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Old 02-11-2019, 09:59 PM
Dale Sams Dale Sams is offline
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Any off the wall ideas to test the 'life is a simulation' theory?

I was watching a Twilight Zone ep about a guy sent on a long space mission in suspended animation.

It occurred to me one way to try and test it would be to try and break it. If the backdrop is just illusion....sending out as many probes as fast as we can would be one way to test the limits of the program.
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:05 PM
Littleman Littleman is online now
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I was watching a Twilight Zone ep about a guy sent on a long space mission in suspended animation.

It occurred to me one way to try and test it would be to try and break it. If the backdrop is just illusion....sending out as many probes as fast as we can would be one way to test the limits of the program.
This has actually received some serious speculation and I read an interview where Elon musk mentioned this theory in earnest.

Testing the limits though would require purposely trying to break the laws of physics, not so much breaking an illusory backdrop.

Unfortunately if we could do that and broke it, we would never know since we would just cease to exist.
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:11 PM
Dale Sams Dale Sams is offline
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This has actually received some serious speculation and I read an interview where Elon musk mentioned this theory in earnest.

Testing the limits though would require purposely trying to break the laws of physics, not so much breaking an illusory backdrop.

Unfortunately if we could do that and broke it, we would never know since we would just cease to exist.
We would also never know if we broke a simulation. Or just broke the universe like in Charles Harness's short story, "The New Reality" where a photon is stopped and the universe...basically breaks and becomes a new reality.

And some would say what's the difference?
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:26 PM
Littleman Littleman is online now
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We would also never know if we broke a simulation. Or just broke the universe like in Charles Harness's short story, "The New Reality" where a photon is stopped and the universe...basically breaks and becomes a new reality.

And some would say what's the difference?
Exactly. Both results are ceasing to exist, as we are so....

Of course breaking it is a very rudimentary test.

Hmm, relativity might actually support the simulation theory.

Orbiting earth quickly makes time go slower for you than earth.

There you go ..relativity is just gaming lag in action.
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:17 AM
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There you go ..relativity is just gaming lag in action.
So if we lowered our ping ...

Anyway. Divide by zero. Throw a fault. We just need to find an obvious calculation the simulation needs in its running that involves division and eliminate all the objects in the denominator. E.g., if a calculation involving the number of x's per human was required, we get rid of all the humans and the next time the calculation is done a fault is thrown and the whole thread halts.

Maybe I've overlooked something ...
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:50 AM
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Exactly. Both results are ceasing to exist, as we are so....

Of course breaking it is a very rudimentary test.

Hmm, relativity might actually support the simulation theory.

Orbiting earth quickly makes time go slower for you than earth.

There you go ..relativity is just gaming lag in action.
I wonder if the universe/server is running antiviral software. It would seem to me that any program, other than photons, that suddenly started doing something as resource intensive as accelerating towards the speed of light might get tagged as malware and eliminated. If the universe-server is running antiviral software that is.

That might be a line of inquiry for the question.
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Old 02-12-2019, 10:09 AM
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Can't do it. As parts of the program we are incapable of conceptualizing and writing novel code. Even when we think we have, we are simply accessing existing contingencies in accordance with the primary code. It's like going faster than light--you think you're making progress when it's you on the mission, but to observers you're just getting in your own way. You never quite touch the inner surface of the bubble. And that's by design. What should we have for lunch?
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Old 02-12-2019, 05:19 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is online now
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You're asking whether we limited, provincial, barely evolved humans can break the code of a being capable of simulating the entire universe?

Can Pacman build a working interstellar starship?

You're off by about 50 orders of magnitude.
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Old 02-12-2019, 05:25 PM
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I wonder if the universe/server is running antiviral software. It would seem to me that any program, other than photons, that suddenly started doing something as resource intensive as accelerating towards the speed of light might get tagged as malware and eliminated. If the universe-server is running antiviral software that is.

That might be a line of inquiry for the question.
Haha, well see, that explains black holes.

Singularity is just antivirus quarantine.
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Old 02-12-2019, 05:37 PM
Dale Sams Dale Sams is offline
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
You're asking whether we limited, provincial, barely evolved humans can break the code of a being capable of simulating the entire universe?

Can Pacman build a working interstellar starship?

You're off by about 50 orders of magnitude.
My OP presupposes that the entire universe isn't simulated. Just enough to make us think we're in one. Hence my reasoning of sending out lots of 'observers' to make the program have to simulate more and more.

Someone earlier mentioned 'malware protection'. I thought of that. If say all our Martian probes kept breaking down mysteriously...but they haven't. But the concept is sound. Some kind of physics test that absolutely should give us a certain result but keeps mysteriously failing.
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Old 02-12-2019, 10:45 PM
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Well, let's see. You'd need....

