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February 23, 2018

ARTICLE: Down the Rabbit Hole [back to article]
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paul valletta wrote on Feb. 15, 2008 @ 18:37 GMT
Simulation, by it's very existence, needs an event in which to "replay/simulate" ?

A dream within a dream, would be replaying something unreal, in any format whatsoever? A simulation, must have a starting point that is most definate..definate?

Computer simulations that keeps replaying events as a simulated function, or reality, can never replay an event that has a "bit" of it's information missing, a true simulation must be 100%, this, as Einstein noted was no way possible, in observational relativity, to replay an event in it's less-than entirety, is to be a conscious observer to "reality".

In real time events, there is always information that is non-accessable, some information is lost to the "simulation", you cannot remember events 100%, a computer may do this, it remembers its instructions and does not stray from what it is programmed to simulate.

This is what tells one what is real and what is not! I CANNOT replay real spacetime events in my mind with a 100% total recall, no amount of imagination can create my reality in real time, this is MY reality, this fact tells me thatm I am not being simulated?

I am I think?, therefore I is!

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Anonymous wrote on Feb. 17, 2008 @ 15:04 GMT


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FQXi Administrator Christopher E. Gronbeck wrote on Feb. 18, 2008 @ 04:37 GMT
Consider that our universe must be a simulation...according to someone. Because nothing is a simulation without a context, and everything is a simulation according to some context.

Take Dr. Tegmark's DVD. That might be a simulation of something (say, the 2008 Olympics) according to him, but to someone who doesn't understand the language encoded on the DVD, it's just a polycarbonate Frisbee.

And another DVD that doesn't seem like a simulation to Dr. Tegmark might be someone else's simulation because they have a system of representation wherein the data is meaningful, but to him it's not. Yet another DVD might be one kind of simulation to one person, but a different simulation to another...isn't the system of representation just as or more important than the physical means of encoding it?

And isn't therefore any collection or arrangement of data--or atoms--theoretically a simulation of something to somebody? Perhaps the handful of paperclips scattered on my desk could be a simulation of an electronic XOR gate if I choose (but maybe you think it's clearly a rudimentary model of Japan's economy). And who knows what innumerable potential simulations lurk within the billions of billions of atoms in just one discarded fingernail clipping?

So every thing, every arrangement of things, every subset set of things, everything everywhere is a simulation of many (infinite?) other things, depending on who's asking. And one (some? many? all?) of these arrangements is a simulation of our universe, though perhaps incomplete since maybe a system can't simulate itself, or something more complex than itself.

Then again, maybe it can.

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paul valletta wrote on Feb. 18, 2008 @ 05:13 GMT
Lets say I want to simulate something, lets say the very events before my eyes?..I can use a camcorder to visually record events. I simulate by copy, transport it somewhere, to a DVD player, and replay events. These events are locked within the devices (virtual), that simulates the recorded data. This recorded data may have glitches emmbedded into it, but the events that were actually recorded, would not reveal any relative glitch?..the equipment and actual events are detached from "real-time" events.

You cannot simulate 100% the "now" of spacetime, any simulation, by any process, is never identical and totally 100% a carbon copy of realtime events. The whole of General Relativity is based on defining a reality, that is the change (no matter how large or small!) of one event moment to another.

How can my 50th birthday be identical to my 1st birthdate?..there was change, there was no simulation, unless the simulation has a built in glitch programme (which the article states is quantum imperfections?..but then the simulation would have the laws of physics, changing at an ever increasing rate, based on the age of the Universe!

The code format of change, written into any "Universe is a Computer" model, must have General Relativity as the written "code", it is the only process that defines change, in realtime observational events!

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FQXi Administrator Christopher E. Gronbeck wrote on Feb. 19, 2008 @ 15:45 GMT
Who says that a simulation has to be a 100% carbon copy? One definition of a simulation is that it emulates or represents the *fundamental* aspects of a thing. So if I want to simulate fluid flow, I can do so with software that has far fewer "parts" (and is much less complex) than the unimaginably large number of molecules of water dynamically interacting in a river. A simulation is almost always going to be far simpler--sometimes many, many orders of magnitude--but that doesn't mean it's not effective, because it's not trying to be a copy, it's trying to model some functional essence.

