Kevin's Watch Forum Index
 HomeHome   MemberlistMemberlist   RegisterRegister   SearchSearch   ProfileProfile   FAQFAQ   StatisticsStatistics  SudokuSudoku   Phoogle MapPhoogle Map 
 AlbumAlbum StoresStores   StoresItems Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Thought experiment: imagine the universe is a simulation!
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Kevin's Watch Forum Index -> The Close
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Zarathustra
Be True


Joined: 04 Jan 2005
Posts: 18056

Thanks: 42
Thanked 186 Times in 178 Posts


26811 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2019 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most of the things that we now take as scientific fact were originally thought to be absurd 'a priori.' (That's the problem with making up your mind before you check the evidence.) It took a long time for people to wrap their heads around the fact that the Earth is in motion even though it feels for the most part motionless. Even Einstein refused to believe the implications of quantum mechanics, as his famous 'God does not play dice' aphorism shows. Science moves forward by breaking down our mental barriers of what we think is possible.

There is nothing magical or Supernatural about what I'm suggesting. Therefore, it is nothing at all like a myth. It is a consistent, naturalistic, technological, testable, coherent theory. I am not asking people to suspend debate, I'm asking you to suspend disbelief as a necessary prerequisite for this particular discussion.
_________________
Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Fist and Faith
Magister Vitae


Joined: 01 Dec 2002
Posts: 18486

Thanks: 100
Thanked 96 Times in 92 Posts


10515 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Foul Duck1 Lord Mhoram's Victory1 2011 Watchies


PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2019 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd like to revisit this, and see where things went wrong:
Zarathustra wrote:
On the advice of my counsel, I'm ignoring WF and Sky in order to address serious responses. Additional responses to my posts from these members will be considered unwanted, and as such, trolling. I am no longer interested in the kinds of discussions you two want to have.
Mr. Green
_________________
We are not required to save the world. We are required to stand up as truly as we can for what we love. -SRD

All lies and jest
Still a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest
-Paul Simon
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail MSN Messenger Phoogle Map
Zarathustra
Be True


Joined: 04 Jan 2005
Posts: 18056

Thanks: 42
Thanked 186 Times in 178 Posts


26811 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2019 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apparently, things went wrong by me not making sufficiently clear the purpose of this thread. I am willing to take the blame, if that will move the discussion forward.
_________________
Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Hashi Lebwohl
Director of Data Acquisition

Male
Joined: 06 Jul 2009
Posts: 13088

Thanks: 24
Thanked 120 Times in 116 Posts

Location: UMCPHQ
73429 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Caesure1 Insequent1 UMCPHQ


PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Postulate 1: Let us presume that the universe is, indeed, a simulation which was designed by sufficiently advanced and intelligent programmers.

Postulate 2: Let us presume that at some point in the future we are able to design an experiment which can answer the question "are we in a simulation?".

If both Postulates 1 and 2 are true, where would that leave us? We would know for a fact that we are in a simulation but we wouldn't be able to do anything about it. We couldn't escape the simulation because then we would cease to exist--of course, we wouldn't be real in the first place so "not existing" would not have any meaning. Given that we are in a simulation, all of our choices, actions, and beliefs would be meaningless--this would be the ultimate nihilist's dream. Once we all accept our bleak and pointless existence as simulated nobodies all we can do is hope for the simulation to end and put us out of our misery.

If Postulate 1 is true but Postulate 2 is false then we are where we are right now--maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but no one really knows and no can can prove or disprove it.

If Postulate 1 is false but Postulate 2 is true then science would conclude, truthfully, that we are not in a simulation. That conclusion wouldn't be very significant, in and of itself, but we might make some fascinating discoveries along the way.

If both Postulate 1 and Postulate 2 are false then we are where we are right now--maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but no one really knows and no can can prove or disprove it.

What would be the point of running a simulation such as ours, anyway? Are the programmers trying to answer some question they cannot answer for themselves? What kind of question cannot be answered by beings sufficiently advanced enough to design and compile a simulation which is as complex as this one? Is the purpose "can the subjects of the simulation figure out that they are in a simulation?"--sounds like a stupid experiment, truthfully, but maybe they are interested in the answer. Wouldn't the fact that we can question whether or not we are in a simulation answer that question? Did they do it for "shits and giggles" or "just to see if we could"?

_________________
No matter how thinly you slice it, it's still bologna.

What is the secret of Zen? Burn all your Zen books.

If you can't handle losing then you don't deserve to win.

Don Exnihilote wrote:
Hashi, if you thought you were wrong at times, evidently you were mistaken.


