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

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    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012...n_2282745.html

    What are your thoughts?

    Inb4 the Simpsons already did it.
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    It's an interesting concept, I remember reading about the idea some time ago.

    If I understand correctly (if the findings were positive), it isn't a simple case of us being in a computer simulation run by some unknown entity. But rather places down some fundamental workings of how the universe (and multi verse) work. Though someone who knows more on the subject will probably have a better understanding of it.

    What I am interested about, is what kind of implications such a discovery would have?

    - What is the nature of the simulation?
    - Does it imply a creator of the simulation?
    - If so, can we communicate with them? And are they aware of us knowing?
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    Wake up Neo...
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    Did you take the blue pill?
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    I guess this thought has popped into many people's minds, but I think we don't appreciate just how realistic a possibility it is.

    We look at the universe around us and tend to think that it contains everything, and is the ultimate complexity, when really it could be a very simple object (or a simulation) relative to a higher level 'universe' in which it resides.
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    (Original post by Farm_Ecology)
    It's an interesting concept, I remember reading about the idea some time ago.

    If I understand correctly (if the findings were positive), it isn't a simple case of us being in a computer simulation run by some unknown entity. But rather places down some fundamental workings of how the universe (and multi verse) work. Though someone who knows more on the subject will probably have a better understanding of it.

    What I am interested about, is what kind of implications such a discovery would have?

    - What is the nature of the simulation?
    - Does it imply a creator of the simulation?
    - If so, can we communicate with them? And are they aware of us knowing?
    - Since we are in the simulation and have no chances to get out than Hamlet has to get out of his world and into ours there is no way for us to know.

    - Same as above reply. If outside the simulation causality and determinism do not operate and there are other laws then we can't know either.

    - The question is the same as: Can Hamlet communicate with us? No. He can't reach us, we can't reach him.
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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.
    It is possible but I strongly believe that there can be no actual proof of it. You just can't test it.

    See:

    If A is inside B,
    then some operations of A are the same as some operations of B.

    If A is outside B,
    then there is no necessarily a correlation.

    However, there is no way for you to get a proof of something you can't get data from indirectly or directly as long as you remain in your simulation/world.
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    I don't get the statement "The alternative - that we're the first civilisation, in the first universe - is virtually (no pun intended) absurd".

    Why would we have to be the first civilisation? Wouldn't there possibly be other civilisations in that universe (or others) that we could be a part of?
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    (Original post by Juichiro)
    - Since we are in the simulation and have no chances to get out than Hamlet has to get out of his world and into ours there is no way for us to know.

    - Same as above reply. If outside the simulation causality and determinism do not operate and there are other laws then we can't know either.

    - The question is the same as: Can Hamlet communicate with us? No. He can't reach us, we can't reach him.
    Hmm that's really interesting. But what if Hamlet became aware that he was in a play? Isn't it more like that? He could then begin to communicate.
    In the same way we could communicate with "people on the outside" if we become aware of it. Then they could presumably alter aspects of our world if they were the programmers or suchlike.
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    (Original post by Farm_Ecology)
    It's an interesting concept, I remember reading about the idea some time ago.

    If I understand correctly (if the findings were positive), it isn't a simple case of us being in a computer simulation run by some unknown entity. But rather places down some fundamental workings of how the universe (and multi verse) work. Though someone who knows more on the subject will probably have a better understanding of it.

    What I am interested about, is what kind of implications such a discovery would have?

    - What is the nature of the simulation?
    - Does it imply a creator of the simulation?
    - If so, can we communicate with them? And are they aware of us knowing?
    I can't say I have a clue but I assumed it meant that some advanced civilization had created such a complex computer simulation that it could simulate an entire universe (ours) much like we are able to simulate stars in galaxies etc on a much smaller scale.
    Although maybe the computer simulation metaphor just made an attention grabbing headline, I don't know!
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    Its interesting to think that we are the vessels of what most would generally assume to be a "test" or "simulative experiment". The idea of us all being part of something so much more complex than we can physically comprehend within our own minds is really something that leads to all sorts of ideas such as this simulation.

