Author Topic: Robots and their impact on the future  (Read 359978 times)

Bakari

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1100 on: January 03, 2017, 06:49:58 PM »
I don't think it is endlessly recursive.  I build simulations for a living, and every single one is a simplification of a more complex system, but designed to capture the relevant characteristics and behaviors being studied....


But of course!  I think this is a fundamental flaw in all of the proposals that we are "likely" to be in a simulation.  They are dependent on the assumption that the model would in fact capture every detail of reality. 


What is the relevant characteristics being studied?  If it is quantum/atomic level physics, why would you model an entire universe?  If its astronomical level physics, why program in quantum effects, and not just relativity?  If it is conscious living things, why model either of the former?  If it is anything other then conscious things, why add in all the complex variables that are necessary to foster self-awareness?


This is why I asked about motivation earlier.  In order to run an "ancestor" simulation, or a "video game", there would be absolutely no need to model individual sub-atomic particles or distant galaxies, which 99.9% of living things will never see, and the existence of which will not affect in any way - UNLESS, they really are composed of those atoms.  The complexity of observed reality suggests that there is not in fact the simplification one would expect of any simulation.




And what answer would an atheist environmentalist tell the religious person?  They don't need God for meaning.  IF it is a universe created and one that could be destroyed on a whim, by God (or programmer, running a simulation) doesn't necessarily remove meaning, depending on how you define that meaning.


Again, I'm not talking about "meaning".  I agree 100% with BrooklynGuy's reasoning, that we would generate our own meaning regardless of whether or not we are "real".


I question the answer he gave to begin with though:
Because we have no guarantee that the programmer would, or even could, intervene in a way that we would find desirable.


Well, no, there is no guarantee of absolutely anything beyond Descartes's proof that you (the reader) exist in some form. 
Given the premise that we are living in a simulation created deliberately by a sentient programmer, how likely is it they would have either 1) deliberately created a system in which there was no possible way to intervene or alter variables once the program begun or 2) have had no possible way to create such safeguards?  What realistic scenario can we envision with good enough computers to run a complex enough simulation to do all 3 of model subatomic particles, contain a universe worth of total mass and energy, and foster consciousness - and yet lack the sophistication to be able to modify anything? 


To answer the original question:  there is no possible answer that would sway a religious person with that belief.  Given their premise - namely 1) all of creation is here for the purpose of Human use and enjoyment, 2) God wants us to continue to live (at least for now) and 3) God is all powerful, then the conclusion that God will not allow us to make our own home uninhabitable (without providing for some suitable alternative) is entirely reasonable and logical.


Now, my own answer, were I to accept that it is a possibility that this is a simulation, would be that we should be careful just in case this is really reality.  However, the proponents of this theory don't merely suggest it is possible, they propose it is almost certainly true.


arebelspy

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1101 on: January 03, 2017, 06:59:12 PM »
I don't think it is endlessly recursive.  I build simulations for a living, and every single one is a simplification of a more complex system, but designed to capture the relevant characteristics and behaviors being studied....

But of course!  I think this is a fundamental flaw in all of the proposals that we are "likely" to be in a simulation.  They are dependent on the assumption that the model would in fact capture every detail of reality. 

What?  Why would you assume this simulation you're in captures every detail of reality?

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This is why I asked about motivation earlier.  In order to run an "ancestor" simulation, or a "video game", there would be absolutely no need to model individual sub-atomic particles or distant galaxies, which 99.9% of living things will never see, and the existence of which will not affect in any way - UNLESS, they really are composed of those atoms.  The complexity of observed reality suggests that there is not in fact the simplification one would expect of any simulation.

Never heard of W?BIC!, huh?  With sufficient computing power, simulating everything is trivial.

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brooklynguy

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1102 on: January 03, 2017, 08:39:27 PM »
What realistic scenario can we envision with good enough computers to run a complex enough simulation to do all 3 of model subatomic particles, contain a universe worth of total mass and energy, and foster consciousness - and yet lack the sophistication to be able to modify anything?

Here's one of many scenarios I can envision in which the programmer would lack the ability to intervene (which need not assume a lack of computing sophistication):  After initiating the simulation, the programmer walked away for a coffee break to allow the simulation to fully elapse; she plans to return to view the results once it has finished (when our perceived-universe ends?), which means we're on our own until then.

Of course, there are even more conceivable scenarios in which the programmer simply would not intervene than there are those in which the programmer could not intervene (because the former wholly subsumes the latter).

So, even if we accept it as given that we are living in a simulation, there can be no guarantee, or even reasonable assurance, that the programmer would intervene in a way that we would find desirable if we wreck our world.  So the rationale behind my answer is the same as the rationale behind your own (which bears a similarity to Pascal's Wager on the Existence of God, running in the opposite direction):  even if there is a higher power (i.e., programmer) out there, we should be careful in our actions just in case that higher power is not standing by to save us.

Plus a funny accent!

It's been over two years since the last time someone on this forum invoked my Brooklyn accent, so I won't feel bad about recycling the response I gave them:



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Brooklynguy is the intellect I want to be.

But, in all seriousness, I take this as the highest form of praise, coming from you.

atrex

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1103 on: January 03, 2017, 10:34:40 PM »
The assumption that one could model a full scale or even small scale universe breaks down with the challenges of big data computing.  Try finding a median on 1 trillion data points.  Ok, now try finding the median on 1 quadrillion or 1 quintillion.  Even a simple operation like this does not scale.  Now try implementing gravity where every atom pulls on every atom.  It won't scale.  You will spend a lot of money on Amazon Web Services and significantly lengthen your time to FIRE, and you will still fail.

Now, there's likely many simplifications and optimizations.  But the question of whether it is computationally possible to simulate a complex universe is definitely not settled... it could be impossible.  Check out the Blue Brain Project for an example of a small subproblem of simulation that is very very hard:

http://bluebrain.epfl.ch/

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1104 on: January 03, 2017, 11:28:47 PM »
The assumption that one could model a full scale or even small scale universe breaks down with the challenges of big data computing.  Try finding a median on 1 trillion data points.  Ok, now try finding the median on 1 quadrillion or 1 quintillion.  Even a simple operation like this does not scale.

Why does it need to scale? 

We've been solving these problems for approximately 100 years, with the most rudimentary technology imaginable.  Give us a few billion more years to work on it, and then get back to me. 

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Now try implementing gravity where every atom pulls on every atom.  It won't scale.

Gravity definitely doesn't need to scale.  You only need to compute the average forces, not the individual pulls.  I don't have to know how many atoms Saturn has to calculate its orbit.

And we know that gravity isn't perfectly simulated anyway.  It breaks down at both large and small scales and we seem to have way more of it than we should.  And its massless particle doesn't seem to exist anyway, like they just patched it to mostly work most of the time without having to do any of the calculations. 