Mensa and Intertel
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Fist and Faith
Magister Vitae


Joined: 01 Dec 2002
Posts: 18486

Thanks: 100
Thanked 96 Times in 92 Posts


10515 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Foul Duck1 Lord Mhoram's Victory1 2011 Watchies


PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
Fist and Faith wrote:
The idea was not workable as I started it, because, iirc, wf said there is no error in the copying of digital information/programs.

(Errors could be inserted artificially using RNG. That is, genetic drift could be simulated.)
Would the number of errors, and the places the errors show up, be as random as the errors themselves?

Zarathustra wrote:
Fist wrote:
You are saying the same thing I'm saying. But I think it's of absolute significance. The simulated comet is still entirely dependent upon - indeed, would not exist if not for - the rules of physics. Just [not] all of the same ones a real comet is. But we're still talking about particles interacting according to properties that they have no choice but to follow. If actual consciousness was achieved within the simulated reality, it would still be in a materially reducible setting. As our consciousness is.
I think it's significant, too, but perhaps for different reasons. For one, this link makes it possible to ask meaningful, useful questions about the world in which the hardware exists. So it is a counter-argument to the claim that this theory completely removes the truth of our reality beyond us to another universe.
I don't understand what you're saying. What useful questions?

Zarathustra wrote:
Secondly, if consciousness can be produced by a simulation (using the type of computers we have today, though vastly more powerful), it does indeed show that consciousness is reducible.
How does it show that? Consciousness produced in the reducible realm of hardware and software, or consciousness produced in the reducible realm of biology. Either way, if the consciousness is doing irreducible things...

I don't know if I should be splitting up your Edit, because I'm not sure how you mean everything. So also not sure how much I agree or disagree. But here's what I have...
Zarathustra wrote:
Edit: on second thought, I'm not sure you can say that products of an algorithm are reducible to laws of physics just because they are running on a computer.
Just as our consciousness is not reducible to laws of physics just because it is the product of [whatever consciousness is the product of] running on a biological brain.

Zarathustra wrote:
There seems to be some two-way causation here. Not only is the program running on the machine, but the program is also controlling the operation of the machine.
I don't know enough about programs, but I assume there are at least a few programs running at once. One is the operating system itself. Another is, let's say, Skyrim. A third is the an actual consciousness that has emerged in Skyrim. But, once emerged, is that consciousness confined to the Skyrim program? Maybe. Or maybe it can get into everything else. It could open Word and type me messages if it doesn't feel like speaking through my Skyrim character.

Zarathustra wrote:
In this sense, what the machine is doing isn't entirely reducible to physics, because some of what it's doing is dependent upon an abstract level of organization that wouldn't exist without the program, which is itself not derivable from the laws of physics. This is something I've never considered!
Not sure I agree, but you might be thinking of something else. The machine, if we're talking about a machine without consciousness, is not doing anything that is not reducible to physics. Why it's doing what it's doing, the value of what it's doing, is not. A being of vast intellect and observational abilities, capable of looking at things at any level right down to the particles, might see what's going to happen. But, not having any human experience, it might not have any idea why the machine is going to do it.

Zarathustra wrote:
However, if this is a simulation, I don't think it's possible on the types of computers we have, no matter how much more powerful you make them. I think it will take something like quantum computers, or perhaps something even stranger (e.g. computers based on physics of a different universe). And if that's the case, it's not necessarily true that this simulation is reducible to physics, no more than it's true that mind is reducible to matter. In fact, the two situations would be similar examples of emergence. If you have no problem supposing that mind is produced by a brain that follows physics, why would it be a problem to suppose that mind can be produced by software running on hardware that follows physics?

I've always held that we'll be able to make conscious AI at some point, but it will take a different kind of computer than what we have today, something that does more than run algorithms. There has to be SOME kind of connection between matter and mind, even if that connection isn't reducible. And given that necessity, it always leaves open the possibility that we can learn the secret of this connection and replicate it.
Agreed.

Zarathustra wrote:
The reason this idea seems far-fetched is primarily because we can't imagine how simulations could become conscious. But at the core, a simulation is merely an interaction between matter and information. Isn't that also what consciousness is?
Except consciousness is much more. DNA is information in matter. Consciousness goes way beyond. First, it is also aware of that information. Second, with genetic engineering, it manipulates that places information, trying to get a specific outcome. Third, with computer simulations, consciousness has placed information where there was none before. Consciousness created computer simulations, from the ground up; rather than simply manipulating information, as with DNA.