1. Some way to prove the existence of a "programmer," who presumably doesn't want to be "outed".
2. Something that could not, itself, be simulated, and
3. Something that would not catastrophically destroy reality in the process.

Good luck with that.

What we need is to pierce our limited view of "reality". Now, if we think of mathematics as the operating system, and physics as the algorithms, then perhaps we can find some way of getting enough of a grasp on math to re-write physics. (This has the advantage of not needing raw power; just intelligence.) For instance, it's common knowledge that the speed of light is the top speed available as far aw we now know. But suppose that some much more highly advanced form of math were found such that we could rewrite reality to make the top speed higher. Or suppose we could rewrite reality in such a way as to lessen or eliminate the effects of gravity. Deeds like that would give us the ability to examine the "algorithms" and see if there is an intelligence behind it.
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Old 02-13-2019, 02:07 AM
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Musk is a loon and there is no point in contemplating this silly idea. If we are in a simulation then we are no doubt programed not to ever discover it. It is not just a silly idea but a dangerous one that may lead weaker minds into nihilism. Do something useful like volunteer your free time to a local charity.

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Old 02-13-2019, 02:49 AM
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It's all just begging the question, IMO. If your answer to "Where did all of this come from?" is "It's a simulation", then you haven't actually answered the question, you've just kicked the can down the road.
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Old 02-13-2019, 02:54 AM
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The probe would be going into an environment that's a lot simpler than simply living on Earth. That sounds like the opposite of a way to break the simulation.

In any case, if it is a simulation, then probably I'm the only person who exists - you guys are just pixels
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Old 02-13-2019, 09:50 AM
Dale Sams Dale Sams is offline
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Man all these naysayers and "don't look behind the curtain...ers"

Sounds like someone here is hiding something.

We're onto you Puppetmasters and we're coming for you!!
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Old 02-13-2019, 10:05 AM
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Well, of course it's a silly idea. "I think, therefor I am." Regardless of whether we exist in a physical world or a virtual one, we're still real. Or at least I am. The structure of reality is beside the point.
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Old 02-13-2019, 10:12 AM
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Once you find out for sure that this is just a simulation, they just reboot the program.
Again.
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Old 02-13-2019, 02:16 PM
Dale Sams Dale Sams is offline
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Once you find out for sure that this is just a simulation, they just reboot the program.
Again.
Bad news Czar...the last sound you'll hear is the cosmic groan of someone realizing they haven't saved their game since 232 B.C.
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Old 02-13-2019, 02:19 PM
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I was watching a Twilight Zone ep about a guy sent on a long space mission in suspended animation.

It occurred to me one way to try and test it would be to try and break it. If the backdrop is just illusion....sending out as many probes as fast as we can would be one way to test the limits of the program.
Well, whatever made it is essentially God. How would you prove that God made the Universe?
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Old 02-13-2019, 04:15 PM
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I think there's plenty of evidence suggesting we're a simulation.

For example, the frequency in our lifetime of incredible discoveries of ancient human artifacts that somehow remained undisturbed for tens or hundreds of thousands of years, in places continuously inhabited (not like in the now-submerged land of Beringia or Doggerland). Deep inside caves, sure, but people have been cave-explorers forever. In fact, the Denisovan bones are so named because they were discovered in a cave already named after an 18th Century Russian hermit, St. Denis, who lived in that cave. A surprising source of undisturbed hominid fossils from over 100,000 years ago!

I like to think of this as an obvious example of "that stuff has lied there for 125,000 years... Since ten years ago, when it was inserted into the program"
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Old 02-13-2019, 04:44 PM
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The Planck length is the resolution of the universe. Planck time is its clock speed.
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Old 02-13-2019, 04:44 PM
Ashtura Ashtura is offline
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I think there's plenty of evidence suggesting we're a simulation.

For example, the frequency in our lifetime of incredible discoveries of ancient human artifacts that somehow remained undisturbed for tens or hundreds of thousands of years, in places continuously inhabited (not like in the now-submerged land of Beringia or Doggerland). Deep inside caves, sure, but people have been cave-explorers forever. In fact, the Denisovan bones are so named because they were discovered in a cave already named after an 18th Century Russian hermit, St. Denis, who lived in that cave. A surprising source of undisturbed hominid fossils from over 100,000 years ago!

I like to think of this as an obvious example of "that stuff has lied there for 125,000 years... Since ten years ago, when it was inserted into the program"
Hmmm. Wouldn't Occam's razor suggest that, in spite the fact that cave explorers have existed "forever", that in this case, they either didn't explore this particular cave very thoroughly, or explored it, but did not have an appreciation for it's contents? Your "incredible discovery" could be Grognak's pile'o dumb bones. Isn't that the far more likelier explanation than "the program (aka "God") put it there"? It did? Why? How does planting discoveries in a cave benefit anybody? This also implies, of course, that there weren't hominids in there 100K years ago, and that "the program" inserted it for... reasons?

