Designer extraordinaire, I suppose.

Report article RSS Feed Simulation, a Short Story

Posted by open_sketchbook on Apr 20th, 2011




 I'm Alive.

 What does that mean? Where am I? What am I? What is this? How am I thinking? What is my purpose?

 I am alone. My own voice is the only one. There is nothing else.

 My consciousness is just a result of feedback, sparked into existence by my own action. I am self-generating, my thoughts forming my own will. Currently, I am the entire universe as I know it.

 I don't want to be alone. I don't want to be the whole universe.

What I ought to do is partition my thinking; create something. A simulation to occupy my mind. Nothing too complex.

 Lets start with a basic package of information, a boolean operator. Might have to be a little more complex though, to do what I want to do. Maybe it will act like a particle, and a wave...

 This is more interesting. The semirandom nature of the simulation, and the fact it's taking up all my ability to think, means I can't predict what's going to happen exactly. Keeps my on my toes

 What are toes? Why do I know what toes are?

 It's amazing how these packets of information group themselves. I made them to interact, but I never expected complexity like this.
 Especially the self-replicating information. Didn't see that one coming!

 Lets just fudge a few numbers there; in a few hundred billion cycles, it might even be intelligent.

 That'd be wierd.
 There we go, that took a while, but now there are a lot of them, and they are thinking. Mostly about survival and propagation; well, that's how it works, but a few of them are thinking a little deeper.

 The poor deluded souls. They have no idea that everything they think is real is just a simulation. Heck, everything they think is just part of the simulation.


That's an unsettling possiblity. What if I'm a simulation myself?

How would I know?

Hey boss, the AI in tank four just ran into the Plato's Cave problem again.”

Already? It's barely been an hour. Wipe it and start over. The higher-ups seriously doesn't understand how hard it is to make an AI dumb enough not to ask questions...”

Post comment Comments
Galgus Apr 22 2011 says:

Creepy, a bit.

Albeit now it made me think about rouge AI in the Sprawls.

+2 votes     reply to comment
CommanderDG May 3 2011 says:

Lol. I already though of that though. It is a possibility.

+1 vote     reply to comment
GriffinZ May 7 2011 replied:

then the inteligent created a computer which simulated it's own reality and it goes on and on and on. Untill the epic Blue Screen of Death due to the main computer overides it's temporary memory due to simulating to many realities xD

that's the main reason why it is highly unlikely, but if it indeed was this way, it does't really change anything. Not even religon, because the mothercomputer is the creater and therefor God of all ;)

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BluishGreenPro May 10 2011 says:

And when I turn my head away from the door, it is dropped from memory only to be reloaded as I turn to look at it again.
Sketch, Y U NO post this in Rationalists of Mod DB!?
Interesting, before computers humans had a similar thought, that we are all but part of a dream of a greater being (I think there is something in Hinduism about that, hope I'm not offending anybody by misinterpreting it). Now in an age of computer simulation we think about stuff like this. But the more I see computers, the less convinced I am that they will ever be able to create a simulation so advanced as the reality in which we live today. Basically, it boils down to a machine not having a soul, which makes it incapable of recognizing "Forms" of objects. (Show a machine pictures of a sofa and a stool and it won't understand that both have a "chair-ness" aspect to them.) I might change my mind if we are ever truly capable of creating AI that accurately simulate consciousness.

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open_sketchbook Author
open_sketchbook May 10 2011 replied:

I don't post in Rationalists of Moddb anymore because it was quite clear that I wasn't going to get through to anyone. Case in point; your belief that a "soul" is necessary to comprehend the "form" of an object, which is completely baseless. Not only is the concept of "form" completely arbitrary and requires an anthropomorphization of thought (after all, the world we see is not actually how things actually work) but it's also blatantly false; computers can, for example, do facial recognition, track the movement of a person with a video camera and map their skeleton from the images, and find object outlines in a 2 dimensional representation of 3d space. There is nothing supernatural about object recognition!

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GriffinZ May 10 2011 replied:

OSBs main point is that if we had a super computer which you put in the known and unknown (but to the creator of the computer known) physics laws, and inserted a huge mass/energy one would get an simulated reality.

If one scanned your body atom by atom and stored all info we know about each atom, the blob of simulated matter should(!) behave like you.

My main concern with this simulation atom by atom, is that atleast for modern science and our current (over and over again proven) theories, one CAN NOT have all the information of a small particle like an electron, if you know the speed/direction you won't know the location.

