Are we "living" inside a computer simulation?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by johnee, Aug 14, 2007.

  1. angelneo macrumors 68000

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    #26
    The real world is probably running on Windows, heaven is running on Mac, and hell? maybe Windows ME?
     
  2. noaccess macrumors 6502

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    #27
    If a computer could simulate an environment down to the particle level, then I guess it would have to be pretty possible for the lifeforms to be self-aware, have thoughts and experience emotions. Sure, they wouldn't be 'real', but the sims would definitely experience everything as such.

    You perform that kind of simulation, you have all the components to produce a fully-functional virtual brain.
     
  3. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    #28
    There was a reasonably good book published 12 years ago - Realtime Interrupt, James P. Hogan along these lines. Realistic, not as out there as the Matrix.
     
  4. Jasonbot macrumors 68020

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    #29
    Hmm, particle level simulation- I never thought of that. But I just think of abstract things like a persons own thoughts. Stuff like that could be simulated, albeit with loads of entropy, but self consciousness doesn't seem to be possible through programming. AI might 'think' and adapt by itself but it can't go beyond that... ponder it's own existence and other questions as its mind wont wonder and run, unless its programmed to do that.

    Damn, now I'm confusing myself thinking about how it could be programmed to think in a specific way.

    So if I was 'programmed' to think and do stuff like this how is conscience programmed- that seems a little more higher level than anything.

    And, for those religious people, what would happen after death in a computer simulation? I mean, if we're not real surely then our programmers would be the ones who created us and thus there is no afterlife for us (unless its been programmed already)

    Oh, and what kind of processing power would you need to process the universe on a particle scale? I'm thinking this guy could help: http://www.engadget.com/2007/08/20/tilera-debuts-its-sixty-four-core-processor-melts-faces/
     
  5. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    #30
    Well, I hope they virtually sign me up to win the virtual lottery.
     
  6. TheAnswer macrumors 68030

    TheAnswer

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    #31
    I take it you've never been to a binary funeral:

    "Zeros to zeros, Ones to ones."
     
  7. Jasonbot macrumors 68020

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    #32
    Ok, actually reading the paper helps a lot! Just a word of advice ;)
     
  8. obeygiant macrumors 68040

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    #33

    GREETINGS PROGRAMS!
     
  9. maccompaq macrumors 65816

    maccompaq

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  10. Jasonbot macrumors 68020

    Jasonbot

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    #35
    Back to seriousness:

    After reading the paper I found that those formulae confused me. From what I gather is that there are three basic possibilities:
    >We go extinct before post humanity
    >Other post humans are unlikely to run simulations
    >We are almost certainly living in a simulation and will one day run our own 'virtual machine' simulations

    So adding on we need one hell of a lot of processing power.

    But the one thing not covered is death in a simulation- religion was not taken into play. And so death is still a problem. There is no 'soul' in a simulation and thus no afterlife. What happens with the consciousness of a sentient being after its life is over in the simulation?

    I've sent an email to the guy about my thoughts.
     
  11. ghall macrumors 68040

    ghall

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    #36
    I should save this article for my senior project. This year I'm doing a research paper on wether programmed life, such as Sims, robots, etc. can be considered self-aware, and at what point would they be considered sentient. In a way this could tie into my project.

    We could just be in someone's elaborate version of The Sims. I hope their hard drive doesn't crash! :eek:
     
  12. motulist macrumors 601

    motulist

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    #37
    The only possible way to find out if you're inside of a perfect reality simulation is to get yourself removed from the active simulation, i.e. die, but if you do that you probably won't be able to get back where you came from, regardless of whether it turns out it was a simulation or not.
     
  13. Mac-Addict macrumors 65816

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    #38
    01010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101010101
    :D
     
  14. Dagless Suspended

    Dagless

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    #39
    Well somethings up for sure, too many strange things happen around me. *ahem*

    I'm very lucky. Everyone around me is very unlucky (Caroline bearing the brunt of that!)
    I seem to gain static electricity.
    My Macs turn themselves on randomly.
    Both me and Caroline witnessed some mad blue ball of something that flickered and vanished.
    I remember things in great detail from when I was a baby :confused: , even my mums obsession with indoor plants that ended when I was 7 months old.

    Few more. but I forget :D I wonder if I found a hack?
     
  15. noaccess macrumors 6502

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    #40
    The hard drive crashing would be nothing, we would just disappear before we knew it... :)
    What would be bad is some error message.

    ERROR #505 law_of_gravity.sim -- file corrupted
     
  16. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    #41
    Heh. One of the plot points in the book I mentioned.
     
  17. EricBrian macrumors 6502a

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  18. ghall macrumors 68040

    ghall

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    #43
    Unlikely. If we are in a programed simulation, then we couldn't hack into our own existence, unless we were specifically designed to, and I don't think that's very likely. Maybe you're a bug. I should probably report you. :D

    I think we are witnessing the birth of a new religion.
     
  19. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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    #44
    The real question is does it ultimately matter if we were? Philisophically it's oh so easy to escape any constraint.