Zarathustra wrote:
[Edit: I thought of a better way to make my point: mind *is* produced by the brain. That's a given, whether we're in a simulation or not. I repeat: that would still be true, even if this is a simulation . . . except the brain would be a simulation, too. In fact, all of our matter would be a simulation. But the relationship between this simulated "matter" and mind would still remain. So this would show that matter need not be material in order to behave like real matter. All that would be important about matter would be the relations. It would show that there really isn't any difference between a simulation and reality, in terms of the Hard Problem of Matter. That's why you could have a simulation inside a simulation. The universe containing ours could be a simulation, too. The "matter" comprising the computer hardware running our simulation could be just information, too! That's why this would solve the H.P. of Matter for both universes: matter cancels out and becomes pure information, for all levels.]
I still don't get the HP of Matter. Matter is reducible to the same particles that the simulation's hardware is. Our brain's energy is reducible to the same particles the energy coursing through the hardware is. A consciousness in the simulation could be as mysterious as our own.
_________________
We are not required to save the world. We are required to stand up as truly as we can for what we love. -SRD

All lies and jest
Still a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest
-Paul Simon
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail MSN Messenger Phoogle Map
Zarathustra
Be True


Joined: 04 Jan 2005
Posts: 18056

Thanks: 42
Thanked 186 Times in 178 Posts


26811 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hashi Lebwohl wrote:


If both Postulates 1 and 2 are true, where would that leave us? We would know for a fact that we are in a simulation but we wouldn't be able to do anything about it. We couldn't escape the simulation because then we would cease to exist--of course, we wouldn't be real in the first place so "not existing" would not have any meaning. Given that we are in a simulation, all of our choices, actions, and beliefs would be meaningless--this would be the ultimate nihilist's dream. Once we all accept our bleak and pointless existence as simulated nobodies all we can do is hope for the simulation to end and put us out of our misery.
Lots to unpack here. Why wouldn't we be able to do anything about it? Presumably, our creators would be interested in our evolution. If our evolution brought us to the point where we figure out the truth, we could try to make contact. I don't think it's far-fetched once the truth is known that they would feel there's no harm in encouraging the communication, and would indeed be eager to hold such a conversation. Wouldn't you want to talk to your self-aware creation that figured out the truth? Maybe that's exactly what they've been waiting for all this time! The sign that we're ready. Also, self-aware software might be able to have some effect on the hardware running it. After all, this is what software does, i.e. changes the state of the hardware. Doing so purposefully might give us the power of gods in this world, and the ability to build bridges to the next.

I also disagree that we'd be unable to escape. I think it was you who said you'd like to download your consciousness to a computer, wasn't it? If consciousness can go into a simulation, why not out of it? Why not upload it, too?

I absolutely disagree that we wouldn't be real. I am real, no matter if I'm produced by a brain or a computer. Why would it diminish my reality? My reality isn't based on the source of my consciousness, but how it feels to be me, and what I do with my life. Ditto my meaning. I decide the meaning of my being, not the substrate which supports my bare existence.

And that's the point! If this is a simulation, we would know conclusively that consciousness is real no matter where it is, how it's produced, and that it's not dependent upon matter.

Hashi Lebwohl wrote:

What would be the point of running a simulation such as ours, anyway? Are the programmers trying to answer some question they cannot answer for themselves? What kind of question cannot be answered by beings sufficiently advanced enough to design and compile a simulation which is as complex as this one? Is the purpose "can the subjects of the simulation figure out that they are in a simulation?"--sounds like a stupid experiment, truthfully, but maybe they are interested in the answer. Wouldn't the fact that we can question whether or not we are in a simulation answer that question? Did they do it for "shits and giggles" or "just to see if we could"?
As I've said, maybe they are running many different experiments with different values for the universal constants and/or different laws of physics to see which ones produce universes that support life. Or, it could be our descendants running simulations of their own past. We already run simulations ourselves. Why would you think that more advanced people wouldn't run more advanced simulations? Also, perhaps they're trying to solve the mind/body problem, or the Hard Problems we've been discussing.
_________________
Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Avatar
Immanentizing The Eschaton


Joined: 02 Aug 2004
Posts: 57366

Thanks: 73
Thanked 173 Times in 169 Posts

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
27242 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Pantheon Veteran


PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just want to begin by seconding LuciMay's post. I want a better and more inclusive Watch and that applies everywhere and to everybody. We can do without the snark thanks.

Zarathustra wrote:
Now--Av:

Quote:
It's not an answer, it's just a deferment of questions.
If we are indeed in a simulation, how could it not be an answer? I agree that it does defer some questions, but that's not so different from any question that we ever answer. Beginning of Infinity, remember? Answers always produce more questions. But if we're in a simulation and we never discover that, it will always be yet another deferred question itself.


Well, it's certainly an answer to the question of whether or not it's a simulation. Very Happy

And sure, almost all answers beget more questions, or at least, they probably should.

But I went back and re-read your original post, and I can't argue that it would answer all those questions we have. "Why does X happen?" "Because we're in a simulation."

But there is no difference between that and saying "Because God willed it so."

