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We are all just in a really complex computer simulation.. watch

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    (Original post by Smaug123)
    1. By "grid-based", I mean something along the lines of "length is discrete".

    2. Consider the analogy: I play a computer game in which I have to care for an animal. The animal tells me when it needs to be fed, etc. Is the animal (ontologically inferior, being simulated by me) not communicating with me? (I'm going to veto the word "static" because it seems a bit too fuzzy for these purposes; I'll explain what I mean rather than using the word.)
    I said that Hamlet is unchanging, while we are not; 3.you said that to an ontologically superior being, anything lower in the ontology is unchanging. If I take this at face value, 4.you seem to be saying that, for instance, Conway's Game of Life (being on a lower ontological level than me) is unchanging - but this isn't really true, because we can't predict what the Game of Life will do without just going ahead and running it, so while it is deterministic, I don't see how it can be considered unchanging. 5.We can't predict what situation will follow from given initial conditions, and that's the key difference between Hamlet and simulated systems. 6.More broadly speaking, Hamlet doesn't reflect its environment in any involved way, and that is why Hamlet cannot communicate with something outside its ontological level (beyond the extremely limited communication of "in response to this predefined scenario, I do this"); humans do (and, indeed, so does the Game of Life, to the extent that it can change wildly given only slightly different initial conditions), and hence because our actions are altered by our surroundings, there is the possibility of using those actions as a means of response. (Sorry, this is badly phrased but is the best I can come up with at this time of night.)

    I've done a brief search for Fiction, but I can't find it. Is it related to the Experience Machine that Wikipedia talks about?
    1. Can you further explain what do you mean by "length is discrete"?

    2.Yes, the animal (tamagochi if you wish) is ontologically inferior to you in exactly the same way Hamlet is ontologically inferior to you.

    3. As long as you assume scientific determinism and causality, yes.

    4. If you have the information about the state of the game at second 1 and the laws that operate in Conway's Game, then you should be able to predict the state of the game at second 2. That is true, we can't predict the state at second 2 (nor any future states) unless we get the data about the state of the game in second 1 and the laws that operate in Conway's Game.

    5. If you don't read Hamlet for first time you can't predict what will happen. But whether or not you know it is irrelevant. All you need to know is the state at any given second, the laws that operate the changes between states and you will be able to predict future states. Simulated systems following formal laws such as our universes are as closed to us as our universe is to any hypothetical outsider.

    6. I disagree. You don't reflect more on your environment than Hamlet does in his. The laws of physics place restrictions on what you can and can't do and think. In the same way, Shakespeare placed restrictions on what Hamlet can/can't do and think. Hamlet can't communicate outside his level mostly because Hamlet's behaviour is determined by Shakespeare's behaviour. In the same way, we can't communicate outside our level mostly because our behaviour is determined by the laws of physics. And the laws of physics state that the universe is a closed/isolated system. Nothing goes in, nothing goes out.

    No, it has nothing to do with the experience machine which is a criticism of classical utilitarianism. Nozick's Fiction is about the analogy of Hamlet and Shakespeare and our universe and a hypothetical creator. Also, Non Serviam by Stanishlaw Lem deals with similar topics.
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    Thanks for explaining the philosophy behind the idea, makes sense know.

    With respect to communication- (I appologise in advance for any misunderstanding of your points, its a bit late for such philosophical debates) Even if we were able to force the simulation to replay the good bits or make the world better for us, our limited pespective would greatly diminish any effect. Replays would be pointless since we wouldn't even notice them. It would be like someone rewatching a film of my happiest moments, they could experience them many times but due to my linear movement throught simulated time I wouldn't feel any different. I could reread hamlet a million times but within his reality it only occured once.

    Changing the rules governing the simulation isn't really possible either. Taking the hamlet example if I were to rewrite hamlet he would experience it as if it had always been that way and would be unaware a change had occured. Now given the fact that I have experienced the simulation in the way I have they must have not chaned it or already made the final change. Anything they change in their future has already had its consequence in my history. If shakespear had at the last minute rewrote hamlet so his father never died that is all hamlet would have ever experienced. If we were to go into the simulation and see hamlets perspective his father wouldn't have died even if in our time flow shakespeare hadn't yet rewritten it.
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    (Original post by Aoide)
    Changing the rules governing the simulation isn't really possible either. Taking the hamlet example if I were to rewrite hamlet he would experience it as if it had always been that way and would be unaware a change had occured. Now given the fact that I have experienced the simulation in the way I have they must have not chaned it or already made the final change. Anything they change in their future has already had its consequence in my history. If shakespear had at the last minute rewrote hamlet so his father never died that is all hamlet would have ever experienced. If we were to go into the simulation and see hamlets perspective his father wouldn't have died even if in our time flow shakespeare hadn't yet rewritten it.
    The problem with the hamlet analogy, is that Hamlet is a designed and fully complete scripted process.

