The Simulation Argument

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Skepdick
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Re: The Simulation Argument

Post by Skepdick » Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:29 pm

attofishpi wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:43 am
OK, so lurii ..with your one post on this forum, my one question is - what IS the reason we would venture into a simulated reality?
If it ever became possible to create virtual reality/digitise consciousness there is really only two reasons to venture into a simulation. It (quite literally) buys us time. More time == faster progress. Every second in the simulation will be equivalent to many seconds in reality.

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

The other reason was covered in this miniseries: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Junipero

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Re: The Simulation Argument

Post by wtf » Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:55 am

Skepdick wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:29 pm
If it ever became possible to create virtual reality/digitise consciousness ...
I must point out that you are conflating two different things. This is very common in discussions of the simulation argument.

1) We could create super duper virtual reality indistinguishable from reality. For example you might be a brain in a vat; and all your subjective experiences are programmed by your vat operators. But in that case, who or what is it that experiences those experiences? It's your mind, which is independent of your sensory impressions.

This is Descartes's argument. Even though everything he experiences might be nothing more than an illusion created by an evil daemon; his MIND still exists. I think therefore I am.

2) Or, your consciousness itself is part of the program. Your subjective experience itself is part of the simulation or vat programming. This in my opinion is a very different proposition than (1) though it's not commonly identified as such.

In (1) it's as if you put on a pair of virtual reality goggles and watch a highly realistic show. In (2) there is no you at all. Your mind is just a program. There is no Cartesian mind.

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Re: The Simulation Argument

Post by attofishpi » Tue Sep 17, 2019 4:23 am

wtf wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:48 pm
attofishpi wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:30 am

Its just a matter of perspective. From experience of this 3rd party intelligence (22yrs worth) I cannot to this day truly discern between whether God is 'divine' or whether it is indeed some form of technology, indeed an A.I. (note my previous post above)
I don't think our one-post-wonder friend is going to come back, having pitched his book

So you agree it's just a matter of perspective. The trendy "new" idea that we are computations (is that a fair paraphrase of "we live in a simulation?") is nothing more than the ancient idea of a God or Gods who created and rule the world, dressed up in techno-hippy buzzword speak.

But I submit there IS a difference, and that it does not favor the computational side.

Question: Why should the universe be restricted to that which is computable?

Explanation of question. Turing (1936) showed that the set of mathematical functions that can be implemented by "an effective procedure," as they used to think of it, is a tiny subset of all the functions that there are.

So the simulation hypothesis is a tremendous restriction of what the universe can do. The universe is required to implement only computable functions ... which is an idea that we only developed in the past 70 year. It suffers from the fallacy of contemporary technology. The ancient Romans had great waterworks. They conceived of the soul as a flow. The word nous, for mind, and pneumatic, come from the same root.

After Newton. everyone thought the world was a machine, a clockwork. Intricate machinery for decorative and functional purpose was the mindset of the 18th century.

And now here we are, in the age of the Internet, which percolated inside industry and academia before bursting into world consciousness with the IBM PC in 1982 and the Internet in 1995, is the great new technology of the age. So everyone thinks they're being very clever and saying "Everything is a computation," when in fact that idea is CERTAIN to end up looking just as silly as the 18th century mechanistic universe.

And again: Computations are a greatly restricted form of what can be. Why could not the universe do things that can not be computed? Turing himself gave a class of examples of problems that cannot be solved by computer: Namely the Halting problem. People should try to think these issues through before jumping on the trendy idea of the day that is absolutely certain to look silly in a hundred years or two.
Just because what we conceive with conventional contemporary technology is restricted with comparison with what 'the universe can do', does in no way refute the technological hypothesis.
My personal belief since I know there is this 3rd party intelligence that IS the backbone to all reality - is that it is divine - formed its own intelligence and the ingredients for what is required for consciousness and our reality. We are not brains in a vat - unless those brains also have implants that permit synapses to be read from and written to -this i know from experience of this entity (it does have the ability to do this) - I still like to call God.
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Re: The Simulation Argument

Post by attofishpi » Tue Sep 17, 2019 4:26 am

Skepdick wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:29 pm
attofishpi wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:43 am
OK, so lurii ..with your one post on this forum, my one question is - what IS the reason we would venture into a simulated reality?
If it ever became possible to create virtual reality/digitise consciousness there is really only two reasons to venture into a simulation. It (quite literally) buys us time. More time == faster progress. Every second in the simulation will be equivalent to many seconds in reality.