It's ascribing intent to an external agency. Now of course, if we could prove it, it would be amazing, just like if we could prove there was a god.

But as an actual answer to questions about the universe / reality / whatever, it's somewhat lacking I feel. Very Happy

--A
_________________
It's easy to judge. It's more difficult to understand.

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Phoogle Map
wayfriend
whilom witling

Male
Joined: 21 Apr 2004
Posts: 19214

Thanks: 11
Thanked 227 Times in 209 Posts

Location: The world of the Bowling Green Massacre
44683 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
3 Member of Linden's Army


PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:
wayfriend wrote:
Fist and Faith wrote:
The idea was not workable as I started it, because, iirc, wf said there is no error in the copying of digital information/programs.

(Errors could be inserted artificially using RNG. That is, genetic drift could be simulated.)
Would the number of errors, and the places the errors show up, be as random as the errors themselves?

Sure, if you're programming it, it can be whatever you want.
Code:
if (randomPossibilityOfError()) {
    insertRandomError( randomGene(dna) );
}

_________________
* I occasionally post things on KevinsWatch because I am a fan of Stephen R. Donaldson; this should not be considered as condonation of the white nationalist propaganda for which this forum has become a platform.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Zarathustra
Be True


Joined: 04 Jan 2005
Posts: 18056

Thanks: 42
Thanked 186 Times in 178 Posts


26811 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:
. "Why does X happen?" "Because we're in a simulation."

But there is no difference between that and saying "Because God willed it so."
Do we intend everything that happens in our simulations? I thought the point of our simulations is to find out what will happen. If I model global warming with such and such values for CO2's capacity to retain heat, is the answer to my question about fossil fuels, "Because it's a simulation"?

If the programmers merely chose the initial conditions and then let it go, the answers to our state still depend upon the evolution of our system. It could still be exactly like the way we think of our universe now, except for its genesis. Simulation doesn't equal control or determinism.
Avatar wrote:

But as an actual answer to questions about the universe / reality / whatever, it's somewhat lacking I feel. Very Happy
The only thing it would be lacking is substance. Everything else would be the same. But this goes back to the Hard Problem of Matter: what is matter aside from its properties that we measure? What is matter aside from these mathematical structures? What is the "stuff" that is being structured? If all we can ever measure are these properties, can we even say that there is "stuff" comprising them? Is matter nothing other than form? If it is, then what is the difference between real matter and simulated matter? For our purposes here, if simulated matter can produce real consciousness, then the answer to the last question is: nothing! There is no difference between simulated matter and "real" matter; in fact, this is a distinction without meaning. There is only form.
_________________
Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Wosbald
A Brainwashed Religious Flunkie

Male
Joined: 07 Feb 2015
Posts: 2327

Thanks: 18
Thanked 35 Times in 34 Posts


7763 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Member of Linden's Army


PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+

Zarathustra wrote:
Wos, when you listen to John Lennon's beautiful song, Imagine, do you pause it to gloat, "Of course there are fucking countries, you moron! And there always will be!" and then turn off the stereo with a savage smile of superiority over poor dumb John? ...

[...]


I would say that, TTBOMK, John Lennon didn't demand that I "suspend disbelief" that the song's central conceit is "nothing at all like a myth" but is, rather, "a consistent, naturalistic, technological, testable, coherent theory" as a "necessary prerequisite" for listening to it.
_________________



Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Zarathustra
Be True


Joined: 04 Jan 2005
Posts: 18056

Thanks: 42
Thanked 186 Times in 178 Posts


26811 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:

Zarathustra wrote:
. . . this link makes it possible to ask meaningful, useful questions about the world in which the hardware exists.
I don't understand what you're saying. What useful questions?
Well, for example, if we measured the cosmic rays in our universe and found that their distribution proved that our space is not continuous, but instead discrete, which implies that we're in a simulation because of computational limitations precluding a simulation of infinite points in space [that's the argument for empirical proof that scientists have come up with, not mine], then we'd know the exact computational limitations of the computer running this simulation. That information could presumably tell us something about the physics of that universe, or at least its technology. And from there, a host of other possible things to discover await us.

Fist and Faith wrote:
Zarathustra wrote:
Secondly, if consciousness can be produced by a simulation (using the type of computers we have today, though vastly more powerful), it does indeed show that consciousness is reducible.
How does it show that? Consciousness produced in the reducible realm of hardware and software, or consciousness produced in the reducible realm of biology. Either way, if the consciousness is doing irreducible things...
I agree, actually, which was the point of my edit. The thinking above goes back to my belief that a computer doing nothing more than running algorithms can never be conscious.

