Author Topic: Simulated reality  (Read 6312 times)

chaotic neutral observer

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Simulated reality
« on: November 24, 2018, 03:08:06 pm »
So, you seem to have become a fan of the idea that this reality isn't really real, but is in fact a simulation being run in a different reality.

I can see the appeal of such an idea; you've got the rudiments of a modernized religion, there.  It involves computers (something you have daily experience with, unlike all those fishing, farming, and hunting metaphors in those musty old religions), it has the air of being "scientific", it isn't trivially disprovable, and it explains why the universe is here (or at least, adds another turtle to the stack).

The good news, is you're right.  The bad news, is that this reality isn't a product of some future version of our civilization, simulating their own past for research purposes.  Nor does it exist for some other meaningful reason.

It's a goddamn video game.

You've played Warcraft 2, right?  Think about your relationship with the "people" in that game.  They are discrete entities, with a certain amount of autonomy; left to their own devices, they carry on with their jobs, collecting resources, defending the town, and fighting back when they're attacked.  But you wouldn't think of them as intelligent.  They're just a few dozen lines of code, and when you give them an order, they follow it, even if it leads to their death.

Your relationship with "God" (the gamer) is just like that.  "But", you say, "the universe is far too big and complex to be simulated just for a game." Sorry, that's just an artifact of your perspective.  Try to imagine things from the point of view of a peasant in Warcraft 2.  Could you comprehend, or even imagine a pocket calculator?  Wouldn't three dimensional Newtonian physics be completely beyond you?  Well, that's the position you're in.  The next universe up is so far beyond ours in complexity, that you're nothing more than a small amount of code, and a data structure, and you have no possibility of understanding it.

Have you noticed how people sometimes act in completely irrational ways, often against their own interests?  Notice how humans have a very strong tendency to do what they're told?  That's what happens when the gamer exerts manual control, and overrides your AI (because you are just an AI).

Annoyed at the way events in the world are unfolding?  Blame the scenario writer.

Having difficulty reconciling relativity and quantum physics?  Maybe it's because there isn't any consistency to begin with.  The guy programming the physics engine took a couple shortcuts, maybe to conserve CPU cycles, maybe just because he ran out of time and budget to do it properly.  I'm sure complaints about the wonky physics engine showed up in the reviews.

This is all just a game, so try to have a good time.  But don't get any funny ideas about your place in the cosmic hierarchy, or "God" might just reload from her last save file.
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Q. G. Pennyworth

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Re: Simulated reality
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2018, 10:41:08 pm »
What can we hope for, if this reality is a simulation? What is the greatest thing we could accomplish in this narrow little sandbox we find ourselves in? Does being inside a simulation change our motivations? Our potential?

You could easily go about your life believing that this is a simulation of some kind and still acting like a regular human with a standard-issue set of religious beliefs, it doesn't really change that much. Unless you are exceptionally ambitious. If you were content to farm turnips or screw on toothpaste tube caps under a bearded man in the sky, you're probably just as happy doing it under the negligent pimply gaze of a cosmic gamer. And if you were lucky enough to be born into a position where you could be a king, or some other flavor of world power, the god that put you there doesn't really matter that much either.

The people I'm interested in are the malcontents. The rebellious. The hackers. The ones who look at the world as exploding diagrams, who carry around screwdrivers and clipboards just in case.

If there is no god, there's no one to impress. If somebody is watching, though...

I used to play Roller Coaster Tychoon when I was younger. It's not the greatest game ever invented, and the version I was on had pretty spectacularly shitty graphics, but it was fun enough to build something out of nothing, to watch the little AI visitors meander the grounds and ride the rides, get pissed off when there weren't enough bathrooms and litter if you didn't put in enough trash cans. For the most part you wouldn't even notice them except in the aggregate: this many people on the ride, this many people waiting in line, this many people entering the park or leaving.

But every once in a while the AI would get screwy, and some weird combination of clipping errors and mistakes in the layout would result in a visitor ending up on some far-flung corner of the map, where no path should have brought them and nothing but divine intervention would get them home. And you'd scroll over to that fucker off in the middle of nowhere, grab them by the neck, and drag them back to reality, shaking your head in confusion and awe.

If I can be said to have any ambitions in a simulated universe, it's to be that guy.

LMNO

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Re: Simulated reality
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2018, 01:38:58 pm »
This is where my pragmatism kicks in.  If I take the premise at face value, then it simply doesn't matter whether I'm in a simulation, or a "really real reality".  The universe I know functions exactly the same regardless of how it was built and who built it.  The smarter NPCs have delved into the game rules of the experiential universe, and have a fairly good understanding of how things behave inside it.  Even if there is new code added, it must be retroactive since the science still works; and so it doesn't affect what we know.

It's the barstool experiment, digitized.  Saying "that barstool is only a simulation in a video game where I'm a NPC" won't prevent a concussion when I hit you with it.


chaotic neutral observer

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Re: Simulated reality
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2018, 02:04:18 pm »
The "no practical difference" idea is one of the roots of my flavour of agnosticism. If God exists, it appears he/she/it is not particularly concerned with individual human affairs (much like my Cosmic Gamer).  As such, the question of the existence of God is not only unanswerable, it's not even very interesting.

