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Emperor
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist with Finglongers

From: Cell 53, East Wing
Insane since: Jul 2001

posted posted 11-18-2002 17:12

A philospher at Yale (Nick Bostrom) has been investigating the theory that we are living in a computer simulation. It goes something like: A post-human society would eventually be able to simulate consciousness and would be likely to run numerous simulations. Obviously with large amounts of processing power they would run an awful lot of simulations so while there would be only one pre-simulation world afterwards there would be a vast number of them making the odds that we are living in the pre-simulation world pretty small. Or something like that.

Anyway there is a web site devoted to this:
www.simulation-argument.com

it outlines the arguements and makes the various papers published on this available online which is nice.

His personla site is here (I suspect the picture of him isn't serious ):
www.nickbostrom.com

[edit: My he is a busy bee as he also associated with these sites:
www.anthropic-principle.com
www.transhumanism.org
www.transhumanist.com ]

___________________
Emps

FAQs: Emperor

Lord_Fukutoku
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: West Texas
Insane since: Jul 2002

posted posted 11-18-2002 17:29

Actually, I read something like that awhile back... I'll try and find it in a little bit...

But it's kinda an eerie concept if you think about it... It would really throw a monkey wrench into the whole religion thing lol.

It's like I said in the dreams post, anything is possible, the only difference is the probability given a set of conditions.

goes off to look through some old books...


-- Unoriginal Cell 693 --

InI
Paranoid (IV) Mad Scientist

From: Somewhere over the rainbow
Insane since: Mar 2001

posted posted 11-18-2002 17:39

The poster has demanded we remove all his contributions, less he takes legal action.
We have done so.
Now Tyberius Prime expects him to start complaining that we removed his 'free speech' since this message will replace all of his posts, past and future.
Don't follow his example - seek real life help first.

Emperor
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist with Finglongers

From: Cell 53, East Wing
Insane since: Jul 2001

posted posted 11-18-2002 18:06

InI: You are right - it is just a variation of an old theme.

I also agree about the fact that it is likely that we will be ressurected at some point in the future I just hope they get the process right before they get around to me and that I don't end up owned by some kind of company possibly as some kind of far future equivalent to the MS Office helpers ('select your helper: InI, Emperor, etc.').

I do suspect that no matter how hard we try to visualise things and indulge in futurology things will either turn out much stranger than we could possibly imagine or much more mundane and messy. Futurology serves a couple of purposes:

a) To act as a mirror for our current concerns.

b) Provide people in the futre with something to laugh about (how stupid or over optimistic we will seem).

___________________
Emps

FAQs: Emperor

InI
Paranoid (IV) Mad Scientist

From: Somewhere over the rainbow
Insane since: Mar 2001

posted posted 11-18-2002 19:31

The poster has demanded we remove all his contributions, less he takes legal action.
We have done so.
Now Tyberius Prime expects him to start complaining that we removed his 'free speech' since this message will replace all of his posts, past and future.
Don't follow his example - seek real life help first.

Suho1004
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Seoul, Korea
Insane since: Apr 2002

posted posted 11-18-2002 20:14

Great. More stuff to make my brain hurt at four o'clock in the morning.

At first glance, I would agree with InI, in that it doesn't make a difference whether we are living in a simulation or not. In fact, if you do not believe in an afterlife, there really is no difference. If you believe in God, however, the proposition obviously presents some difficulties. Of course, it is possible that God is really just the programmer, and all the sims are His creations. And perhaps this Programmer rewards and punishes good and bad sims as He sees fit. There are a lot of problems with this argument of course, but I'm not about to discuss them when my brain is already halfway into its shutdown procedures...

Before I go to bed this morning, I must remember to pray:

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Programmer my code to keep.
And if I crash before I wake.
I pray the Programmer my code to take.

Or, as the Programmer's Avatar has instructed us:

Our Father, who art in reality,
Programmer be Thy name.
Thy will be done, Thy code be run,
In Simland as it is in reality.
Give us this day our daily input.
And forgive us our errors,
As we forgive those who error with us.
And lead us not into infinite loops,
But deliver us from viruses.
For Thine is the simulation,
And the power source,
And the credit, forever. Amen.

Yup, it's definitely time for me to go to bed. If I can get there without being struck by lightning, that is.

[Edit: Hmm... I just read the first paper up there, and he does actually offer a similar explanation for religious beliefs. I can't believe I was even able to follow that in my present state, especially with his rather tortured sentence structure and spelling.]