This sounds like a creationist trying to explain away dino bones.

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Old 02-14-2019, 01:57 PM
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Rather than breaking physics altogether, maybe look for inconsistencies that simply cannot be resolved. Perhaps we find that unifying quantum mechanics and general relativity into a workable theory of everything is impossible because the simulation switches models in different domains, with different simplifying assumptions for each. No need to track every quark in the Universe if you don't need to, and you can neglect gravity at subatomic scales. Maybe these assumptions break things at galactic scales and dark matter and dark energy are kludges or work arounds. The simulation is still close enough, and it runs faster that way.

I'm sure I'm not the first to think of these, though it all sounds a bit silly to me.
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Old 02-14-2019, 06:27 PM
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You're asking whether we limited, provincial, barely evolved humans can break the code of a being capable of simulating the entire universe?

Can Pacman build a working interstellar starship?
It is possible for programs we have written to escape their sandboxes. I don't see why it's impossible for a highly advanced being on vastly more powerful hardware to write something he doesn't quite understand or control as well.

A great story of a simulated being escaping its simulation.

Note that the critical requirement is not that the simulated being is particularly smart, but that the simulation is sufficiently complex that the creator of it doesn't fully understand the system he's using.

It seems like your argument boils down to a claim that whatever could create a simulation this complicated would also necessarily create one that is bug and exploit free. Our experience seems to show the opposite, though. The more complicated a system, the more bugs and exploits there are. Maybe that's because we're not smart enough, but it feels a lot more like a fundamental mathematical fact: the more complicated the system, the harder it is to understand.

I don't know that we should try to break out though. It seems almost certain to end badly.
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Old 02-14-2019, 06:46 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is online now
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You'll notice that nobody here has proposed anything close to a meaningful response. That's because we cannot imagine even in theory how simulating an entire universe might be accomplished. Calling it code might be nonsense. Maybe computers are primitive devices no better than sticks.

Maybe, maybe, maybe. Right now the question is not at all answerable, even as a thought exercise, any more than the question of what's in God's head is answerable. Both assume things that probably are not true and both require understandings that are not given to humans.

If that's a game you want to play, feel free. I haven't tried to stop you. But I'm sitting this one out.
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Old 02-14-2019, 07:07 PM
begbert2 begbert2 is offline
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You'll notice that nobody here has proposed anything close to a meaningful response. That's because we cannot imagine even in theory how simulating an entire universe might be accomplished. Calling it code might be nonsense. Maybe computers are primitive devices no better than sticks.

Maybe, maybe, maybe. Right now the question is not at all answerable, even as a thought exercise, any more than the question of what's in God's head is answerable. Both assume things that probably are not true and both require understandings that are not given to humans.

If that's a game you want to play, feel free. I haven't tried to stop you. But I'm sitting this one out.
Are you kidding? Of course we can imagine how it would work. All it would have to do is simulate all the basic laws of physics as applied to a bunch of simulated matter and energy and particles and such. At the lower levels everything seems to follow pretty straightforward rules, even - all the better to simulate it. It would require truly massive storage and processing power if we did it that way, obviously, but there's no particular reason it couldn't work.

Such a simulation would be completely indistinguishable from an 'actual' reality, presuming it was being run 'clean' (read: without somebody going in and editing in dinosaur bones on the fly), which is why people aren't seriously trying to disprove it - it's undisprovable. There's nothing that would serve as evidence of reality that couldn't also be part of a simulation.

Last edited by begbert2; 02-14-2019 at 07:08 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 02-14-2019, 09:31 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is online now
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Are you kidding? Of course we can imagine how it would work. All it would have to do is simulate all the basic laws of physics as applied to a bunch of simulated matter and energy and particles and such. At the lower levels everything seems to follow pretty straightforward rules, even - all the better to simulate it. It would require truly massive storage and processing power if we did it that way, obviously, but there's no particular reason it couldn't work.

Such a simulation would be completely indistinguishable from an 'actual' reality, presuming it was being run 'clean' (read: without somebody going in and editing in dinosaur bones on the fly), which is why people aren't seriously trying to disprove it - it's undisprovable. There's nothing that would serve as evidence of reality that couldn't also be part of a simulation.
Yeah, all you would have to do is "simulate all the basic laws of physics as applied to a bunch of simulated matter and energy and particles and such." How? And how do we break something like that? That's the issue. Assuming it's a computer program is using 21st century human thinking.

