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    Thread: Programmed Universe - Within Another Universe

    1. #1
      A 40 Ton Pink Bear <span class='glow_EE82EE'>Meakel</span>'s Avatar
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      Question Programmed Universe - Within Another Universe

      Alright. Imagine this. Let's assume the beginning of the universe is expressable in programming form into some sort of engine which emulates our laws of physics(correctly and fully, even ones we haven't figured out yet). The amount of energy, mass, the direction in which it's moving at the very beginning is input. The computer is this holycrappowerful supercomputer. Then you run the simulation.

      Kind of like a reverse version of the law of conservation of information, the program should simulate the universe and it's progress should it not? (If you find anything wrong with any of my reasoning at any point, please say so.)

      If done properly, we then not only have the entire perfect history of the universe from beginning to now but we'd also have a perfect representation of the future. (I find this is a good way to wrap your head around the whole 'time-isn't-linear,-everything-that-has-happened-and-will-happen-is-all-happening-at-the-same-time' concept)

      Now, any conjectures made here really don't make any sense if there's any fault in my previous reasoning but what the hell.

      There are some interesting repercussions. Some philosophical too.

      1. We now have a perfect record of human history. What do we do about things unsolved crimes, the wrongly accused?

      2. Doesn't the existence of this program and it's 'predictions' prove a sort of scientific determinism?

      3. The computer at some point would then also predict it's own creation and thus must have a programming copy of itself run a copy of itself which would run a copy of itself...etc. This actually would probably make the thing explode or something...which I guess solves question 2. Hahaha.

      4. All matter is accounted for and represented in this program down to the atomic level. Doesn't this mean that the sentient beings are actually sentient. If done properly, these programmed beings could see and hear the same way we do. The only difference being that they are lines of code. But are they really? What would seperate us from them? Isn't the universe essentially just a set of laws and rules, like a program?

      I do love pondering.

      Also, I don't know where this goes. Science? Philosophy? Hahah.

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      Creating such a computer is perfectly possible, but, it would be very slow, if it had to account for all particles in the universe.

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      Technological singularity refers to the hypothetical future emergence of greater-than human intelligence. Since the capabilities of such an intelligence would be difficult for an unaided human mind to comprehend, the occurrence of technological singularity is seen as an intellectual event horizon, beyond which the future becomes difficult to understand or predict.
      This could actually happen at any time.

    4. #4
      Xei
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      Can somebody remember that paper on how a computer simulation could help explain various strange phenomena such as finite light speed, quantum uncertainty, and the like..?

      Anyway, how bizarre, soluble philosophical questions:

      Quote Originally Posted by Meakel View Post
      1. We now have a perfect record of human history. What do we do about things unsolved crimes, the wrongly accused?
      Firstly an aside that this is impossible, by which I mean that getting the information about the start of the universe would be even harder than getting local information about the present universe. Anyway, we let them out I suppose? The film 'Minority Report' is kinda about such a system, though the success rate isn't perfect and it sees the future not the past. You couldn't incriminate anybody from the future with this because you're constantly changing the future when you use the machine to arrest people that wouldn't have been otherwise, and this is important because one would imagine such an omniscient device would cause crime to fall much lower than it would otherwise have been.

      2. Doesn't the existence of this program and it's 'predictions' prove a sort of scientific determinism?
      Well it doesn't take much analysis to see why this argument is flawed: in order to know that the program 'exists', you'd first have to know the universe is deterministic. Otherwise it can't be emulated algorithmically in the first place. And this may well be the case; most physicists interpret quantum weirdness as showing that the universe is inherently probabilistic.

      3. The computer at some point would then also predict it's own creation and thus must have a programming copy of itself run a copy of itself which would run a copy of itself...etc. This actually would probably make the thing explode or something...which I guess solves question 2. Hahaha.
      Clearly there's something wrong here, because any program contains finite information. The error is that the universe you simulate will have a loss in fidelity (as you can't use every particle in existence to run the simulation), meaning you need more and more matter in each simulation to simulate the same thing.

      4. All matter is accounted for and represented in this program down to the atomic level. Doesn't this mean that the sentient beings are actually sentient. If done properly, these programmed beings could see and hear the same way we do. The only difference being that they are lines of code. But are they really? What would seperate us from them? Isn't the universe essentially just a set of laws and rules, like a program?
      This is a major and problematic issue in philosophy of mind. I feel compelled to say yes; I think the people who say 'no' (see the 'China brain' thought experiment) are erroneously forgetting that the soul is not some kind of perfect, detached object. The 'soul' (let's say 'consciousness' to be more precise and scientific) arises from processes in the brain which are emulated in our neurons. It seems absurd to suggest that the water and protein and fats and ions et. al. are the necessary factor for consciousness; the sensible solution is that it is the processes themselves, regardless of how they are physically embodied (a brain made of neurons, or of wooden parts, or of silicon microchips), are what is important.

