Elon Musk on whether this is a simulation

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stand@desk
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Elon Musk on whether this is a simulation

Post by stand@desk » Fri Jul 01, 2016 1:56 pm

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style ... 60941.html

"If civilization stops advancing, that may be due to some calamitous event that erases civilization. So maybe we should be hopeful this is a simulation..Either we create simulations that are indistinguishable from reality or civilization ceases to exist."

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Dragline
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Re: Elon Musk on whether this is a simulation

Post by Dragline » Fri Jul 01, 2016 4:09 pm

I am highly amused by the traction that this new faith has gained amongst those that consider themselves highly technically evolved and beyond primitive superstition or old-time religion. I saw a video about it by Bill Nye recently who was of the general opinion -- hey, this could be it -- no way of proving its false, kids.

It makes me :lol: , because this is essentially a gussied-up Intelligent Design theory with some unknown and unseen programmer god or gods who must have created the Universe. Now, query did the programmer god program each one us personally or was it through a overall evolutionary design program?

The only thing that makes this more attractive than a religious formulation is the geek-framing around popular science fiction.

Does anyone else see an emperor with no clothes?

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Re: Elon Musk on whether this is a simulation

Post by GandK » Fri Jul 01, 2016 4:13 pm

Dragline wrote:The only thing that makes this more attractive than a religious formulation is the geek-framing around popular science fiction.
Far less attractive. God minus love equals Elon Musk's navel-gazing exercises.

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BRUTE
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Re: Elon Musk on whether this is a simulation

Post by BRUTE » Fri Jul 01, 2016 6:47 pm

as much as brute enjoys hating on Elon Musk, the simulation theory itself is pretty sound and also ancient. the ancient greeks had it, with demons instead of a computer. sure there's no way to falsify it, but that doesn't disprove it.

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Re: Elon Musk on whether this is a simulation

Post by ThisDinosaur » Fri Jul 01, 2016 8:47 pm

The simulation theory appears valid, but is it sound?
Flawed premises include:
--VR technology will continue an indefinite upward trend toward indistinguishable from reality by all senses.
--absence of such an indefinite trend means civilization must be ending
--without progress, there is no civilization
--without progress in game technology, there is no civilization
--billions of possible simulations + No simulation are all equally likely present conditions
--it is possible to represent the entire universe, from quantum to cosmic, with digital physics.
--that humans are likely to exist indefinitely and, in so doing, progress in VR technology indefinitely
--that it would be worthwhile to create such a simulation for the sole purpose of deceiving one to seven billion entities

I've seen this hypothesis from Sam Harris before. I thought it illustrated nicely that human logic is flawed/incomplete. The first reaction is to dismiss it as antithetical to common sense. But that's a reasonless argument, so then you consider that simulation theory makes sense and is "likely" true. But what does "likely" mean when you're discussing the probable state of an entire observable universe n=1 ?

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BRUTE
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Re: Elon Musk on whether this is a simulation

Post by BRUTE » Fri Jul 01, 2016 9:07 pm

brute just looked it up, seems it's actually called the simulation hypothesis. and it seems stronger than what brute believes. therefore brute retracts his statement, he merely sees it as an interesting possibility, and is not necessarily convinced it is "likely true".

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Dragline
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Re: Elon Musk on whether this is a simulation

Post by Dragline » Fri Jul 01, 2016 11:49 pm

So if this version of god or gods is possible, then other ones are possible too, right?

Or is this one special because it has more quantum woo or science fiction attached to it? How does anyone claim that this idea has any more validity than most common religions?

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Re: Elon Musk on whether this is a simulation

Post by IlliniDave » Sat Jul 02, 2016 6:17 am

I agree with Dragline on this, it's simply substituting alien technology for the more traditional supernatural (the natural being that which we physically interact with, the supernatural something beyond, or greater than, it). Like that "Ancient Aliens" TV show where any- and everything about the past that is not easy to explain right now is attributed to the activity of alien visitors.

Our technology is beginning to show us it is increasingly possible for us to be immersed in a 'world' and generally unaware (from sensory data) of another 'world' that exists all around us. In context it is a simulated/virtual world and the 'real' world, respectively. But if you buy that premise then it's not much of a stretch to say the two worlds could easily be the 'real' world and some variant of the traditional supernatural world, respectively.

Like GandK I'd prefer it to be God or the Great Spirit or the Grandfathers or the ethereal oneness the Buddhists seek to connect with or something because of the possibility of someday interacting with the wizard behind the curtain. If it's just a computer game/simulation, knowing our luck the designer made bank and is obliviously ERE-ing in a van on a beach somewhere in his world and we're left on our own, not to mention that servers sometimes crash.