    The thing is, the main factor that is preventing us from understanding the true logic behind this possibility of "host simulation" is that we are restricted to what we see. Although many hate to admit it, there is a general perception of the universe revolving around us, much like how there was the ancient idea of the sun orbiting the Earth as opposed to the Earth orbiting the Sun.

    There is technology available which shows us how realistic the idea of this is. It enables manipulation of the brain, although in early stages, it can be incredibly influential in the way in which computing can play a part in making these theories and ideas acceptable to take into serious consideration.
    Heres a link: http://www.technologyreview.com/feat...brain-control/

    In fact, scientists have already simulated stars and galaxies in our own computer capacities.

    I think in time we will gain more understanding on the matter and be able to accept the idea of us all being part of a complex computerized simulation- without controversy.
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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 know we are not in the matrix, because if we were, I wouldn't be looking at this questionable meal which has been laid before me by my family.
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    (Original post by Juichiro)
    - Since we are in the simulation and have no chances to get out than Hamlet has to get out of his world and into ours there is no way for us to know.
    Not necessarily. If it turns out that the universe is grid-based, that would be evidence that we're in a simulation. (What weight you place on that evidence is up to you.)

    (Original post by Juichiro)
    - The question is the same as: Can Hamlet communicate with us? No. He can't reach us, we can't reach him.
    Nope - we could communicate. The difference is that Hamlet is static, while we are not. Once we'd sorted out our own problems, we might have to turn to finding a way to ensure our simulation is not turned off, or to ensuring that the most computing time was dedicated to simulating the happy bits. And it would have a bearing on what science we did - we wouldn't want to probe the edges too much, in case we found a bug and crashed the thing.
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    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.
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    (Original post by Smaug123)
    Not necessarily. 1-If it turns out that the universe is grid-based, that would be evidence that we're in a simulation. (What weight you place on that evidence is up to you.)


    2- Nope - we could communicate. The difference is that Hamlet is static, while we are not. Once we'd sorted out our own problems, we might have to turn to finding a way to ensure our simulation is not turned off, or to ensuring that the most computing time was dedicated to simulating the happy bits. And it would have a bearing on what science we did - we wouldn't want to probe the edges too much, in case we found a bug and crashed the thing.
    1- What do you mean by grid-based?

    2- No, you could not. Hamlet is static (to you). And you and we are static (to any ontologically superior being). This is consistent with scientific determinism, btw. Read Nozick's Fiction, it deals with all this stuff in a superb way.
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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.
    Well, it depends on what you mean by meaningful. If you mean purpose, then yes, our existence would be meaningful since it could be argued that there is a possibility that someone had a purpose in creating us.
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    (Original post by Juichiro)
    Well, it depends on what you mean by meaningful. If you mean purpose, then yes, our existence would be meaningful since it could be argued that there is a possibility that someone had a purpose in creating us.
    I don't mean purpose, though it might be true that meaning implies purpose. If our lives have meaning then it is unlikely to be dependent on not being in a simulation - in either scenario, everything's still just as 'real'.
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    (Original post by Juichiro)
    1- What do you mean by grid-based?

    2- No, you could not. Hamlet is static (to you). And you and we are static (to any ontologically superior being). This is consistent with scientific determinism, btw. Read Nozick's Fiction, it deals with all this stuff in a superb way.
    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; you said that to an ontologically superior being, anything lower in the ontology is unchanging. If I take this at face value, 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. We can't predict what situation will follow from given initial conditions, and that's the key difference between Hamlet and simulated systems. 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?
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    (Original post by Smaug123)
    Not necessarily. If it turns out that the universe is grid-based, that would be evidence that we're in a simulation. (What weight you place on that evidence is up to you.)