    5. #5
      A 40 Ton Pink Bear <span class='glow_EE82EE'>Meakel</span>'s Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      Clearly there's something wrong here, because any program contains finite information. The error is that the universe you simulate will have a loss in fidelity (as you can't use every particle in existence to run the simulation), meaning you need more and more matter in each simulation to simulate the same thing.
      Didn't think about it that way. Makes sense. Thank you.

      This is a major and problematic issue in philosophy of mind. I feel compelled to say yes; I think the people who say 'no' (see the 'China brain' thought experiment) are erroneously forgetting that the soul is not some kind of perfect, detached object. The 'soul' (let's say 'consciousness' to be more precise and scientific) arises from processes in the brain which are emulated in our neurons. It seems absurd to suggest that the water and protein and fats and ions et. al. are the necessary factor for consciousness; the sensible solution is that it is the processes themselves, regardless of how they are physically embodied (a brain made of neurons, or of wooden parts, or of silicon microchips), are what is important.
      That's what I think. But do we consider them one collective being or several individual ones? On one level they'd be entirely seperate 'programs' or algorithms but in 'reality' they'd all be based off one processor.
      Jen was 13 years old. A fairly normal girl. She spent a lot of time online.
      One day, she made a new friend. He liked the same bands, worried about the same subjects.
      They decided to meet at the local mall. She went. So did he.
      Only he wasn't in junior high.
      HE WAS A 1500 LB GRIZZLY BEAR.
      1 in 5 children online get eaten by wild bears. And you didn't even know bears could type.

    6. #6
      Haunted by entropy. Achievements:
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      That's what I think. But do we consider them one collective being or several individual ones? On one level they'd be entirely seperate 'programs' or algorithms but in 'reality' they'd all be based off one processor.[/QUOTE]

      Our brain cells have been shown to posess individual intelligence, even though they communicate toghether to create one consciousness.
      ---o--- my DCs say I'm dreamy.

    7. #7
      Xei
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      What do you mean?

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      Haunted by entropy. Achievements:
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      Maekel posed the question: "Do we consider them one collective being or several individual ones? On one level they'd be entirely seperate 'programs' or algorithms but in 'reality' they'd all be based off one processor. "

      I think that it would be possible that both are true, based on the way that our brain cells communicate with one another, through synapses, to create one "mind".

      I screwed up the quote button, though.

      Here are some, for you:

      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      Well it doesn't take much analysis to see why this argument is flawed: in order to know that the program 'exists', you'd first have to know the universe is deterministic. Otherwise it can't be emulated algorithmically in the first place. And this may well be the case; most physicists interpret quantum weirdness as showing that the universe is inherently probabilistic.
      Whatcha mean by "inherently prababilistic"? You sayin' that god plays dice? Or no?
      I personally think that neither is correct.
      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      Clearly there's something wrong here, because any program contains finite information. The error is that the universe you simulate will have a loss in fidelity (as you can't use every particle in existence to run the simulation), meaning you need more and more matter in each simulation to simulate the same thing.
      That's pretty good thinking.
      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      This is a major and problematic issue in philosophy of mind. I feel compelled to say yes; I think the people who say 'no' (see the 'China brain' thought experiment) are erroneously forgetting that the soul is not some kind of perfect, detached object. The 'soul' (let's say 'consciousness' to be more precise and scientific) arises from processes in the brain which are emulated in our neurons. It seems absurd to suggest that the water and protein and fats and ions et. al. are the necessary factor for consciousness; the sensible solution is that it is the processes themselves, regardless of how they are physically embodied (a brain made of neurons, or of wooden parts, or of silicon microchips), are what is important.
      I am not sure that the soul, and consciousness, are the exact same concept. I think that this is an assumption on your part, though I believe you are correct about the nature of consciousness, at least. As far as the "soul" is concerned (if such a concept exists), I am not sure.
      ---o--- my DCs say I'm dreamy.

    9. #9
      Xei
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      Words are not objectively real; humans define them, not discover them. If we define soul in an equivalent way to consciousness, they're the same, if we don't, they're not.

      Yeah I'm saying god plays dice. Or at least, there is no good reason that he shouldn't, and that is the simplest interpretation of quantum physics that we have. There's no reason reality on a fundamental scale should be explainable in terms of objects we find intuitive due to our familiarity with them on our scale. The world looks non-probabilistic because that's the well-understood result of loads of probabilistic things happening together.

      In order do determine whether or not an algorithm is intelligent, again it's all just a matter of definitions. We need to define intelligence in order to have a discussion about it.

    10. #10
      A 40 Ton Pink Bear <span class='glow_EE82EE'>Meakel</span>'s Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      In order do determine whether or not an algorithm is intelligent, again it's all just a matter of definitions. We need to define intelligence in order to have a discussion about it.
      I would say that intelligence would be the ability for abstract thought. To distance yourself and think in other perspectives.
      Jen was 13 years old. A fairly normal girl. She spent a lot of time online.
      One day, she made a new friend. He liked the same bands, worried about the same subjects.
      They decided to meet at the local mall. She went. So did he.
      Only he wasn't in junior high.
      HE WAS A 1500 LB GRIZZLY BEAR.
      1 in 5 children online get eaten by wild bears. And you didn't even know bears could type.