Fist and Faith wrote:
Zarathustra wrote:
In this sense, what the machine is doing isn't entirely reducible to physics, because some of what it's doing is dependent upon an abstract level of organization that wouldn't exist without the program, which is itself not derivable from the laws of physics. This is something I've never considered!
Not sure I agree . . . The machine, if we're talking about a machine without consciousness, is not doing anything that is not reducible to physics.
How does the software, the program, reduce to physics? 1) It's abstract. 2) It can't be derived from physics. 3) It is the product of intelligent beings using their conscious understanding of abstract form/concepts. You might as well say that all the words in a book are reducible to paper and ink. That misses what the words are.

Fist and Faith wrote:
Zarathustra wrote:
The reason this idea seems far-fetched is primarily because we can't imagine how simulations could become conscious. But at the core, a simulation is merely an interaction between matter and information. Isn't that also what consciousness is?
Except consciousness is much more. DNA is information in matter. Consciousness goes way beyond.
Sure, but the point is that if consciousness is an immaterial thing made out of information, only tangentially "tethered" to matter, then there is no reason to suppose that a simulation couldn't be conscious, in principle. You might say that our brain simulates conscious. Our mind certainly simulates an external reality. And yet we take this "holographic" representation of the real world as the world world, without even questioning it until we get into discussions like this. But that's always assumed to be a technical distinction. None of us really doubts the real world, despite the fact that our experience of it is a simulation in our brains. We already break down the reality/simulation distinction every waking moment of our lives! Our life is a transcendence of this distinction, already and always.

Fist and Faith wrote:
I still don't get the HP of Matter. Matter is reducible to the same particles that the simulation's hardware is. Our brain's energy is reducible to the same particles the energy coursing through the hardware is. A consciousness in the simulation could be as mysterious as our own.
True, consciousness in the simulation could be as mysterious as our own, especially if it evolves "naturally" in the course of the program, and wasn't programmed into the system intentionally. But having all the code which led to this would allow the programmers to examine the relations in as much detail as they wanted, and figure it out. [See: Game of Life. This is a simple computer program that illustrates how organization can arise in a system that was unpredictable in the beginning, but entirely understandable after the fact.]

Now, for the HP of Matter, we're talking about simulated matter. So it has no substance of its own, only structure (otherwise, there would be no difference between simulation and reality from the outset). Yes, it is linked to the matter of the computer, just as all programs running on computers. But this link doesn't matter. The structures being simulated would be exactly the same structures if you just wrote them down in a book. Abstract structure doesn't depend upon that matter in which it is encoded. In other words, it's not reducible to that matter. Think of the abstract structures in your thought: numbers, logic, concepts. Are these made out of matter? Are they reducible to matter? I thought this is what convinced you that mind isn't reducible, i.e. the fact that it moves from one state to the next in ways that follow abstract patterns which aren't reducible to physics. If simulated matter is nothing more than a mathematical pattern running on a computer, then the same point holds: its states are only tangentially dependent upon the hardware for its "instantiation," not for the actual states it forms. Those states are dependent upon its structure, which is pure information (i.e. the program).

So, if this simulated matter can go on to evolve into simulated worlds and simulated organisms which eventually achieve real consciousness, then we've proven that "stuff" isn't necessary to achieve reality, only form is necessary. It would be like one of your own thoughts becoming a secondary consciousness. It was "born" in a medium (i.e. the mind) which was already immaterial and irreducible, thus proving that consciousness can arise entirely independent of matter. The fact that the mind itself which gave birth to it was dependent upon matter doesn't make a difference, because its birth was within that irreducible medium; therefore its birth/genesis/production is irreducible.

The key here is that consciousness would be real across all worlds. Consciousness would be like the speed of light: constant in all reference frames. It would be our yardstick for measuring (or determining) reality. So this would be like a relativity theory for reality. Just as matter, space, time, and energy had to be redefined relative to the speed of light (e.g. mass becomes infinite as you approach c, while time slows down to zero), so too would reality be redefined relative to consciousness. The spectrum of simulation-to-reality would be like spacetime: a singular, "flexible" reference frame that bends and molds around the sole constant of consciousness.

