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#10033 - 10/19/05 11:45 AM We exist in a computer program
Johan Offline
Member

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 35
Loc: Norway
This is really a followup of Robs "can life exist in a computer" -post. I found this article so intriguing that I felt it needed a post of it's own.

http://www.simulation-argument.com/simulation.html

Arguments that WE exist in a virtual reality (like the Matrix movie) are for example that all our surroundings can be described by numbers and formulas. This would be exactly what a programmer would do if creating us in a computer program. Albert Einstein once said that one of the greatest mysteries was that everything seemed to be explainable by math.

Swedish born philosopher Nick Bostr?m at the Oxford University of England claims that
at one time computers will be able to simulate human's and nature's complexity and we dont know if that limit has already been reached, and we exist in a simulation.

He furthermore consideres 3 options.
1) Humanity ends before we develop the technology. Our world is real.
2) We develop the technology, but doesn't use it because of the ethic grey areas.
3) The most plausible according to Bostr?m. We develop the technology and use it. Simulated worlds will rapidly increase. The moment simulated worlds exceeds "real" worlds, it is most probable that WE exist in a simulated world! eek

Far out, but I love the Matrix movies!
_________________________
Johan VS

-Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a raindance.

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#10034 - 10/19/05 01:21 PM Re: We exist in a computer program
RM Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 560
Loc: London
"Everything seemed to be explainable by math."
Not true, when infinity is involved, maths becomes utterly useless.
Observe;
x = 0.9(recurring)
10x = 9.9(recurring)
9x = 9
x = 1

Maths has failed to explain how we got from 0.9999... to 1.

Therefore, a true replica of the universe can never be made. However, it can be made so big that we would never notice that it is finite. Or the boundaries can be programmed to annihilate anything that comes into contact with them. Like antimatter for example.

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#10035 - 10/19/05 10:17 PM Re: We exist in a computer program
Chris Maxwell Offline
Member

Registered: 10/10/05
Posts: 26
Loc: UK
NO

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#10036 - 10/19/05 11:35 PM Re: We exist in a computer program
TheFallibleFiend Offline
Megastar

Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 1940
Loc: http://thefalliblefiend.blogsp...
Rob,

.999 repeating is exactly equal to 1.

Johan,
The philosopher Daniel Dennett argues that we can't be simulated in a computer because computers aren't fast enough to do stuff. Dennett's argument is wrong, because we don't know how fast putative REAL computers might be.

Your philosopher is also wrong, though. Math and logic exist prior to programming. If we follow the analogy it means that the programmers in the putative REAL world must have some mathematics. Following the logic, we must believe that THAT world was a virtual reality.

While I don't have a theoretical problem with recursion (it being one of my fortes), I do think that this is an argument leading nowhere - someone akin to the "Am I a man dreaming he is a butterfly or a butterly dreaming he is a man?" type question.

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#10037 - 10/20/05 12:00 PM Re: We exist in a computer program
RM Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 560
Loc: London
Everything exists because particles follow rules, right? Every single particle is made up of smaller particles; these smaller particles may have different rules to the ones they create. Therefore, since we only need to simulate the set of rules for the particles on our level; atoms, a simulation is, in theory, possible. However, anomalies in the behaviour in atoms are caused by the particles that make the atoms acting normally, this cannot be simulated and so, a TRUE replica can never be made.

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#10038 - 10/20/05 03:04 PM Re: We exist in a computer program
Johan Offline
Member

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 35
Loc: Norway
Quote:
Rob: Therefore, a true replica of the universe can never be made. However, it can be made so big that we would never notice that it is finite. Or the boundaries can be programmed to annihilate anything that comes into contact with them. Like antimatter for example.
Seth Lloyd at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has suggested that the alterations in the mass of information has increased with 10120 since the big bang. This means that we will never be able to make computers fast enough to simulate the whole universe. Bostr?m claims that this may not be necessary. Instead of creating billions of galaxys, the programmer could deliver small realistic lightobjects to the simulated people. They would then not question the emptiness of the simulated world.