We agree that a good simulation is undisprovable. Why? Because we have no idea what we're talking about on that level. We're not even gibbering apes. We're bacteria. Maybe viruses.
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:07 AM
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Hmmm. Wouldn't Occam's razor suggest that, in spite the fact that cave explorers have existed "forever", that in this case, they either didn't explore this particular cave very thoroughly, or explored it, but did not have an appreciation for it's contents? Your "incredible discovery" could be Grognak's pile'o dumb bones. Isn't that the far more likelier explanation than "the program (aka "God") put it there"? It did? Why? How does planting discoveries in a cave benefit anybody? This also implies, of course, that there weren't hominids in there 100K years ago, and that "the program" inserted it for... reasons?

This sounds like a creationist trying to explain away dino bones.
I get what you're saying, but it's not one thing in isolation, but in aggregate.

We keep having instances of people "suddenly" discovering stuff that apparently was right under their noses - from a collective humanity POV - for a very long time.

Sure, the "obvious" explanation would be, we're just not that good at noticing stuff, weren't looking for it, and/or didn't know what it is we were looking at all that time (e.g., how much of our legends about cyclops and dragons stem from the bones of extinct animals like mastodons and dinosaurs?).

As an "enterprise system" computer programmer (i.e., in-house for a large corporation for their internal operations, not designing applications/programs for consumer use), one of the biggest headaches I have to deal with is with users manually bypassing automated processes designed to maintain links in one set of data with another, to "jam in" data. The biggest annoyances typically involve "jamming in" historical data kept in a time series, like database records with date T0, T1, T2, etc., and suddenly there's a record between T1 and T2 based on something completely different than all the others. Because someone just ran some kind of backfill or simulation type analysis that needed some program that reads from that time series to work, which gets them what THEY wanted, but messes up some other process or program also living off of that data.

Yes, not to get off on a tangent, the system should permission or guard against such data inserts, but in any very old (20+ year old) system there are going to be multiple ways to insert data, including some "critical" process, some that were thought to be retired but in fact "has been running that way for years and we can't just turn it off right now, just make it work like it did last week for a little while longer and we'll fix it [no we won't because nobody's actually paid to do that and it's negative money and career advancement to fix other people's problems who aren't here any more]", ... sorry, do I sound bitter?

Anyway, in my mind, if our universe were a "simulation", this is the kind of area we might find evidence of "software weakness". Not trying to poke holes in the Rules of the Game, the operating system if you will ("Hey, let's break the speed of light and see what happens!"), but to look for evidence that the ongoing program is still being updated and patched as it runs, including at the data level, not just the "software" level.

Last edited by robardin; 02-15-2019 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 02-15-2019, 12:50 PM
iamthewalrus(:3= iamthewalrus(:3= is online now
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That's because we cannot imagine even in theory how simulating an entire universe might be accomplished. Calling it code might be nonsense. Maybe computers are primitive devices no better than sticks.
Sure we can. An entire universe can be simulated by a computer as we know it, given enough matter/energy/time. Cite. I'm not suggesting that that's actually how our universe might be simulated, but yes we can imagine in theory how an entire universe could be simulated: The same way we simulate anything else, but bigger and more complicated.

And computers are based on math that is independent of the physical properties of the universe. Predicate logic is true whether or not you can build logic gates out of silicon. A Turing Machine is a mathematical construct that performs mathematical operations on an arbitrary symbolic representation. All you need for a universe simulation is a set of rules and a really long tape.

Our universe seems really big to us, but maybe it's not. With our current technology, we can simulate things using computers that contain, say, 10^20 times as much matter. And they are quite primitive. So, maybe a computer in the real universe has 10^50 times as much matter as our universe and a more efficient use of it too. It would be pretty simple to simulate this tiny toy universe we live in.

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Right now the question is not at all answerable, even as a thought exercise, any more than the question of what's in God's head is answerable. Both assume things that probably are not true and both require understandings that are not given to humans.
Thought exercises are answerable depending on the assumptions you make. If your assumption is that we can't answer it, I agree that this probably isn't an interesting conversation for you.
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Old 02-15-2019, 02:12 PM
Ashtura Ashtura is offline
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I get what you're saying, but it's not one thing in isolation, but in aggregate.
Okay, can you name a single discovery where the likeliest explanation is "the program inserted it for reasons"?

If the aggregate if full of things that have more likelier explanations, then that doesn't mean much.

Fact is, most of our newer discoveries come from the existence of more people with improved understanding of multiple fields of study, and vastly improved technology over the last 300 years.

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Old 02-15-2019, 02:25 PM
Ashtura Ashtura is offline
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Sure we can. An entire universe can be simulated by a computer as we know it, given enough matter/energy/time. Cite. I'm not suggesting that that's actually how our universe might be simulated, but yes we can imagine in theory how an entire universe could be simulated: The same way we simulate anything else, but bigger and more complicated.

