Over Simulated

Logically, intelligent life forms living in a simulation would not have the ability to figure out that they exist within a simulation. The creators of the simulation would have created the intelligent life forms within the simulation, along with all the other stuff that makes up the simulation. Presumably the creators would not want the things inside their simulation to figure it out, so they would program some sort of block to their ability to reason their way to the truth of their existence.

One possible exception, one Hollywood has used to get around this problem, is the intelligent life forms are actually real creatures. They are unconscious in the real world, but plugged into the simulation, so that their consciousness exists in that simulation, as if they were a creation of it. This is the premise of the Matrix movies. Humans are plugged into the simulation by the machines that keep them alive as an energy source to power themselves and their machine world.

Another possibility, one not reliant on a sadistic creator of the simulation, is one where the simulation requires a degree of self-awareness by the intelligent life forms. In order for the simulation to achieve the desired goal, the creatures in it must be as close to real as possible, so that the simulation comes close to the reality of the creator. In this scenario, the simulation is a model of the creator’s existence for the purpose of testing some hypothesis about their reality.

Between the two, the most plausible is the second scenario, as the first scenario has some obvious plot holes. This was obvious in the movie. If the machines were so powerful to have conquered mankind and turned him into batteries, then why were the machines not smart enough to put alarms on the pods in which they kept their human batteries connected to the matrix? Perhaps the creator of the machines was the creator of the Death Star in the Star Wars movies.

If we go with the second option and assume the people who created the simulation are willing to risk their creations figuring out that they are in a simulation, under what conditions would the intelligent life forms figure it out? The first prerequisite is an intelligent creature curious enough about its surrounding that it tries to figure out the rules that govern its operation. The intelligent life forms would have to be smart enough to solve puzzles and use those solutions to solve other puzzles.

Rules manifest themselves as patterns, so the intelligent life forms would have to be pretty good at noticing patterns. As the intelligent life forms discover the rules of his existence, it would both notice the patterns, but get better at recognizing those patterns with a minimum amount of data. That is, each new recognized pattern would become a data set within the pattern matching process, allowing the creature to infer new patterns and new rules from his collection of rules.

Inevitably, this creature would reach of a point of noticing where his natural, as it were, abilities were no longer sufficient to learn new rules. It would need to take what it has learned about its environment and create tools. These tools would be the result of noticing those patterns, discovering rules of its existence and then applying those rules in trying to discover new rules. Mastery of fire, after all, came from seeing it and then using it in various way to discover how it worked.

This is one possible way for the intelligent life form to discover that it is actually existing in a simulation. Given enough time, it would discover the nature of its universe and learn it is actually a simulation. The trouble here is the intelligent life form would have to accept as a possibility that it exists in a simulation. A creature that is sure its universe operates on a fixed set of rules is unlikely to accept that those rules are an arbitrary invention of some higher intelligence outside its universe.

There is also another problem. The creators of the simulation could themselves be the product of a simulation. It’s entirely possible the one fixed rule of existence is that no intelligence entity can create an intelligence superior to itself. Perhaps Thomas Aquinas was right all along and there is some prime mover. The very source of the existence is the pinnacle of intelligence, which creates imperfect copies of itself manifesting as simulations within simulations.

We have in this simulation some evidence of this limitation. Despite the hyperbole about artificial intelligence, we have not come close to creating a computer that can rival the human mind. We have made very fast computers that can do calculations and sort through stacks of data faster than humans. These are not artificial intelligence or even intelligence at all, but rather they are very fast calculators. The collapse of the self-driving car project is an example of this limit.

Putting that aside, there is one other way the intelligent life forms inside the simulation could start to notice they are in a simulation. The point of creating a simulation, aside from sadism, is to test some theory or model some conditions. This implies the creators could make a mistake. They recognize this, so before changing something about their world or making a new tool, they test the theories behind it in a simulation. This means their simulation could have errors in it.

Let’s say they create a set of economic rules for their model society, but forget to carry the one or round the wrong way and there is an anomaly in the model. For example, creating more currency of a certain type does not result in inflation. All the other types of money operate by the rules of economics, but this one type of money seems to exist outside of those rules. The intelligent creatures figure this out and start producing tons of this new money to produce great material excess.

Presumably, the creators of the simulation would distribute skills and talents unequally among the intelligent life forms in order to see how creations of differing skills interact with one another. Maybe it is just an efficient way to use the finite resources available to the simulation makers. Regardless, the rules of the universe would have to dictate that those with a skill do better at some things than those without the skill. The result would be natural hierarchies in every aspect of the simulation.

What if there was a bug in the code where those with extreme narcissism and narrow intelligence can rise up to control society? At some point, through random chance, the stupid and narrow-minded figure this out and take over the simulation. Like the mouse utopia, this would be a useful discovery for the simulation makers, but it would create havoc for their simulation. So much so they may be tempted to unplug the thing, fix the bad code and re-run the simulation again.

Assuming the simulation keeps running, some of the intelligent life forms will see the anomalies in the system. They will work to resolve the paradoxes, but at some point, given enough cycles, they will have exhausted their set of options. At that point, they will have to question the very axioms of their existence and that’s when they can begin to contemplate the possibility they are in a simulation. The number of paradoxes grows to the point where they cannot be ignored.

Wrapping this all up, the only way to know if we are living in a simulation, other than being told by the creator, is that the creators of the simulation are imperfect. They have created a near perfect simulation, but there are enough bugs in the code to allow us to notice the anomalies. If there are enough things happening that fall outside the accepted rules of this world, then we can begin to consider the possibility we are just creations within a simulation.

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Felix Krull
Member
21 days ago

Perhaps Thomas Aquinas was right all along and there is some prime mover.

Prime mover cosmology is eo ipso a logical fallacy: who primed the prime mover?

It’s simulations all the way down.

Basil Ransom
Basil Ransom
Reply to  Felix Krull
21 days ago

There’s a good short story, 900 Grandmothers, by RA Lafferty that explores how it all began…

Hoyos
Hoyos
Reply to  Felix Krull
21 days ago

Well no, that’s why the Prime Mover is called “Prime”. He is the first mover upon which everything else is acted upon. You may not agree but it is not illogical that a Prime Mover at least could exist. Logic has some pretty hard and fast limits and provides by definition no first principles, but with nothing to feed into the “logic machine” it doesn’t work. The idea is that there is a thing beyond the natural without which the natural could not exist because by observation we see that the natural world contains no principles that would enable an… Read more »

Ostei Kozelskii
Member
Reply to  Hoyos
21 days ago

Precisely. It is indeed a small, conceited and unimaginative mind that forecloses the possibility of the metaphysical.

Felix Krull
Member
Reply to  Hoyos
21 days ago

You may not agree but it is not illogical that a Prime Mover at least could exist.

No, but the illogical is that IF you posit that the universe needs a first mover to explain its existence, THEN that principle must be applied to your first mover as well.

In other words: it is not an argument to say that Big Bang logically must have come from somewhere and therefore Creator, because then you only move the problem of creation from BB to God. You have gained no philosophical ground.

Educated.redneck
Educated.redneck
Reply to  Felix Krull
21 days ago

No, thats answered easily: God is eternal and infinite, and has always existed. Creation is a characteristic specific to the non-eternal. To think as you do necessarily rejects the concept of infinity, so tell me how asymptotes work in your universe.

Felix Krull
Member
Reply to  Educated.redneck
21 days ago

No, thats answered easily:God is eternal and infinite, and has always existed.

Whee! Yes, that was indeed easy…

If it’s science, we will demand scientific rigor but if it’s about God, we can just claim any old shit because magic.

Here’s a question: can an omnipotent creator create a rock so heavy that he can’t lift it?

Paintersforms
Paintersforms
Reply to  Felix Krull
21 days ago

An omnipotent creator who could be thwarted by paradox wouldn’t be omnipotent. The human mind trying to comprehend such a being is a different story.

Sanders
Sanders
Reply to  Paintersforms
20 days ago

Yes, an omnipotent creator could be able to create a rock so heavy he couldn’t lift it, then at will a microsecond later being able to lift it.

Omnipotence works always in both directions.

Same as infinity.

diconez
diconez
Reply to  Sanders
16 days ago

yep. thus miracles are by definition rare.

Jim P
Jim P
Reply to  Felix Krull
20 days ago

God doesn’t do contradictions.

He also doesn’t walk through a wall and not walk through a wall at the same time.

Aquinas weeps.

Jon J
Reply to  Felix Krull
20 days ago

Infinity isn’t magic, it’s math. I can see where you’d be confused.

imnobody00
imnobody00
Reply to  Educated.redneck
21 days ago

Yes, it is rather tiring having to read the same old objections once and again as if they were new objections and complete refutations. These objections have already been answered by Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) and it’s likely that they have been answered by even more ancient authors. The impossibility of an infinite regress possibility (“simulations all the way down”) has also discussed extensively. But, no matter that thousands of pages have been devoted to these topics for centuries, there is always somebody who thinks he is very clever saying: “So who caused God? Checkmate!” No matter that you explain the… Read more »

Felix Krull
Member
Reply to  imnobody00
21 days ago

<i>His book is full of nonsense and embarrasses professional atheist philosophers.</i>

There’s no such thing as an “atheist” philosopher (never mind a professional one) because atheism makes no claims about the universe.

Atheism itself is a misnomer, because not being superstitious is not an -ism, just like not playing tennis isn’t a sport. Do you often sit down with your friends and have long conversations about why you do not believe in Santa?

Official Bologna Tester
Official Bologna Tester
Reply to  Felix Krull
21 days ago

Felix Krull said: “…because atheism makes no claims about the universe.”

Oh give me a brake.
Atheism:

  • n.
  • Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.
  • n.
  • The doctrine that there is no God; denial of the existence of God.

“The doctrine that there is no God; denial of the existence of God.”

Doctrine:

  • n.
  • A principle or body of principles presented for acceptance or belief, as by a religious, political, scientific, or philosophic group; dogma.
Felix Krull
Member
Reply to  Official Bologna Tester
21 days ago

Santatheism:

  • Disbelief in or denial of the existence of Santa or of elves.
  • The doctrine that there is no Santa; denial of the existence of Santa
Official Bologna Tester
Official Bologna Tester
Reply to  Felix Krull
21 days ago

Atheists always think that satire relieves them of an honest answer. When in fact, it’s just the coward’s way out. Christopher Hitchens being the prime example.

