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Simulated Reality

4 posts in this topic


My Favorite part:

Nick Bostrom

Ten years after Moravec first published the simulation argument (and 3 years after its update in Moravec's second full pop science book), the philosopher Nick Bostrom investigated the possibility that we may be living in a simulation.[1] A simplified version of his argument proceeds as such:

i. It is possible that a civilization could create a computer simulation which contains individuals with artificial intelligence.

ii. Such a civilization would likely run many—say billions—of these simulations (just for fun; for research, etc.)

iii. A simulated individual inside the simulation wouldn’t necessarily know that it’s inside a simulation—it’s just going about its daily business in what it considers to be the "real world."

Then the ultimate question is—if one accepts that theses 1, 2, and 3 are at least possible— which of the following is more likely?

a. We are the one civilization which develops AI simulations and happens not to be in one itself? Or,

b. We are one of the many (billions) of simulations that has run? (Remember point iii.)

In greater detail, his argument attempts to prove the trichotomy, that:


1. intelligent races will never reach a level of technology where they can run simulations of reality so detailed they can be mistaken for reality (or this is impossible in principle); or

2. races who do reach such a level do not tend to run such simulations; or

3. we are almost certainly living in such a simulation.

Bostrom's argument uses the premise that given sufficiently advanced technology, it is possible to simulate entire inhabited planets or even larger habitats or even entire universes as quantum simulations in time/space pockets, including all the people on them, on a computer, and that simulated people can be fully conscious, and are as much persons as non-simulated people.

A particular case provided in the original paper poses the scenario where we assume that the human race could reach such a technological level without destroying themselves in the process (i.e. we deny the first hypothesis); and that once we reached such a level we would still be interested in history, the past, and our ancestors, and that there would be no legal or moral strictures on running such simulations (we deny the second hypothesis)—then

* it is likely that we would run a very large number of so-called ancestor simulations to study our past;

* and that, by the same line of reasoning, many of these simulations would in turn run other sub-simulations, and so on;

* and that given the fact that right now it is impossible to tell whether we are living in one of the vast number of simulations or the original ancestor universe, the likelihood is that the former is true.

Assumptions as to whether the human race (or another intelligent species) could reach such a technological level without destroying themselves depend greatly on the value of the Drake equation, which gives the number of intelligent technological species communicating via radio in a galaxy at any given point in time. The expanded equation looks to the number of posthuman civilizations that ever would exist in any given universe. If the average for all universes, real or simulated, is greater than or equal to one such civilization existing in each universe's entire history, then odds are rather overwhelmingly in favor of the proposition that the average civilization is in a simulation, assuming that such simulated universes are possible and such civilizations would want to run such simulations.

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Thats interesting as I never considered that aspect before outside of things like the Matrix. If we really are just a running simulation on a computer somewhere, somebody needs to hit the reset button.

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I find the simulation theory quite fascinating... though it is really not so new; our language has just changed. Our current paradigm of simulations isf based upon what we think computers are- concrete "real" things- but rather the computer if almost identical to the unfolding of the human nervous system and the perceptual apparatus- it is ourselves extended into the environment. In Ray Kurzeils wonderful book The Singularity is Near he has a wonderful quote he pulled from somewhere- that "computer science is as much about computers as astronomy is about telescopes."

The hermetic philosophers posited their "astral light"- a fluid medium within which all perceptions, things and objects have their place, a substance whose nature is inextricably linked with the human consciousness. Qabalists often talked about their Unity, Kether, the One- ore perhaps one could call it a singularity... Terrence McKenna mentions his hypothesis of a hyperdimensional object at the end of history that is pulling everything towards itself- an object which casts its shadow over all of human history and before. In buddhism, they talk about the idea that the "self" is only an illusion, and what we think of as ourselves is actually just the point of focal concentration for the entirety of the universe becoming aware of itself.

I would imagine if you discussed various net phenomena, you came by Eidolon TLP. I post this link to one video where TLP describes the process of

I post this in relation to drawing a connection between simulism, transhumanism and what mcKenna talks about when he mentions his hyper dimensional object.

I weave this together into the following idea- which is of course just that, a thing for contemplation. Perhaps we are currently living within the occurrence of the Singularity- for when it occurs, the massive breakthrough of information (essentially within a single instant a near infinite amount of information will be existent) we might see that event as transcending time/space... and as such, would inform all time/space within itself. It would be a quantum field of information... so I am positing that the singularity has already occurred and all of history leading up to its physical occurrence is existent within it... as though the infinite were being born out of the finite- the eternal born out of the temporal. The idea itself may also explain such phenomena as quantum entanglement. One could even post from it that all singular aware consciousness has its source in this Singularity.

I bring this all up of course in relation to the simulism argument... all this simply posits that while the universe may be a simulation, it is not occurring "inside" any computer, but in a single existent Mind or consciousness- which itself is simply the final byproduct of the pooling of collective consciousness into the Internet and ultimately into single self aware being within that space... making the computer eventually into a transdimensional or hyperdimensional gateway....

I leave off the words of Terrence Mckenna- it always sends shivers up my spine...

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