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Re: Elon Musk on whether this is a simulation

Post by stoneage » Sat Jul 02, 2016 8:04 am

Someone has to explain the stretch from "we can make photorealistic-ish games" to "we will make realistic simulation of complex entities living in a complex limitless world with somewhat coherent physics in 20 to 20 000 years". There is somehow quite a gap in knowledge, computing power, and resources there.

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Re: Elon Musk on whether this is a simulation

Post by jacob » Sat Jul 02, 2016 10:49 am

It's pretty much this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_in_a_vat ... but with computers.

From a perspective of instrumentalist pragmatism, such speculations are completely useless. There's no way to prove or disprove it.

But here's another similar idea which IMHO is vastly more creative: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Three-Body_Problem (the sophon lockdown)

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Re: Elon Musk on whether this is a simulation

Post by BRUTE » Sat Jul 02, 2016 12:23 pm

Dragline wrote:So if this version of god or gods is possible, then other ones are possible too, right?

Or is this one special because it has more quantum woo or science fiction attached to it? How does anyone claim that this idea has any more validity than most common religions?
in brutes opinion this has nothing to do with a mystical god.

suppose Dragline owns a computer powerful enough to play The Sims, a game in which a family of humans is simulated. is Dragline a god to these Sims? in a way, maybe, but not in any way that would be considered religious. now The Sims is a rather crude approximation of the universe. but who's to say that this universe isn't a rather crude approximation of whatever universe that this one's being simulated in?

in an interesting twist, brute recently realized that rejecting simulation or AI is basically believing in god. because it argues that no matter the emergence or computing power, there's "a spark" missing to "create" consciousness. this spark is a refuge into mysticism, where only god has the power to add sparks to stuff, basically a soul.

if consciousness can emerge organically from non-conscious phenomena, then it can be simulated and created artificially, in principle.

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Dragline
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Re: Elon Musk on whether this is a simulation

Post by Dragline » Sat Jul 02, 2016 1:22 pm

BRUTE wrote:
suppose Dragline owns a computer powerful enough to play The Sims, a game in which a family of humans is simulated. is Dragline a god to these Sims?
Yes. From their perspective, I am their Intelligent Designer using my magical world-creating abilities, about which they can know very little, but might suspect. They do not exist without my having created their world.

I have created them in my own image. And it is good. And I can intervene divinely to alter their world at my choosing.

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Re: Elon Musk on whether this is a simulation

Post by BRUTE » Sat Jul 02, 2016 3:45 pm

but if that's true, then there are thousands of gods among humans, clearly, without any woo or quantum physics.

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Dragline
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Re: Elon Musk on whether this is a simulation

Post by Dragline » Sat Jul 02, 2016 7:38 pm

Well, that would make sense if you adhere to the simulation faith. Since we are made in the image of the creator of our simulation, it is natural that we would also create such simulations when we acquired the capabilities. As the philosopher Butthead once conceived, its like a a butt shaped tattoo with butt on it that you get on your butt. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyrRVNyjlqU

Except that we did not know such things were possible until we understood the math and science enough to build the computers to make some realistic simulations. Hence, the existence of the science and technology is driving this particular leap of faith. This faith would not have had traction pre-Turing and even in that era it was just wishful thinking. Woo early, woo often.

Or maybe its just time to admit that others might have got it right all along, just without the whiz-bang woo-ness. But then again, that might cause some people some highly intelligent people to experience some cognitive dissonance over their superiority complexes, and we wouldn't want that now, would we?

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Re: Elon Musk on whether this is a simulation

Post by jacob » Sat Jul 02, 2016 7:53 pm

Seems to me that leaps of faith have driven understanding and vice versa all along. Each individual has a point of understanding and a point of faith. A vector, that is, a line going between faith and understanding. The aggregate of everybody forms a bell curve of connexions. Lots of arguments between different sigmas. Wars get started. People get burned on the stake. The trend is for faith to get converted into understanding. This conversion can be gauged by the quantity of knowledge that people of different faiths agrees on: This quantity is still increasing.

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Re: Elon Musk on whether this is a simulation

Post by BRUTE » Sat Jul 02, 2016 9:05 pm

Dragline wrote:Well, that would make sense if you adhere to the simulation faith. Since we are made in the image of the creator of our simulation, it is natural that we would also create such simulations when we acquired the capabilities. As the philosopher Butthead once conceived, its like a a butt shaped tattoo with butt on it that you get on your butt. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyrRVNyjlqU

Except that we did not know such things were possible until we understood the math and science enough to build the computers to make some realistic simulations. Hence, the existence of the science and technology is driving this particular leap of faith. This faith would not have had traction pre-Turing and even in that era it was just wishful thinking. Woo early, woo often.