To simulate your vision, for example, I don't need to recreate the entire world that you might otherwise see in all its complexity...if I replaced your eyes and optic nerves with a device that generated neural impulses and didn't want you to know, I wouldn't need to build a carbon copy of reality; I'd just have to feed you some sort of video signal that was vaguely consistent with what you expect from your current pinhole view of reality (no mean feat, of course). The bandwidth of the visual simulation would be far narrower than the complexity of the outside world, because your brain is really good at taking small amounts of information and creating its own complex reality (and if there were a flaw, psychology experiments suggest that you'd probably adjust your internal model, trusting your eyes more than your model...the entire process of learning is based on this).

And that's why your camcorder could acquire glitches over time, but you'd never know it. If this life were a simulation, and you put a green hat in a drawer, and you took it out the next day and it was blue (a glitch!), I doubt that your first thought would be "I'm living in a simulation!" You would probably think instead that you incorrectly remembered the color, or maybe someone switched hats on you.

So if you change your model of reality based on observations, how could you possibly detect that you're living in a simulation? Even if you discovered that a physical constant were changing, wouldn't you just update your conception of physics to include that fact? Physics is a learning process, too.

(Finally, if you did make some incredible discovery that the world was being simulated, how could you possibly prove that your discovery wasn't part of the simulation?)

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paul valletta wrote on Feb. 20, 2008 @ 04:01 GMT
"...if I replaced your eyes and optic nerves with a device that generated neural impulses and didn't want you to know, I wouldn't need to build a carbon copy of reality; I'd just have to feed you some sort of video signal that was vaguely consistent with what you expect from your current pinhole view of reality (no mean feat, of course)".

I do agree on model functioning/simulations are very useful, but put two coloured balls RED/GREEN into a container, a cloth bag for instance, pull one out, say it's red, how do you know it is red and not green? ;)

But the fact consciousness is relative to "oneself", it is an individual experience, no amount of "simulated input" can, in realtime_event speed, take away my knowledge of an experience "event", I know I am not being simulated, because everything in my experience of life, is NOT perfect?

Now I do admit, that I may be fooled in some aspects of percieved reality, I may go to a mountain top and experience altitude sickness, and this may induce "holographic-like" dimensional dilusions of grandeur? (the moses spiritual effect?).. and this event could trigger some dynamical thought process deep within the brain (a mathematician may discover a new formula, a philosopher may find a geometric route to a perfect circle, or a normal person may develop "spirit_guides" )...all are relative to experience?

A blind person is not excluded by relativity because of a glitch in being blind, they may be excluded by the wavefunction collapse principle, but certaintly not by Gravity for instance, they will fall to the ground, just as easy as the next person, especially when they think no-one is looking !

Ok I may have oversimplified the understanding of "simulation" ?

To show me the Universe, with the simulation that is "me" inside it, I would have to be sitting away from this computer, in the lap of a God, that is typing away on the Universal Simulator Machine, I would have to be outside the Universe looking in !

I think this would, in some instititions, be the proof that a "God" does actually exist ?

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paul valletta wrote on Feb. 20, 2008 @ 04:10 GMT
The inclusion of the word "normal" in the previous posting, in no way is meant to be detremental to any past or present person/s, that suffered altitude sickness, there is a lot to learn by going to extremes ?

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FQXi Administrator Christopher E. Gronbeck wrote on Feb. 22, 2008 @ 06:14 GMT
Paul, when you say:

"...But the fact consciousness is relative to 'oneself', it is an individual experience, no amount of 'simulated input' can, in realtime_event speed, take away my knowledge of an experience 'event'..."

...why do you think that simulation can't contribute to or even fundamentally form your experience? Practical issues aside (for now), let's pretend that I replaced your eyes with very advanced cameras...they fit into your eye sockets, connect to your optic nerves, digitize what's in your field of vision, do a little processing that your retina would otherwise do, and then generate electro-chemical nerve impulses that are the same as what your real eyes would have generated. Is this a bit of a venture into the realm of science fiction? Sure, but not outrageously far. Let's say it's technically possible for the sake of argument, since we're addressing a philosophical issue here, not a practical design question.