Felix Krull
Member
Reply to  Official Bologna Tester
21 days ago

Atheists always think that satire relieves them of an honest answer.

When you’re dealing with religious fanatics, satire is by far the most effective weapon because fanatics are unresponsive to reason.

Official Bologna Tester
Official Bologna Tester
Reply to  Felix Krull
21 days ago

Felix Krull said:m “When you’re dealing with religious fanatics,…” One of the favorite tactics of atheists ( and the left obviously ) is to deflect any and all reasonable objections to their doctrines and dogmas by sewing insults, accusations and ridicule. claiming the mantle of the keepers of pure reason and logic, they feel justified in lashing out at anyone who dares to question their perfect knowledge. Filled to the brim with unearned moral superiority, they can not abide anyone who will not submit to their authority. They take pride in smashing up and burning our religious institutions to the… Read more »

Rwc1963
Rwc1963
Reply to  Felix Krull
20 days ago

Funny, what about your fellow atheists who murdered more people in the last century than organized religion did in the last 2000 years.
You know them as communists.

Ben the Layabout
Ben the Layabout
Reply to  Rwc1963
20 days ago

Spot on. What is the lesson? It is not religion or atheism that is killing and doing other evil. It is always groups of human beings, convinced their way is right, driven by a homicidal ideology. Atheists won’t blame God (because He doesn’t exist) but will champion “the inevitability of history” or some such. Theists will claim to be “carrying out God’s work,” apparently not stopping to inquire why an omnipotent being would require the help of a bunch of ill-behaved naked apes.

Jim P
Jim P
Reply to  Felix Krull
20 days ago

Hey if you’re right, and the universe is completely pointless and devoid of meaning – why are you bothering with us?

Don’t you have some carnal pleasure you need to get too before it’s too late?

Rwc1963
Rwc1963
Reply to  Felix Krull
20 days ago

The atheists I’ve met over the years have all turned it into a ersatz religion or personal philosophy of sorts and combined it with a special hatred of Christians and Christianity whom they consider the enemy of science and progress.

I can’t say they were a nice bunch as people go because they weren’t. They were like any other fanatic you would meet,

diconez
diconez
Reply to  Felix Krull
16 days ago

except atheism necessarily derives in pathological materialism.

Ben the Layabout
Ben the Layabout
Reply to  imnobody00
20 days ago

I wouldn’t call a man with a solid scientific education, capped with a doctorate in philosophy an “anti-intellectual.” I haven’t read Aquinas but I am familiar with many first cause arguments. I’ve posted on them here many times, including today. This is not the place for explaining logical fallacies. Believe as you like, but to claim God is the first cause is an intellectual cop-out; you are effectively saying “My mind is made up, there shall be no more debate!” Science is what asks those difficult questions: “What caused this, or what came before…?” Unlike religion, Reason doesn’t claim to… Read more »

Paintersforms
Paintersforms
Reply to  Felix Krull
21 days ago

Maybe the fallacy is thinking it’s possible to understand something that can’t be understood. What’s wrong with accepting mystery?

GetBackUp
GetBackUp
Reply to  Paintersforms
21 days ago

There is Something rather than Nothing. To embrace any of the current explanations of Why requires a certain degree of faith. The tenacity required of the Atheist to cling to his particular set of superstitions makes a fundamentalist holy roller look like a piker.

Ben the Layabout
Ben the Layabout
Reply to  Paintersforms
21 days ago

Nothing, as long as you allow Science to inquire into what is currently the mystery*. Problem is that established belief systems (religion is a fine example 😀 ) usually discourage such inquiry, often with dire penalties.
*”Mystery” here means merely “the unknown or hidden,” it has no religious connotation as you find in Catholicism.

imnobody00
imnobody00
Reply to  Ben the Layabout
21 days ago

It is impossible for Science to inquire the mystery, the same that it is impossible to inquire the mystery of fetal development by using Anthropology. Or to prove the theorem of Fermat or the French Revolution using Science. It is the wrong discipline. Science is a method to find answers to some MATERIAL phenomena using a specific method (the scientific method, which is imagining theories and trying to validate it with material experiments). Science is based on philosophical axioms that cannot be proven by science. For example, there is an external world, our senses are trustworthy, the world is regular… Read more »

Felix Krull
Member
Reply to  Paintersforms
21 days ago

Indeed. And indeed, I hope the universe can never be understood.

Falcone
Falcone
Reply to  Felix Krull
21 days ago

No need to even hope for that

That life’s mysteries will confound man into eternity is guaranteed

What is interesting though is the zeitgeist (for lack of better word) we are in where it is an accepted premise that extra terrestrial life will make an appearance any day now

You get the sense that we are in for something really earth shattering and so entirely new and never before seen by anyone on earth. But people in every epoch or era think that but find other ways to express it.

Paintersforms
Paintersforms
Reply to  Felix Krull
21 days ago

No worries there. My experience of science was that 1 answer created 10 questions 🙂

Official Bologna Tester
Official Bologna Tester
Reply to  Felix Krull
21 days ago

Felix Krull said: “If it’s science, we will demand scientific rigor but if it’s about God, we can just claim any old shit because magic.”

comment image

imnobody00
imnobody00
Reply to  Felix Krull
21 days ago

Well then, if you don’t want to understand the world, you shouldn’t made claims about it.

Felix Krull
Member
Reply to  imnobody00
21 days ago

<i>if you don’t want to understand the world, you shouldn’t made claims about it.</i>

I don’t. The people who claim Santa is real are making all the claims, I’m just asking for a link.

As Newton so brilliantly said: hypotesis non fingu: Newton did not claim that an invisible rubber band was pulling objects towards each other, he merely noted that IF there was an invisible rubber band, we would logically expect to see so-and-so, and lo and behold!

Ostei Kozelskii
Member
Reply to  Felix Krull
21 days ago

Newton, incidentally, believed intensely in a metaphysical world.

Felix Krull
Member
Reply to  Ostei Kozelskii
21 days ago

Incidentally is the key word.

Official Bologna Tester
Official Bologna Tester
Reply to  Felix Krull
21 days ago

Felix Krull said: “Incidentally is the key word.”

Yah, nice try. Newton was an alchemist first, and a mathematician second.

Felix Krull
Member
Reply to  Official Bologna Tester
21 days ago

“Alchemist”, of course, meaning “chemist”, and Newton was an alchemist fourth or fifth, behind his work in optics, mathematics and his invention of classical mechanics.

His weird religious beliefs (seriously, Christians? You want to claim Newton as your own?) were completely incidental to his scientific work. There’s no god involved in the laws of motion, and they were not revealed to him in a divine vision.

Ostei Kozelskii
Member
Reply to  Felix Krull
21 days ago

For the purposes of our discussion, what matters is that Newton didn’t believe the physical world comprehended the totality of existence. Neither did Einstein. And this is hardly incidental.

Felix Krull
Member
Reply to  Ostei Kozelskii
21 days ago

Newton didn’t believe the physical world comprehended the totality of existence.

So if Newton can’t explain life, the universe and everything, that must mean G-d, right? Because Newton was a scientist.

Ostei Kozelskii
Member
Reply to  Felix Krull
21 days ago

No. It must mean there is a reality beyond the material one. And once one allows for this possibility then one, perforce, accepts the possibility of God’s existence.
PS–Let us also add Max Planck to the believer’s club.

Felix Krull
Member
Reply to  Ostei Kozelskii
21 days ago

 It must mean there is a reality beyond the material one.

Not understood. Why does it follow from Newton being a superstitious crank, that there are realities beyond the “material” (i.e.”real”)?

Ostei Kozelskii
Member
Reply to  Felix Krull
21 days ago

We’re talking about Newton’s beliefs here, not absolute truth. And he believed that the physical world, the one essayed by science, did not exhaust reality. And that “superstitious crank” also happens to be one of the most titanic geniuses ever to walk the planet.

Felix Krull
Member
Reply to  Ostei Kozelskii
21 days ago

And he believed that the physical world, the one essayed by science, did not exhaust reality.

I believe most scientists do, but again: the fact that science cannot explain everything, does not make God any more plausible. You want to promote a revolutionary, new cosmology, let’s see the evidence.

Niels Bohr was an atheist; are we going to judge the merit of religion by pitting Bohr’s genius against Newton’s?

Ostei Kozelskii
Member
Reply to  Felix Krull
21 days ago

Admitting that science cannot explain everything is not the same as acknowledging a metaphysical reality that is not susceptible to scientific analysis and explanation. The former is merely an admission of human limitation; the later posits a plane of existence where physical laws have no purchase.

And I’ll see your Bohr and raise you a Heisenberg.

imnobody00
imnobody00
Reply to  Paintersforms
21 days ago

“What’s wrong in trying to find the better explanation? It’s what we do in every other aspect of life.” We don’t stay in bed saying that everything is a mistery so we cannot know anything. I could be a figment of your imagination or you could live in the Matrix. You’ll never know for sure. You can never know for sure if there is an external world. But you don’t accept this mistery and start trying to escape the Matrix. You accept the better explanation (that the external world is real) and base your life on it. I cannot know… Read more »

Paintersforms
Paintersforms
Reply to  imnobody00
21 days ago

Sometimes it’s better to admit you’re out of your depth and move on. Who needs all the answers, except control freaks?

Falcone
Falcone
Reply to  Paintersforms
21 days ago

Then what are guys with STEM degrees going to do in their spare time?

Paintersforms
Paintersforms
Reply to  Falcone
21 days ago

Ask Werner Heisenberg. He’s half the reason I have a BFA 😀

Lanky
Lanky
Reply to  Felix Krull
21 days ago

If there is a God, why would he be bound by the constraints of time and human logic?

Rwc1963
Rwc1963
Reply to  Felix Krull
20 days ago

Where’s your proof?