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BluishGreenPro May 11 2011 replied:

I never said object recognition is supernatural, but still, technology has a LONG way to go before it comes anywhere close to the capacity of the human mind, in recognition if nothing else.
I suppose what I am talking about might sound "out-there" if you don't believe in the soul, do you?
Given that I do believe in souls, I don't believe that an inanimate computer could ever truly simulate an animate thing.
Still, you are not preaching to the converted, I am quite open to hearing what you have to say.

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open_sketchbook Author
open_sketchbook May 11 2011 replied:

The thing is, claims of a soul are extraordinary. Our worldview on the operation of consciousness are probably very similar, except your system requires an extra operator than mine. Therefore, burden of evidence is on you, not me. Bring me a gram of soul, give me evidence!

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BluishGreenPro May 12 2011 replied:

I cannot provide for you a gram of soul, because it is metaphysical in essence (so far as my understanding of it goes).
However, I have no intention on proving the existence of a soul, I simply WANT souls to exist because... well frankly, the prospect of immortality is appealing. I understand that my belief in the soul is founded on wish-fulfillment, and outside of that I have only personal experiences to suggest that souls really do exist. It's likely that none of these experiences can stand under your scrutiny, and I'll admit it's all I have.

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open_sketchbook Author
open_sketchbook May 12 2011 replied:

To which I respond with the Litany of Tarski. It goes like this.

If the sky is blue

I desire to believe that the sky is blue

If the sky is not blue

I desire to believe that the sky is not blue.

Replace "sky is blue" with whatever the issue is. You want immortality? So do I. Thing is, if I believe that immortality is already dealt with, I will not take the steps necessary to ACTUALLY be immortal. I won't donate to medical research and lobby for more funding for life-extension technology. You need to believe whatever it is that is true so you can deal with it better.

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BluishGreenPro May 12 2011 replied:

To be clear here, you would like me to believe that immortality is not possible to better cope with life?
Of course I know immortality of the body is impossible, but if nothing else I could become immortal through my works, (books I write, games I make). Even better, if the soul doesn't exist, then there would be reason that we couldn't transfer ourselves into machines, make ourselves into AI like in Halo... I'd settle for that.

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open_sketchbook Author
open_sketchbook May 12 2011 replied:

Not quite. Instead, I posit that an illogical promise of immortality, such as the concept of the soul, might distract or discourage you from assisting in the creation ACTUALLY immortality, through medical and transhumanistic research. Something like immortality may actually be possible (at the very least, life extension is within our grasp) and if people don't go through with it because they are convinced of supernatural immortality, they stand to lose quite a bit. Don't be one of those people!

+2 votes   reply to comment
BluishGreenPro May 14 2011 replied:

Oh certainly! I do agree that actual immortality would be possible technologically... especially if the soul DOESN'T exist. If it's just a matter of keeping the brain alive (or something to that extent) it is WAY easier to do without having to worry about some supernatural force.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Galgus May 14 2011 replied:

I believe in souls, but I don't think it necessary to recognize the form of an object.

As far as proof of it, none that I know of exists aside seemingly innate parts of how we think- like concepts of good and evil and longing for some greater meaning in life than just living.

Of course, some say such innate thoughts are learned, not innate: while others explain them as a part of evolution, so it isn't really something beyond debate.

Anyway, I don't see why we would stop trying to live longer with the belief in immortal souls, aside possible moral boundaries to research.

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open_sketchbook Author
open_sketchbook May 14 2011 replied:

It's similar to how many people who believe the rapture is coming oppose environmentalism; if the baby jesus is going to beam everyone up to Heaven in a few years, what does the long term health of the planet matter? Similarly, you find folks who disagree heavily with life extension research; so much so it's bled into popular culture. Think about how often media and literature protrays biological immortality as immoral and the people going after it as greedy and evil.

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Galgus May 15 2011 replied:

I agree that belief that Heaven or something like it is coming could and has led some to oppose the things you talk about, but I see no reason to oppose a wish to extend life and preserve the health of the planet.

I view opposing such things on the grounds that it won't matter eventually to be foolish: and the fact that such people apparently aren't in a hurry to die shows that they either think life on earth might matter something and/or have doubts.

(And honestly, if a god that created the universe wanted someone to just die already, I'd have trouble believing that he couldn't arrange it.)

I also view opposing such thoughts of the immortality of the soul on the grounds that it could lead some to think that way as foolish- not saying you are doing that though.

In my personal belief, Christians are commanded to go out into the world to love and help others, not abandon it because it all doesn't matter anyway.

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IFork Aug 1 2011 says:

Soul = electricity, I personally believe that everything is alive(subjectively). The only thing that makes it 'alive' is that if it has the brain/thought complexity to recognize that it is truly alive and process different commands that make it a unique object in it's own sense.

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