    If we are in a simulation, there are several possibilities as to the nature of it. If we were to assume a running program, the 'creators' would be able to introduce factors in real time, though the exact nature of time and causality would be different. To take an example of a neural network attempted to understand handwriting, an introduction of new data will change the outcome of the program. The same would apply to us. In other words, we would be a changing and complex process which adapts autonomously to new stimuli, and generating different outcomes.

    It may be possible from an outside perspective to see the simulation as static in the sense that it is predictable and pre-determined, but that problem remains whether it a simulation or not. If our Universe is within another Universe with similar or same laws, the timelines will be running parallel (albeit at possibly different speeds), so while the outcomes if left unchanged would be predictable, from the outside observers it would remain to be potential, and they would not perceive it. Because their determinism is inherently part our determinism, the non-changed timeline would only be a potential possibility based on incomplete data (not including outside universes).

    The point being that Hamlet, or any story would be analogous to a simple script, whereas our universe would be closer to that of a neural network.
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    (Original post by Farm_Ecology)
    It may be possible from an outside perspective to see the simulation as static in the sense that it is predictable and pre-determined, but that problem remains whether it a simulation or not.
    This is what I was trying to say last night but was too tired to put properly :P


    (Original post by Aoide)
    Changing the rules governing the simulation isn't really possible either. Taking the hamlet example if I were to rewrite hamlet he would experience it as if it had always been that way and would be unaware a change had occured.
    By "changing the rules", I meant "interfering at a specific point in universe-time", akin to adding a cell in the Game of Life at generation 10000. So the past remains unaltered, while the present and future are re-simulated; to continue a "conversation", the externals can do another alteration, say at point t+10 (for some arbitrary units of t). The entire history from that point on would be rewritten, as if I had taken Hamlet and rewritten one line to make him really decisive instead of flannelling, and taken it on from there, writing the rest of the story to accommodate (actually, I'm sure there is Hamlet fanfic…)

    (Original post by Juichiro)
    1. Can you further explain what do you mean by "length is discrete"?
    If it turns out that length is not continuous; if lengths are all multiples of some small quantity. Visualise it as the universe being laid out on very fine 3D squared paper (with "curves" looking like a set of stairs on a very small scale), rather than curves being curves however far you zoom in.

    (Original post by Juichiro)
    2.Yes, the animal (tamagochi if you wish) is ontologically inferior to you in exactly the same way Hamlet is ontologically inferior to you.
    And yet it communicates with me, and makes me affect its simulation (by introducing food, for example).

    (Original post by Juichiro)
    4. If you have the information about the state of the game at second 1 and the laws that operate in Conway's Game, then you should be able to predict the state of the game at second 2. That is true, we can't predict the state at second 2 (nor any future states) unless we get the data about the state of the game in second 1 and the laws that operate in Conway's Game.
    Yep, sounds a lot like deterministic physics to me…

    (Original post by Juichiro)
    6. In the same way, we can't communicate outside our level mostly because our behaviour is determined by the laws of physics. And the laws of physics state that the universe is a closed/isolated system. Nothing goes in, nothing goes out.
    Ah, but that doesn't necessarily prevent information from leaving, as long as it also remains present in the simulation. Think of the Game of Life again - that's entirely a closed system, yet we can read what's happening in it because the information is present at both ontological levels (it's certainly there at the GoL level, because the GoL reacts to its environment; it's certainly there at our level, because we can react to changes in the GoL.) I'm not talking about the equivalent of firing a gun at the "outside" - that would be as silly as a GoL being firing a gun at me. But a GoL being could potentially infer, if I interfered with its environment in a structured way and it noticed, that an outside existed, and could communicate (I'm assuming that the decisions etc made by the brain are just normal physics that can be modelled in the GoL, which is a Turing-complete language.)
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    (Original post by miser)
    There is no 'just' about it. If we are in a simulation (and we may as well be if the universe behaves deterministically), then it doesn't follow that our existence is any less meaningful than it would otherwise be. We still experience happiness and sadness, love and sorrow - we would still be human, and our lives wouldn't be any less meaningful.
    Surely we are of less significance if we have a creator rather than being the original conscious beings?
    I didn't imply anything about our lives being less meaningful just that our universal significance would be less.
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    (Original post by takingtime)
    Surely we are of less significance if we have a creator rather than being the original conscious beings?
    I didn't imply anything about our lives being less meaningful just that our universal significance would be less.
    It would depend on what we establish to mean by 'significance', but I don't personally see why how we came about would affect it - the point is that we are here regardless of what happened to cause us to be if that makes sense.
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    IMO the real answer is something that our brains cannot comprehend, or come up with within the realms of our universe/existence. So, any theories we come up with to explain the big questions are all wrong. The real answers aren't accessible/understandable to us or anything.
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    (Original post by miser)
    It would depend on what we establish to mean by 'significance', but I don't personally see why how we came about would affect it - the point is that we are here regardless of what happened to cause us to be if that makes sense.
    I'm going to go for a bit of an out there metaphor on this one...