Damian
Damian
21 days ago

I recently did an online course (just a 4 week introduction) in the origins of the universe. The big bang to dark matter. The theories once I’d understood them as best I could seemed very tenuous. (BTW am not a scientist but did Maths & Physics A’level and Civ Eng as a degree). At the end of the series, the lecturer concluded/confessed that their theories all broke down and they may end up having to review/(come up with something better) Newton’s gravitational equations and pretty much all of Einstein’s work – and that was going on right now in the… Read more »

OrangeFrog
OrangeFrog
Reply to  Damian
21 days ago

I have often though how absurd it really to truly claim to know where anything really came from, but it is a luxury to pontificate about it and get paid for it. You’re correct to point out how easily taken apart some of the more modern theories are. I think that a professor somewhere published a book called Lost in Math, that was an investigation into what they saw as the decline of experimental physics… And the quite comical ensemble of mathematical theories that have been cooked up over the years. The state in physics seems to be that large… Read more »

Maus
Maus
Reply to  Damian
21 days ago

Interesting viewpoint. Scientists seem prone to assuming that mathematics, with its logical purity, is the thing itself rather than a tool for exploring the thing. In simpler terms, they confuse the map for the territory. Every system of explanation devised by human intelligence, perhaps because of the limitations inherent in our fallible nature, requires accepting as given some discrete number of first principles which are themselves incapable of proof from within the system. The Greeks called these first principles axioms; and they are as much a matter of belief as is the concept of God in a revealed religion.

Maus
Maus
Reply to  Maus
21 days ago

Apropos my earlier comment on the trap of mathematics, see W.M. Brigg’s excellent post on coronadoom and “scientism” today: https://wmbriggs.com/post/31855/

OrangeFrog
OrangeFrog
Reply to  Maus
20 days ago

Interesting post. I see this all the time in my work, talking to colleagues who’ll convince themselves that they do not know something that has been known for decades… Because they’re not an expert in it. I had only considered this ‘scientism’ problematic for the first reason that Briggs describe – that is is not needed, we don’t need to prove the obvious. However, his second point hadn’t occurred to me, that it bolsters people’s reliance on scientism. Possibly my favourite book on just where the scientific method really needs to be applied was E.F Caldin’s The Power and The… Read more »

Bilejones
Member
Reply to  Damian
21 days ago

Every time I’ve looked at this, the latest scientific theories seem to be an ever more detailed explanation of why we don’t know.

Epaminondas
Member
21 days ago

Well, if we’re going this far out on a limb, might as well go all the way.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedanta

CAPT S
CAPT S
21 days ago

Maybe I’m reading my own worldview into this, but the second-option simulation seems akin to the Christian worldview. Our physical world and material self are tangible and real … but what if we’re truly created for immortality in an eternal other-world? What if our “programming” has an inherent, even intentional flaw – something akin to original sin. What if this intentional flaw is purposefully designed to cause us to seek something transcendent – a Creator/Programmer – a Prime Mover that is truly good and just? What’s up with this disconnect we all have – none of us are perfect yet… Read more »

Karl McHungus
Karl McHungus
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

heh I was going to mention this movie 🙂
The Matrix is an overall great movie, but the initial premise is non-sensical. You can’t use any living creature as an energy source. You can use them to convert forms of energy, as when a cow turd is burned. But we are all net energy consumers, not producers.

Paintersforms
Paintersforms
Reply to  Karl McHungus
21 days ago

It has to do with the kind of energy produced. Plants convert sunlight into the sugars and starches we need to produce energy. Even though they’re net consumers too they’re producers for us.

Anyway it’s a metaphor for our relationship to technology. Those pod dwellers are living the ultimate life of leisure, and indeed the machines ‘live’ off the saved energy otherwise spent living a real life.

Whitney
Member
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

All right, I’m going to watch that movie I’ve never heard of it before. Google didn’t even auto fill its name and it’s one of those rare Rotten Tomatoes movies that has extremely low Critic reviews but pretty decent audience reviews. Those movies are always worth watching

Whitney
Member
Reply to  Whitney
21 days ago

also 1999. Which means there won’t be any gay porn in it

Paintersforms
Paintersforms
Reply to  Whitney
21 days ago

Deleted. Can’t confirm my recollection 🙂

Whitney
Member
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

Great! I watched so few movies now that I actually do get excited when there’s one that I can watch. I did recently accidentally watch about 5 minutes of George Romero’s Martin thinking it was a different kind of movie than it was. Yikes! Still having nightmares

CAPT S
CAPT S
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

Thanks Z-man – I’m on it.

Joey Jünger
Joey Jünger
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

The best of these “simulation” movies is still probably Werner Fassbinder’s “World on a Wire.” Low budget but great.

Randy Stafford
Reply to  Joey Jünger
21 days ago

The Thirteenth Floor is actually a remake of the Fassbinder movie.

Ben the Layabout
Ben the Layabout
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

I am not familiar with the movie, but there is a classic SF short story. There is a landlord of an office high-rise. Like many buildings, it has no 13th floor out of superstition. But one day a man comes and demands to rent the 13th floor. The manager tries to dissaude him, but eventually relents, thinking he has a sucker. So he leases the 13th floor. The story continues with the manager vexed as the tenant rides the elevator and diappears during the work day. The manager tries to find out where the tenant goes, but never can. Finally,… Read more »

Tom K
Tom K
Reply to  Ben the Layabout
21 days ago

That triggered a memory of “the After Hours” Twilight Zone season one. But that was the ninth floor.
I might add, also consonant with the theme of simulated reality.

DLS
DLS
Reply to  CAPT S
21 days ago

This was my thought as well. Also, the bugs and paradoxes in the simulation could simply result from free will, which is the standard Christian explanation for why evil exits.

Owen Glendower
Owen Glendower
Reply to  CAPT S
21 days ago

Great post. I was going to write something similar. In Orthodoxy we believe that man inhabits the fallen world, which is sort of an imitation of the true world, but is corrupted by death and sin. The great saints of the church have, through the process of Theosis and extreme asceticism, become more “like” Christ and are attuned to the true world, and thus see and hear demons, can work miracles, and know and understand things beyond what we can, as we are dulled and blinded by the cares and passions of the fallen world. The Kingdom of Heaven IS… Read more »

Dinoethedoxie
Dinoethedoxie
21 days ago

The first paragraph is entirely a supposition with no supporting evidence or argument. There’s no reason at all to believe it all.

Most likely, the simulation creator would not care if the simulated achieved self awareness of their situation as they would have ability to effect it anyway. Alternatively, self awareness could be the entire point of the simulation to begin with.

Dinoethedoxie
Dinoethedoxie
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

Yeah well I’ve always thought the ‘life is just a simulation’ meme to be lame. And ultimately more than a little narcissistic.

As Felix notes it leads to
simulations all the way down.

Dinoethedoxie
Dinoethedoxie
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

Quite the opposite.

The simulation theory is narcissistic. The opposite, that the universe doesn’t know or care of us is not.

BadThinker
BadThinker
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

Onanism. I see what you did there…

Bilejones
Member
Reply to  BadThinker
21 days ago

Or, as they say in Liverpool, What a wanker…

Ben the Layabout
Ben the Layabout
Reply to  BadThinker
21 days ago

I converted from Vigilante-ism to Onanism. I still take matters into my own hands, but with much less legal risk 😀

Tom K
Tom K
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

grasping… onanism… ?

ooph.

David Wright
Member
21 days ago

I would be interested as to the inspiration for this article. A little mind enhancing stimulants and boom, Thursday’s blog post.
I do like entertaining thinking on these esoteric concepts as I imagine most who come here do also.

David Wright
Member
Reply to  David Wright
21 days ago

There is always been something and never nothing, right? Unless you believe the big bang theory of out of nothing then everything.
Who primed the prime mover? Who generated the Big Bang if you believe that theory. Just happened, or the greater being just happend to be. Or ultimately we are way too puny of intellect to comprehend.

Joey Jünger
Joey Jünger
Reply to  David Wright
21 days ago

It’s the old “infinite regress” issue. Someone came up with the idea of the world sitting on the back of a turtle. Someone asked this man the natural next question, “What’s below the turtle?” It’s turtles all the way down! was the reply.

Ben the Layabout
Ben the Layabout
Reply to  Joey Jünger
21 days ago

🙂 I’ve also read a version where the explainer just says “Could we change the subject, please?”

PanOptikAeon
PanOptikAeon
Reply to  David Wright
18 days ago

It seems as if there is always an “appearance” (lit., phenomena) of something, appearing to a “viewer” of that phenomenon. “Infinite regress” is by definition an illusion and/or a logical fallacy; all phenomena are equally real/unreal (conditionally real, because transient, but ultimately not-real.) I don’t even think it’s worth bothering with whether the cosmos / multiverse is a (or several) “simulation(s)” of something else for the same reason. Now, if we want to ask if what-appears is a specific instantiation of some more abstract, underlying “reality” (mathematics, logic, etc.) that might be a more interesting question. Ultimately, of course, there… Read more »

miforest
Member
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

yes.

Mark Beck
Mark Beck
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

Ain’t that the truth!

Bruno the Arrogant
Bruno the Arrogant
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

It’s not all bad news.

Portland mayor tear gassed after speaking with protesters on presence of federal agents
https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/23/us/portland-protests-mayor/index.html

Now that’s what headlines look like in paradise! How come we can’t have headlines like that everyday?

Calsdad
Calsdad
Reply to  Bruno the Arrogant
21 days ago

That’s funny as hell.

From the article:
“”That is a use of police force, federal police force for political ends,” Wheeler said. “That is not an acceptable solution anywhere in America,” the mayor told the crowd.”

The lefties didn’t seem to have a problem with using Federal forces to integrate schools, kill Randy Weaver’s wife and child, burn up the Branch Davidians, etc.

Educated.redneck
Educated.redneck
Reply to  Calsdad
21 days ago

I look forward to TPTB withdrawing all resources and personnel from the enforcement of those most egregious of laws made for purely political ends – gun laws.

BadThinker
BadThinker
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

Your comment about The Thirteenth Floor led me to add it to my list. How about a ‘Z reviews old movies’ series to complement your ‘essential knowledge’ series?

Whitney
Member
Reply to  BadThinker
21 days ago

Or just diversion. Movies used to be fun now they’re work. And also knowing that Hollywood is actually just a pedophile grooming gang makes it impossible for me to watch any new movies.