And while I'm on the topic, WTF is up with the fine structure constant?  This is a pure number inherent to the structure of the universe, like pi it will be the same for every alien civilization regardless of their system of counting or how they do their math and it shows up all over the field of physics in weird and unexpected places, but its value is approximately 1/137.  What kind of bullshit kludge is that?  That's like something a stoner would code.

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Now, there's likely many simplifications and optimizations.  But the question of whether it is computationally possible to simulate a complex universe is definitely not settled... it could be impossible. 

I don't see how you can ever claim it's impossible.  If it's possible model n particles for n=1 and n+1, everything else is just scaling up with a (much) bigger computer.  Who's to say the next universe up isn't 10^10^10^10 times bigger than ours, and modeling our puny 10^80 particles in this little universe is child's play for an average laptop?  Just because a number seems ridiculously large to you and me doesn't mean it actually is.  Hell, our universe is so tiny we can actually SEE THE EDGES.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1105 on: January 04, 2017, 04:32:45 AM »
My point about being a pointless trippy exercise is that even if it were correct, it would make absolutely no difference to our day to day lives, and it would be impossible to ever know either way. 

Right? I mean, the thought might keep Musk up at night (though he should have spent that time focusing on launching rockets on time, in my opinion) but since the fact that we're living in a simulation or controlled by a God or aliens or whatever doesn't give or remove meaning from my (simulated?) experiences.

And the answer would not affect anyone's life in any measureable way; hence my earlier comment on "You know what would really be trippy."
« Last Edit: January 04, 2017, 04:45:42 AM by Metric Mouse »

arebelspy

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1106 on: January 04, 2017, 05:23:56 AM »
My wife and I both have felt enhanced by the idea that this could be a simulation, in several ways.

You can't say what would affect someone else's life, only what has affected yours.  So your first declarative sentence with "my" is fine; the second trying to apply it to everyone, I disagree with.  :)
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atrex

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1107 on: January 04, 2017, 09:00:31 AM »
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Now, there's likely many simplifications and optimizations.  But the question of whether it is computationally possible to simulate a complex universe is definitely not settled... it could be impossible. 

I don't see how you can ever claim it's impossible.  If it's possible model n particles for n=1 and n+1, everything else is just scaling up with a (much) bigger computer.  Who's to say the next universe up isn't 10^10^10^10 times bigger than ours, and modeling our puny 10^80 particles in this little universe is child's play for an average laptop?  Just because a number seems ridiculously large to you and me doesn't mean it actually is.  Hell, our universe is so tiny we can actually SEE THE EDGES.

I said it could be impossible.  It's right there above you.  If you think it is possible, the burden is on you to demonstrate it.

Concerning your argument that we just need to solve the n+1 case... consider the following:  I can carry 0 ounces in a backpack.  Surely if I'm carrying n ounces in my backpack, I can carry n+1 ounces in my backpack.  Therefore, I can carry 1,000,000,000 ounces in my backpack.

Obviously there's a straw that breaks the camel's back, because the induction does not reflect reality.  Similarly, we see places in nature where you can't just keep adding 1 thing, solving for n+1.  For example, you can't keep adding 1 atom to a star... it explodes... and it does so because you eventually run into the Pauli Exclusion Principle.  Now, you could say that's a good example of behavior in our universe that suggests it is simulated, and I can see that.  But it's also an example of where "just scaling up" fails.

Onto the edges of the universe.  We don't see the edges of the universe, at least according to current cosmology.  The edges are all the light that has been travelling almost the entire time the universe has been around, and just reached us now.  As the universe ages, we'll receive light from parts of the universe that are even further away, or so the theory goes.  The theory being the universe is infinite in breadth.  Further, if the cosmological constant points to an open universe, then by definition there will be parts of the universe that are so far away that, while they exist, we never receive light from them.  Parts beyond the 'edges' that we never see, but do exist.

Lastly, there are plenty of problems that are unsolvable that are important and would be nice to solve.  For example, the Halting Problem would be a great problem to solve, would massively improve software development, but we know cannot be solved, under any circumstances, the end.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1108 on: January 04, 2017, 09:45:28 AM »
I don't think it is endlessly recursive.  I build simulations for a living, and every single one is a simplification of a more complex system, but designed to capture the relevant characteristics and behaviors being studied....

But of course!  I think this is a fundamental flaw in all of the proposals that we are "likely" to be in a simulation.  They are dependent on the assumption that the model would in fact capture every detail of reality. 

What?  Why would you assume this simulation you're in captures every detail of reality?
It's not just me assuming it, it's built into the premise.  All of the proponents are suggesting simulations which are of actual reality, not some completely made up world.  It was in your initial post on the topic
I.e. if I want to model the real world, in its FULL complexity, wouldn't I need the beings in it to be the same as us, and thus conscious?Pretend I have enough computing power to model every atom and interaction, from the big bang on, within this world (impossible, but pretend). Wouldn't the beings within that simulation think they're real?  How can I correctly model it if they don't?


Bostrom isn't proposing someone ran some random program with random variables just to see what came up, he is proposing an "ancestor" simulation.  Which means the simulation is a direct reflection of the "real" level of reality. Tyson is talking about simulating "the universe".  As in, the real one.  Musk talks about games "indistinguishable from reality".


That's what says that the "universe up isn't 10^10^10^10 times bigger than ours".  If it were, then the simulation WOULDN'T be a perfect simulation of actual reality.


You may not need to know how many atoms in Saturn to calculate it's trajectory, but that would be the simplified version of the simulation again, which we know we aren't in.  Because Saturn really is composed of atoms, and all of those particles really do individually interact.  You would need to model ALL of them, and their interactions with each other, if you want to model Saturn's weather.  And the weather of every planet and star, even ones we can't see.  If the programmer cut corners as big as not modeling every individual atom in Saturn, we would eventually find them.  So why would it be distant galaxies?  Plenty of stuff we can detect today no one ever even considered looking for.  If neutrinos didn't exist, how would it affect the outcome of the program? 


How many corners can you cut, and still end up with individually self-aware things? 

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This is why I asked about motivation earlier.  In order to run an "ancestor" simulation, or a "video game", there would be absolutely no need to model individual sub-atomic particles or distant galaxies, which 99.9% of living things will never see, and the existence of which will not affect in any way - UNLESS, they really are composed of those atoms.  The complexity of observed reality suggests that there is not in fact the simplification one would expect of any simulation.

Never heard of W?BIC!, huh?  With sufficient computing power, simulating everything is trivial.
No idea what that string of characters is supposed to mean, nor does Google.
Hey Sol, would you agree that setting up and extremely complex simulation on a very good computer is more trivial than a very simple simulation on an old slow computer?


Anyway, we must be going back to the "real" universe that is order's of magnitude more large, complex, and energetic than the real world, because simulating actual "everything" would be intrinsically impossible - every particle in the universe would have to be represented by some state of some physical particle.  If you use quantum computing, that could conceivably be as little as a single subatomic particle per bit.  But you obviously can never have as many particles in the computer storage medium than you have in the universe, simply because the computer itself is part of the universe.  It could never come remotely close.