    Personally I consider the only thing I can absolutely 100% count on is the fact that my perceptions exists, as in what I see/hear/feel, this does not mean that I consider the things I see/hear/feel to 100% exist just the fact that I see/hear/feel them is a 100% certainty from my own perspective.

    I think therefor I am basically.

    Seeing as I don't believe in reality seeing as Belief requires 100% certainty and I'm unable to fool my own mind into thinking that reality or anything else for that matter is 100% certain, taking into account the fact that my own thought process is fallible sends me in some quite frustrating circles.
    considering reality in existence limbo essentially leaves only my perceptions as a 100% certainty, thus I am god by default.

    This leaves the question, what the hell is all this reality stuff that appears to be going on around me and you, assuming your perceptions really exist. I personally consider the only forum of existence possible to be a smear of logic in the biggest possible sense rather like a multiverse but viewed considering time to be the same as any dimension, seeing as it's reasonable to assume stuff exists on some level it's not like there's a "megaverse" with only space for x number of universes quite simply if reality has come into existence then every permutation of reality must logically come into existence also with however many dimensions parameters or whatever.

    My perceptions inhabit the point on this "smear" that I do, while the egotist inside me would like to think that I am everything and you're all a product of my mind the fact that if such an entity existed then others would also due to the whole "if it can happen in the first place and there's not finite space for it" argument and brings us back to square one.

    Why should we care about this smear though? This problem is similar to Schrödinger's cat if we can't perceive something does it exist? The fact that we often perceive things that don't exist indicates that things that we don't perceive can have great impact thus I consider it philosophically vital to acknowledge this smear's existence.

    Whether this smear is "reality" or not is debatable and makes me want for a new definition of reality and again the only 100% firm definition of reality you can have is your own perceptions.

    The only trouble with this is that the whole "if one thing can come into existence then another one will given there's not limited capacity for existence" argument means that my argument that I am god earlier indicates that I'm not the only one.

    All this makes me feel rather content in my own existence and rationalisation of my being. It's a good feeling. It also allows me to totally justify how much of a hedonist I am.
     
  20. Jasonbot macrumors 68020

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    #46
    Some of your argument went on about how you could be the god of everything as you are only conscience of your own thoughts. I thought this before and somehow came a cross the wiki for it the term is Solipsism and basically it comes down to "My mind is the only thing that I know exists". It's a pretty stubborn view point and personally, although I did think of it before, I think its rubbish. One would have to be the most arrogant person in the world to believe so- and thats no exaggeration as you are the only person in 'real' life and everything is just a figment of your imagination (literally).

    This entire school of thought cannot even really exist as in theory, if the theory did hold, there would only be one solipsist and that would be me (because I am the only person conscience of my own thoughts) and thus you are all imagined. And at this point you think that this is a falsity as you are only conscience of your own personal thought and thus it all comes down to faith. Do you have the faith and lack of arrogance to accept that other people are real and that you could be wrong. I mean the world is pretty big how could you imagine it all and why would you allow bad things to happen to you like breaking up or getting fired or tripping.

    Furthermore; I still can't see how consciousness can be simulated.
     
  21. johnee thread starter macrumors 6502a

    johnee

    #47
    I find it pretty disturbing that simple molecules change "me" into something different.

    I've never done LSD but i'm well aware that people who take it are completely transformed. They see, hear, taste, smell, and feel things which are not physically present to stimulate them.

    However, if you think about it, we're made of molecules, so this isn't such a big revelation. The disturbing part is that the "I" inside of this physical vessel is affected. If I have a soul, can "I" be changed by simple molecules?

    I've often thought about pain. Sure, you can say "pain" is a product of electrical/chemical stimulation. I can pour vinegar and baking soda in a cup, and electrocute it.... where is the "pain" in that electrochemical reaction? is the cup feeling it? do the molecules of vinegar feel it? is there any "pain" at all?

    then I took some pain killers, and realized I can stop the pain by blocking certain molecules from doing whatever it is they do. but the pain killers made me pretty numb, so i stopped thinking and just felt nothing. :)
     
  22. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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    #48
    I never stated that I did believe that everything's a figment of my imagination, I consider the possibility to be as illogical and foolish to believe as organised religion, my mind is the only thing that I do 100% exist thus the only thing I can allow myself to believe is in myself, there are things that're likely and unlikely but I don't "believe" in them, my own mind the the only absolute.


    I didn't mention my take on other people, tomorrow when I'm not completely knackered I'll explain it in detail, two of my girlfriends have come to the exact same conclusions I have albeit from slightly different angles and I consider them just as valid in having them.

    You have fundamentally misunderstood me in thinking that I don't believe in "reality" as me stating that I believe that reality does not exist and is just a figment of my imagination.

    I can. hell even if you don't understand consciousness at all one could simply run a model of the entire human brain, it'd be monumentally astronomically inefficient to do so but unless you believe consciousness is basically magic it's 100% possible.
     
  23. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #49
    I had been thinking about this kind of thing after watching the original Outer Limits where they had brains in boxes connected to each other and the brains were unaware that they were not complete humans.
     
  24. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

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    #50
    Somebodys been watching too much Truman Show

    but on a logical note (which is heresy in a thread like this i know)...what if we are in a computer simulation?...shouldn't change the way we run our lives
     

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