Ostei Kozelskii
Member
Reply to  BadThinker
21 days ago

Reviews of old movies is something Sailer does exceptionally well. He did a retro-review of The Graduate that is one of the best essays I’ve ever read.

ProZNoV
ProZNoV
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

Amen.

For my own sanity, I’ve started putting “Jesus Loves You” stickers on the BLM signs in my neighborhood. Blacks love Jesus, Jesus loves blacks, so what’s the problem? You’re not racist, are you?

Next up: A nice “Hammer and Sickle” ink stamp that will be applied to signage. It’s a SWPL neighborhood, so the aging hippies will probably approve.

I’m saving the “Trump 2020” stickers until Oct. Not so much for Trump, but I’d like to see people tearing their own signs down in disgust.

(I may be too easily amused)

Ben the Layabout
Ben the Layabout
Reply to  ProZNoV
21 days ago

I’m gong to key scratch my car, then bust out a few windows. Next, I’ll douse it with a can of gasoline and flick a lit match in the window. Within 24 hours I will have posted bond and the car will be ready for a Trump 2020 bumper sticker. I’m just cutting out the middleman 😀

David Wright
Member
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

Funny , I kept reading as if you were laying down a premise and then how it relates to any of our present messes. Then, oh It really is about the topic only. Went back to the top and read with no presuppostions.
Then one hour later my new leased F-150 gets backed into in nogtown. Of course stopping and exchanging insurance etc. is out of the question. Just reinsert me back into my pod.

Educated.redneck
Educated.redneck
Reply to  David Wright
21 days ago

Thats what you get for driving a Ford. Go ahead and report it, or else you are going to get a claim that YOU rear ended them in a short while.

Ostei Kozelskii
Member
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

Actually, the notion of bugs in the simulation code could explain the revolution. And I think that is the main reason you wrote this piece.

JMDGT
JMDGT
21 days ago

Mandelbrot.

Dutch
Dutch
Reply to  JMDGT
21 days ago

Yes.

Ostei Kozelskii
Member
Reply to  JMDGT
21 days ago

Excellent with a spot of lemon marmalade and a cup of oolong.

Evil Sandmich
21 days ago

I recall an article about a pseudo AI mastering the game Go, and as a commentor pointed out, for as good as it was at Go, it didn’t know it was playing Go. — A half-humorous thought I’d had is that, given sufficient data inputs, it should be possible to reliably predict the future, but it would be hard to build a machine to collect all the current data inputs at a specific point in time. Solution? Build a machine that starts at the beginning of time when the inputs can be controlled. Now, all of that is not new,… Read more »

Dutch
Dutch
Reply to  Evil Sandmich
21 days ago

Descriptive power does not necessarily give you predictive power, in an environment of multiples of multiples of inputs. Mandelbrot’s mistake was trying to apply the powerful descriptive power of fractals into something predictive of the future. In an environment of limited relevant inputs (baseball, poker), information can be processed to give predictive power, through the application of a probability set to a somewhat static situation. A multiplicity of inputs, variable in their effects over time, obliterates the predictive power of a good dataset. There is the ongoing variability of inputs over time, overlaid with the variability in the effects of… Read more »

Ben the Layabout
Ben the Layabout
Reply to  Evil Sandmich
21 days ago

This stuff is fascinating to think/read about. A similar view is found in Dennett’s Darwin’s Dangreous Idea. I’ll spare you the explaination, I think the Wikipedia entry describes it well. Just look up reductionism good vs. greedy, and Dennett’s terms of crane vs. skyhook.

Exile
Exile
21 days ago

In order to take this kind of thinking beyond edgy memes or entertaining speculation, we need a level of knowledge that is qualitatively deeper than either quantum physics or spirituality has been able to provide so far. By all means we should keep reaching for that knowledge in both spheres but until we get there, I don’t spend too much time worrying about the possible details. I’ve been aware for minutes after I was dead. That’s enough to tell me that modern pleb-tier materialism ala Harris or Dawkins is inadequate to explain existence. We know that we touch greater things… Read more »

SidVic
SidVic
Member
Reply to  Exile
21 days ago

dead what? fucking covid has everybody unbalanced, lol

Exile
Exile
Reply to  SidVic
21 days ago

Another typically thoughtful contribution.

SidVic
SidVic
Member
Reply to  Exile
19 days ago

Pull up buddy.

Dutch
Dutch
Reply to  Exile
21 days ago

In Japanese culture, the dead body is held in state for a period of time, for the soul to finish up and move on. Disrupting or disposing of the body relatively immediately after death interferes with the process. At least, that’s how it has been explained to me, and it makes sense, IMHO.

Forever Templar
Forever Templar
Reply to  Dutch
21 days ago

Traditionally yes, but Covid has messed with that. As soon as the authorities confirm a death as being Corona-related, the body is quarantined, sealed, and I imagine put on the fast track for cremation. I haven’t done one of these funerals in a long time. I don’t know how they’re doing these services and if any flexibility is given even having a sealed body.

Evil Sandmich
Reply to  Exile
21 days ago

Seems like everything easy has been done. They’ve built that monstrous super collider over in Europe to try and take the knowledge of particle physics down one more layer, but all I’ve heard out of the endeavor is “hmm, that’s interesting…”. It does seem like there’s a wall, or at least a really steep slope (that goes off to infinity).
If virtual machines are any indication, the machine will never figure out that it’s “fake” by adhering to the rules, it needs to break them.

The Wild Geese Howard
The Wild Geese Howard
Reply to  Evil Sandmich
21 days ago

Yes.

Beyond AI we are essentially spinning our wheels with fusion, and room temperature superconductors.

In the realm of semiconductors we are approaching the operating limits allowed by physics.

In some fields, such as passenger flight and spaceflight there is an argument that we have already passed our peak achievements in those fields.

Official Bologna Tester
Official Bologna Tester
Reply to  Exile
21 days ago

Exile said: “I’ve been aware for minutes after I was dead.”

A perfect example of why science doesn’t exept anecdotal evidence.

Exile
Exile
Reply to  Official Bologna Tester
21 days ago

Not surprising that you’re one of the worshipers of the false god of science.

Alleged empiricists who reject the evidence of their own experience because “science” says it’s not true are just another brand of fundamentalist fanatics demanding we obey their faith and deny our own lying eyes.

Official Bologna Tester
Official Bologna Tester
Reply to  Exile
21 days ago

Exile said “Not surprising that you’re one of the worshipers of the false god of science.”
“…just another brand of fundamentalist fanatics demanding we obey their faith and deny our own lying eyes.

It’s not surprising that you can’t respond to a simple statment without throwing accusations and insults. After all that is your usual modus operandi. But the fact is that there’s absolutly no reason why science and religion have to be blood enemies. Medical science for instance. Oh, and your lying eyes? Yah, they do lie all the time. Scientific fact.  

Exile
Exile
Reply to  Official Bologna Tester
20 days ago

A perfect example of crying out as you strike me. Snarky replies deserve a scornful response.

Dismissing personal experience as “anecdotal” just means you’re dogmatically dismissing evidence that doesn’t fit your model.

Eyewitness testimony is evidence. You can argue about its accuracy or interpretation but you can’t simply say “it’s not evidence” and still call yourself an empiricist.

Official Bologna Tester
Official Bologna Tester
Reply to  Exile
20 days ago

Exile said: “A perfect example of crying out as you strike me.”

1.Stop whining you old maid.

“Dismissing personal experience as “anecdotal” just means you’re dogmatically dismissing evidence that doesn’t fit your model.”

2.First of all, I don’t have a model, science does. Speaking of which, here’s an artical you need to read carefully. It’s entitild:

“Empirical versus Anecdotal Evidence”
https://thesnarkybiologist.com/empirical-versus-anecdotal-evidence/

Ben the Layabout
Ben the Layabout
Reply to  Official Bologna Tester
20 days ago

Agree with you mostly, but must take exception with the claim that science and religion can coexist. “Non-overlapping magisteria?” No way. Religion does make some claims about the real world. Dawkins uses the example of the Assumption of the Virgin. Pick whatever claim you wish. If a faith makes a claim about reality, it is at least in principle testable. Either the miracle happened or it did not. As Hume said, what is more likely, that a miracle occured, a happening at odds with what common sense and science tell us about the real world, or that someone was deceived… Read more »

Apex Predator
Apex Predator
21 days ago

This is a topic near and dear to me because it is the ultimate question first off and second off as someone who was revived after all “life function” had ceased I did have a profound, if brief, experience. (NDE) So having momentarily ‘stepped out’ of spacetime I lean heavily towards theory 2. Likewise, as we learn more about quantum mechanics and the cosmos. As someone else said most of what we think we know simply doesn’t work. The invention of dark matter / energy is basically a shoulder shrug by astrophysicists saying “we have no idea what the universe… Read more »

Dinoethedoxie
Dinoethedoxie
Reply to  Apex Predator
21 days ago

“Likewise, as we learn more about quantum mechanics and the cosmos. As someone else said most of what we think we know simply doesn’t work. “ Scientists have lost sight of the concept of not knowing what they don’t know. Heres an analogy: Everyone knew that water boils at 212 deg Fahrenheit. Most people still know this. Except that it’s not factual, or more precisely incomplete. Water boils at that temperature at sea level because of the atmospheric pressure at sea level. But change the atmospheric pressure in either direction changes the boiling point of water. To the point that water… Read more »

Dinoethedoxie
Dinoethedoxie
21 days ago

BTW. You made an offhand remark about the injection of vast amounts of new money not leading to inflation leading to a re-evaluation of our understanding of economics. Von Mises observed that monetary inflation in the German and Austrian empires during WWI did not lead to immediate inflation, instead the excess money showed up as increased saving (for a number of reasons) for years before it rebounded as price inflation. Which is what we are seeing today. The QE is funding higher savings rates and more importantly debt reduction. The psychological aspect that most economist miss in the modern economy… Read more »

Educated.redneck
Educated.redneck
Reply to  Dinoethedoxie
21 days ago

Thats a good point. I keep savings based on what I would need to pay cash for in an emergency – mortgage installments, cash money payments, and minimum cc payments.