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

The other reason was covered in this miniseries: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Junipero
The KEY reason we would interface within a virtual world simulation is ENTROPY. Which isn't far off what you are saying.

Lets say we are in a simulation - the Sun we see is an illusion. The true Sun in the real world is now a red giant, and we are orbiting somewhere in the region of Pluto - still using the Sun's energy to power our simulation ...our fake world reality projecting that all is just dandy.

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Re: The Simulation Argument

Post by Skepdick » Tue Sep 17, 2019 5:51 am

wtf wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:55 am
Skepdick wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:29 pm
If it ever became possible to create virtual reality/digitise consciousness ...
I must point out that you are conflating two different things. This is very common in discussions of the simulation argument.

1) We could create super duper virtual reality indistinguishable from reality. For example you might be a brain in a vat; and all your subjective experiences are programmed by your vat operators. But in that case, who or what is it that experiences those experiences? It's your mind, which is independent of your sensory impressions.

This is Descartes's argument. Even though everything he experiences might be nothing more than an illusion created by an evil daemon; his MIND still exists. I think therefore I am.

2) Or, your consciousness itself is part of the program. Your subjective experience itself is part of the simulation or vat programming. This in my opinion is a very different proposition than (1) though it's not commonly identified as such.

In (1) it's as if you put on a pair of virtual reality goggles and watch a highly realistic show. In (2) there is no you at all. Your mind is just a program. There is no Cartesian mind.
None of this is incompatible with the simulation argument, because it still reduces to epistemology/metaphysics. It's a useful model.

We don't know whether the world is deterministic or non-deterministic, but to our minds it appears non-deterministic.
We don't know if the world is a simulation or not, but to our mind it appears so (if you accept certain axioms).

It is quite possibly a mind-projection fallacy. This is precisely what model-dependent realism claims. You see the world through the rose-coloured lens of your accepted models.

Whether the "mind exists" is moot really. I am not sure if there is even a distinction between mind, consciousness and experience - I often use the three interchangeably, and I use the Turing Machine as an abstract model of the human mind as it behaves, not as it "exists" ontologically (this is position Scott Aronson supports). And with our ability to realize our abstract models we are quite literally projecting our abstractions onto matter. It's the fine line between language-for-description and language-for-prescription. The idea of control.

This is similar to the conclusion Ed Nelson arrives at (thanks for pointing me that way, btw - i should've read his stuff earlier) in the paper Analysis of Ultrafinitism.
When an intuitionist makes a deduction, introducing and discharging a hypothesis, he implicitly reifies a hypothetical situation, projecting it onto an abstract ontology
This is the view of Kant - phenomena and noumena.

This is the view of Per Martin-Löf in his paper A path from logic to metaphysics
It is our human activity that is the process of creation
This is the view of all constructivists.

Even the standard model of physics is exactly that - a model, and even QFT admits that we have no foundation - no ontology. No 'space' upon which all other fields rest.

In the end it's all just an interpretation game. You can see it as Pragmatism + Instrumentalism + Formalism.

You can see it however you choose really. If it works for you. And you most definitely must see it as anachronistic.
The people 100 years from now will laugh at my ideas. And the people 200 years from now will laugh at theirs.

When you abandon the silly ideal of Truth, utility matters much more to humans.

All models are wrong - some are useful.
Last edited by Skepdick on Tue Sep 17, 2019 6:17 am, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: The Simulation Argument

Post by Skepdick » Tue Sep 17, 2019 5:59 am

wtf wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:48 pm
So you agree it's just a matter of perspective. The trendy "new" idea that we are computations (is that a fair paraphrase of "we live in a simulation?") is nothing more than the ancient idea of a God or Gods who created and rule the world, dressed up in techno-hippy buzzword speak.
By the way... I think the whole God-idea is over-hyped.