So that means one of two things - the simulation is not in any way remotely similar to real reality, or if it is a reflection of real reality, they would have to leave out enormous amounts of detail.  So, for example, when we look closer and closer inside an object, eventually it should just be a solid continuous surface, (as most humans would have assumed to be the case for most of human existence).  Or, when we looked out at the stars, they would just be dots of light, nothing more.  When we went to the moon, it would just be one solid mass.
That isn't the case.  They DID model every atom in Saturn.


OR this simulation bears no resemblance to the "real" world.   
But in that case, all the arguments for why we are "probably" in a simulation are invalid.  We can safely assume that a simulation as complex as reality would produce the same effects, up to and including consciousness, but now we are talking about a simulation that is grossly simplified.  We can't assume that a grossly simplified simulation would necessarily produce consciousness.  Even if they could, there is also no reason to assume that future civilizations would produce these grossly simplified simulations in droves.  Even if they did, there is no reason to assume that the simulations would be complex enough that they could in turn run simulations advanced enough to run sub-simulations of their own which could foster consciousness.   Each sub-simulation must be an order of magnitude less complex.  You can't compute the position and velocity of a billion individual particles independently using a million bits - you can't even model one particle's position and velocity with a single bit - and that's assuming we could ever model a bit using a single particle.  For the simulation to run a sufficiently complex simulation, the first order simulation has to be so over-powered that it can accommodate the sub-simulation's data, since there is only one set of hardware.  So the exponentially recursive simulations idea is out.
So if there aren't many multiple layers, we no longer can assume there are "billions" of simulations.  Given that it is necessarily orders of magnitude less complex than reality, we can no longer assume they would all give accurate enough models of "real" consciousness to motivate the creation of any number.  We are no longer talking about "ancestor simulations", if the programmer lives in a world  10^10^10^10 times bigger than ours.


OR this actually is reality, as boring and disappointing as that may be...

Bakari

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1109 on: January 04, 2017, 09:53:36 AM »
And while I'm on the topic, WTF is up with the fine structure constant?  This is a pure number inherent to the structure of the universe, like pi it will be the same for every alien civilization regardless of their system of counting or how they do their math and it shows up all over the field of physics in weird and unexpected places, but its value is approximately 1/137.  What kind of bullshit kludge is that?  That's like something a stoner would code.


Doesn't this make it more likely that it IS real?  One of the proposals for determining if our reality is a simulation involves looking for artifacts with the assumption that programmers would build in some way similar to our own, with, for example, Cartesian coordinates.  We're assuming this is something done commonly, not just a random one-off (because there needs to be many simulations in order for us to "probably" be in one).  So it's not enough for one random coder to put in a bunch of random variables just for  a laugh, or to see what happens.  They all have to be doing it.  So which is more likely: that any remotely human-like intelligence would pick completely arbitrary non-repeating decimals for physical constants like Pi , the gravitation constant, and the speed of light, or that they would use nice simple round even numbers? 


Or that they would use real life numbers.
If they use real life numbers, than the argument of those numbers being evidence of the simulation obviously don't work.
Of course, if they use anything other than the real numbers, the whole idea suffers from the fact that it is not actually a simulation of reality, and therefor all the assumptions of how frequent such simulations would be created are invalid.

Bakari

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1110 on: January 04, 2017, 09:55:18 AM »
My wife and I both have felt enhanced by the idea that this could be a simulation, in several ways.

You can't say what would affect someone else's life, only what has affected yours.  So your first declarative sentence with "my" is fine; the second trying to apply it to everyone, I disagree with.  :)


He said "measurable" way.  Besides, you would have the IDEA that this is a simulation, whether it is or not, therefor the actual fact of being a simulation has not affected you. 

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1111 on: January 05, 2017, 04:20:52 AM »
My wife and I both have felt enhanced by the idea that this could be a simulation, in several ways.

You can't say what would affect someone else's life, only what has affected yours.  So your first declarative sentence with "my" is fine; the second trying to apply it to everyone, I disagree with.  :)


He said "measurable" way.  Besides, you would have the IDEA that this is a simulation, whether it is or not, therefor the actual fact of being a simulation has not affected you.

Right?  Many people feel enhanced by the idea that aliens on a comet are controlling Earth, and will stop by the next time it passes near. Many people feel enhanced by the idea that there is an all powerful being that benevolently protects people who believe in them while adhering to some grand plan. Many people feel enhanced by the idea that they are lycanthropes.  Many people feel enhanced by the idea that they live in the Matrix. It doesn't change the consequences of their actions in a measurable way.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2017, 04:29:00 AM by Metric Mouse »

arebelspy

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1112 on: January 05, 2017, 04:48:51 AM »
A) What does it matter if it changes it in a "measurable" way?
B) What beliefs can we measure the impact of, and how?

Give me an example of what you mean, because I'm not seeing how this is any different than any other belief changing your behavior.
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Bakari

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1113 on: January 05, 2017, 08:30:55 AM »

The original question this tangent was in response to wasn't about whether beliefs can change behavior. 


If the supposed simulation were indistinguishable from reality, then, by definition of "indistinguishable", nothing tangible (measurable) could be different in our lives.  That is a part of the argument for existent being meaningful either way, that is doesn't matter if its "real" so long as it feels real to us. 
But if it is undetectable (if it were detectable, it wouldn't be indistinguishable, nor an accurate model, and all the assumptions that lead to "more likely than not" scenarios break down) then it becomes as pointless a philosophical question as "might this all be my own dream?"
If it does not have a measurable impact, then how is it any more than a trippy exercise?  Plenty of trippy mind-blowing stuff can have an impact on individual's thoughts and feelings.



My point about being a pointless trippy exercise is that even if it were correct, it would make absolutely no difference to our day to day lives, and it would be impossible to ever know either way. 

Right? I mean, the thought might keep Musk up at night (though he should have spent that time focusing on launching rockets on time, in my opinion) but since the fact that we're living in a simulation or controlled by a God or aliens or whatever doesn't give or remove meaning from my (simulated?) experiences.

And the answer would not affect anyone's life in any measureable way; hence my earlier comment on "You know what would really be trippy."

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1114 on: January 05, 2017, 08:42:33 AM »
A) What does it matter if it changes it in a "measurable" way?
B) What beliefs can we measure the impact of, and how?

Give me an example of what you mean, because I'm not seeing how this is any different than any other belief changing your behavior.
*snip*


EDIT: Bakari understood, so perhaps I was not being as unclear as it seemed. Also their explanation was more concise and clearer than mine.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1115 on: January 05, 2017, 11:07:13 AM »
What if our simulating overlords are simulations themselves, and we're just a nested simulation?  We may even be 11 levels deep. 