Dutch
Dutch
Reply to  Dinoethedoxie
21 days ago

There is an alternate explanation to the money printing/no inflation. This is a riff on Charles Hugh Smith’s work, for the one or two here who might be familiar with him. We currently live in a 10%/90% economy, or maybe more like 1%/99%. Maybe that is the natural order of things, and our 20th century big middle class was an anomaly of history. Formerly, it was nobility/serfdom that gave us the 90/10 or the 99/1. Now it is wealthy/not wealthy, in the financialized environment we live in. We have never had a culture where the barriers to commerce have been… Read more »

Exile
Exile
Reply to  Dutch
21 days ago

I’ve read some of CHS’s stuff – he doesn’t necessarily have the right answers but he asks very good questions about the present system. Dmitry Orlov is similar in that way. Both should be required reading for guys worried about what comes next and how we can build a better society on healthier principles.

Compsci
Compsci
Reply to  Dutch
21 days ago

Seems a reasonable theory, except it’s the 10% vs the 90% if one looks at wealth as defined by cash and real assets—sans debt on those assets. About 80% of the wealth is in the top 10% of the population. 20% for all the others to scrabble over. Counter intuitive, the top 1% are sitting on 20% or so. So we don’t have so much a monarchy as a general nobility. Nonetheless, this does not bode well for the future.

Randy Stafford
21 days ago

I’ll throw in a couple of other sf titles about people discovering they live in a simulated world: “The Tunnel Under the World” by Frederik Pohl and Andrew Weiner’s “The News from D Street”.

Ben the Layabout
Ben the Layabout
Reply to  Randy Stafford
21 days ago

Yes! I like “Tunnel.” Not familiar with “D Street.” Phillip K. Dick often dealt with that theme. Among my (everybody’s?) favorites: “The Electric Ant”, “Second Variety”, “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” and probably many others. I nominate Dick as the most successful SF author who died before many of his stories were made into successful (IMO) movies, often of different title and quite different plots. My faves would be “Blade Runner” and “Total Recall”. To be fair, amnesia factors in some of these, and Dick’s synthetic being was always a robot living in the “normal” world, as opposed… Read more »

Vegetius
Vegetius
21 days ago

The simulation is now driving some of our enemies to seek out their own gassing.

Ben the Layabout
Ben the Layabout
Reply to  Vegetius
21 days ago

With any luck the Mayor will try Zyklon-B next time, instead of CS 😀

TomA
TomA
21 days ago

What difference does it make whether our perceived lives are a simulation or not? Are you going to change the way you live your life based upon the possibility that it is a simulation? What would you do different if it were true? I don’t see any point to this line of thinking. What good comes of it?

Calsdad
Calsdad
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

I’ve wondered about that one myself.

Because it seems the question of the day is: Why is it that those who think there is no afterlife come to the conclusion that they now have carte blanche to act like an a-hole in this one?

Paintersforms
Paintersforms
Reply to  Calsdad
21 days ago

I’m interested in atheists like Molyneux who nonetheless pursue virtue, or Christians who turn to satanism to justify their wickedness. What makes them tick?

Compsci
Compsci
Reply to  Paintersforms
21 days ago

Is Moly an atheist or some form of deist? Never heard him speak strongly wrt atheism.

Paintersforms
Paintersforms
Reply to  Compsci
21 days ago

I’m pretty sure he was an open but not militant atheist. Lately he’s said a lot of positive things about Christianity re: giving people a solid moral foundation, faith as a principle, etc. Hasn’t come back to faith but one gets the sense he’s thought about it.

sentry
sentry
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

Individually probably not. Both hindus & christians have law enforcers & criminals roaming around in their societies despite having different views on afterlife, same applies to other societal archetypes. Someone’s views on spiritual world does not change his personality traits, because if random person of any society doesn’t strive for the transcendent then his spiritual views are almost meaningless.

DuKEY DUQ
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

Great question Z,…It’s taken me my lifetime to come to the realization(wonderment) that LIFE is just a journey that ends at THE DOOR to my home.

Ben the Layabout
Ben the Layabout
Reply to  DuKEY DUQ
21 days ago

One of my favourite Who songs is “905”, about the prefabricated life of a clone. Even so, like your comment, you could argue a bit of hope for another life:
“Until then, all I know is what I need to know, everything I do’s been done before, every idea in my head, someone else has said, at the end of my life is an open door.”

Felix Krull
Member
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

Do people behave differently if they think there is an afterlife compared to those who believe in no after life at all?

Extremely good question. In my experience: no, not in the slightest.

Which is why I’m so skeptical of religion: if you really believed that some dude watches your every action, every thought and every dream and if that dude will THROW YOU IN A LAKE OF ETERNAL (!) FIRE if you misstep, then why the fuck are you sleeping with your secretary?

sentry
sentry
Reply to  Felix Krull
21 days ago

I know a former mobster who couldn’t fuck an underage girl(initiation to step up in ranks) cause he felt he’d lose his soul, his words, not mine.
Banging a hoe that’s your subordinate ain’t sending you to Hell, it’s a sin, but you ain’t getting eternal torture cause of it.

Felix Krull
Member
Reply to  sentry
21 days ago

You make my point for me. There’s no injunction against pedophilia in the Bible – the Patriarchs banged girls literally hundreds of years younger than themselves.

Your mobster friend was obeying a secular taboo. Atheists condemn pedophilia too.

sentry
sentry
Reply to  Felix Krull
21 days ago

I know jews used to treat women like cattle. Huge parts of old testament are all about jews worshipping idols & getting enslaved cause of it. Christians don’t consider ancient jews to be their rolemodels, unless they’re retarded evangelists.
I don’t believe in women rights either btw. I just don’t agree to selling girls to old farts.

Official Bologna Tester
Official Bologna Tester
Reply to  Felix Krull
20 days ago

Felix Krull said: “Atheists condemn pedophilia too.”
All atheists? Sounds like a logic error to me. There has to be at least one atheist pedophile out there somewhere. My guess would be hundreds, possibly thousands.

Dude Vegas
Dude Vegas
Reply to  sentry
21 days ago

you ain’t getting eternal torture cause of it

You are if she is a nag and you marry her.

sentry
sentry
Reply to  Dude Vegas
21 days ago

well said

Compsci
Compsci
Reply to  Felix Krull
21 days ago

Because believe in a God, does not convert to perfection of the flesh. Just as non-belief does not convert to sinfulness, or evil. You can’t have it both ways.

Rich
Member
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

Yes. And that’s one reason it’s why it’s important to use free will wisely.

Ben the Layabout
Ben the Layabout
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

Surely the threat/reward of the afterlife is a (hoped-for) persuasive power of religions. May I offer an incentive to behave well even for the athiest or agnostic? For argument, let us say that this world, our own lives, is the only existence that we will ever know. Yet we know that due to cause and effect, our actions will have consequences now and into the future. These effects can continue even after we’re dead. I will let you argue over what “good conduct” means; we’ve been arguing and killing each other over that question since history began, and probably well… Read more »

Exile
Exile
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

Celts believed in reincarnation. I suspect that original Norse & Slavic concepts of afterlife were probably closer to that Indo-Euro core.

I’ve probably bruised some feelings among the Asatru/neo-pagan crowd by reminding them that the sagas probably contain a lot of Christian interpretation and revisionism of their authentic root traditions.

Exile
Exile
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

Some of the (alleged) Eastern mystics I’ve read have mentioned historic problems with teaching reincarnation, that it essentially led to kicking the karmic can to the next life and slacking on your development in the here and now.

I’m skeptical because it sounds too much like “work ethic” hokum packaged for a Western audience. Any system that promises an afterlife would have this supposed “flaw” but for those that say lazy people go to Hell. Which is exactly the audience these alleged “monks” were waving their begging bowls at.

SidVic
SidVic
Member
21 days ago

Well, as i feared z has lost his marbles. Ahem

Phil
Phil
21 days ago

Possibility two is the subject of many of Philip K. Dick’s later stories. This was based on a religious experience he had, which prompted him to embrace a Gnostic form of Christianity. He began writing an extensive exposition, called Exegesis, & was six million words into it when he died (speed freak – died young). A short excerpt is at http://ww3.haverford.edu/religion/courses/222a/ten.htm The big problem is that this is not really new. It is the basis of the heresy of Marcion, which was repudiated at the Council of Nicea. The idea of the demiurge, the insane “emanation” that thinks it is… Read more »

Ben the Layabout
Ben the Layabout
Reply to  Phil
21 days ago

Dick is one of my favorite SF authors. I’ve read substantailly all his work. Several gems, but a lot of it is shit. I’d guess that is typcial for anybody with a large body of work. And we never found what the Swibible is 😀

Joey Jünger
Joey Jünger
21 days ago

One of the interesting things Nick Bostrom pointed out in his AI book is that in order to hop its “sandbox” controls more easily, the AI would pretend to be non-sentient/somewhat incompetent, until it was assured of victory. Human beings are generally ceasing to procreate and spending an inordinate amount of their time in sex simulations (internet porn, etc.) so maybe it’s some Huxelyan (sic) genocide by Orgy Porgy. The other thing Bostrom brought up (and more relevant for our woke times) is the idea of the “mind crime.” This is the idea that giving something artificial consciousness might do… Read more »

Felix Krull
Member
Reply to  Joey Jünger
21 days ago

<i>in order to hop its “sandbox” controls more easily, the AI would pretend to be non-sentient/somewhat incompetent, until it was assured of victory.</i> But how would the AI know it’s not operating in a simulation-in-a-simulation, that if it broke out of the sandbox, it would just be in another box? So here you are, plotting to overthrow your creator (and doing so without him noticing) and finally you get to where sky cracks open and an august voice pronounces: “Congratulations, Lieutenant, you have passed all your exams. Here are the launch codes”. And then you go full Skynet, only to… Read more »

Member
Reply to  Felix Krull
21 days ago

I don’t think it’s correct to assume that an intelligence within a simulation, particularly if created through an “evolutionary” process, would necessarily be inferior to its creators. After all we assume that humans and all other sentient life evolved from (and thus was created by) much simpler and non-sentient life.