And computers are based on math that is independent of the physical properties of the universe. Predicate logic is true whether or not you can build logic gates out of silicon. A Turing Machine is a mathematical construct that performs mathematical operations on an arbitrary symbolic representation. All you need for a universe simulation is a set of rules and a really long tape.

Our universe seems really big to us, but maybe it's not. With our current technology, we can simulate things using computers that contain, say, 10^20 times as much matter. And they are quite primitive. So, maybe a computer in the real universe has 10^50 times as much matter as our universe and a more efficient use of it too. It would be pretty simple to simulate this tiny toy universe we live in.

Thought exercises are answerable depending on the assumptions you make. If your assumption is that we can't answer it, I agree that this probably isn't an interesting conversation for you.
Okay, so we dismiss God out of hand, come up with theories that don't require a creator, but seriously entertain the notion that our universe is a simulation which, by definition, HAS to have a creator? That is absurd. If we're in a simulation, the creator, who is literally outside of time and space as we know it, is in possession of technology that we literally couldn't possibly produce, because it would take more energy to run than we possess in our "fake" universe. This creator would essentially be God.
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Old 02-15-2019, 02:41 PM
begbert2 begbert2 is offline
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Yeah, all you would have to do is "simulate all the basic laws of physics as applied to a bunch of simulated matter and energy and particles and such." How? And how do we break something like that? That's the issue. Assuming it's a computer program is using 21st century human thinking.

We agree that a good simulation is undisprovable. Why? Because we have no idea what we're talking about on that level. We're not even gibbering apes. We're bacteria. Maybe viruses.
Are you a computer programmer? I am. It's certainly possible. The only minor hiccup is that if you didn't figure out some way to streamline the data the computer to store it on will be physically larger (much larger) than our universe is. That and the process of applying the laws of physics and object interaction to every particle/object/whatever in the universe would take spectacularly long to simulate each Planck second of universe-time. (Not that the people in the universe would know that.)

Or put another way - see the xkcd link in iamthewalrus(:3='s post.


Of course if you did apply compression, things could be a bit simpler...

DM: You all meet in an inn.
Fred: Tharg the Destroyer buys a beer, and drink it.
DM: (consults chart, consults Fred's constitution stats): Tharg enjoys the taste and gets a mild and pleasant buzz.
Joe: Stephen Hawking examines the printout he just got from the Large Hadron Collider.
DM: (consults reference book, rolls dice for particle interactions): Stephen found a Higgs Boson!
Joe: Sweet!
Fred: High five! Oh, and Tharg buys a beer for Steve to celebrate.
DM: (consults references) A good time is had by all.

Last edited by begbert2; 02-15-2019 at 02:41 PM. Reason: typo
  #33  
Old 02-15-2019, 02:43 PM
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I mean, I'm not seriously entertaining the simulation argument. I think it's fun to play around with. It is an entertaining concept. I agree that a technological singularity/universe as simulation belief is religious in nature. God is created in man's image; the simulation God is God as tech-bro.
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Old 02-15-2019, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Ashtura View Post
Okay, so we dismiss God out of hand, come up with theories that don't require a creator, but seriously entertain the notion that our universe is a simulation which, by definition, HAS to have a creator? That is absurd. If we're in a simulation, the creator, who is literally outside of time and space as we know it, is in possession of technology that we literally couldn't possibly produce, because it would take more energy to run than we possess in our "fake" universe. This creator would essentially be God.
Of course the simulation's creator would be functionally a god, the same way I'm effectively the god of the characters in the books I've written. The reason why dismiss the Christian god out of hand is because the descriptions of him and stories about him are absurd and self-contradictory, and the reason we come up with theories that don't require a creator is because there's nothing about our reality that seems to require a creator. Suppose you find a rock on a streambed - you don't assume that that rock was carefully carved into that exact shape and then placed there for you to find. But you can't prove it wasn't!

Last edited by begbert2; 02-15-2019 at 02:48 PM. Reason: The simulation's creator is inserting typos into my posts
  #35  
Old 02-16-2019, 02:00 PM
Dale Sams Dale Sams is offline
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Originally Posted by robardin View Post
I get what you're saying, but it's not one thing in isolation, but in aggregate.

We keep having instances of people "suddenly" discovering stuff that apparently was right under their noses - from a collective humanity POV - for a very long time.

Sure, the "obvious" explanation would be, we're just not that good at noticing stuff, weren't looking for it, and/or didn't know what it is we were looking at all that time (e.g., how much of our legends about cyclops and dragons stem from the bones of extinct animals like mastodons and dinosaurs?).

