogged minutiae of someone's life from the year 2017.
But that doesn't mean its impossible. I just means I don't understand it.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This line of reasoning completely reframes Renaissance festivals. A lot of people like to dress up in what they think is period-correct clothing and pretend like they are from that time but they wouldn't want to really be from 1517--they wouldn't last a week there.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hashi Lebwohl wrote:
This line of reasoning completely reframes Renaissance festivals. A lot of people like to dress up in what they think is period-correct clothing and pretend like they are from that time but they wouldn't want to really be from 1517--they wouldn't last a week there.


I don't doubt for a second that this is true. I shudder to think what medieval doctors would want to do to me if I came down sick with something. Eeek And certainly I would miss my modern-day music collection. Sob
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

But whether it is students playing a game, or computer programmers cum sociologists cum whatever who, far in advance of our tech, have for reasons of their own crated a virtual world to examine which is us .......... Once you have conceded this as even the remotest possibility (and brains far superior to mine evidently have) then the loop leading to this being almost definitely the case becomes (apparently) impossible to escape. This is the central dilema of this problem isn't it? Either the reasoning is flawed - or it is the case that we are living in a virtual reality. The only way out is a complete denial of the possibility (even perhaps a proof of it's impossibility) of the scenario.
(Nb. When I've heard physicists talk of this ideas in popular science programs I've always been slightly amused, because the idea seems perilously close to the idea of the God which they all deny exists vociferously to me, but there you are....)

Finally - just in case - don't worry guys, I'm not lying in bed chewing my nails to the quick in a state of existential meltdown over this; in fact if I can get a small message back up to the guys in the lab in the sky - I suppose arranging next week's lottery numbers to fall in my direction would be out of the question.........?

Wink
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An bizarre implication---related to other thread discussions--- of that, peter, I think would be this:
Our consciousness and free will would be real--in the sense of having causal/effective power---because there would be no reason to write code for those things UNLESS they could influence what happened.
Think about it---IF they have no effect, THEN everything in the world would happen in precisely the same way without them as with them. So all the code for our illusions would be junk....wasting a lot of time/energy/memory/processing/code-creation.
Extending that---we "simulated" beings would be superior to the experimenters from some perspectives. Cuz we would have consciousness and free will, even if bounded by the simulation, but theirs would be an illusion even though [actually because] they're in the "real" world.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not an unknown argument...that we're actually all some incredibly advanced simulation etc. etc.

I don't worry about it. I know I'm real...it's the rest of you buggers I have my doubts about. Wink

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing And the prize for introducing the first expletive into the thread goes to....

Hi V! Yes I did think that this should maybe be included in Z's 'Consciousness' thread, but decided to put it out on its own as it forms a specific part of the problem of 'mind' that already assumes a knowledge of whence our consciousness arose. (Hashi - if you think the thread would sit easier in Z's, by all means shift it {with Z's approval I suggest - he can be a prickly bugger (second prize .....) at times! Wink }).

The bizzare angle mentioned by V above is yet more reason why this whole scenario just seems to be adrift somewhere in its reasoning to me - but like the Ontological Argument, it's difficult to nail down exactly where. I'm happy enough with the fun idea that we are a simulation - it's this jump into it almost having to be the case (and this isn't my idea I stress) where I start to have doubts. Let's run through it:

I accept the possibility that our reality is a 'virtual reality' created in a 'real reality' that lies above it.

There could, then, be an infinite number of different 'virtual reality' realities created in the same way.

Any sentient beings created within one of these realities - real or virtual - that are unable to distinguish between the two types from their internal position,is infinitely more likely to be in a virtual reality than a real one.

I doubt I have framed that with sufficient rigour to eliminate any logical inconsistencies, but this is essentially the argument that I have seen written. The argument looks sound - but it doesn't feel sound.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
Hashi - if you think the thread would sit easier in Z's, by all means shift it {with Z's approval I suggest - he can be a prickly bugger (second prize .....) at times! Wink }).


I can't do anything to threads in this forum except derail them--I am not the mod here.