If we do create AI, and we do create simulations, and we do upload AI to simulations, does that mean God exists and we are it? Talk about an anti-climax!

What's far more interesting to me, is that the AI existing in the simulation will be unable to answer the question "Does God Exist?". Epistemic limits correspond to communication/information limits.

Whichever way the truth goes - I couldn't really care. Omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience are just human ideals.
It stems from our deep desire for self-deification. Apotheosis

As species - we think somewhat highly of ourselves. In a universe that is rather unfriendly to majority of life-forms, it may not be a bad thing to flex our muscles and beat our chests in defiance.

One last observation: I don't know whether we live in a simulation or not, but if it were possible to create one then it's also possible that we live in one too. And so the question that becomes pertinent: are we depth-0 or depth-N of the recursion?

Now there is a mind-hack that leads to hope for an afterlife. And if that's psychologically useful to humans to cope with existential dread - why not? And if it leads to more people down the path of curiosity and science - why not?

We live in a digital Noah's Ark, man! *puff*puff*pass*
Last edited by Skepdick on Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Simulation Argument

Post by Skepdick » Tue Sep 17, 2019 6:56 am

attofishpi wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 4:26 am
The KEY reason we would interface within a virtual world simulation is ENTROPY. Which isn't far off what you are saying.

Lets say we are in a simulation - the Sun we see is an illusion. The true Sun in the real world is now a red giant, and we are orbiting somewhere in the region of Pluto - still using the Sun's energy to power our simulation ...our fake world reality projecting that all is just dandy.
It's exactly what I am saying.

On a long-enough timeline up into the stars is the wrong way. If we are to delay the inevitable extinction event we need to be buying time (computation), not just space (inter-galactic colonisation).

So in a sense the simulation argument is a metaphor for Noah's Ark. It is an entropy life-boat.

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Re: The Simulation Argument

Post by attofishpi » Wed Sep 18, 2019 10:24 am

Skepdick wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 6:56 am
attofishpi wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 4:26 am
The KEY reason we would interface within a virtual world simulation is ENTROPY. Which isn't far off what you are saying.

Lets say we are in a simulation - the Sun we see is an illusion. The true Sun in the real world is now a red giant, and we are orbiting somewhere in the region of Pluto - still using the Sun's energy to power our simulation ...our fake world reality projecting that all is just dandy.
It's exactly what I am saying.

On a long-enough timeline up into the stars is the wrong way. If we are to delay the inevitable extinction event we need to be buying time (computation), not just space (inter-galactic colonisation).

So in a sense the simulation argument is a metaphor for Noah's Ark. It is an entropy life-boat.
Agreed.

Skepdick we have not conversed much if at all - and you are a big poster. What I have been banging on about since I joined this forum is purely to bounce ideas of my life experience off of others, and see how they manifest. It can sound arrogant as well as ridiculous that I claim to have knowledge of this 3rd party intelligence - usually referred to as 'God' (my knowledge of 'its' existence extends back to 1997).

I rarely bother with the forum these days until something such as this thread is reignited, something that gels with my experience.

Our conversation here could be quite an interesting one and would like to see how it goes when I bounce my ideas and indeed knowledge off of you.
Skepdick wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 6:56 am
By the way... I think the whole God-idea is over-hyped.

If we do create AI, and we do create simulations, and we do upload AI to simulations, does that mean God exists and we are it? Talk about an anti-climax!

What's far more interesting to me, is that the AI existing in the simulation will be unable to answer the question "Does God Exist?". Epistemic limits correspond to communication/information limits.
nb: I think it would be an AI that would be running the simulation.

This last point you make is important. For me, physicists MAY eventually discover we are in a 'simulation system' (or God system) with an intelligence generating our reality, but an AI or US would/could ever know irrefutably is only going to be possible IF the construct behind the simulation permits it.
Jailbreaking the Simulation - George Hotz is an interesting 'hackers' conception of this:- https://youtu.be/ESXOAJRdcwQ

But I quoted you there out of our own conversation because I would like to address the point\concept of 'God'

IF: indeed we are in some sort of simulation - brought out of necessity to deal with increasing entropy - a computer system, an AI that knows ALL our synaptic states - our choices in life etc...and then judges us as to whether we get to reincarnate as human or even something lesser, should we have lost the right to the remaining energy in human form, from our life actions ---- would you consider such an AI entity God?