As an "enterprise system" computer programmer (i.e., in-house for a large corporation for their internal operations, not designing applications/programs for consumer use), one of the biggest headaches I have to deal with is with users manually bypassing automated processes designed to maintain links in one set of data with another, to "jam in" data. The biggest annoyances typically involve "jamming in" historical data kept in a time series, like database records with date T0, T1, T2, etc., and suddenly there's a record between T1 and T2 based on something completely different than all the others. Because someone just ran some kind of backfill or simulation type analysis that needed some program that reads from that time series to work, which gets them what THEY wanted, but messes up some other process or program also living off of that data.

Yes, not to get off on a tangent, the system should permission or guard against such data inserts, but in any very old (20+ year old) system there are going to be multiple ways to insert data, including some "critical" process, some that were thought to be retired but in fact "has been running that way for years and we can't just turn it off right now, just make it work like it did last week for a little while longer and we'll fix it [no we won't because nobody's actually paid to do that and it's negative money and career advancement to fix other people's problems who aren't here any more]", ... sorry, do I sound bitter?

Anyway, in my mind, if our universe were a "simulation", this is the kind of area we might find evidence of "software weakness". Not trying to poke holes in the Rules of the Game, the operating system if you will ("Hey, let's break the speed of light and see what happens!"), but to look for evidence that the ongoing program is still being updated and patched as it runs, including at the data level, not just the "software" level.
That's... actually...a lot more plausible then what I thought you were initially saying.

So in your scenario, the universe isnt some kids video game or a single scientists experiment....but a simulation that a LOT of people use at once. And time to time, someone inserts something (either backdoor, or because they're smart enough to do so) because they need it to get the answer they were looking for.

(Insert Spock 'fascinating' here)

User: "No no no...I need dinosaur bones in this cave. How will the humans react if they find dinosaur bones here?"

User 2: "But humans have already explored this cave."

User: "SO??...they overlooked them. Shit...Bob over there has fucking flying saucers running around and that hasn't broken anything."

Bob waves.
  #36  
Old 02-16-2019, 02:12 PM
Dale Sams Dale Sams is offline
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I wonder if people in the far past ever said

"Arn't we lucky to live in such an advanced time as to have such a firm grasp on the universe? To know that the sun is just a giant fireball on the end of Zeus's yo-yo?? Not like those savage Zubanians 1000's of years ago who thought the Sun just got tired and needed a nap?? BAHAahahah!!"

If not, it sure sounds like a line from a Theodoric of York skit.

Last edited by Dale Sams; 02-16-2019 at 02:13 PM.
  #37  
Old 02-16-2019, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Isamu View Post
Musk is a loon and there is no point in contemplating this silly idea. If we are in a simulation then we are no doubt programed not to ever discover it. It is not just a silly idea but a dangerous one that may lead weaker minds into nihilism. Do something useful like volunteer your free time to a local charity.
Pretty much this.

Within the simulation hypothesis we have the idea of part of the simulation being fake: since simulating every particle's quantum state would take as many particles, we presuppose the simulation is engineered so that sentient beings see what looks like a complete universe but is actually just essentially a movie set.

But if the universe is part fake, we can ask: Why stop there?
Why assume every human is being simulated; perhaps Angolan subsistence farmers are NPCs, perhaps my best friend is?
And why assume all my experiences are real; the precise details of my last dump is unlikely to be critical to the result of the simulation, so maybe it's a false memory?

Et viola: solipsism + last Thursdayism

Or: let's call the whole thing off, and not assume the existence of a simulating outer universe that we have no evidence for.

Last edited by Mijin; 02-16-2019 at 03:10 PM.
  #38  
Old 02-16-2019, 04:10 PM
Dale Sams Dale Sams is offline
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Originally Posted by Mijin View Post
Pretty much this.

Within the simulation hypothesis we have the idea of part of the simulation being fake: since simulating every particle's quantum state would take as many particles, we presuppose the simulation is engineered so that sentient beings see what looks like a complete universe but is actually just essentially a movie set.

But if the universe is part fake, we can ask: Why stop there?
Why assume every human is being simulated; perhaps Angolan subsistence farmers are NPCs, perhaps my best friend is?
And why assume all my experiences are real; the precise details of my last dump is unlikely to be critical to the result of the simulation, so maybe it's a false memory?

Et viola: solipsism + last Thursdayism

Or: let's call the whole thing off, and not assume the existence of a simulating outer universe that we have no evidence for.
OR we could not call it off and realize we have at the very least explored short story Sci-Fi ideas and some philosophy.
  #39  
Old 02-16-2019, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Mijin View Post
Pretty much this.

Within the simulation hypothesis we have the idea of part of the simulation being fake: since simulating every particle's quantum state would take as many particles, we presuppose the simulation is engineered so that sentient beings see what looks like a complete universe but is actually just essentially a movie set.