Cell 270

[This message has been edited by Suho1004 (edited 11-18-2002).]

InI
Paranoid (IV) Mad Scientist

From: Somewhere over the rainbow
Insane since: Mar 2001

posted posted 11-18-2002 20:44

The poster has demanded we remove all his contributions, less he takes legal action.
We have done so.
Now Tyberius Prime expects him to start complaining that we removed his 'free speech' since this message will replace all of his posts, past and future.
Don't follow his example - seek real life help first.

Lord_Fukutoku
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: West Texas
Insane since: Jul 2002

posted posted 11-18-2002 21:03

lmao, that's great Suho

The universe has always (well, maybe not always) been compared to our greatest technological feats. For a time, the universe was seen as a clock, and God as the watchmaker (er, clockmaker, or whatever). I can't think of any of the other metaphors at the moment, but you get what I'm trying to say?


-- Unoriginal Cell 693 --

bodhi23
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Greensboro, NC USA
Insane since: Jun 2002

posted posted 11-18-2002 22:43

I believe there was a movie about this... The Matrix, wasn't it? Simulated reality? We live in a program? Yep, that was it...

Bodhi - Cell 617

GrythusDraconis
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: The Astral Plane
Insane since: Jul 2002

posted posted 11-18-2002 23:02

Actually Thirteenth Floor was bout this exact thing. More acurately than Matrix was I think.

Link to Plot Summary

I never got the chance to see it but I was (and am) very interested in it.

[Edit=DANGIT]

GrythusDraconis
Prince of Gold - Lord of Dragons

[This message has been edited by GrythusDraconis (edited 11-18-2002).]

GrythusDraconis
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: The Astral Plane
Insane since: Jul 2002

posted posted 11-18-2002 23:05

it's also kind of remeniscent of Dark City. It's a little different but has the same undercurrents as this discussion.

GrythusDraconis
Prince of Gold - Lord of Dragons

InSiDeR
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Oblivion
Insane since: Sep 2001

posted posted 11-18-2002 23:18

Holy fuck dude this is one fucking crazy day. My friend and me were just talking about Dark City before I walked home. And I remember being real young and thinking that, life was just a dream, and that one day I will wake up from it in a cold, white, plain room, on a white, plain bed. Scary shit for that age too, it played with my mind...

GrythusDraconis
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: The Astral Plane
Insane since: Jul 2002

posted posted 11-19-2002 01:04

LOL, InSiDeR. if life is good then EVERYTHING plays with your mind.

GrythusDraconis
Prince of Gold - Lord of Dragons

ettie
Bipolar (III) Inmate

From: Arlington, Virginia, USA
Insane since: Oct 2002

posted posted 11-19-2002 05:20

yay though i walk
though the valley of the shadow of death
i fear not..thy guinness and my local is beside me

wait..what was the topic?



Suho1004
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Seoul, Korea
Insane since: Apr 2002

posted posted 11-19-2002 05:23

This is not like the Matrix, because in the Matrix human beings actually existed as human beings, and it was just their minds that were in the simulation. What we're talking about here is not existing outside the simulation.

It's a bit difficult to figure out what Thirteenth Floor was about from that plot summary, but that also seems to indicate existence in two worlds, a reality and a simulation.

Think about it, if we actually do live in a computer simulation, the programmer (or director, as Bostrom calls him/her) could terminate the simulation at any time and we would cease to exist. S/he could erase the program and there would call all trace of humanity as we know it.

Heh. Last night (this morning, actually), this stuff was kind of flipping me out. Now it's fun, though.

Oh, yeah, I just wanted to let you all know that I did manage to get to bed without being struck by lightning. Apparently God does have a sense of humor. Oh, wait, of course He has a sense of humor... He created me!

Actually (although I didn't make the connection at the time), do you know what I was doing for the few hours before I first read this thread? Playing Civilization. Think about it... our whole existence could be a game of Civilization 1000 (or something) being played by a really crappy player.

Wes
Paranoid (IV) Mad Scientist

From: Inside THE BOX
Insane since: May 2000

posted posted 11-19-2002 09:20

If my life really is a simulation, I think there's something wrong with the Sex Life subroutine.

Somebody mind debugging that for me?

Anybody?

...



&nbsp;&nbsp;Offbeat, roadside Texas attractions. (A little Google bombing doesn't hurt.)