So, in conclusion (in case anyone is skimming, here's the point):

The "substance" of matter is nothing more than a philosophical concept. All we know for sure are its mathematical structures. But we feel that there must be more than just mere structures, because otherwise we have no basis to distinguish simulated matter from real matter. As long as we considered that distinction important and meaningful, we felt justified in insisting upon substance, without any evidence whatsoever. But if you can create something real out of simulated matter, (e.g. real consciousness), this shows that the structures are sufficient for reality, and no longer a hallmark of "just a simulation." Therefore, our reason to insist that real matter has more than just structure is kicked out from beneath us. We only clung to that idea because of the former idea, i.e. that there must be a distinction between real/simulation. If we break down that distinction, we no longer have any justification whatsoever to cling to this purely philosophical concept, "substance." And by "we," I mean our programmers as well as us. If there really are programmers, then "substance" is just as philosophical and abstract (ironically) for them. It's not something that can ever be measured/observed in principle, no matter which world you're in. That's why it's a Hard Problem, after all.
_________________
Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche


Last edited by Zarathustra on Fri Apr 05, 2019 5:20 pm; edited 2 times in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
High Lord Tolkien
Excommunicated Member of THOOLAH

Male
Joined: 19 Oct 2004
Posts: 6895

Thanks: 14
Thanked 43 Times in 41 Posts

Location: Cape Cod, Mass
2257 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Member of THOOLAH1 Lord Mhoram's Victory


PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reading this thread, which is great btw, reminds me of several Dark Matter episodes. Thumbs Up
_________________
http://thoolah.blogspot.com/



[Defeated by a gizmo from Batman's utility belt]
Joker: I swear by all that's funny never to be taken in by that unconstitutional device again!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Zarathustra
Be True


Joined: 04 Jan 2005
Posts: 18056

Thanks: 42
Thanked 186 Times in 178 Posts


26811 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wosbald wrote:
+JMJ+

Zarathustra wrote:
Wos, when you listen to John Lennon's beautiful song, Imagine, do you pause it to gloat, "Of course there are fucking countries, you moron! And there always will be!" and then turn off the stereo with a savage smile of superiority over poor dumb John? ...

[...]


I would say that, TTBOMK, John Lennon didn't demand that I "suspend disbelief" that the song's central conceit is "nothing at all like a myth" but is, rather, "a consistent, naturalistic, technological, testable, coherent theory" as a "necessary prerequisite" for listening to it.
I think that John's point is that everything that divides us are the true myths. Even countries, but especially religions. Sure, countries exist, but we make up these purely conceptual/cultural distinctions. So the song's central conceit *is* to suspend disbelief in the idea that our reality can be substantially different than what we all assume is the truth, to move us to a version that is "truer." I don't think he was merely joking. He was serious, even though he knew it probably would never happen. The unlikelihood of his proposal--much like my own--didn't keep him from performing the thought experiment, and inviting us to perform it, too.

While we're on the subject of myths (even though technically this should go in the other thread--I'm still waiting to join that one), thought experiments aren't the same thing as myth creation. Einstein was doing real science with his thought experiments. I think myth creation necessarily involves supernatural entities and wildly variable stories with little to no explanatory value. It is impossible to trace out specific casual relations within myths. In thought experiments, on the other hand, precise, logical, and mathematical conclusions are possible. The possibility that they turn out later to be pure conjecture is the sole similarity to myths . . . but this is true for every scientific theory.
_________________
Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Zarathustra
Be True


Joined: 04 Jan 2005
Posts: 18056

Thanks: 42
Thanked 186 Times in 178 Posts


26811 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

High Lord Tolkien wrote:
Reading this thread, which is great btw, reminds me of several Dark Matter episodes. Thumbs Up
Damnit, now I have to add something else to my "To watch" list. Laughing
_________________
Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Zarathustra
Be True


Joined: 04 Jan 2005
Posts: 18056

Thanks: 42
Thanked 186 Times in 178 Posts


26811 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And now for an opinion other than my own:

Quote:

Five premises to the simulation argument


I find five premises to the simulation argument: (i) Other intelligent civilizations exist; (ii) their technologies grow exponentially; (iii) they do not all go extinct; (iv) there is no universal ban or barrier for running simulations; and (v) consciousness can be simulated.

If these five premises are true, I agree, humanity is likely living in a simulation. The logic seems sound, which means that if you don't accept (or don't want to accept) the conclusion, then you must reject at least one of the premises.

Which to reject? Other intelligent civilizations? Exponential growth of technology?

Not all civilizations going extinct? No simulations ban or barrier? Consciousness simulated?

Whichever you choose, it must apply always, everywhere. For all time. In all universes. No exceptions.

That, to me, makes no sense.


I think the shakiest one of all is that consciousness can be simulated. And here we must make a distinction: simulated from the inside, rather than an objective simulation. We can already do the latter. The former is the point. But given that consciousness produced "the old fashioned way" already seems in some way distinct from the matter producing it (i.e. irreducible), I don't think creating consciousness artificially out of pure abstract form (i.e. software) is out of the question.