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Re: The Simulation Argument

Post by Skepdick » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:55 pm

attofishpi wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 10:24 am
Skepdick we have not conversed much if at all.
We have. I go by many names. TimeSeeker, Logik, Univalence, Skepdick and few others that are yet to be revealed ;)

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Re: The Simulation Argument

Post by Skepdick » Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:18 pm

attofishpi wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 10:24 am
This last point you make is important. For me, physicists MAY eventually discover we are in a 'simulation system' (or God system) with an intelligence generating our reality, but an AI or US would/could ever know irrefutably is only going to be possible IF the construct behind the simulation permits it.
Jailbreaking the Simulation - George Hotz is an interesting 'hackers' conception of this:- https://youtu.be/ESXOAJRdcwQ
I know geohot personally. The perks of a mis-spent youth and many a drunk DefCon parties. I am still actively involved in the InfoSec industry, and ensuring integrity/segregation of virtual machines is part and parcel with my daily job.

But as recent vulnerabilities with CPUs have shown us, it's not just hardware - it's software too. Side-channel attacks are really difficult to protect against. So IF we live in a simulation, there will be bugs that can be exploited to infer things about the "hardware architecture".

Physics is very much reverse engineering anyway.
attofishpi wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 10:24 am
IF: indeed we are in some sort of simulation - brought out of necessity to deal with increasing entropy - a computer system, an AI that knows ALL our synaptic states - our choices in life etc...and then judges us as to whether we get to reincarnate as human or even something lesser, should we have lost the right to the remaining energy in human form, from our life actions ---- would you consider such an AI entity God?
The A in AI stands for "Artificial" which probably means the entity which created it would be "God", but whatever. For all practical purposes any entity which has control over time is "God".

If you can pause the time-evolution of a system you can change absolutely anything you want, and perform any experiment you desire.

If we create AI, and if we create simulations of our own, the AI that lives in our simulations would call us "Gods" too.

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Re: The Simulation Argument

Post by Skepdick » Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:18 pm

attofishpi wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 10:24 am
This last point you make is important. For me, physicists MAY eventually discover we are in a 'simulation system' (or God system) with an intelligence generating our reality, but an AI or US would/could ever know irrefutably is only going to be possible IF the construct behind the simulation permits it.
Jailbreaking the Simulation - George Hotz is an interesting 'hackers' conception of this:- https://youtu.be/ESXOAJRdcwQ
Ha! I know geohot personally, but I didn't know he did that talk. The perks of a mis-spent youth and many a drunken DefCon parties hacking things for fun&profit. I am still actively involved in the InfoSec industry, and ensuring integrity/segregation of virtual machines is part and parcel with my daily job.

But as recent vulnerabilities with CPUs have shown us, even the line between hardware and software is blurry. Side-channel attacks are really difficult to protect against. So IF we live in a simulation, there will be bugs that can be exploited to infer things about the "hardware architecture".

From this view-point physics is no different to any other reverse engineering task.
attofishpi wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 10:24 am
IF: indeed we are in some sort of simulation - brought out of necessity to deal with increasing entropy - a computer system, an AI that knows ALL our synaptic states - our choices in life etc...and then judges us as to whether we get to reincarnate as human or even something lesser, should we have lost the right to the remaining energy in human form, from our life actions ---- would you consider such an AI entity God?
The A in AI stands for "Artificial" which probably means the entity which created the AI would be "God", but whatever. If we are in a simulation - we are AI. The labels don't really matter.

For all practical purposes any entity which has control over our universe's clock is "God". If it can pause the time-evolution of a system and it can change absolutely anything in memory it wants, and perform any experiment it desires - its power over us is limitless.