InI
Paranoid (IV) Mad Scientist

From: Somewhere over the rainbow
Insane since: Mar 2001

posted posted 11-19-2002 09:34

The poster has demanded we remove all his contributions, less he takes legal action.
We have done so.
Now Tyberius Prime expects him to start complaining that we removed his 'free speech' since this message will replace all of his posts, past and future.
Don't follow his example - seek real life help first.

Emperor
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist with Finglongers

From: Cell 53, East Wing
Insane since: Jul 2001

posted posted 11-19-2002 13:21

Wes: Thanks for the kind offer but I'll have to decline - I think I made some kind of fundametally error attempting to fix mine and I'm still trying to figure out the Cashflow one as it seems to be running in reverse or something

___________________
Emps

FAQs: Emperor

bodhi23
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Greensboro, NC USA
Insane since: Jun 2002

posted posted 11-19-2002 14:47

Emps - if you latch onto a solution for that Cashflow thing, let me know would ya? I've got the same problem!

Bodhi - Cell 617

GrythusDraconis
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: The Astral Plane
Insane since: Jul 2002

posted posted 11-19-2002 17:33

I see where you're going with that line of though Suho... I understand that it seems to be a dual existence... but the basic premise is the same. whether or not the simulation was created by humans is arbitrary...we're still existing at the whim of the creator/operator/data entry tech. My guess would be that the sim started as something else and we just developed as part of the possibilities it was designed to allow, which could be everything and anything. We might not be intentional is what I'm getting at.

GrythusDraconis
Prince of Gold - Lord of Dragons

Suho1004
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Seoul, Korea
Insane since: Apr 2002

posted posted 11-20-2002 04:18

Hmm, yes, I suppose that would be the logical conclusion, that we are not intentional. Kind of depressing, actually.

I've been trying to think of why I reject this argument, and it pretty much hinges on holding to the first of Bostrom's three possibilities (which are: 1) human civilization will end before it reaches the post-human stage, 2) post-human civilization will, for one reason or another, not run ancestor simulations, or 3) we are living in a simulation right now).

Basically, I believe what the Bible says about human history and it's end with the return of Christ. But this is actually different from Bostrom's first possibility, which is really saying that the human race will become extinct (by war, natural disaster, etc.). I believe that the human race will not become extinct, but that human history will end at the time God has ordained.

Then I thought about it some more, and I realized that this position has some holes, namely that it would still be possible that we are living in a simulation, and the Second Coming is a director-imposed event to stop the simulation (or bring it to the next level) before it implodes (ie, we all kill each other). I've been trying to think of a logical way out of this, but I haven't had much luck so far. I'm not saying that it is necessarily true, just that I can't think of a solid reason why it would not be true.

One thing that I kept coming back to in the beginning was the infallibility of God. I believe that God is a perfect being, but it is unlikely that a simulation director would be perfect. However, if the director had ultimate control over the simulation, I would really have no way of knowing whether or not s/he was actually perfect. That is, the director could manipulate the simulation so as to appear perfect, even implant ideas and memories in my mind to push me in that direction. All of the things which are a part of my religious experience could be explained by the simulation theory.

This doesn't mean that I'm suddenly going to become a Bostrom disciple, or that I believe we are actually living in a simulation, I just find it somewhat aggravating that I cannot logically refute the idea. Perhaps someone a little better at this would be capable of it, but at the moment it seems to be beyond me.

To be honest, this is all rather confusing. Would the end of human history as I have described it be essentially the same thing as human extinction? And even if we believe that the human race will become extinct, how do we know that we're not living in a simulation anyway? Couldn't it be that human civilization did actually develop to the post-human stage, and we are now living in a simulation that will be brought to a dramatic end? Is that what Bostrom is trying to say.

The problem with this is that is makes assumptions about future events that, if they are true, will mean that what we think is the future is actually the present. It cannot be proven, but it cannot be disproven either. Man, I am really confused. I think I'll go do some work or something.

zoran
Bipolar (III) Inmate

From: Sarajevo, Bosnia
Insane since: Dec 2001

posted posted 11-20-2002 09:23

I see, I allways had that feeling that I am able to re-program the world.

Gilbert Nolander
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Washington DC
Insane since: May 2002

posted posted 11-20-2002 15:04

This reminds me of a dream I had a few years ago, it was the most realistic dream I have ever had....