If you can accept that cameras could replace your eyes, providing a reasonable replication of your visual experience, then what makes it impossible for these prosthetic devices to instead generate nerve signals that aren't based on the light incident on the camera lenses, but on a computer simulation (the data for which is beamed to the synthetic eyes with a wireless connection)? The simulation could be accurate or not...someone could modify the visual signal to include a bird flying in the distance, and although it's not part of reality (common reality, anyway, if that exists), it's part of your experience and contributes to your formulation of the world. How could you ever tell the difference between a simulation and "reality" at that point?

(If the substitution of your visual experience is too far-fetched, simplify this and pick another sense that's not as complex...touch or taste, maybe. Or consider that your brain is already "simulating" reality by taking low-bandwidth sensory input and creating a rich internal experience for you that also integrates memory, expectations, etc...isn't consciousness itself a comprehensive personal simulation of the world?)

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paul valletta wrote on Feb. 22, 2008 @ 22:56 GMT
Christopher, you make a good point for a technical substitute of visual experience. But alas, the point I should ask for clarification, is relative to "memory"?

In your example, would you say that I could remember (by choice), the input given by the "camera" ?

This memory experience would infact be fake! The fact is that memory should degrade a little of experience, this is how one gauge's a reality over a simulation? The fuction of recall, is never total? cannot remember those little non local hidden variables!

Being able to "forget" some finite aspect of reality, is really the key to Relativity, why Einstein even stipulated that a beam of photons hitting say a mirror, is never totally reflected, a certain % of light gets absorbed, never to be observed or detected?

For the process of simulation to be a "genuine" (excuse the pun) function that can repeat reality and thus fool a conscious observer, the simulation must have a potion of data, that is "lost", or unavailable?..simulation, as far as I am aware, by it's very nature is total, and complete?

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paul valletta wrote on Feb. 22, 2008 @ 23:08 GMT
Ok what I meant to add also is the fact that in everyday experience, the eyes, nose ears..or lets be more specific, the sense organs form all available data, as percieved by a functioning observer. The brain is the collecting chamber whereby, out of the available information, an idea of reality is experienced . Now this is not the whole fact of the matter, because the brain plays another role, and this role is "guestimation".

The missing data is replaced with what the brain "thinks" should be there, this small amount of "imagination" is paramount in projecting a reality in one's mind!

Now philosophically we can ask, is the "imagined" brain input (the part that did NOT exist as a realtime event), more true than a repeated 100% copy of an event that did not have any variables? I think this is important.

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Alex Bowden wrote on Mar. 21, 2008 @ 13:38 GMT
The article comments on our not being able to prove we are not in a simulation, but don’t really talk about looking evidence that we might be.

There is a comments about drifts of fundamental constants - but really, so what.

But it never really ask the question,

“If we were simulating a universe, and machine resource was an issue, then what sort of...

view entire post

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Georgina Parry wrote on Feb. 27, 2009 @ 11:25 GMT
The subjective reality that we all inhabit is created by each individuals brain from the input it has received and processed. Everything that is seen is generated internally by the organism and sent to the conscious mind, with the information that it exists externally.

Since the reality we inhabit is already a biologically generated simulation,if the input is good enough the virtual reality is experienced as real and therefore is real.

The reality could be said to be an altered state of reality, but would be no different from altered reality states that are experienced due to certain mental illnesses.A psychotic break. The altered reality is real to the person who experiences it. There would be no clues because both simulations, ordinary biologically generated subjective reality and computer altered subjective reality are equally real.

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Roy Johnstone wrote on Sep. 15, 2009 @ 12:41 GMT
The problem I have with virtual reality/computer simulation hypotheses is that, to me, they inevitably lead, almost paradoxically, to an infinite regress of simulator/programmer. By this I mean that, if we say it is possible for a sufficiently powerful computer/virtual reality machine to run *our* simulated reality so that there is no way we could falsify it, then how could the "simulators" falsify their own "reality" being a higher level simulation? And so on up the heirarchy? It's a bit like, if there is a God, where did he/she come from? The paradox is that it can't be discounted or disproved (at least as stated above) and so must at least be possible, but if it is possible then it seems to become absurd! Not unlike the "turtles all the way down (up?)".

Or am I missing something obvious which makes *my* argumant absurd??

In fact, I think Paul Davies' "multiverse" idea that simulations would vastly outnumber "real" Universes, tends to support my argument. If there are a huge, potentially infinite number of simulated Universes, then there would be a large number of independant simulators, assuming one "group" (set of algorithms?) cannot run an infinite number of independant simulations.

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