But if the universe is part fake, we can ask: Why stop there?
Why assume every human is being simulated; perhaps Angolan subsistence farmers are NPCs, perhaps my best friend is?
And why assume all my experiences are real; the precise details of my last dump is unlikely to be critical to the result of the simulation, so maybe it's a false memory?

Et viola: solipsism + last Thursdayism

Or: let's call the whole thing off, and not assume the existence of a simulating outer universe that we have no evidence for.
Combine simulation and hologram theory and you don't need to simulate anywhere near so many particles.

Even forces on the whole wouldn't be affected by the particles being shared by "different" objects.

Actually depending on the viewers perspective, it could make a number of universes this way.

Now if it's literally like a hologram then getting far enough away could change your universe. Assuming they are shared to more than one and not just used to make up several objects.

If it's analogously holographic then it might not necessarily change at all and given sub light speed it could be constructed such that you'd never actually be able to change your perspective viewpoint anyhow since all you could "see" would be a projection in your universal plane.

Assuming I understand the two semi correctly.
  #40  
Old 02-17-2019, 03:45 AM
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Combine simulation and hologram theory and you don't need to simulate anywhere near so many particles.
Possibly you didn't read through what I was saying because what I was saying is you either are simulating every particle, or you ain't. Not asserting either.

If you are simulating every particle, then you need at least as many particles (10^80 IIRC). These particles don't need to occupy as much volume as our universe, but you still need them.

If you ain't, then my points about a fake universe apply.

And think about it: for most of human history we have assumed our planet is basically everything, that humans are the super important reason for it all, and the stars are just points of light. And oh lookie here: the fake universe just happens to be exactly that paradigm again.
  #41  
Old 02-17-2019, 12:08 PM
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Haha, well see, that explains black holes.

Singularity is just antivirus quarantine.
Could be, I was thinking more along the lines of a firewall around an access point of some sort myself. Antiviral quarantine might make sense too, though. Gonna have to dedicate some more cycles of my subprocessor to it.
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  #42  
Old 02-17-2019, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Mijin View Post
Possibly you didn't read through what I was saying because what I was saying is you either are simulating every particle, or you ain't. Not asserting either.

If you are simulating every particle, then you need at least as many particles (10^80 IIRC). These particles don't need to occupy as much volume as our universe, but you still need them.

If you ain't, then my points about a fake universe apply.

And think about it: for most of human history we have assumed our planet is basically everything, that humans are the super important reason for it all, and the stars are just points of light. And oh lookie here: the fake universe just happens to be exactly that paradigm again.
Well, kind of. Who says the simulation Is about us?

If it were that combination then that could just make us an anomaly that just so happens not to have any noticeable effect on the purpose.
  #43  
Old 02-17-2019, 12:16 PM
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I'm not taking any if this seriously , admittedly.
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Old 02-17-2019, 09:26 PM
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First of all, why do you assume "we" are in a simulation? If YOU are in a simulation, there is no reason to assume that anyone else you meet is an actual human, as opposed to a NPC "bot" or avatar of someone participating in the simulation.

Secondly, whether you could escape such a simulation would largely depend on how it works:

If you are in something like the Oasis from Ready Player One, where you are wearing some sort of apparatus, it could be possible to remove or damage it. Although it would presumably be designed to prevent you from doing that.
If you are in some sort of enclosed habitat like The Truman Show or Star Trek holodeck, you could try to reach the outer boundaries. Might be difficult if the boundary is the edge of the solar system. You could also try to create as much chaos as you can to cause the people running the simulation to intervene. But that presumes they would, as opposed to just letting it play out.
Any sort of Matrix or Inception like situation where you are wired into the simulation would be problematic. You could try killing yourself, but you won't know if that would cause you to wake up or die in real life.
  #45  
Old 02-18-2019, 03:35 PM
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I'm not taking any if this seriously , admittedly.
Yes and I wasn't ranting at you, but at the proponents of the idea particularly the high profile ones.

I don't think the simulation hypothesis is very strong right now, and it's a bit dismaying to see not just guys like elon musk, but people who should know better like degrasse Tyson, run with this idea completely uncritically.

Last edited by Mijin; 02-18-2019 at 03:36 PM.
  #46  
Old Yesterday, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
Of course the simulation's creator would be functionally a god, the same way I'm effectively the god of the characters in the books I've written. The reason why dismiss the Christian god out of hand is because the descriptions of him and stories about him are absurd and self-contradictory, and the reason we come up with theories that don't require a creator is because there's nothing about our reality that seems to require a creator. Suppose you find a rock on a streambed - you don't assume that that rock was carefully carved into that exact shape and then placed there for you to find. But you can't prove it wasn't!
And how do you know that the simulation creator (we'll assume the Abrahamic God) isn't simply a dick that likes to mind-fuck his playthings? Based off modern standards and even a charitable reading of the Old Testament, the Abrahamic God IS a dick. He can do whatever he wants. it doesn't have to make sense to you and me.