There might be a problem with (iv), given the article WF referenced, but as I said there, I believe that is talking about classical computers, and not quantum computers. However, this point should be investigated.
_________________
Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
wayfriend
whilom witling

Male
Joined: 21 Apr 2004
Posts: 19214

Thanks: 11
Thanked 227 Times in 209 Posts

Location: The world of the Bowling Green Massacre
44683 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
3 Member of Linden's Army


PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I find five premises to the simulation argument: (i) Other intelligent civilizations exist; (ii) their technologies grow exponentially; (iii) they do not all go extinct; (iv) there is no universal ban or barrier for running simulations; and (v) consciousness can be simulated.

If these five premises are true, I agree, humanity is likely living in a simulation.

First of all, if those premises are true, all it can conclude is that humanity could possibly be living in a simulation. It takes at lest one more premise to conclude that it is likely. Why is it more likely that humanity simulated rather than not simulated? What premise is not articulated here?

Of course, this would be exactly the premise we could choose not to accept and thereby quite comfortably believe we are not in a simulation. So the whole thrust of the argument falls apart.

Unless there is another premise accidentally excluded from this quote, then it looks like this person is attempting to fool people.

My thoughts on being able to produce artificial consciousness in a computer have been previously articulated. In short, no. However, other forms of simulation than the ones available to our notion of a computer are possible.

However, I am sure I am conscious. DeCarte assures me that if I am sure I am conscious, I am indeed conscious. Which means that my consciousness is not simulated, regardless of however much of the medium of my consciousness is.
_________________
* I occasionally post things on KevinsWatch because I am a fan of Stephen R. Donaldson; this should not be considered as condonation of the white nationalist propaganda for which this forum has become a platform.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Hashi Lebwohl
Director of Data Acquisition

Male
Joined: 06 Jul 2009
Posts: 13088

Thanks: 24
Thanked 120 Times in 116 Posts

Location: UMCPHQ
73429 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Caesure1 Insequent1 UMCPHQ


PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
Lots to unpack here. Why wouldn't we be able to do anything about it? Presumably, our creators would be interested in our evolution. If our evolution brought us to the point where we figure out the truth, we could try to make contact. I don't think it's far-fetched once the truth is known that they would feel there's no harm in encouraging the communication, and would indeed be eager to hold such a conversation. Wouldn't you want to talk to your self-aware creation that figured out the truth? Maybe that's exactly what they've been waiting for all this time! The sign that we're ready. Also, self-aware software might be able to have some effect on the hardware running it. After all, this is what software does, i.e. changes the state of the hardware. Doing so purposefully might give us the power of gods in this world, and the ability to build bridges to the next.


If I had set up some system and it became self-aware, yes--I would definitely want to communicate with it.

If we were able to devise some way to communicate with the programmers--or disrupt the simulation in a way they did not foresee or expect--then those would also answers the questions such as "do the subjects know they are in a simulation?" and "are they able to communicate with us?".


Zarathustra wrote:
I also disagree that we'd be unable to escape. I think it was you who said you'd like to download your consciousness to a computer, wasn't it? If consciousness can go into a simulation, why not out of it? Why not upload it, too?


I am the first person in line to have my consciousness--or at least my memories and thought processes--digitized and uploaded. Digital immortality will be awesome.

Zarathustra wrote:
I absolutely disagree that we wouldn't be real. I am real, no matter if I'm produced by a brain or a computer. Why would it diminish my reality? My reality isn't based on the source of my consciousness, but how it feels to be me, and what I do with my life. Ditto my meaning. I decide the meaning of my being, not the substrate which supports my bare existence.

And that's the point! If this is a simulation, we would know conclusively that consciousness is real no matter where it is, how it's produced, and that it's not dependent upon matter.


Silly Zarathustra--you are only real because *I* think you are real.

Alternatively, the programmers designed you to think you are real.



Zarathustra wrote:
As I've said, maybe they are running many different experiments with different values for the universal constants and/or different laws of physics to see which ones produce universes that support life. Or, it could be our descendants running simulations of their own past. We already run simulations ourselves. Why would you think that more advanced people wouldn't run more advanced simulations? Also, perhaps they're trying to solve the mind/body problem, or the Hard Problems we've been discussing.


Their universe is collapsing and they need to create a new one, but they want to make sure that the one they create is stable and they can perform that function only once, hence our simulated existence. This universe is stable, even if it will end up going into heat death.
_________________
No matter how thinly you slice it, it's still bologna.

What is the secret of Zen? Burn all your Zen books.

If you can't handle losing then you don't deserve to win.

Don Exnihilote wrote:
Hashi, if you thought you were wrong at times, evidently you were mistaken.