Cogito ergo sum - the one and only thing that can be definitively proven. 
« Last Edit: January 05, 2017, 11:12:02 AM by dougules »

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1116 on: January 05, 2017, 12:14:13 PM »
Would the knowledge that you're part of a simulation change anything for you in your day to day life?

If yes, why?

If no, then the answer doesn't matter.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1117 on: January 05, 2017, 01:36:47 PM »
Would the knowledge that you're part of a simulation change anything for you in your day to day life?

If yes, why?

If no, then the answer doesn't matter.

One of the subplots in the novel "Reamde" was an effort to hack the algorithm that defined the location of in game gold within a MMORPG.  If we are all in a simulation doing something similar becomes (theoretically) possible. 

Metric Mouse

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1118 on: January 05, 2017, 01:42:45 PM »
Would the knowledge that you're part of a simulation change anything for you in your day to day life?

If yes, why?

If no, then the answer doesn't matter.

One of the subplots in the novel "Reamde" was an effort to hack the algorithm that defined the location of in game gold within a MMORPG.  If we are all in a simulation doing something similar becomes (theoretically) possible.

Why not just pray to Mother Earth, who could exist and borne us out of darkness, and who controls all life and all things on the planet, asking them for gold? I mean, it is (theoretically) possible.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1119 on: January 05, 2017, 02:08:07 PM »
Why not just pray to Mother Earth, who could exist and borne us out of darkness, and who controls all life and all things on the planet, asking them for gold? I mean, it is (theoretically) possible.

Or Zeus (or other invisible bearded man in the sky) who created the earth and gave life to all mortals.  On the bright side, some of these theories come with their own written instruction manuals on how to beat the game!

HINT: the secret cheat code is apparently "don't eat meat on Fridays."

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1120 on: January 05, 2017, 03:45:21 PM »
Why not just pray to Mother Earth, who could exist and borne us out of darkness, and who controls all life and all things on the planet, asking them for gold? I mean, it is (theoretically) possible.

Why not?  Well presumably you don't believe the Mother Earth existing scenario as plausible, but you do believe the "simulation" theory as plausible.

People who believe in Mother Earth are free to pray to her.

Alan's idea has been thought of by others (and not as the subplot to a book):
https://science.slashdot.org/story/16/10/06/1352205/tech-billionaires-are-asking-scientists-for-help-to-break-humans-out-of-computer-simulation
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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1121 on: January 05, 2017, 03:49:25 PM »
Or Zeus (or other invisible bearded man in the sky) who created the earth and gave life to all mortals.

Well, the simulation argument, as well as certain other hypotheses about our existence that involve exogenous superintelligences, essentially are hypotheses for the existence of--for all intents and purposes--gods (with the important distinction that they do not resort to magical thinking).

There was an interesting piece in the NY Times "The Stone" section a few weeks back that I had considered sharing in this thread, which is even more directly relevant now:  "Can Evolution Have a 'Higher Purpose'?".  The author states in pertinent part:

Quote from: NYT
If you walked up to the same people who gave Bostrom a respectful hearing and told them there is a transcendent God, many would dismiss the idea out of hand. Yet the simulation hypothesis is a God hypothesis: An intelligence of awe-inspiring power created our universe for reasons we can speculate about but can’t entirely fathom. And, assuming this intelligence still exists, it is in some sense outside of our reality — beyond the reach of our senses — and yet, presumably, it has the power to intervene in our world. Theology has entered "secular" discourse under another name.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1122 on: January 05, 2017, 04:35:43 PM »
Alan's idea has been thought of by others (and not as the subplot to a book):
https://science.slashdot.org/story/16/10/06/1352205/tech-billionaires-are-asking-scientists-for-help-to-break-humans-out-of-computer-simulation


Seems more than a little short sighted.  Go out of your way to attempt to break (our) "reality"?  Assuming the theory was accurate, this would be the single best way to destroy the universe.  And there is exactly zero reason to believe, given the premise, that there would be any form of "human" left to exist.  If we ARE the simulation, then there is nothing for us to "break out" of

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1123 on: January 05, 2017, 08:40:40 PM »
Why not just pray to Mother Earth, who could exist and borne us out of darkness, and who controls all life and all things on the planet, asking them for gold? I mean, it is (theoretically) possible.

Or Zeus (or other invisible bearded man in the sky) who created the earth and gave life to all mortals.  On the bright side, some of these theories come with their own written instruction manuals on how to beat the game!

HINT: the secret cheat code is apparently "don't eat meat on Fridays."

Dammit... i was trying up up down down left right....

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1124 on: January 05, 2017, 08:51:53 PM »
Why not just pray to Mother Earth, who could exist and borne us out of darkness, and who controls all life and all things on the planet, asking them for gold? I mean, it is (theoretically) possible.

Why not?  Well presumably you don't believe the Mother Earth existing scenario as plausible, but you do believe the "simulation" theory as plausible.

People who believe in Mother Earth are free to pray to her.

Alan's idea has been thought of by others (and not as the subplot to a book):
https://science.slashdot.org/story/16/10/06/1352205/tech-billionaires-are-asking-scientists-for-help-to-break-humans-out-of-computer-simulation

I guess that would be my point. The belief in such foolish things (obscure musical reference, not offensive) is what affects people; the actuality of his noodly goodness or her turtle ly wionder or the Matrix has no measurable impact.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1125 on: January 06, 2017, 12:11:27 AM »
And my point is: that's true of every belief you hold, whether "ridiculous" or not.

Your belief in gravity has no "measurable" impact on your day-to-day life.

It may have an impact (in how you act, and rely on it--but not in a way you can measure), but other people's hokey beliefs likewise have an impact.

There is no belief that has a "measurable" impact, so of course a belief in any deity/simulation/gravity is no different.

Therefore I'm left wondering--what's your point in bringing up that it has no "measurable" impact.  Of course not.  So?
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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1126 on: January 06, 2017, 06:24:07 AM »
And my point is: that's true of every belief you hold, whether "ridiculous" or not.

Your belief in gravity has no "measurable" impact on your day-to-day life.

It may have an impact (in how you act, and rely on it--but not in a way you can measure), but other people's hokey beliefs likewise have an impact.

There is no belief that has a "measurable" impact, so of course a belief in any deity/simulation/gravity is no different.

Therefore I'm left wondering--what's your point in bringing up that it has no "measurable" impact.  Of course not.  So?

I think beliefs have impacts. I've never stated otherwise, so you are clearly not comprehending the arguments laid out by other posters and myself.  You yourself said you and you wife feel enhanced by the belief that in a giant computer simulation.  That's great! Others feel enhanced by the belief that they're lycanthropes. Not believing in gravity may cause me to walk off a cliff; it would be measurable. Now if gravity is caused by dark matter attraction or a giant magnet placed in the center of the planet has no impact.  I still fall off a cliff; at the same measurable rate. Wether it is or not is immaterial, it's the belief that has the impact; nothing in the world run by The Matrix is distinguishable from the world watched over by Mother Earth. So all of these beliefs have the same weight for me, and the same level of evidence supporting them, and the same impacton the world. And while mildly trippy to think about the world being a test planet populated eons ago by ancient aliens, these ideas are clearly not novel or particularly mentally stimulating, having been discussed by middle schoolers for basically ever.