    11. #11
      Xei
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      So you would not consider dogs intelligent? It seems difficult to imagine that they engage in 'abstraction' in the sense of mathematics or metaphors.

    12. #12
      A 40 Ton Pink Bear <span class='glow_EE82EE'>Meakel</span>'s Avatar
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      Hmm. You're right. Maybe self awareness?
      Jen was 13 years old. A fairly normal girl. She spent a lot of time online.
      One day, she made a new friend. He liked the same bands, worried about the same subjects.
      They decided to meet at the local mall. She went. So did he.
      Only he wasn't in junior high.
      HE WAS A 1500 LB GRIZZLY BEAR.
      1 in 5 children online get eaten by wild bears. And you didn't even know bears could type.

    13. #13
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      Personally I think intelligence refers more to the capacity for learning.

    14. #14
      Haunted by entropy. Achievements:
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      Words are not objectively real; humans define them, not discover them. If we define soul in an equivalent way to consciousness, they're the same, if we don't, they're not.
      Surely, words and concepts are stored SOMEHOW in our brains. Therefore, they are a physical part of the universe. If we define soul in an equivalent way to consciousness (as we understand it), they're the same. If we don't, they may not be, but we don't really know that, at all. It would depend on HOW you define "soul".

      The following is a play on words to show why I do not understand your points. They are not necessarily statements based off of what I believe.

      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      Yeah I'm saying god plays dice. Or at least, there is no good reason that he shouldn't, and that is the simplest interpretation of quantum physics that we have.
      Yeah I'm saying god does not play dice. Or at least, there is no good reason that he should, and that is the simplest interpretation of predetermination that we have.
      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      There's no reason reality on a fundamental scale should be explainable in terms of objects we find intuitive due to our familiarity with them on our scale.
      There's no reason reality on a fundamental scale should be explainable in terms of prabability, due to our familiarity with it on our scale.
      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      The world looks non-probabilistic because that's the well-understood result of loads of probabilistic things happening together.
      The world looks prababilistic because that's the well-understood result of loads of unprobabilistic things happening together.


      The possibility of predetermination does not rely on having "a good reason", being explainable in terms of probability, familiarity, or how the world "looks". Furthermore, most of these factors will vary, depending on point of view. The world really doesn't "look" predetermined OR probabilistic to me.
      Last edited by sloth; 07-15-2011 at 03:21 PM.
      ---o--- my DCs say I'm dreamy.

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      Now here's the real kicker: can you be sure that this hasn't already happened and that WE are the simulations in a computer?

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      Quote Originally Posted by Supernova View Post
      Now here's the real kicker: can you be sure that this hasn't already happened and that WE are the simulations in a computer?
      One cannot be sure of anything. Believing that one is sure of something does not make it so, and the possibility ALWAYS remains that he is wrong.
      Supernova likes this.
      ---o--- my DCs say I'm dreamy.

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      Quote Originally Posted by sloth View Post
      One cannot be sure of anything. Believing that one is sure of something does not make it so, and the possibility ALWAYS remains that he is wrong.
      Wonderfully stated. The question I posed was examined in an episode of Through The Wormhole, and this thread reminded me of it.

    18. #18
      To infinity and beyond! littledreamer's Avatar
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      We don't know everything. For all we know, if such a simulation ran there could be a overwhelming amount of A's that turn out as Y's, and visa versa.
      In other words, as a dumbed-down example, if an egg balanced on a roof in our universe fell off the right side, what's to say that in the simulated universe something we do not know of or understand had changed the fate of the egg, causing it to fall off the left side? The universe and how it unravels is probably much more complicated than we could possibly ever understand. There is no way we could possibly ever know all of the factors that influence how we came to be, much less write it all in a program.
      The statement below is the truth.
      The statement above is a lie.

    19. #19
      A 40 Ton Pink Bear <span class='glow_EE82EE'>Meakel</span>'s Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by littledreamer View Post
      We don't know everything. For all we know, if such a simulation ran there could be a overwhelming amount of A's that turn out as Y's, and visa versa.
      In other words, as a dumbed-down example, if an egg balanced on a roof in our universe fell off the right side, what's to say that in the simulated universe something we do not know of or understand had changed the fate of the egg, causing it to fall off the left side? The universe and how it unravels is probably much more complicated than we could possibly ever understand. There is no way we could possibly ever know all of the factors that influence how we came to be, much less write it all in a program.
      The question is assuming we figure it out and get it right. All hypothetical.
      Jen was 13 years old. A fairly normal girl. She spent a lot of time online.
      One day, she made a new friend. He liked the same bands, worried about the same subjects.
      They decided to meet at the local mall. She went. So did he.
      Only he wasn't in junior high.
      HE WAS A 1500 LB GRIZZLY BEAR.
      1 in 5 children online get eaten by wild bears. And you didn't even know bears could type.

    20. #20
      Haunted by entropy. Achievements:
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      Maekel is right. Whether or not such a simulation is possible is completely irrelavent to the idea that we are exploring.

      I was wondering when someone would pull that.
      ---o--- my DCs say I'm dreamy.

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