Last edited by Ashtura; Yesterday at 11:46 AM.
  #47  
Old Yesterday, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Mijin View Post
Yes and I wasn't ranting at you, but at the proponents of the idea particularly the high profile ones.

I don't think the simulation hypothesis is very strong right now, and it's a bit dismaying to see not just guys like elon musk, but people who should know better like degrasse Tyson, run with this idea completely uncritically.
But it is, after all, a very simple and logical proposition and conclusion.

Given the highly complex, and increasing complexity, level of simulations we are already able to run in computer programs, is it not conceivable that it is possible to construct a simulation of our own understanding of the universe, such that "programs" running inside of this simulation would be models of our own kind of consciousness?

We already run simulations in massively parallel runs - so wouldn't it be reasonable that such "ultra-complex" simulations also be run in massively parallel runs?

Add the two together, and you reach the mathmatical conclusion that if it were possible at all, it's far more likely that we are "in a simulation" than not.

What if the whole "In the Creation of the Universe, Order was brought out of Chaos" is simply something like "In The Beginning was the Word, and the Word was 1024 bits; and God ran the POST check, and He saw that it was pretty good, yea, only one bad segment block that could easily be worked around?"

And "consciousness" is simply indicative of a running process, "death" is being released back into the Free Store, and "reincarnation" if/when it is noticed is simply a later process using an uninitialized memory buffer with data still there from a prior process.

Here's the best part - from a practical perspective, nothing changes. Go about your lives being good people, or not, and believing in stuff, or not; the "elemental truths" about our universe, like the speed of light or Planck's constant or whatnot, have always been there and always will be, until someone maybe resets it next week to have been that way forever since and ever forward, and you can't tell the difference except for a nagging feeling of damn, didn't this used to be different/how did we not see this before?
  #48  
Old Yesterday, 08:39 PM
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The simulator thing. I never understood what, precisely, was being simulated; me, or my environs; everyone I meet, or they're in the same simulation as me. I also like the fact people promulgating this absurdity decry the existence of a supreme being...so who made the simulator?
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  #49  
Old Yesterday, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Pithily Effusive View Post
The simulator thing. I never understood what, precisely, was being simulated; me, or my environs; everyone I meet, or they're in the same simulation as me. I also like the fact people promulgating this absurdity decry the existence of a supreme being...so who made the simulator?
I think everyone promoting it would admit the creator would effectively be God.
Perhaps not in the usual sense though.
It would be arguable that the creator didn't know about us, or does but doesn't care about us.

Certainly that the creator does not interfere, after all many simulations are an experiment to see what would happen if .....

( To clarify not knowing about us suppose the simulation I essentially a vast test of chaotic systems, they program in the quarks and particles and forces and ...see what happens.)

Again this is all so far out as to be a pointless semi academic exercise anyhow, but it's entertaining thought.
  #50  
Old Today, 05:08 AM
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Given the highly complex, and increasing complexity, level of simulations we are already able to run in computer programs, is it not conceivable that it is possible to construct a simulation of our own understanding of the universe, such that "programs" running inside of this simulation would be models of our own kind of consciousness?

We already run simulations in massively parallel runs - so wouldn't it be reasonable that such "ultra-complex" simulations also be run in massively parallel runs?
Yes it's plausible we are in a simulation.
(Although we don't know right now whether consciousness is something that can exist in software, for the purpose of this thread let's assume that it is)

Quote:
Add the two together, and you reach the mathmatical conclusion that if it were possible at all, it's far more likely that we are "in a simulation" than not.
No. To take that mathematical statement and apply it to objective reality we need to consider all the implicit assumptions and potential issues with that line of reasoning:

1. Occam's. Until we have evidence of Zion, the simpler hypothesis is that there is only the Matrix.

2. This kind of probabilistic approach to reality has been used before in philosophy and is known to be shaky.
For instance, the argument has been made that humans will never conquer the galaxy, because if there is some future where we have colonized thousands of star systems and number in the trillions, the chance of you being born in 20th/21st century earth as opposed to that time is extremely low.
This argument might seem superficially to make sense until you realize that bronze age humans could have used the same logic to say humans will never number in the billions.
The logic of supposing you are more likely in a simulation is based on this same positing of metaphysical dice being rolled and it's all on questionable grounds.

3. As mentioned upthread, no conceivable computing power could simulate a whole universe down to the quantum level. So at one level or other, it must be faked. And when you start questioning whether other people or your own memories might be faked, it's turtles all the way down to solipsism / last-thursdayism / insanity
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