I'm sorry you feel beliefs don't have impacts on people, (though you've also stated the opposite) I would disagree, but that's not reallythe topic of this thread. I think GuitarStv and Bakari and others have laid out pretty rounded explanations of why the truth or falsity of such beliefs is immaterial.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1127 on: January 06, 2017, 06:52:45 AM »
You missed the point of my post.

Of course beliefs have an impact.

They don't have a measurable one.

If you disagree, please give me the measurement of my belief in gravity.
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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1128 on: January 06, 2017, 07:59:25 AM »
You missed the point of my post.

Of course beliefs have an impact.

They don't have a measurable one.

If you disagree, please give me the measurement of my belief in gravity.

I guess what I'm not understanding is that there are beliefs that are unproven to have any bearing on anything (ridiculous uncorrelated stuff that may or may not have held a purpose back when instituted, like not eating meat on Friday), beliefs that can't be proven but at least enhance our understanding of meaning (like being a good person should result in feeling good about our life), and then a belief like gravity that is scientifically proven to exist, effects can be measured, and governs reality whether we believe in it or not. 

I guess I'm also not understanding where this coversation is going.  The idea that our consciousness exists in a simulation is intriguing and rich for philosophical discussion, but falls into a 'belief that can't be proven but may enhance our understading of meaning'.  Maybe it's the flavor of the day to try to move it toward being proven, but to me falls under 'time travel'.  Just my common sense tells me that time travel will never exist and also that mankind did not get suddenly trapped in an undetectable simulation.  In either case, I could be right or wrong without any consequence (other than my mind being blown when it is revealed that aliens from the future travelled back to wherever I was on Earth in 2000 and put me in an undetectable simulation because Y2K actually did bring about the apocalypse - and in that case, because reality / belief for me will have changed, I'll have to go about figuring out what to do to adapt, survive, stay sane, and give my existence meaning.  Or it could just eventually be abandoned as a ridiculous notion that never correlated to reality).
« Last Edit: January 06, 2017, 08:04:11 AM by EscapeVelocity2020 »

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1129 on: January 06, 2017, 08:16:56 AM »
If you disagree, please give me the measurement of my belief in gravity.

# of falls while behaving carelessly is a proxy

broadly

# of deaths at the Grand Canyon would be a good proxy measure

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1130 on: January 06, 2017, 09:58:37 AM »
and governs reality whether we believe in it or not. 
This is the key which almost everyone in this tangent has forgotten.  The original comment was NOT about beliefs!

"My point about being a pointless trippy exercise is that even if it were correct, it would make absolutely no difference to our day to day lives"

If there was no gravity, that WOULD make a difference.  Just about every part of our lives would be different if there were no gravity. Interdependently of whether we believe it in or not, the fact is if I drop a bowling ball over my foot, it will fall and hurt my foot.  If there were no gravity, I could let go of bowling balls anywhere and anytime and not experience a crushed foot.  The existence or lack of existence of gravity affects day to day reality.

-

Maybe my posts are just too long, so this point was glossed over, I'll try to focus better:

Modeling the entire universe with a one-to-one correspondence of particles - the original premise, which the assumption of simulated consciousness depends on - is inherently impossible.
Infinitely nested simulations - which the "1 in billions" idea depends on - is inherently impossible.

The crux of the mistake was summed up by Atrex: "I can carry 0 ounces in a backpack.  Surely if I'm carrying n ounces in my backpack, I can carry n+1 ounces in my backpack.  Therefore, I can carry 1,000,000,000 ounces in my backpack."

In order to represent a single sub-atomic particle in memory, you need, at an absolute minimum, a bit to describe its type (potentially including flavor, spin, or charge) as well as several bits to describe its position and velocity.
Our best memory to date (written at a MB per day), using synthetic DNA can store one bit of data with roughly 250 protons neutrons and electrons.  With quantum computing, lets say we could hypothetically get that down as low as 1:1
You are never going to get a half dozen pieces of individual information storage out of a single particle, so even just statically holding the type, position, and velocity of every particle in the universe in memory is going to take MORE THAN the total number of particles in the universe.  That's without any allowance for processing, let alone any tangential computer architecture.

This means that no matter how good our technology gets, we will never be able to make an accurate detailed simulation of the entire universe that includes both the entire breadth of the universe all broken down to the level of subatomic particles.

We could hypothetically model a universe worth of stars.  You could possibly model every individual atom in the human brain.  You could not possibly ever model every atom in the universe.  It would take a universe sized computer.  It would be called: the actual, real universe. 
Yet we know that the universe we live in actually is composed of individual atoms.

So that means the only possible way this could be a simulation is if the "real" world were many many orders of magnitude larger, more complex, and more energetic than what we experience.

But if that is the case, then this simulation ISN'T a reflection of reality, it isn't a 1:1 map, it isn't "indistinguishable" from reality. 
And if that's the case, there is exactly zero credibility in assuming what the "creators" of real reality are like, what their purpose is, or what they would do.  Which in turn means that we have no criteria to base the assumption that they would "probably" create many copies of simulation, which means we can not claim we "probably" live in one,

Nor that they would "probably" create even a first one.  They would live in such a different reality that they would likely have little if anything in common with us, and we can not reasonably assume they would have any interest in "video games" or "ancestor simulations"

While I will grant that it is entirely conceivable that consciousness could exist in a simulation and not realize it was in fact a simulation, I see no more (or less) reason to think it is true than any other religious origin story.


 

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1131 on: January 06, 2017, 11:30:47 AM »
Modeling the entire universe with a one-to-one correspondence of particles - the original premise, which the assumption of simulated consciousness depends on - is inherently impossible.

No, the notion of building a full-scale, 1:1 model of the entire (real) universe, in all its detail and complexity (which, as you point out, is probably impossible), is not part of the underlying premise.  Have you read the original Bostram paper?

The argument that we are "probably" living in a simulation requires only the following assumptions:  (i) we will eventually reach a point where it is technologically possible to simulate conscious minds "existing" in virtual worlds that are realistic enough so as to be indistinguishable from physical reality to those minds (and not in fact identical in all respects to actual base reality, as you are incorrectly describing the argument); and (ii) once we reach such point, we are likely to run many such simulations.

Based on these two premises, it follows that we are more likely than not to be living in a simulation.  Note that it does not necessarily follow that we are living in a simulation that bears any resemblance to actual reality, because the universe of possible simulations in which we might be living is not limited to ancestor simulations run by posthuman civilizations--but the mere fact that posthuman civilizations will have the willingness and ability to run such simulations that do bear a resemblance to our understanding of actual reality (if you take that as a true fact) is sufficient to make it more likely than not that we are living in a simulation of some sort.  In other words, from those two premises, you can conclude that we are more likely to be living in an ancestor simulation created by a posthuman civilization than to be living in actual base reality, but not that we are necessarily more likely to be living in an ancestor simulation created by a posthuman civilization than we are to be living in some other simulation (which may or may not bear any resemblance to actual base reality).