Robotscientist Hans Moravec at Carnegie Mellon University believes that in 30 years we will be able to simulate worlds with conscious life. If that proves right, then we can truly begin to wonder if we are victims of simulation or if we are exploiting innocent simulated lifeforms. Or both.
_________________________
Johan VS

-Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a raindance.

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#10039 - 10/20/05 03:12 PM Re: We exist in a computer program
DietAnthrax Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/11/05
Posts: 11
Quote:
Originally posted by Rob:
"Everything seemed to be explainable by math."
Not true, when infinity is involved, maths becomes utterly useless.
Observe;
x = 0.9(recurring)
10x = 9.9(recurring)
9x = 9
x = 1

Maths has failed to explain how we got from 0.9999... to 1.

Therefore, a true replica of the universe can never be made.
What?

0.9999... *is* 1. They are the same thing. You don't need to "get" from one to the other.
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#10040 - 10/20/05 03:15 PM Re: We exist in a computer program
RM Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 560
Loc: London
Does it really matter whether we are living in the real world or not? I don't think so.
Johan, some programmers claim to have ALREADY simulated worlds with conscious life. This world, however, is very primitive and not like ours at all. The 'living' organisms are also very primitive. The debate is still raging over whether or not they are alive. Many think they are not.

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#10041 - 10/21/05 11:16 PM Re: We exist in a computer program
Philege Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/30/04
Posts: 184
Loc: United Kingdom
Yeah Chris what do you mean no!

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#10042 - 11/08/05 06:22 PM Re: We exist in a computer program
Amara Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/07/05
Posts: 16
Loc: England
rob: these smaller particles may have different rules to the ones they create.

Alright you've lost me there.

rob: Every single particle is made up of smaller particles;

Superstring theory states that the smallest piece of matter/energy is a string; open or closed. The unique vibrations and 'spins' of these strings determine its properties.

In quantum mechanics, there is much that happens without determinism, and therefore we could not possible simulate a world on that scale.

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#10043 - 11/15/05 02:46 PM Re: We exist in a computer program
RM Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 560
Loc: London
0.9999999... is not equal to 1. What is 0.1111111... equal to then?

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#10044 - 11/15/05 09:02 PM Re: We exist in a computer program
Anonymous
Unregistered


0.1111... is equal to 1/9

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#10045 - 11/16/05 10:10 AM Re: We exist in a computer program
RM Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 560
Loc: London
I meant what integer. You don't have to answer.

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#10046 - 12/12/05 03:26 PM Re: We exist in a computer program
RM Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 560
Loc: London
Amara,
"rob: these smaller particles may have different rules to the ones they create.

Alright you've lost me there."

Electrons, neutrons and protons do not operate on the same set of rules as atoms do.

P.S. String theory is flawed

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#10047 - 12/12/05 04:49 PM Re: We exist in a computer program
TheFallibleFiend Offline
Megastar

Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 1940
Loc: http://thefalliblefiend.blogsp...
"0.9999999... is not equal to 1"

Rob, yes it is. The argument is very simple.

x = .99999...

10x = 9.9999...

10x - x = 9.9999... - x
(but x is just .9999...)

9x = 9

x = 1

Therefore x = 1 and x = .99999...

The only way this could happen is if 1) I've made a mistake in the math, or 2) the numbers are indeed the same.

If I've made a mistake in the math, please point out the specific property or postulate that I'm violating.

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#10048 - 12/13/05 09:41 PM Re: We exist in a computer program
RM Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 560
Loc: London
Funny, I used the exact same example to prove that o.99999... was NOT equal to one. I was criticising maths for the very fact that 0.9999... is equal to one. After thinking over my statement, I realise it most probably is 1. But try to visualise this and there's just this annoying missing link. Oh well. P.S. so does 0.1111... = 1.11111... This is silly. infinity bugs me!

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#10049 - 12/14/05 07:46 PM Re: We exist in a computer program
TheFallibleFiend Offline
Megastar

Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 1940
Loc: http://thefalliblefiend.blogsp...
Hmmm... I don't think your example proved that .999... was not equal to 1.

Assume "<>" means "does not equal"

0.1111... <> 1.1111...