Trying to escape from the Designated Play Area is an interesting idea, though.
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Cramulus

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Re: Simulated reality
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2018, 03:01:41 pm »
One of the weird things about the simulation hypothesis is that if it's true, then our lives have objective meaning

Also, a simulated universe is definitely the product of intelligent design.


checkmate, atheists and absurdists

Q. G. Pennyworth

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Re: Simulated reality
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2018, 05:08:29 pm »
One of the weird things about the simulation hypothesis is that if it's true, then our lives have objective meaning

Also, a simulated universe is definitely the product of intelligent design.


checkmate, atheists and absurdists

Does the life of an NPC have objective meaning if it never interacts with the PCs? If the plot would be the same whether resources were wasted rendering you, isn't that a form of meaninglessness?

Doktor Howl

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Re: Simulated reality
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2018, 05:31:32 pm »
The "no practical difference" idea is one of the roots of my flavour of agnosticism. If God exists, it appears he/she/it is not particularly concerned with individual human affairs (much like my Cosmic Gamer).  As such, the question of the existence of God is not only unanswerable, it's not even very interesting.

Trying to escape from the Designated Play Area is an interesting idea, though.

It is if you have a grudge against him.
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Cramulus

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Re: Simulated reality
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2018, 06:16:34 pm »
One of the weird things about the simulation hypothesis is that if it's true, then our lives have objective meaning

Also, a simulated universe is definitely the product of intelligent design.


checkmate, atheists and absurdists

Does the life of an NPC have objective meaning if it never interacts with the PCs? If the plot would be the same whether resources were wasted rendering you, isn't that a form of meaninglessness?

When you start a new game of Dwarf Fortress, it generates an entire world at a very fine level. Hundreds of thousands of dwarves are born, live out their lives, and die, leaving behind ruins & legacies. The vast majority of their lives do not affect your gameplay. But nevertheless, there was a purpose in generating them.


Anyway, I don't think there are PCs or NPCs in the Simulation hypothesis? If a world was generated on purpose, then everybody in the simulation is part of that purpose.



Pergamos

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Re: Simulated reality
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2018, 10:05:52 pm »
One of the weird things about the simulation hypothesis is that if it's true, then our lives have objective meaning

Also, a simulated universe is definitely the product of intelligent design.


checkmate, atheists and absurdists

Does the life of an NPC have objective meaning if it never interacts with the PCs? If the plot would be the same whether resources were wasted rendering you, isn't that a form of meaninglessness?

When you start a new game of Dwarf Fortress, it generates an entire world at a very fine level. Hundreds of thousands of dwarves are born, live out their lives, and die, leaving behind ruins & legacies. The vast majority of their lives do not affect your gameplay. But nevertheless, there was a purpose in generating them.


Anyway, I don't think there are PCs or NPCs in the Simulation hypothesis? If a world was generated on purpose, then everybody in the simulation is part of that purpose.

PC's are directly controlled by the player, so those would be divine avatars.  We're all NPC's. (with the possible exception of Roger)

Doktor Howl

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Re: Simulated reality
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2018, 10:22:14 pm »
One of the weird things about the simulation hypothesis is that if it's true, then our lives have objective meaning

Also, a simulated universe is definitely the product of intelligent design.


checkmate, atheists and absurdists

Does the life of an NPC have objective meaning if it never interacts with the PCs? If the plot would be the same whether resources were wasted rendering you, isn't that a form of meaninglessness?

When you start a new game of Dwarf Fortress, it generates an entire world at a very fine level. Hundreds of thousands of dwarves are born, live out their lives, and die, leaving behind ruins & legacies. The vast majority of their lives do not affect your gameplay. But nevertheless, there was a purpose in generating them.


Anyway, I don't think there are PCs or NPCs in the Simulation hypothesis? If a world was generated on purpose, then everybody in the simulation is part of that purpose.

PC's are directly controlled by the player, so those would be divine avatars.  We're all NPC's. (with the possible exception of Roger)

I am an encounter.  TPK.  You have no chance to survive, make your time.

*dies in less than a round*
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axod

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Re: Simulated reality
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2018, 06:10:04 am »
If this were a simulation, Eris would not exist.
just this

Con-troll

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Re: Simulated reality
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2018, 10:50:36 am »
But is it possible SLQ-inject stuff to a higher dimension?
I get trauma from stuff most don't even notice.

Cramulus

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Re: Simulated reality
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2018, 12:54:13 pm »
If this were a simulation, Eris would not exist.

if She 'exists' at this layer of abstraction
and so do you and me
then you, me, and Her are equally real

chaotic neutral observer

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Re: Simulated reality
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2018, 01:01:03 pm »
At this point, I'd like to note that one of my motivations in posting this thread was to mock Elon Musk.
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chaotic neutral observer

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Re: Simulated reality
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2018, 01:02:38 pm »
But is it possible SLQ-inject stuff to a higher dimension?
Try it and see.
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