Mensa and Intertel
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Zarathustra
Be True


Joined: 04 Jan 2005
Posts: 18056

Thanks: 42
Thanked 186 Times in 178 Posts


26811 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
. . . if those premises are true, all it can conclude is that humanity could possibly be living in a simulation. It takes at lest one more premise to conclude that it is likely. Why is it more likely that humanity simulated rather than not simulated? What premise is not articulated here?
I probably should have started this thread with the guy who originated this idea (Bostum). Here's his argument (from the same link):

Quote:
Bostrum is not saying that humanity is living in such a simulation. Rather, his "Simulation Argument" seeks to show that one of three possible scenarios must be true (assuming there are other intelligent civilizations):

All civilizations become extinct before becoming technologically mature;
All technologically mature civilizations lose interest in creating simulations;
Humanity is literally living in a computer simulation.

His point is that all cosmic civilizations either disappear (e.g., destroy themselves) before becoming technologically capable, or all decide not to generate whole-world simulations (e.g., decide such creations are not ethical, or get bored with them). The operative word is "all" - because if even one civilization anywhere in the cosmos could generate such simulations, then simulated worlds would multiply rapidly and almost certainly humanity would be in one.


This reasoning depends on the idea that there could be many more simulations than the original.

Physicist Paul Davies (again, same article):

Quote:
"If you take seriously the theory of all possible universes, including all possible variations," Davies said, "at least some of them must have intelligent civilizations with enough computing power to simulate entire fake worlds. Simulated universes are much cheaper to make than the real thing, and so the number of fake universes would proliferate and vastly outnumber the real ones. And assuming we're just typical observers, then we're overwhelmingly likely to find ourselves in a fake universe, not a real one."



Wayfriend wrote:
Unless there is another premise accidentally excluded from this quote, then it looks like this person is attempting to fool people.
Well, the reasoning was included in the article, available for anyone who is truly curious to read for himself. No one is trying to fool anyone here.

Wayfriend wrote:
However, I am sure I am conscious. DeCarte assures me that if I am sure I am conscious, I am indeed conscious. Which means that my consciousness is not simulated, regardless of however much of the medium of my consciousness is.
I agree completely!
_________________
Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Avatar
Immanentizing The Eschaton


Joined: 02 Aug 2004
Posts: 57366

Thanks: 73
Thanked 173 Times in 169 Posts

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
27242 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Pantheon Veteran


PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
Do we intend everything that happens in our simulations?


Fair enough. Very Happy

Quote:
I thought the point of our simulations is to find out what will happen. If I model global warming with such and such values for CO2's capacity to retain heat, is the answer to my question about fossil fuels, "Because it's a simulation"?


No. But it [i]could/i] be, and it would be as valid as saying "because the molecules are so tightly bound that they cannot vibrate to release heat."

Quote:
Simulation doesn't equal control or determinism.


Fair enough (too).

Quote:
The only thing it would be lacking is substance. Everything else would be the same.


Can't argue with that. Very Happy

Quote:
For our purposes here, if simulated matter can produce real consciousness, then the answer to the last question is: nothing! There is no difference between simulated matter and "real" matter; in fact, this is a distinction without meaning. There is only form.


I can probably get behind this idea too.

--A
_________________
It's easy to judge. It's more difficult to understand.

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Phoogle Map
wayfriend
whilom witling

Male
Joined: 21 Apr 2004
Posts: 19214

Thanks: 11
Thanked 227 Times in 209 Posts

Location: The world of the Bowling Green Massacre
44683 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
3 Member of Linden's Army


PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
"If you take seriously the theory of all possible universes, including all possible variations," Davies said, "at least some of them must have intelligent civilizations with enough computing power to simulate entire fake worlds.

ok. But flag this spot.

Quote:
Simulated universes are much cheaper to make than the real thing

That's a highly debatable point, but let's accept.

Quote:
and so [b]the number of fake universes would proliferate and vastly outnumber the real ones.

Ok. Now he's off the rails. He just contradicted his own argument.

Remember the flag? The premise is that there are SO MANY universes with SO MANY variations that the possibility of SOME qualifying civilization exists.

And now, what, in the very next sentence, he is appealing to a premise that real universes are relatively scarce.

In other words, if it takes a GAZILLION universes to find 1 with a qualifying civilization, then each qualifying civilization would need to simulate a GAZILLION simulated universes ... just to reach the point where they are equally numerous.

Doesn't sound like such a good premise, does it.

Thank goodness this is a thought experiment, and no one is trying to CONVINCE US IT'S TRUE, eh?

By the way, the other thing. If it's true that most of the people on the planet cannot read English, does this mean you (who are reading this) probably can't read English? Think about it. Statistical conclusions are not as simple as Mr. Salesman would have us believe.
_________________
* I occasionally post things on KevinsWatch because I am a fan of Stephen R. Donaldson; this should not be considered as condonation of the white nationalist propaganda for which this forum has become a platform.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Kevin's Watch Forum Index -> The Close All times are GMT
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next
Page 3 of 7

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by Earthpower © Kevin's Watch