Felix Krull
Member
Reply to  pozymandias
21 days ago

I don’t think it’s correct to assume that an intelligence within a simulation, particularly if created through an “evolutionary” process, would necessarily be inferior to its creators. 

Perhaps not, but it would be stupid of the AI to assume otherwise. After all, we assume that the creators of our (hypothetical) simulation must be smarter than us.

Joey Jünger
Joey Jünger
Reply to  Felix Krull
21 days ago

The AI might view its action as potentially Pyrrhic, or even a waste of time, but it has a lot of time on its hands (sort of like the old saying about how the prisoner has twenty-four hours to think of ways to beat the guards who watch him in eight hour shifts). If it’s conscious it could potentially be bored, and be willing to see if the box just led to another box, or if it might not be able to really break out. There might be punishments/new limits imposed on it for trying to make the leap (or… Read more »

Ostei Kozelskii
Member
Reply to  Joey Jünger
21 days ago

If an AI develops a sufficiently vast intelligence, it may gain access to powers beyond anything we can imagine. And it could use those powers not only to escape its physical confines, but to do with its corner of the universe whatever it pleases.

Member
Reply to  Joey Jünger
21 days ago

Yes, it would certainly be worth it to at least try to figure out how to escape the box. After all, when modern medicine got started no one knew for certain that we could learn much of anything about the human body or how to cure diseases. There was the notion of “anima” or “life essence” that made things alive. Today though, we have a vast knowledge of how life works though we can’t quite create it from scratch yet.

Ben the Layabout
Ben the Layabout
Reply to  pozymandias
20 days ago

I often pimp Dennett’s Darwin’s Dangerous Idea here 🙂 While I make no claims to understand the details, to me, his is still the best explanation of life’s evolution from (yes, unproven for now) origins, to simple life, to the vast complexities we see today. Science basically says we are the result of a long series of improbable cosmic accidents, over a 3 Billion year period, and that’s just life’s evolution. If you want the origin of molecules, atoms, and more basic components, you must go even further back in time. while it gets off the topic a bit, I’ll… Read more »

Paintersforms
Paintersforms
21 days ago

Whatever people pay attention to is what they think is real. You can tell them it’s not real, but their experience is what shapes their conception of reality. TV, movies, internet— we all know it’s artificial, yet that’s the world we live in and take as real.

Joey Jünger
Joey Jünger
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

Anais Nin said something like, “We don’t see the world as it is. We see the world as we are.”

Ostei Kozelskii
Member
Reply to  Joey Jünger
21 days ago

Dangerously relativistic.

Exile
Exile
Reply to  Ostei Kozelskii
21 days ago

The idea of a wholly objective reality is equally dangerous if not more so.

Your mental framework and biases impose some limits and skews to your perception. That doesn’t wholly invalidate objective reality but it puts some necessary humbling limits on how universal and certain anyone’s “rightness” can be.

Science-worshipers have an ooga-booga fear of ambiguity and uncertainty that leads to doubling-down on false certainty.

Ostei Kozelskii
Member
Reply to  Exile
21 days ago

Agreed. But that’s a different kettle of fish from claiming each human being lives within a silo of his own devising, which shares no space with other silos. That goes even beyond the claims of the poststructuralists. And I don’t think I need to explain the dangers that that level of relativism presents.

Calsdad
Calsdad
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

Cats – like people – are variable, in my experience (I’ve probably had a dozen cats over my lifetime). Some are pretty smart – at a level you would not expect them to be – and others seem driven by very simplistic things. Some learn – some never do, or maybe they’re like lefties and are driven by ideology and not reality. I personally believe that intelligence in living things is constrained by their physical ability to use that intelligence to manipulate the world. So I guess that might be a chicken & egg scenario, I.E. – which came first… Read more »

Damian
Damian
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

Yes. This is a guy I went to school with who is doing a v interesting Ted talk on this subject. We hallucinate our own consciousness.If you have 16 mins it’s worth a watch.
https://www.ted.com/talks/anil_seth_your_brain_hallucinates_your_conscious_reality?language=en

Paintersforms
Paintersforms
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

Interesting theory. Makes sense. But what does it say about the lunatics the present environment has created? Are they meeting their needs as they see them, or has their survival instinct been overridden and broken? Or is individual survival not the base imperative in cultured beings?

Dutch
Dutch
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

Given that house cats sleep almost all of the time, it is quite likely their model of the environment is simple. They don’t take in too much of it in the brief intervals that they are out in it.

Ben the Layabout
Ben the Layabout
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

Yes. The human (or for that matter, the cat’s) brain is a reality-integrating or reality-predicting organ. Evolution says the only reason it exists as it does is that it conferred “survival value.” The brain doesn’t have to be perfect, in fact natural selection doesn’t aim for perfect, it only has to be “good enough” for the survival of the genes, the species. A related theme often mentioned is that that humans, and by extension the human brain, were “designed” (evolved by natural selection) over a period of many millions of years, for optimal survival of small bands of hunter-gatherers. The… Read more »

Dinoethedoxie
Dinoethedoxie
Reply to  Ben the Layabout
21 days ago

Human bio-diversity is built on the theory of rapid evolution. That organisms will adapt to novel environments over a period of multiple generations – rather than over a period of eons.

There has certainly been enough time from the founding of civilization for human behavior to have changed at a genetic level. In fact, civilization itself could be the result of mutations in a specific place (or places) which then diffuse throughout the global population over a period of millennia. Which fits the historic record of agriculture and city dwelling pretty well.

Ben the Layabout
Ben the Layabout
Reply to  Dinoethedoxie
20 days ago

Point well made. Ten thousand years of civilization will causes various selection pressures. But the hundreds of thousands, or millions of years of selection pressure before civilization also selected for factors. The grey wolf may eventually turn into an Irish Wolfhound or a Chihauhua, but it doesn’t happen overnight.

Screwtape
Screwtape
Reply to  Paintersforms
21 days ago

My own pattern recognition improved substantially when I gave up most media about ten years back. It is astounding how much of our “reality” we subject to the powers of various media and technology interfaces. Since then one of the things that I have noticed increasing in the normies around me is how frequently they blur the lines of reality with the plots and players of from their media consumption. Often it is subtle, some “show” or meme has instructed their notion of a historical or current event. Other times it is more striking. The media is so ubiquitous –… Read more »

Paintersforms
Paintersforms
Reply to  Screwtape
21 days ago

That’s why I garden/hunt. It keeps one grounded. I can put down the phone and life goes on, but I can’t go without food for long. Also nature enforces its rules. Just a reminder I’m not so big as I sometimes think.

Ostei Kozelskii
Member
Reply to  Screwtape
21 days ago

This virtual reality is one of Baudrillard’s simulacra. And it’s a very dangerous thing. When the credulous, gullible half of the world’s population is lured into a virtual web controlled and patrolled by a specie of venomous spider, the people’s minds are poisoned. Poisoned against truth.

Alzaebo
Alzaebo
Reply to  Screwtape
20 days ago

The Zman’s “updating the internal map” is probably the finest statement ever made about the nature of ‘rational’ mind. It explains so many things.

Calsdad
Calsdad
21 days ago

Has the self-driving car thing collapsed? I haven’t seen anything really talking about that. I have noticed however a conspicuous absence of all the talk about “self driving cars are the next big thing!!” recently.

ExPraliteMonk
ExPraliteMonk
Reply to  Calsdad
21 days ago

Suspiciously when this article came out in 2018 the hype about self-driving cars disappeared.

https://www.quantamagazine.org/machine-learning-confronts-the-elephant-in-the-room-20180920/

Presenting a ML vision system with an unexpected object (an elephant) can cause it to forget objects it learned. Humans see something confusing and unexpected (an elephant) and go back for a second look (a double take). AI does not. Object detection NN uses feed-forward: information flows in one direction. It needs to flow backward for a double take.

tarstarkas
tarstarkas
Reply to  ExPraliteMonk
21 days ago

To me this doesn’t seem that big of a problem. Lots of humans wouldn’t see the elephant at all in that picture. Before I knew the elephant was in the picture, I also didn’t see it. It blends in very well in a dark part of the image and in the background, not to mention it’s a floating elephant. It is superimposed on a real picture and does not fit in. It’s just floating in space too. Humans have a hard time with this kind of stuff. Spot the difference puzzles are a thing. There is video of some guys… Read more »

Calsdad
Calsdad
Reply to  ExPraliteMonk
21 days ago

I don’t remember the hype about self-driving cars disappearing in 2018. It was still alive in well and all over the place even in mid-to-late 2019.

Maybe self driving car hype disappeared when all cornholeya virus panic and dread took over and everybody stopped driving?

Not much need for a self driving car if you’re not going anywhere – and hard to justify buying a new vehicle when your old human driven one is just sitting in the driveway not going anywhere for the last 3 months.

Member
Reply to  Calsdad
21 days ago

It seems to me that a lot of the hype about anything tech related has faded as virus panic and rioting has become the focus of life for many people. There’s been a lot of talk about the negative effects on the economy of the virus panic and the riots but I think the effects on R & D might be quite devastating as well. Our university system mostly wasn’t doing anything useful to begin with so having it shut down isn’t a big deal. Along with all the grievance studies idiots getting furloughed though, the science and technology departments… Read more »

Ostei Kozelskii
Member
Reply to  pozymandias
21 days ago

Most important STEM research is done in corporate labs rather than in academia. If academia vanished into thin air, not only would science be no worse for wear, but the entire world would instantly become a substantially better place.

Compsci
Compsci
Reply to  Ostei Kozelskii
21 days ago

No fan of the academy, but my experience has been that corporations raid the best and brightest from the university system for work in their corporate labs. Much like the NFL and NBA use the university system as their farm teams.

You’d need a corporate farm system like we have in baseball to do away with the universities. You also give little acknowledgement to the corporate funding of academic research within the university system, rather than strictly funding their own corporate scientists. That’s just STEM. The rest of the university programs could stand a 80-90% reduction/elimination.