Bostrom addresses the technological limits of computation that you are focusing on in Section III of his paper.  This bit in particular addresses many of the concerns you raised:

Quote from: Bostram
If the environment is included in the simulation, this will require additional computing power – how much depends on the scope and granularity of the simulation. Simulating the entire universe down to the quantum level is obviously infeasible, unless radically new physics is discovered. But in order to get a realistic simulation of human experience, much less is needed – only whatever is required to ensure that the simulated humans, interacting in normal human ways with their simulated environment, don’t notice any irregularities. The microscopic structure of the inside of the Earth can be safely omitted. Distant astronomical objects can have highly compressed representations: verisimilitude need extend to the narrow band of properties that we can observe from our planet or solar system spacecraft. On the surface of Earth, macroscopic objects in inhabited areas may need to be continuously simulated, but microscopic phenomena could likely be filled in ad hoc. What you see through an electron microscope needs to look unsuspicious, but you usually have no way of confirming its coherence with unobserved parts of the microscopic world. Exceptions arise when we deliberately design systems to harness unobserved microscopic phenomena that operate in accordance with known principles to get results that we are able to independently verify. The paradigmatic case of this is a computer. The simulation may therefore need to include a continuous representation of computers down to the level of individual logic elements. This presents no problem, since our current computing power is negligible by posthuman standards.

Moreover, a posthuman simulator would have enough computing power to keep track of the detailed belief-states in all human brains at all times. Therefore, when it saw that a human was about to make an observation of the microscopic world, it could fill in sufficient detail in the simulation in the appropriate domain on an as-needed basis. Should any error occur, the director could easily edit the states of any brains that have become aware of an anomaly before it spoils the simulation. Alternatively, the director could skip back a few seconds and rerun the simulation in a way that avoids the problem.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1132 on: January 06, 2017, 11:39:22 AM »
Ah, I think I found something that was bothering me about your arguments Bakari. And it does actually go back to my ideas regarding AI and the singularity. You appear to be arguing the idea of a simulation based on our current understanding of what is possible (ie bits == subatomic particles). From my understanding of the nature of the singularity, it quite literally means that when we get some self-improving AIs, progress will happen faster than we can understand. I personally believe that (and this is a super risky belief /s) there are a lot about this particular (simulation of the) universe that we don't understand yet. I suspect that a fair amount of the limitations we currently understand are due to being 3 dimensional beings, with a very difficult paradigm to grasp when we go out of that space. String theory, quantum mechanics (I seriously cannot see how we can't get unlimited optical speeds without infrastructure based on entanglement), there is a huge amount of opportunity to challenge our assumptions. Based on your assumption, that a bit is the way of storing a bit of data with a 1:1 ratio, I believe you'd be correct. I do not think that's the case, personally. Anything that can create a simulation like this (assuming that we are in one) is beyond those limits we've set based on our current understanding.

Damn, brooklynguy did a much better job with references and stuff while I was typing this.

Fun fact, if (when) I wind up going all posthuman and can make a simulation like this, I will, and put some trigger in when/if one starts questioning things like this and implement some awesome strangeness they experience (vampires? zombies? inverted colors?)

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1133 on: January 06, 2017, 12:11:05 PM »
If our universe is a simulation, I'm pretty sure they're looking at supermassive black holes and not self-organizing bits of organic carbon.

We're a fringe effect, a random ignorable anomaly in a quiet and uninteresting corner.  All of the action in this simulation is currently generating Xray bursts as quantum gravity tears holes in the fabric of spacetime inside of galactic cores currently devouring other black holes spinning at relativistic speeds.  Event horizons mash together every second of every day while we drive back and forth to work, converting more mass to energy in a single second than our entire solar system has been using for billions of years.

It takes a special kind of hubris to think that we are the purpose of any such simulation.  Always have to put ourselves at the center of everything, don't we?

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1134 on: January 06, 2017, 12:17:38 PM »
If our universe is a simulation, I'm pretty sure they're looking at supermassive black holes and not self-organizing bits of organic carbon.

We're a fringe effect, a random ignorable anomaly in a quiet and uninteresting corner.  All of the action in this simulation is currently generating Xray bursts as quantum gravity tears holes in the fabric of spacetime inside of galactic cores currently devouring other black holes spinning at relativistic speeds.  Event horizons mash together every second of every day while we drive back and forth to work, converting more mass to energy in a single second than our entire solar system has been using for billions of years.

It takes a special kind of hubris to think that we are the purpose of any such simulation.  Always have to put ourselves at the center of everything, don't we?

You pretty much said what i was thinking. There is nothing to say that life was simply an emergent property of a simulation with a completely different goal.

It's possible a simulation was built specifically for life, but then it seems there is a significant lack of it the way it appears or it is also completely possible life is just a side effect of simulating the basic laws of physics our universe abides by.

We humans try to do both ourselves. We have rudimentary simulations both for attempting to simulate life and for simulating the laws of physics and how they interact within our universe. If we wanted to get the most accurate simulation and we had an incredible amount of computing power it would not be unexpected to attempt simulating a universe down to the sub atomic level to make sure not shortcuts or assumptions are made and that by simply the physics simulated to that level of detail there is an unknown % of chance life develops. It would be possible for the person running the simulation to become aware of this life, but it would have to have a significant effect on the thing the simulation was built to study.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2017, 12:23:42 PM by prognastat »

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1135 on: January 06, 2017, 12:20:04 PM »
You missed the point of my post.

Of course beliefs have an impact.

They don't have a measurable one.

If you disagree, please give me the measurement of my belief in gravity.

Do you just let go of objects in midair and seem really surprised when they fall to the ground? When doing home renovations, to you check to make sure you're not taking out too many load bearing walls all at once?

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1136 on: January 06, 2017, 12:37:28 PM »
You missed the point of my post.

Of course beliefs have an impact.

They don't have a measurable one.

If you disagree, please give me the measurement of my belief in gravity.
this has already been addressed directly.  I'm not sure repeating the thread will help you to understand.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1137 on: January 06, 2017, 12:39:35 PM »
On a positive note, I'm going to have a fun weekend telling everyone we are all 'living in sim'!  Cheers

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1138 on: January 06, 2017, 01:30:57 PM »
You missed the point of my post.

Of course beliefs have an impact.

They don't have a measurable one.

If you disagree, please give me the measurement of my belief in gravity.

Do you just let go of objects in midair and seem really surprised when they fall to the ground? When doing home renovations, to you check to make sure you're not taking out too many load bearing walls all at once?