One good thing about math is that it abstracts things. We abstract things to what we think - or would like to think - are the elements. We have reasonably well-defined symbols, a collection of symbol "sentences" that are true (or at least assumed true) and we have production rules for combining these sentences to produce new sentences that are also true. These symbols, sentences, and rules form what is known as a grammar.

It's easiest to use this grammar if one doesn't try to ascribe a physical or real interpretation to each of the productions, but only to the final state. (George Boole explains this in some detail - repeatedly - in his book "The Laws of Thought.")

Doing this invariably leads us to some startling conclusions. Despite this counter-intuitiveness, we learn to accept that some things are just not what they seem.

We trust the simplest rules applied to the simplest rules as opposed to the complicated thoughts - not always, but generally.

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#10050 - 12/14/05 11:32 PM Re: We exist in a computer program
jjw Offline
Superstar

Registered: 09/07/05
Posts: 636
Loc: USA
Johan offered: We exist in a computer simulation.

Along the way this became an effort to find a value for 1 in .99999. Not being that keen on such things I would find it acceptable if my problems results always came in within .99999 of perfect. For a while I played with Newton?s constant in search of a clue to help me figure out how he arrived at it and why it worked (I still do) and in the process I learned that a natural variant of .99 or so is OK for many things. I went to the link Johan offered, excerpt follows.
?
II. THE ASSUMPTION OF SUBSTRATE-INDEPENDENCE
A common assumption in the philosophy of mind is that of substrate-independence. The idea is that mental states can supervene on any of a broad class of physical substrates. Provided a system implements the right sort of computational structures and processes, it can be associated with conscious experiences. It is nor an essential property of consciousness that it is implemented on carbon-based biological neural networks inside a cranium: silicon-based processors inside a computer could in principle do the trick as well.
Arguments for this thesis have been given in the literature, and although it is not entirely uncontroversial, we shall here take it as a given.?

I must be missing something here and that is why I make this reply. I start with the conclusion that we live in our brain. What our brain tells us is our reality. If our brain is sick we may have a new reality, bizarre or beautiful that may be, and probably will be completely unrelated to the realities of other life forms around us. This departure from where we were to where we are is totally self contained and originated with our own organics. Now we know that drugs and other stimulants can alter our sense of reality but it is always encased in our focus, our personal conceptions and what we perceive to be true.

My argument with the concept of our living in a computer simulation is that it implies we are all involved somehow. Suppose we gave 50 people the same drug and they all had the same illusionary concepts they would portray. That is still created from within, not from without. A computer, no matter how fast or how large is outside our consciousness and not capable of causing us to exist within in it. The prospect my arise wherein individuals will subject them selves to virtual reality programs and become addicted. That has nothing to do with our existing in a computer program.

There are some very smart people out there and they must continually exercise their brains and this sort of bottomless topic is perfect for that purpose. I see us as a self contained unit that has many capabilities all of which are encased in our bodies. Too simple possibly?
jjw

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#10051 - 12/14/05 11:54 PM Re: We exist in a computer program
Blacknad Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
Jim,

I've not seen you post for a while.

You said - 'A computer, no matter how fast or how large is outside our consciousness and not capable of causing us to exist within in it.'

I don't really understand what you are saying here. I presume you have seen 'The Matrix'. When computers are fast enough and sophisticated enough, they certainly will be capable of projecting an emersive reality into our brain that could correlate with that of others who are also plugged in. You only need to look at any of the mmorpg's to see rudimentary versions of this.

Or have I misread you?

Regards,

Blacknad.

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#10052 - 12/15/05 01:05 AM Re: We exist in a computer program
jjw Offline
Superstar

Registered: 09/07/05
Posts: 636
Loc: USA
Hi: I went to Eureka to see my son and got a fantastic case of flu which slowed me down. Back in the desert now and enjoying cocktails.

I don't see any disagreement in concept as long as you recognise that the subjects must be plugged in if we want to alter their inner conceots. I propose it is impossible to exist in a computer program, at best you might substitute the program for your own goals but taking the complexitities of humasns into account that would be a far cry from "living". Just a view.
jjw

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