Or maybe its just time to admit that others might have got it right all along, just without the whiz-bang woo-ness. But then again, that might cause some people some highly intelligent people to experience some cognitive dissonance over their superiority complexes, and we wouldn't want that now, would we?
B+ for rhetoric, D for relevance.

simulation faith? invoking christian ("in the image of the creator") imagery? woo? superiority complex?

brute genuinely cannot understand what is "woo" or faith-y about the idea that reality can be simulated, in principle, on computers. there seems to be some straw man Dragline is attacking here, but brute cannot even see the straw man.

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Re: Elon Musk on whether this is a simulation

Post by EMJ » Sun Jul 03, 2016 4:04 am

Asked whether he was saying that the answer to the question of whether we are in a simulated computer game was “yes”, he said the answer is “probably”.
Perhaps Elon Musk should convince Joshua Brown and family that this life is a simulation.

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Re: Elon Musk on whether this is a simulation

Post by Dragline » Sun Jul 03, 2016 9:08 am

BRUTE wrote: brute genuinely cannot understand what is "woo" or faith-y about the idea that reality can be simulated, in principle, on computers. there seems to be some straw man Dragline is attacking here, but brute cannot even see the straw man.
I'm afraid you've got the straw man here -- the theory being presented in the article and video is not that we can simulate reality on computers, but that we ARE living in someone's simulation with the odds being "one in billions" (where does that SWAG come from?) that we are not sims.

The idea that "reality can be simulated on computers" is taken as a given, and I would not disagree with that unremarkable statement.

The leap of faith comes when you say "because we have recently observed that reality can be simulated on computers", therefore it is now almost certain that our reality is a simulation created by some unknown being/force/actor.

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Re: Elon Musk on whether this is a simulation

Post by BRUTE » Sun Jul 03, 2016 10:28 am

oh, ok. then brute mostly agrees.

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Re: Elon Musk on whether this is a simulation

Post by jennypenny » Sun Jul 03, 2016 11:31 am

I'm not sure why this is considered new? Sure, computers enhance artificial constructs, but haven't they always existed and haven't they always been difficult for people to detect when immersed in them? Maybe I'm missing the point (quite possible), but it seems to me that the only thing new is that now simulations are digitized and individualized, and that the digital world is the new woo and its creators the new gods (or, at least, that's the story the new gods would like you to believe).

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stand@desk
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Re: Elon Musk on whether this is a simulation

Post by stand@desk » Sun Jul 03, 2016 12:09 pm

I think part of the argument on this topic is that we as humans don't have the effective tools to come up with answers on whether this is a simulation. IBM Watson should be the best equipped? And perhaps he should be asked continuously going forward indefinitely and if he is saying no as of now, might he one day say yes?

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Re: Elon Musk on whether this is a simulation

Post by stoneage » Sun Jul 03, 2016 12:40 pm

Watson would only reply with a new question

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Re: Elon Musk on whether this is a simulation

Post by pukingRainbows » Sun Jul 03, 2016 12:48 pm

How is this theory useful in any way?

If it was true or not, what would change for me?

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stand@desk
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Re: Elon Musk on whether this is a simulation

Post by stand@desk » Sun Jul 03, 2016 3:28 pm

I was just looking through some notes from a few years ago about hormones. Hormones really control our lives because they control our biology. This is what the study of endocrinology deals with. I remember seeing a video years ago about how many computer programmers have switched to biology to find ways to optimize health and wellness and live longer.

The thing is we look to the bigger picture (Gods, universe) to feel like we are being controlled by something larger but the reverse is also relevant, the smaller is something to factor in to this debate on how the microworlds shape our simulations.

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Re: Elon Musk on whether this is a simulation

Post by Dragline » Sun Jul 03, 2016 9:45 pm

stand@desk wrote:I think part of the argument on this topic is that we as humans don't have the effective tools to come up with answers on whether this is a simulation. IBM Watson should be the best equipped? And perhaps he should be asked continuously going forward indefinitely and if he is saying no as of now, might he one day say yes?
Yes. Certainly, we know our perceptions are limited -- we can't even hear those damn dog whistles. The next question was whether we could just invent machines to "cover" our own limited perceptions.

This was thought to be the case until relatively recently. That thing Jacob mentioned as a novel -- the three-body problem, was a mathematical issue that to which Henri Poincare proved there was no general mathematical solution for in the late 1800s.

This, and other more philosophical observations, have led many to conclude that we simply can never know all that there is to know. Complexity theory, which evolved from the three-body problem, also addresses this.

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