Good point. Behavior patterns and changes in behavior patterns, are measurable.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1139 on: January 06, 2017, 04:17:19 PM »
If you disagree, please give me the measurement of my belief in gravity.

# of falls while behaving carelessly is a proxy

broadly

# of deaths at the Grand Canyon would be a good proxy measure

And literally every single one of them believed in gravity.  As did the people who didn't fall.  So how do you measure their belief versus the people who didn't fall's belief, because they both believed.

You missed the point of my post.

Of course beliefs have an impact.

They don't have a measurable one.

If you disagree, please give me the measurement of my belief in gravity.

Do you just let go of objects in midair and seem really surprised when they fall to the ground? When doing home renovations, to you check to make sure you're not taking out too many load bearing walls all at once?

Of course I believe in gravity.

Please measure that belief for me.

I don't think beliefs don't exist.. I think you can't measure them.
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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1140 on: January 06, 2017, 04:38:03 PM »
No one claimed to be able to measure beliefs. Only the effects those beliefs have upon a person.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1141 on: January 06, 2017, 04:44:11 PM »
No one claimed to be able to measure beliefs. Only the effects those beliefs have upon a person.

Great!

Then you can measure the effect one's belief in Zeus has on their actions.

You can't have it both ways, saying that one belief (gravity) is measurable and the other (deity) isn't.

Your claim was that one's belief:
Quote
doesn't change the consequences of their actions in a measurable way.

Now you are saying the opposite.

Does ones belief in Zeus change their actions such that you can measure it?

I said yes, you said no.  Then we switched to gravity, and you switched to yes.  So which is it?
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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1142 on: January 06, 2017, 05:14:46 PM »
How does a person who believes in Zeus behave differently from a person who doesn't? For some other relgions I can come up with examples. It's not clear to me that Zeus expects anythng of his followers. *shrug*

So we have examples of how a person behaves differently if they believe in gravity or not. How, if at all, does a person behave differently if they believe the whole world is a simulation? (Assuming no way to break out of simulation or communicate with whatever initiated the simulation.)

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1143 on: January 06, 2017, 05:46:43 PM »
No one claimed to be able to measure beliefs. Only the effects those beliefs have upon a person.

Great!

Then you can measure the effect one's belief in Zeus has on their actions.

You can't have it both ways, saying that one belief (gravity) is measurable and the other (deity) isn't.

Your claim was that one's belief:
Quote
doesn't change the consequences of their actions in a measurable way.

Now you are saying the opposite.

Does ones belief in Zeus change their actions such that you can measure it?

I said yes, you said no.  Then we switched to gravity, and you switched to yes.  So which is it?

False.

Beliefs do not change consequences of actions.  But they could very easily change the actions one would perform. This is true for zeus or for the matrix. These changes could be measured.  You keep putting up strawmen and advancing arguments against statements no one made. 

And now you are contradicting yourself: can the effects of beliefs be measured or not? I am saying that they can.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1144 on: January 06, 2017, 06:26:00 PM »
There is an inherent contradiction between "realistic enough so as to be indistinguishable from physical reality " and "does not necessarily follow that we are living in a simulation that bears any resemblance to actual reality".  If it bears no resemblance to actual reality, then it isn't indistinguishable from reality.
I already included the possibility that simulations might theoretically foster consciousness in an environment which bears no resemblance to actual reality, my question then is on what basis can we assume that whatever designed it would do so, none the less would be "likely" to run "many" of them. 
If the base level programmer lives in an environment that bears no relation to reality as we know it, we can not make ANY assumptions about how it would behave.  They are no longer "post-human" - that very concept assumes that something in any way "human" actually exists.  This is not a reasonable assumption.  It comes from starting with our current reality, and extrapolating forward, but if this isn't real, there is no reason to base our assumptions on our own experience. 

You can not "conclude that we are more likely to be living in an ancestor simulation created by a posthuman civilization than to be living in actual base reality" without asserting that there is such a thing as human and such a thing as civilization, which, if our reality is a simulation, are not safe assumptions.  Therefore the very premise itself makes it impossible to assign any probability.

Bostram's attempt to get around the need to compute sub-atomic particles for every bit of mass in the universe is incompatible with Sol's suggestion that we are not the primary purpose of the simulation. 

It is essentially saying that your room ceases to exist when you fall asleep, (granted, the Copenhagen interpretation could be said to imply the same thing...)  It is entirely arbitrary to assert that only sub-atomic particles only exist when we look for them.  The programmer somehow knew in advance exactly in what way we would develop microscopes, and added code to make sure to activate fake atoms only when we actually looked at them?  Why stop at atoms?  Why wouldn't they do the same for molecules, or cells, and save the computing power needed to model cell organelles until humans figured out how to see germs?  What happens when our amazing future technology allows us to look for too many atoms simultaneously, and the program runs out of memory?  What happens if we someday send spacecraft toward the 100 closest stars at 99% the speed of light, and suddenly, after 5 billion years of chilling on autopilot, it has to actually create all the fake dots-of-light stars in Earth level detail?

Bostrom also suggests that the director can edit and/or rewind the simulation, which brings back my question about environmentalism.

The thing about this debate is, the premise keeps constantly being changed, to try to make it work.  Everyone arguing for it has a different, and fundamentally incompatible, idea of what we are even talking about.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1145 on: January 06, 2017, 06:33:16 PM »
Ah, I think I found something that was bothering me about your arguments Bakari. And it does actually go back to my ideas regarding AI and the singularity. You appear to be arguing the idea of a simulation based on our current understanding of what is possible (ie bits == subatomic particles). From my understanding of the nature of the singularity, it quite literally means that when we get some self-improving AIs, progress will happen faster than we can understand.


We have progressed past early humans to a level that they never could have imagined.  It does not follow from that that we will ever be able to violate basic laws of physics, or that we will find loopholes around mathematical realities.
I don't see much distinction between "I'm sure future people will be able to solve X" and straight up magic.



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I personally believe that (and this is a super risky belief /s) there are a lot about this particular (simulation of the) universe that we don't understand yet. I suspect that a fair amount of the limitations we currently understand are due to being 3 dimensional beings, with a very difficult paradigm to grasp when we go out of that space. String theory, quantum mechanics (I seriously cannot see how we can't get unlimited optical speeds without infrastructure based on entanglement), there is a huge amount of opportunity to challenge our assumptions.
I don't see how this changes anything.  If reality is even more complex than we realize, than that is even MORE for the computer to have to model.  Anything which we can ever discover is something the computer would have to model in order for us to discover it.  So there is no way to allow the computer additional means of processing without proportionately increasing the work it has to do. 
If the model is leaving out significant parts of reality, then there is no reason to assume that anything at all in our experience has any resemblance whatsoever to base reality.

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1146 on: January 06, 2017, 06:39:17 PM »
If our universe is a simulation, I'm pretty sure they're looking at supermassive black holes and not self-organizing bits of organic carbon.