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Re: The Simulation Argument

Post by attofishpi » Fri Sep 20, 2019 11:51 am

Skepdick wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:55 pm
attofishpi wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 10:24 am
Skepdick we have not conversed much if at all.
We have. I go by many names. TimeSeeker, Logik, Univalence, Skepdick and few others that are yet to be revealed ;)
Mmm..
As Timeseeker we discussed some of this stuff mainly in Dichotomy and anomolies beyond etymology of English - didn't go so well.
As Logik you mind raped me in quickfire responses at 1am after I drank a river of alcohol, I think we both faired rather well.
As Univalence we disagreed on whether a tomato was a vegetable, a fruit, or a subphylum Medusozoa.

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Re: The Simulation Argument

Post by attofishpi » Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:06 pm

Skepdick wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:55 pm
If we create AI, and if we create simulations of our own, the AI that lives in our simulations would call us "Gods" too.
OK. So I have a file ready to address the other points, but I want to stick to this one for now on the point you made here :)

Hypothetical:-
We are in a simulation created by humans out of necessity in relation to the increasing entropy, lack of resources, we can exist within a comfortable simulation of the original reality, but far more efficiently. This IS our reality right now.

There is an AI running the simulation - cold logic - not conscious - but yet since it controls all time within the simulation - we have already both agreed we can refer to it as God.

Obviously, since it - the simulation - was created by humans, there are certain humans that were privy to the existence that reality is a simulation.

Would the AI - and indeed the humans privy to the knowledge of such a system make it aware to all within the simulation, that they are in fact within a simulation? Would it (the fact that reality is a simulation) be a secret from the masses and why?

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Re: The Simulation Argument

Post by Skepdick » Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:49 pm

attofishpi wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:06 pm
We are in a simulation created by humans out of necessity in relation to the increasing entropy, lack of resources, we can exist within a comfortable simulation of the original reality, but far more efficiently. This IS our reality right now.
Sure.
attofishpi wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:06 pm
There is an AI running the simulation - cold logic - not conscious
The AI/consciousness distinction is epistemically unnecessary. If we are in a simulation right now you and I - we are AI. Are we conscious, do we have feelings, emotions and experiences? It's a question that doesn't buy you anything if answered. If we are AI then we are "cold logic". If we are conscious, have feelings emotions and experiences then "cold logic" is conscious, has feelings emotions and experiences.

If we are in a simulation, then the distinction between ourselves and an AI is special pleading.
attofishpi wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:06 pm
Obviously, since it - the simulation - was created by humans, there are certain humans that were privy to the existence that reality is a simulation.
Only humans outside of the simulation are privy to this though. Humans in the simulation are only speculating.

And we would have to speculate as to what would construe actual evidence that we are, in fact in a simulation. How do we test for the "outside"?

What experimental result would convince us that we are inside? Jailbreaking! Obviously.
attofishpi wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:06 pm
Would the AI - and indeed the humans privy to the knowledge of such a system make it aware to all within the simulation, that they are in fact within a simulation? Would it (the fact that reality is a simulation) be a secret from the masses and why?
This line of reasoning is basically appeal to revelation. It has been "revealed" to you that you are in the simulation. You were chosen, so that this knowledge was imparted to you.

BUT. You and I have both arrived at the exact same conclusion (we live in a simulation), only I am not claiming that this is "revealed knowledge" to me.
I am claiming that my understanding of computer science, formal logic and physics has lead me to this conclusion by induction.

You are claiming that it has been revealed to you. I mean - the voice in my head (reason) revealed it to me too. But the voice in my head is my voice. And the conclusion of my voice is a hypothesis. Purely on aesthetics and on the fact that it agrees with my pre-disposition (computer science) - it's a fun hypothesis.

But the scientist in me is still trying to figure out how to write the proof-of-concept exploit for the jailbreak.

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Re: The Simulation Argument

Post by Atla » Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:00 pm

wtf wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:48 pm
The trendy "new" idea that we are computations (is that a fair paraphrase of "we live in a simulation?") is nothing more than the ancient idea of a God or Gods who created and rule the world, dressed up in techno-hippy buzzword speak.
The simulation nonsense (and the religion of information in general) has been forced on us so much these past few years, that I suspect it's actually yet another mass brainwashing technique. You can make people more submissive if you can convince them that they don't really exist.

I mean just look at this for example, how much did they pay this guy to string together such a rubbish talk, give his name to it?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Chfoo9NBEow

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