First I was standing on the beach, leaning against a tall wooden pole. Slowly the water started rising higher and higher and higher and higher until I was completly underwater, and then I started choking. Next thing I knew I was in a large hospital sort of place walking next to this old man. The old man had a beard and a cane and a large belt buckle that said God on it. We were walking up and down these super long rows of endless people. All these people were strapped to these machines and they were in a coma, sort of. God told me they were all somewhere else and would some day wake up. He told me I was already awake and it was real wierd. We communicated without words. He just smiled at me.

But anyway, there is also a scientific view of this - Holographic Paradigm

Gilbert Nolander
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Washington DC
Insane since: May 2002

posted posted 11-20-2002 16:35

Also, here is a story I wrote about this subject...

Letter to Earth

GrythusDraconis
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: The Astral Plane
Insane since: Jul 2002

posted posted 11-20-2002 20:50

Suho, It's no groundshaking event that you can't prove it. That's why it's called FAITH. Belief regardless of lack of proof. Besides... extinction is just another name for the end of all humans. The cause isn't of any import. Your cause, his cause, my cause, it doesn't matter. I don't happen to believe in God or the written text of how we'll end up. But I don't think you need to feel... like you're losing your faith... I guess. Maybe it works this way. God was an unintentional creation of the program. Raw data being crunched resulted in this being that has done everything else you believe of Him. Now... while you might not want to believe that God was unintentional... His coming into being would be an event of cataclysmic proportions within the reality of this sim wouldn't you think. At least that explains where He came from... in one way. I can't believe i'm arguing the other side this way. I guess I just want you to feel better. Hope I helped rather then deepened the issue.

GrythusDraconis
Prince of Gold - Lord of Dragons

Suho1004
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Seoul, Korea
Insane since: Apr 2002

posted posted 11-21-2002 03:33

GD: Heh, thanks for the support, man. Don't worry, though, my faith has not been shaken by this. I'm just aggravated that I can't logically refute his argument. But I'll get over it. There are a lot of things I can't logically refute, like the idea that a tree falling in the forest only makes a sound when someone hears it.

I've learned to form separate compartments in my brain, so to speak, so that I can have a logical/philosophical discussion about something which I may not believe in without letting my faith get in the way. Some might view this as hypocrisy, I guess, but I find that it makes life a lot easier. This is just another one of those cases. I will mull over a subject for a while until I eventually reach the point where I have either 1) satisfied myself that I have found a logical solution, or 2) come to the conclusion that there is no logical conclusion. In the latter case, I will usually be miffed for a short while, and then I move on. Definitely nothing to lose sleep over.

brucew
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: North Coast of America
Insane since: Dec 2001

posted posted 11-21-2002 18:46

And then there's this piece reporting physicist Stephen Wolfram's talk at COMDEX where he was "evangelizing a computing-centric view of the universe" where he "believes the universe is composed not of particles and waves, but of simple tiny programs. He believes these myriad programs, or algorithms, give rise to physical phenomena as fundamental as space and as complicated as human beings."

Interesting but it probably won't stand up to the "If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail" test.

Gilbert Nolander
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Washington DC
Insane since: May 2002

posted posted 11-21-2002 18:59

If it is true that we are living in a simulation, that does not mean their is not a God. Perhaps we are apart of the simulation, but we also exist on another level. Sort of how people say their is an all powerful you, an eternal spirit, or larger self who does not care what happens in this reality. Perhaps that has something to do with this.

Why does it always have to be one or the other?

GrythusDraconis
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: The Astral Plane
Insane since: Jul 2002

posted posted 11-21-2002 20:01

Good to hear, Suho.

I dunno, GN. I've often wondered that myself.

GrythusDraconis
Prince of Gold - Lord of Dragons

Rameses Niblik the Third
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: From:From:
Insane since: Aug 2001

posted posted 11-26-2002 12:36

I really loved "Thirteenth Floor". Sort of like "Matrix" without bullet-dodging and Keanu Reeves.

S^abaal ud T'a johtizuc^ ult'a Fedaro.

St. Seneca
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: 3rd shelf, behind the cereal
Insane since: Dec 2000

posted posted 11-26-2002 16:10

If our lives are merely a simulation and I chose to virtually experience THIS one over the real once, I shudder to think what my life may really be like. Seriously, I want my money back, this simulation sucks!

Gilbert Nolander
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Washington DC
Insane since: May 2002

posted posted 11-26-2002 19:10

Seneca,

If life is a simulation, just imagine how horrible the real world must be....

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