We're a fringe effect, a random ignorable anomaly in a quiet and uninteresting corner.  All of the action in this simulation is currently generating Xray bursts as quantum gravity tears holes in the fabric of spacetime inside of galactic cores currently devouring other black holes spinning at relativistic speeds.  Event horizons mash together every second of every day while we drive back and forth to work, converting more mass to energy in a single second than our entire solar system has been using for billions of years.

It takes a special kind of hubris to think that we are the purpose of any such simulation.  Always have to put ourselves at the center of everything, don't we?


Now this actually seems at least reasonably plausible, although if it were the case we have no basis on which to assert that whatever programmed this giant physics experiment is likely to create many, or even more than one, or that more than one would contain life,


Given how many small variables could have been changed to prevent life from developing, chances are that, even if there were many simulations, no more of them would have life as we know it than planets in our world do now.  Which as far as we know, is roughly 1 in 10^24.  If the Great Programmer and His mighty Civilization created 10^24 universe sized simulations, we could expect that at least one would likely have intelligent life on it.


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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1147 on: January 06, 2017, 06:40:13 PM »
It would be possible for the person running the simulation to become aware of this life, but it would have to have a significant effect on the thing the simulation was built to study.
Which, of course, we don't, and never will, so...

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1148 on: January 06, 2017, 09:43:55 PM »
If the base level programmer lives in an environment that bears no relation to reality as we know it, we can not make ANY assumptions about how it would behave.  They are no longer "post-human" - that very concept assumes that something in any way "human" actually exists.  This is not a reasonable assumption.  It comes from starting with our current reality, and extrapolating forward, but if this isn't real, there is no reason to base our assumptions on our own experience. 

You can not "conclude that we are more likely to be living in an ancestor simulation created by a posthuman civilization than to be living in actual base reality" without asserting that there is such a thing as human and such a thing as civilization, which, if our reality is a simulation, are not safe assumptions.  Therefore the very premise itself makes it impossible to assign any probability.

Think about it this way:  one of the following three mutually exclusive alternatives must be true, and the other two must be false -- either (1) we're living in actual reality, (2) we're living in a false reality that resembles actual reality, or (3) we're living in a false reality that does not resemble actual reality.  If # 3 is true, then, as you said, we can't use our own experience to make any assumptions about anything (because our own experience bears no relationship to actual reality), but the existence of # 3 as one of the alternatives in the universe of possibilities can only increase the likelihood that we are living in a false reality.  So, for purposes of trying to determine whether it's more likely than not that we are living in a false reality, we need only concern ourselves with numbers 1 and 2 (recognizing that the actual likelihood that we are living in a false reality is subject to increase, but not decrease, as a result of whatever probability is assigned to # 3).

This is why it makes sense to start with our current experience of reality and extrapolate forward.  Bostrom's argument, which is based on our current experience of reality, contends that our descendants will not eventually develop the technology to run simulations containing conscious minds and use that technology to run many ancestor-simulations unless we are probably currently living in an ancestor-simulation.  If we limit the scope of our inquiry to possibilities 1 and 2, and assume that our descendants will eventually run many such ancestor-simulations, then we have to conclude that we are more likely than not currently living in an ancestor-simulation.  If we now expand the scope of our inquiry to also contemplate possibility # 3, it can only be even more likely that we are currently living in some sort of false reality (though not necessarily in an ancestor-simulation; we may instead be living in another type of simulation, which may or may not bear any resemblance to actual reality).

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Re: Robots and their impact on the future
« Reply #1149 on: January 07, 2017, 10:00:46 AM »
My earlier posts were intended to demonstrate that (2) is not possible: in order for it to be possible, we would have to be able to eventually simulate our entire universe, including every level of detail that we experience, which would not be even theoretically possible regardless to technology, because the computer that ran such a simulation would have to be bigger than the entire universe.

Nearly everyone's response to this is that base reality could be far larger and more complex, but that in itself means our reality does NOT resemble actual reality.

Bostrom's solution - that this is a sort of Truman show, that the sky is just painted on (and galaxies only resolve themselves once we have invented telescopes, and then only when someone is looking through them, that objects are solid until peered at though a microscope and only then do they become composed of microscopic phenomenon) doesn't really work either...

Take his example that the " structure of the inside of the Earth can be safely omitted" - for the beginning of the simulation that might work (depending how long its been running - it could have started with the dawn of life, or the dawn of man, the dawn of civilization, or it could have started 2 minutes ago, and your memories of this conversation were all pre-programmed). 
Humans didn't have any expectation that the Earth was mostly liquid.  That knowledge has had close to zero impact on anyone's behavior.  Yet, once we discovered it was, now the simulation does have to consistently model the properties of molten rock swirling about a solid nickle core forever, because we have seismographs set up all over the Earth that can be cross referenced.  It would take no less computing power to figure out what they would say only when they were actually crossreferenced than it would to actually just compute it in real time, so that doesn't save any computing power.

Or take neutrinos: their existence has not affected the path of human civilization in anyway (other than encouraging humans to build more neutrino detectors, and slightly modifying particle physics theory).  They could have been safely omitted.  And yet they are there.
It isn't enough to keep track of the mind state of individuals, the simulation would also have to keep track of when any detection equipment might randomly go off.  Even if the simulation just fills in the data after the fact, it still has to compute individual particles that would have produced those results.

Objects in our reality actually behave as though they were made of particles, so a shortcut would change our experience.
All you need is a good magnifying glass to see Brownian Motion, yet in order for it to be simulated, every single molecule in the surrounding fluid needs to be individually calculated.  But even without looking, fluids behave as though they were made of particles, so in order for things like weather to behave as if it were made of particles, you have to model all those particles.

Plus, in addition to simulating the environment we can see, it has to individually track all 7 billion humans to be aware if any of them might be about to look at a usually unseen phenomenon, AND it has to do enough calculations of every possibly observable phenomenon that IF anyone were to check, the results will be consistent with the rest of the world.  Anything we might ever discover has to be tracked in advance, in order for it to be sure to be backward compatible with what we already know.  This extra layer of complexity might take more computation and memory than actually just modeling everything to begin with.

If we are going to take his Truman Show explanation of the unseen not existing when it's not being looked, then what seems far more likely that there is only ONE consciousness in this simulation.  That would be 7 billion times easier to track, and to keep the world consistent.  Any one person is far less likely at any given moment to be off checking the granularity of reality, or how far the edges of the universe are.  Chances are you (that on consciousness) have never even seen a neutrino detector, not even in pictures, so if its just you, and all the rest of us are stimulants, the simulator really could safely leave out neutrinos.  And the motion and consistency of the center of the Earth.  And individual protons and neutrons, and everything else which you trust other people (stimulants) are telling you the truth about.

This scenario is far far more plausible, yet seems to have next to no popularity.  I suppose the idea that you are the sole conscious thing in the entire known universe just isn't as pleasant a thought as if we are all in this together.