    Nope - we could communicate. The difference is that Hamlet is static, while we are not. Once we'd sorted out our own problems, we might have to turn to finding a way to ensure our simulation is not turned off, or to ensuring that the most computing time was dedicated to simulating the happy bits. And it would have a bearing on what science we did - we wouldn't want to probe the edges too much, in case we found a bug and crashed the thing.
    We are as static as hamlet. To hamlet his life follows a linear path through time however to an outside observer it is all already prewritten- from our perspective hamlets birth occurs at the same instant as his death. The same would be true for us. We wouldn't be real, just a what if scenario so. It would be false for me to say hamlet lived and then died because unlike the individuals in the story I am not bound by their flow of time. It is convinient for me too read it from the start to the end because it makes sense that way, but there is no scientific reason not to read it backwards. The only way to contact the outside would be if the designers planned it in the same way many writters break the 4th wall. In this case any interaction is pointless because it is a completely one sided relationship and they already are aware of everything we will say because they planned it and gave us the capacity to do it. It would be like trying to bargain with god.

    This is completely ignoring the fact that the outside reality need not follow our laws of physics, which would make it impossible for us to comprehend.

    The philosophy behind it seems flawed. Being in a simulation and being the first civilisation aren't the only two options. It is possible that there are thousands of civilisation in the universe all running simulations and that simulataneously we as a species developed in the original universe without outside influence
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    (Original post by Aoide)
    We are as static as hamlet. To hamlet his life follows a linear path through time however to an outside observer it is all already prewritten- from our perspective hamlets birth occurs at the same instant as his death. The same would be true for us. We wouldn't be real, just a what if scenario so. It would be false for me to say hamlet lived and then died because unlike the individuals in the story I am not bound by their flow of time. It is convinient for me too read it from the start to the end because it makes sense that way, but there is no scientific reason not to read it backwards. The only way to contact the outside would be if the designers planned it in the same way many writters break the 4th wall.

    This is completely ignoring the fact that the outside reality need not follow our laws of physics, which would make it impossible for us to comprehend.

    The philosophy behind it seems flawed. Being in a simulation and being the first civilisation aren't the only two options. It is possible that there are thousands of civilisation in the universe all running simulations and that simulataneously we as a species developed in the original universe without outside influence
    I'm not saying anything about the outside (in fact, I haven't yet given my views on whether we are living in a simulation) - but we don't need to be able to comprehend the outside in order to communicate, assuming the external beings are sufficiently intelligent. (Something along the lines of causing enormous widespread destruction in a patterned way, say removing the centre of every galaxy, would, I think, be a pretty good hint to most intelligences; if nothing else, it would probably cause them to concentrate a bit harder to see what was going on, assuming the simulation is being run for study.)
    Re the last paragraph: the argument goes that it's not impossible that we are the first - just very unlikely, assuming that all civilisations eventually become capable of simulating universes. This is because, of all the universes we could be living in, only one is "real" and thousands are simulated; therefore the prior probability (which we have pretty much no evidence to change one way or the other, at the moment) is one in thousands that we're in the original.
    To the first paragraph: I wrote a big chunk just now about how Hamlet is static in a way that the GoL is not, but actually I think you're right and Hamlet is just as static as the GoL (making small changes to the initial conditions of the GoL corresponding to rewriting the story of Hamlet given that a blade of grass was different, or something.) This makes me realise that my primary argument must therefore be that Hamlet could indeed have communicated with us, if he had realised he was in a play - your fourth wall scenario seems highly plausible in this regard, since given a history of the universe (Hamlet) which we choose to view (read) in terms of its subjective time (from the start, forward, to the end), if Shakespeare had thought to (the laws of deterministic physics had happened to lead to) make Hamlet realise he was in a play (simulation), he could have written in (the history of the simulation could have unfolded) dialogue between Hamlet and the reader (viewer). What Hamlet said would be fixed, no matter what the outsider said (physics is deterministic).
    However, there is a difference. We have the capacity to alter the copy of Hamlet, or to go back and reread a particularly good bit, for example. We can re-simulate the best bits, or concentrate really hard on them; this corresponds to causing the externals to spend more computing time on some parts of the simulation. Altering the copy corresponds to the externals interfering with physics at some point in our time, in order (for example) to have an actual conversation. (The difference is that with Hamlet, the reader would have decided what Hamlet would say; with the simulation, while it's true that the interference would have a particular effect, it might not be easy to determine that effect in advance, and hence you get what could actually be called interaction, rather than rewriting.)
 
 
 
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