It doesn't matter if this reality is virtual and that there might be a "real" reality above this one--the things which we experience in this reality are real because they continue to be real even if we stop believing in them.

Just for the sake of discussion, though, let us presume that there is a reality above this one and that this is a virtual reality, a simulation being run on some sort of quantum supercomputer. Because that simulation is a formal system--it is built on a countable set of rules--then Godel applies, meaning that there will be things which are true in our system which could not be foreseen by those who programmed the system. Those things could include the idea that this is a virtual simulation but there could also be ways to break out of the simulation...but I have no idea what would happen if someone did that.

Ultimately, though, there is no reality above this one and this is not a simulation. This is real and this is real life--deal with it as it exists.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hashi Lebwohl wrote:

Ultimately, though, there is no reality above this one and this is not a simulation. This is real and this is real life--deal with it as it exists.


Because there is no way to be able to tell the difference one way or another.

"If you can't tell the difference, what difference does it make?"
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Today I'm in the grip of a badass gall bladder attack; if there's a controller up in that 'real reality' up there I'd seriously like to whup his ass! Mad
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
: The argument looks sound - but it doesn't feel
sound.


Well, if we're simulated, it doesn't feel sound cuz of the programming.
Laughing
I could move this, but no reason to. I thought the possible relationships were interesting, but the topic is its own thing despite overlap. It's just Venn---connection isn't sameness.

Anyway...are there REALLY an infinite number of ways such a simulated reality could be constructed?

How many life forms would evolve in any given universe that could construct such a thing?

What percentage of those that could actually would?
[[we shouldn't forget that the goal of those simulated games/worlds is how the player feels in his/her REAL life. How many, if any, would choose to "play" if they weren't a player, but one of the NPC's? No matter the immersion level, all the use/fun/learning/living happens in the body/mind of the player...and related to that, if you can perfectly simulate being a mighty dragon-slaying warrior, you almost certainly have the means to REALLY BE a mighty dragon-slaying warrior...or something even more amazing. Which is better?]]

In a given universe, what are the chances that it would have ALREADY happened? [[if infinities are involved, extremely low, nearly infinitesimal. Anything can/will happen in an infinite---many infinitesimally likely things have already happened---but the odds of any PARTICULAR infinitesimally likely thing having happened already are...well...infinitesimal. If the universe is NOT infinite, the odds are even smaller, I think...in the infinite maybe a countable infinitesimal, in a finite an uncountable infinitesimal perhaps [analogically]
There are plenty of infinities in math...I don't think anyone has found a material one.]]

Just some blathering...I haven't actually thought through any of that.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anything you experience and believe in is real. So either all realities are real, or none are. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe that you aren't real.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's ok, I can only definitely prove my existence to myself, so can't expect you to simply accept it.

I don't believe you're not real, but I do have nagging solipsist doubts about it. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:
Anything you experience and believe in is real. So either all realities are real, or none are. Very Happy

--A


Good thing you put a laughy at the end of that, or I'd be forced to say, as I am saying anyway, it was metafallacious [ of the class of fallacies that contains all fallacies] AND meta-paradoxical [the set that contains all paradoxes, BUT 1) is itself paradoxical because it MUST contain itself [and perhaps other] sets that cannot be paradoxical....and/OR 2) MUST exclude certain paradoxical sets, therefore NOT being the set of all paradoxical sets
{independent of 1)}

Look: There are any number of ways to tear down the supposedly unbelievable explicative power of math in/to reality. But here's the deadly one: if WE aren't "real" then NEITHER IS ANY OF THE MATH.
Alternative: our world is simulated, but the math input/basis is "real math"...THEN---using that math gives us access to the "real" reality, therefore we can transform our simulation via real knowledge and MAKE ourselves real.

more random blather.

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the difference between evidence and sources: whether they come from the horse's mouth or a horse's ass.
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"Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation."
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the hyperbole is a beauty...for we are then allowed to say a little more than the truth...and language is more efficient when it goes beyond reality than when it stops short of it.
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