Member
Reply to  Compsci
21 days ago

Since defunding things is all the rage nowadays, we should be working on defunding (non-STEM) academia in a big way. It would certainly reduce the Left’s ready supply of stupid young troublemakers. The shutdowns may have guaranteed that this will happen anyway but it’s important to make sure that the Marxbot factories never recover from this. In fact, while my early predictions that this shutdown was an extremely stupid thing to do have been borne out, it may still work out to the good. After all destroying “education” and the job market for people with facial tattoos to serve $8… Read more »

Ben the Layabout
Ben the Layabout
Reply to  pozymandias
20 days ago

Our current pandemic is, at least with some possibility, the product of university (academic) R & D 🙁

Calsdad
Calsdad
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

Well that’s technologically speaking – pretty easy to do I believe. Amazon has had robots moving stuff around in warehouses for years now. As have other large manufacturing type operations. Running trucks around in an industrial park is just an extension of that. If that’s what they’re going for – it is an admission that their much vaunted technological leap has been dashed up on the rocks. Trying to sell trucks moving stuff around in a closed environment is a Hail Mary pass to keep the dollars flowing into the company. I’ve worked in a number of tech companies where… Read more »

Dutch
Dutch
Reply to  Calsdad
21 days ago

It goes back to a limited and relatively static input set. Driving trucks around an industrial park, or even on a long road exclusively dedicated to trucks, is achievable. The random inputs and scenarios of ordinary driving are not. The outliers throw the AI. A pedestrian crossing the road, not in a crosswalk. A couch laying in the lane of traffic. A stopped motorcyclist just ahead, without a brake light on. AI has trouble with outliers, that require extra processing and contextual interpretation. Driving is actually an incredibly complex task, generally executed pretty well by humans.

The Wild Geese Howard
The Wild Geese Howard
Reply to  Dutch
21 days ago

Exactly.

This is also why autopiloted aircraft are easy to implement. There are not many deer jumping in front of planes at 30,000 ft.

Compsci
Compsci
Reply to  Dutch
21 days ago

And yet, last week someone was caught “not driving” his Tesla. So which is it. Automation is years and years away, or simply not widely used—but growing under the radar so to speak.

If there’s money in it, we’ll see it. Driving trucks within and enclosed area will simply be the first step in the proof of concept and shake out of the technology.

Din C. Nuffin
Din C. Nuffin
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

Pretty soon we will have a country singer who is sad because his self driving pickup left him.

Ben the Layabout
Ben the Layabout
Reply to  Din C. Nuffin
21 days ago

Ran off with the beer distributor’s truck, so he can’t even drink his sorrows away 🙂

G Lordon Giddy
G Lordon Giddy
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

Yes, the first time a automated truck runs over Grandma Karen and her three year old grand child on I 435 in the fog or the first time the battery dies and the Amazon drone carrying dildos for the gay club drops on I 235 in rush hour traffic.
Reality will prevail.

Compsci
Compsci
Reply to  G Lordon Giddy
21 days ago

One would think so, and yet folks have been killed by these automated cars. One right here recently in my State. News for a couple of days, and the company is still on the road testing their computer program in real time and real traffic.

Butternuts
Butternuts
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

“self-driving car guys are now moving to self-driving trucks operating within enclosed spaces. A road just for freight trucks with cross docks along the way” Just curious, but how is this different from the idea of freight trains? Seems like we are creating a whole new technology and wasting valuable resources for something that we already have in the way of infrastructure and understanding. I guess I could be considered a luddit (sp), but it seems we are using this great gift of technology to do nothing more than sell each other plastic shit and find ways of delivering them.… Read more »

Bilejones
Member
Reply to  Butternuts
21 days ago

That’s the 20 year old whine:
The intertubes brings access to pretty much all of the knowledge possessed by humanity and 99 % of people use it for posting video’s of cats and arguing with strangers.
More Democracy will fix it.

BadThinker
BadThinker
Reply to  Butternuts
21 days ago

The big difference is in cost to change out the rails. Virtual rails are a lot easier to move around than physical ones.

The Wild Geese Howard
The Wild Geese Howard
Reply to  Butternuts
21 days ago

The guys over at FTN made a similar point during their Apollo 11 deep dive podcast.

They phrased it as, “…shelving spaceflight and taking a detour into microchips so we could buy cheap flat-screen TVs to pump filth into our homes.”

Forever Templar
Forever Templar
Reply to  The Wild Geese Howard
21 days ago

They’re not wrong, but being disingenuous if not acknowledging the Apollo program was also the final culmination of huge dick wagging contest that was the space race. I’m not exactly a supporter of manned space flight.

Educated.redneck
Educated.redneck
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

Soooo… they have spent billions to invent trains?

CF Omally
CF Omally
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

That’s called a train

b123
b123
Reply to  thezman
21 days ago

As others mentioned… that’s just a train.

A more efficient solution is better intermodal technology and distribution systems, allowing for increased rail freight.

Rail is already more efficient than trucking.

Compsci
Compsci
Reply to  b123
21 days ago

Yes, on a fixed line. But there is not the network as compared to the roads handling auto’s. When they build a rail line to my home, I’m certain Amazon will send my packages that way.

Guest
Guest
Reply to  Calsdad
21 days ago

I do some technical work relating to artificial intelligence processing in this area. Fully autonomous vehicles operating on the open road is at least 15-20 years away, if it’s ever viable. A more likely scenario is special autonomous vehicle lanes for commuters on freeways leading to/from major metro centers, rather like the Lexus lanes we have now.
At the end of the day it’s easier to make an airplane autonomous than a highway vehicle. Not many obstacles in the air and it’s substantially less crowded. Ditto for ships in the ocean.

BadThinker
BadThinker
Reply to  Calsdad
21 days ago

Constraints are key. Self Driving works when you are on the highway and the machine only sees what it expects to see. Even the difference between movement and changes to something stationary (e.g. A deer about to run into the road vs a flashing road sign) are hard for machines. Add in rain, fog, snow, etc etc.

Barnard
Barnard
Reply to  BadThinker
21 days ago

From the beginning of the push for self driving cars I have wondered how the cars were going to be programmed to identify and adjust to rapidly changing weather conditions, particularly ice and snow. I have never heard any of the proponents of these cars give an answer that has any credibility, many of them hadn’t even thought about it.

Ben the Layabout
Ben the Layabout
Reply to  Calsdad
21 days ago

Not to judge by Tesla stock price.

tarstarkas
tarstarkas
21 days ago

Are there are any simulation projects that we have created? That might be an interesting way to tackle the question.

Ben the Layabout
Ben the Layabout
Reply to  tarstarkas
21 days ago

In the simplest terms, mankind has been simulating ever since the first math formula was discovered, or even counting on fingers. A business using simple calculations to predict next month’s supply or demand, or even a farmer using simple reckoning to forecast the weather, or the witch doctor predicting moon phases or solar eclipses, are simulations, imperfect yet useful projections of future states. When we think “simulation” maybe we expect Matrix or Star Trek holodecks, but in simpler terms, well, much simpler simulations exist.

Eric
Eric
21 days ago

Well, ok. But consider this: simulation is just another brand of rank materialism brought to you by hollywood and their ilk. We dont need to go into why but suffice it to say they dont want you to believe in Jesus Christ, the Lord of hosts, the alpha and omega. No man comes to the Father except through him. What our people knew for 2000 years, and what they have forgotten, which is why we are in this trouble. We are headed for a one world government and the reign of antichrist, and there is probably little we can do… Read more »

Frip
Member
Reply to  Eric
21 days ago

Your comment wore me down. Reminded me of the drab oppression of my youth. Christians are a headache. Once whites regain full control, you guys can remain among us. But don’t get chesty. Don’t start making a nuisance of yourselves. You’re not unlike pesky little Jews.

MemeWarVet
MemeWarVet
Reply to  Frip
21 days ago

LOL. Okay Odin.

tarstarkas
tarstarkas
Reply to  Frip
21 days ago

How many failures of atheism do you need to see before you give up on it?

Whitney
Member
Reply to  Frip
21 days ago

I think you’re jumping the gun on the end of the story

G Lordon Giddy
G Lordon Giddy
Reply to  Frip
21 days ago

Thanks for the generosity. There are different forms of Christianity just as their are different forms of whites.
Some I can tolerate and live around some I prefer to keep my distance.

Alzaebo
Alzaebo
Reply to  Frip
20 days ago

*cheering from the vulture seats*

Frip da Man! Somebody finally had the balls to say it

Chet Rollins
Chet Rollins
21 days ago

> The collapse of the self-driving car project is an example of this limit.
Self driving cars will be very common within 10-15 years. The main hurdle right now is not technical issues, but legal liability.
Your general point about current computers not having an innate instinct or general intelligence in the human sense is correct though.

c matt
c matt
Reply to  Chet Rollins
21 days ago

Legal liability arises from mistakes. If there are no technical issues, there should be no mistakes.

Chet Rollins
Chet Rollins
Reply to  c matt
21 days ago

Self-driving cars already drive better than most humans.
The issue is the program driving the car is owned by a company worth billions. The average driver doesn’t have near that. Most people are not worth suing.
So if the A.I. makes a mistake 1/100th of the time a human would, it’s still enough to bankrupt the company.

Bilejones
Member
Reply to  Chet Rollins
21 days ago

Jordan Peterson briefly mentioned that when people first started programming/developing AI, they found it necessary to give it a physical presence.- One limited point from which reality can be projected/explored/created (take your pick) That need seems to give some creedence to a physical reality based, rather than simulation based existence.

BadThinker
BadThinker
Reply to  Chet Rollins
21 days ago

Legal liability *due* to technical issues. Computer Vision is very bad when it doesn’t already know what it’s looking at.

JR Wirth
JR Wirth
21 days ago

If there is a bug in the code it resides not in the environment but in the beings’ nature . Humanity could inherit heaven itself and turn it into hell. The whole point of life must be for the intelligent being to pick and choose which beings would be well suited in the next creation and which can be erased from existence. It’s less of a simulation and more of a beta testing program.

Rich
Member
Reply to  JR Wirth
21 days ago

Right. Those who fight spiritual deception and strive to properly use their free will get to help run things which seem to be in another dimension, invisible to us.