    Imagine that Usain Bolt is extremely significant to athletics because he is the fastest athlete.
    Imagine that if we discovered there was actually a faster athlete than Usain Bolt. He would not be as significant as he is no longer the most elite athlete.
    Usain Bolt would still be very fast, but no longer the fastest. But not only this Usain Bolt was created by the other athlete :/ (ok that metaphor fell down a bit there)

    This is all to say that we would not be the most developed species after all, which I feel can certainly be viewed as decreasing our significance. Therefore I think putting 'just' was at least justified.
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    (Original post by TooEasy123)
    IMO the real answer is something that our brains cannot comprehend, or come up with within the realms of our universe/existence. So, any theories we come up with to explain the big questions are all wrong. The real answers aren't accessible/understandable to us or anything.
    It's certainly way beyond my comprehension but I reckon if the human race hangs around long enough we probably have a good chance of eventually making some progress.
    From my understanding it can be possible to make some tests for other universes and stuff with the Large Hadron Collider.
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    (Original post by TooEasy123)
    IMO the real answer is something that our brains cannot comprehend, or come up with within the realms of our universe/existence. So, any theories we come up with to explain the big questions are all wrong. The real answers aren't accessible/understandable to us or anything.
    Never say never - if you sit around saying that a problem is unsolvable (cf. the scientists working on how fire happened all those centuries ago), you'll be overtaken by the people who ignored that and solved the problem by working on it. It may be that the answers are incomprehensible to us (although it's then questionable calling them "answers"), but then at least we'll know that.
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    (Original post by takingtime)
    I'm going to go for a bit of an out there metaphor on this one...

    Imagine that Usain Bolt is extremely significant to athletics because he is the fastest athlete.
    Imagine that if we discovered there was actually a faster athlete than Usain Bolt. He would not be as significant as he is no longer the most elite athlete.
    Usain Bolt would still be very fast, but no longer the fastest. But not only this Usain Bolt was created by the other athlete :/ (ok that metaphor fell down a bit there)

    This is all to say that we would not be the most developed species after all, which I feel can certainly be viewed as decreasing our significance. Therefore I think putting 'just' was at least justified.
    We're probably not the most 'developed' species in the universe anyway. I don't think that it would matter either way though, but we can agree to disagree.
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    (Original post by miser)
    We're probably not the most 'developed' species in the universe anyway. I don't think that it would matter either way though, but we can agree to disagree.
    hehe agreed!
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    (Original post by Smaug123)
    Never say never - if you sit around saying that a problem is unsolvable (cf. the scientists working on how fire happened all those centuries ago), you'll be overtaken by the people who ignored that and solved the problem by working on it. It may be that the answers are incomprehensible to us (although it's then questionable calling them "answers"), but then at least we'll know that.
    Definitely! I agree.

    I just think that there are certain things we'll never know, though. Most of those things will the why's. E.g. why are we alive. I do however think that science will be able to answer all of the how's. E.g. how we are alive, how evolution works, how the big bang occurred etc!
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    (Original post by TooEasy123)
    Definitely! I agree.
    I just think that there are certain things we'll never know, though. Most of those things will the why's. E.g. why are we alive. I do however think that science will be able to answer all of the how's. E.g. how we are alive, how evolution works, how the big bang occurred etc!
    I don't really want to put a limit on how far the scientific method can go
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    :ahee: The simpsons did it alr........................ aw damn it! :sad:
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    (Original post by takingtime)
    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012...n_2282745.html

    What are your thoughts?

    Inb4 the Simpsons already did it.
    I must say, I don't really get it. It's late and I've not really read it properly, but is the theory suggesting that if other civilizations have existed they would have been able to produce simulations of the universe and we may be living in one? I don't understand how the latter two conclusions are inevitable/ highly likely even if the first part is true.
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    (Original post by NadezhdaK)
    I must say, I don't really get it. It's late and I've not really read it properly, but is the theory suggesting that if other civilizations have existed they would have been able to produce simulations of the universe and we may be living in one? I don't understand how the latter two conclusions are inevitable/ highly likely even if the first part is true.
    It's the otherway round. The findings would suggest we are living in a simulation, that might have been created by another civilization.
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    (Original post by Farm_Ecology)
    It's the otherway round. The findings would suggest we are living in a simulation, that might have been created by another civilization.
    Well that is incredibly interesting. Do you feel like being a great human being and educator by any chance and outline the basic points of the evidence? Or is it very mathematical and complicated?
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    (Original post by NadezhdaK)
    Well that is incredibly interesting. Do you feel like being a great human being and educator by any chance and outline the basic points of the evidence? Or is it very mathematical and complicated?
    I would if I could. I don't know the exact reasoning behind it.
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    (Original post by Farm_Ecology)
    I would if I could. I don't know the exact reasoning behind it.
    The reasoning is as follows:
    One of the following is true
    a) Most civilisations die out before reaching a technological level where they can simulate universes
    b) Most civilisations choose not to simulate universes
    c) Most civilisations simulate universes.

    Given c), it is extremely likely that we are simulated, since there will be so many more simulated universes than non-simulated. That's it in a nutshell; http://www.simulation-argument.com/simulation.html gives it in more detail.
 
 
 
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