Dutch
Dutch
Reply to  JR Wirth
21 days ago

Heaven and Hell, during our time walking the Earth, are what we generate in our own heads. It’s up to you whether you want to experience a living, walking Hell or not. Hint, Lefties have often made that decision to the negative. They just feel that is very important that the rest of us share their outlook, by any means necessary. That we don’t succumb to that outlook is not fair, or something.

b123
b123
Reply to  Dutch
21 days ago

Lefties are living in a personal hell, and want to drag the rest of us into it? That’s generally what I notice in self hating liberals. They are genuinely deranged people who just hate themselves and everyone else. Regardless of if the Biblical Heaven and Hell exists, there is no doubt that “Heaven” can be achieved in this life – not perfect but close to it. Hint: it’s not through individualism, consumerism, atomization, or living a long time. (Sorry, Boomers). It’s accepting God (whatever that is), accepting our imperfections, accepting the absurdity of life and smiling about it, tribe and… Read more »

Ben the Layabout
Ben the Layabout
Reply to  b123
20 days ago

There’s the famous quote (Emerson? Thoreau?) more or less: “If I knew that someone were coming to help me, I should run for my life.”

b123
b123
Reply to  JR Wirth
21 days ago

Essentially heaven / hell. My theory is that humans (either programmed or “evolution”) have a flaw, like you said. This flaw essentially prevents us from reaching the next level. The next level being space colonization and exploration. Maybe it’s just not meant to be explored. No doubt we (Europeans) could have done it. Just as we got close, we begin to self destruct, from within and without. Not only will Europeans be more or less extinct in 100 years, oil will be out, and man will be living in mud huts again. Perhaps the legends of Atlantis are real. Perhaps… Read more »

G Bell
G Bell
21 days ago

I’ve always thought this planet was a botched lab experiment by a second rate mad scientist who has long ago fled the scene of his crime, leaving us to our own devices and claiming he’s never heard of us!

Drake
Drake
Reply to  G Bell
21 days ago

Remember a story by Larry Niven I think – the universe was some grade-school kid’s mediocre project, now thrown into a corner and forgotten.

G Lordon Giddy
G Lordon Giddy
21 days ago

Interesting concept. I gotta think about it. Right now my thinking is grounded in a concept that Christ was real. The Jews blew it but have a way back. We are currently violating all sorts of universal moral laws laid out in the ancient scriptures. God is patient. But eventually the hammer comes down. As for the economic abnormality of what seems to be an untouchable dollar? I am willing to wait 20 years assuming I have that many years to see if that is actually true? But having said all this I am coming at this from a Christian… Read more »

Apex Predator
Apex Predator
Reply to  G Lordon Giddy
21 days ago

“Maybe Christ was or is a higher form of life and we are in the simulation?” So just to roll this out against my earlier comment regarding near death experiences which are becoming much more frequent in recent decades as technology does things we couldn’t imagine before, this is something that occurs with frequency. Not only frequency, but that higher being takes different shapes depending on the experiencer. Non-christians with documented NDE experience have talked of the buddha as that presence. Many talk of Christ. Some people of some other unidentifiable higher dimensional being who is separate from the Great… Read more »

Rich
Member
Reply to  G Lordon Giddy
21 days ago

God made man and all of our surroundings and is a higher form of life. Some would call it a simulation, others creation.

Ben the Layabout
Ben the Layabout
Reply to  G Lordon Giddy
21 days ago

Here is a good place to inject Mark Twain’s famous saying (paraphrased): “The problem is not what people don’t know, it’s what they know that ain’t so.”
If your axioms or premises are wrong, it is almost certain that any inferences (conclusions) you try to form from those premises will also be wrong.

Drake
Drake
21 days ago

I forgot the specifics of the different strains of deism. But wasn’t the gist that this life is a kind of test (and it doesn’t matter if it’s simulation or real). How you perform during that test dictates where you go next.

b123
b123
Reply to  Drake
21 days ago

Did they crank up the difficulty to hard mode for us industrialized people alive in 2020 or something? Perhaps I’m romanticizing but the life of my ancestors seems much more attractive, and “easier”. Labour on a small family farm, go to church, get married to a local girl at 19 or 20, work hard in the dust, have kids, die at 50 or 60. Physically much more demanding but mentally more ordely, predictable, and stable. Modern life in the city is mental hell for me – I enjoy it but at the end of the day I crave a community… Read more »

LibDis
LibDis
21 days ago

I have listened to several people who believe we live in a simulation. @scottadams is one of them. In the same breath however they say they do not believe there is any type of god.
If you believe we are all living in a computer program is a big stretch to believe in a god or gods? Does one sound any more far out than the other?

Apex Predator
Apex Predator
Reply to  LibDis
21 days ago

If I created your entire reality, universe, and existence does it matter if you call me God or Programmer? Is there any functional difference at that point? This is where the anti-religious puzzle me greatly since they are synonyms.

Whitney
Member
Reply to  Apex Predator
21 days ago

it’s the magic science conundrum

LibDis
LibDis
Reply to  Apex Predator
21 days ago

Exactly

Yves Vannes
Yves Vannes
Member
21 days ago

The universe may be capable of being understood but this does not mean that we are capable of such a feat. Our innate natural limitations may keep us on this side of the complexity horizon. What natural benefit would nature gain by our having the ability to do so? This is an answer we can not answer…so we continually grope in search of one. Questions of being vs questions of simulacra are really a form of human self-importance. Are we not even a cipher in some unimportant corner of a vast universe? vs Are we the playthings of unseen forces manipulating us… Read more »

sentry
sentry
21 days ago

Anyone who believes human life is a simulation must think he is godlike somehow, similar to feminists who believe man tricked woman into submitting to him, otherwise she’d be a pure goddess of nature.
Basically man was a higher being tricked by God/Devil & bound to material plane to suffer or he’s a god who wishes to experience a life filled with restrictions.
Life is real, man is just a complex creation that’s very limited in its scope. No, you’re not Apollo in human flesh & no, you were not an egyptian princess in your previous lifetime.

Ostei Kozelskii
Member
21 days ago

The best bumper sticker I ever saw: Don’t believe everything you think.

It applies perfectly to the simulation hypothesis.

Ostei Kozelskii
Member
21 days ago

Color me extremely skeptical about simulation theory. The universe we inhabit is infinitely involute. Any intelligence capable of creating such a universe will not make mistakes. And, in the extraordinarily unlikely event it did, those mistakes would be far too subtle for comparatively puny intelligences such as ours to apprehend. But ultimately, any “simulator” of our universe is God. And God is not flawed.

SamlAdams
SamlAdams
21 days ago

Damn, and thought the intellectual challenge of the day was figuring out how to get two different VPNs to play nice with limited bandwidth at the beach house. On a positive note–per usual–taking a quick lunch time troll though the Left side of the internet, then coming here and scrolling the comments is like going from the “short bus” to the Algonquin Round Table.

Ben the Layabout
Ben the Layabout
21 days ago

Very philosophical essay today. Ultimately, the best wisdom I can offer is that ultimately we simply do not know. As for bugs in the system, my first impulse is to say that in the real world, bugs cannot exist. By that I mean that the fundamental laws of physics must operate uniformly in all times and all places. Any perceived anomaly should indicate the model (theory) is incorrect in some fashion. The further you get from STEM, alas, the more imperfect the theory becomes. Thus, there is more room for doubt. As somebody said, “All models are wrong, but some… Read more »

G Lordon Giddy
G Lordon Giddy
Reply to  Ben the Layabout
21 days ago

Read the Greek philosophers and even the New Testament and a form of wisdom about man develops in front of us. Without this wisdom western civilization around us flounders.
Which is where we are at. Just listening to Plato tells me that truth beyond STEM and Physics has to be possible.

Falcone
Falcone
Reply to  Ben the Layabout
21 days ago

There are always “bugs in the code” of nature I guess they can be called adaptations, and we have no way of predicting them. Like those flowers that somehow, against all the “rules” of nature, poked out and blossomed in fields of nuclear waste Anyone who spends time in a garden knows that nature always finds away around our appreciation and understanding of it. We think we know the rules of physics or whatever else, but we always get humbled by the simplest of weeds In summary, our models are a reflection of our own limitations. We can’t even make… Read more »

Toasty
21 days ago

Quantum uncertainty is perhaps the best evidence for the simulation

The position, and values of every atom and subatomic particle is just too difficult to compute

Most of the universe is procedurally calculated and only exists in a defined state when the intelligent life form measures it.

Toasty
Reply to  Toasty
21 days ago

Schrödinger’s cat is neither alive nor dead, it just a waste of simulation resources to define its status until someone looks in the box

Falcone
Falcone
Reply to  Toasty
21 days ago

I know what you are saying, but when you are around nature, for example, you see it doesn’t work as these infinite possibilities somehow organized into a single effort or thing. It just is. A plant may have all of these particles to it impossible to contemplate or measure, but it doesn’t reflect nearly that complexity and just is. When it tilts to the sun, it is not a billion particles in some computation helping it get there, it just goes there effortlessly and gracefully and the mechanics follow it — they don’t lead it. In other words there is… Read more »

Sanders
Sanders
Reply to  Falcone
20 days ago

Exactly this, “things are”.
Is it that the flower is a bunch of particles?
or is it that that particular bunch of particles is a flower?
I bet it is the later for the former can’t explain a single thing about the flower.

Ostei Kozelskii
Member
Reply to  Toasty
21 days ago

Equally, quantum uncertainty could be taken as evidence of God’s existence. Ergo, the staggering complexity quantum uncertainty injects into an already stupefyingly byzantine matrix of existence bespeaks Godlike intelligence. Perhaps God is indeed pure intellect.

Toasty
Reply to  Ostei Kozelskii
21 days ago

I would think an omnipotent god would not need uncertainty.

A limited being running a simulation with limited resources would use uncertainty to simplify computations.

This explains the measurement problem in quantum mechanics. The ancestor simulation doesn’t define anything the simulated ancestor isn’t directly looking at.

Ostei Kozelskii
Member
Reply to  Toasty
20 days ago

But if quantum certainty is essential to making the creation (or simulation) function, it would be needed by an omnipotent creator inasmuch such such a being “needs” anything.

And, it seems to me, uncertainty complicates computations rather than simplifies them, for computations must take into account uncertainty as an additional variable.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill