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How could a sim prove he's a sim?


bombus
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I have read quite a bit about quantum physics, conciousness (including quantum conciousness), relativity, the double slit experiment, schrodingers cat, the planck constant, dark matter etc etc etc

 

You must have heard about the idea that we could be living in a computer simulation, (see the paper by Nick Bostrum)..

 

Is there a way a sim could prove that s/he is indeed a sim and not 'real'?

 

Is the planck constant the pixel size of our host computer's capability?

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The philosophical problem that Bombus refers to is an old one. It is known in some variations as the 'Brain-in-the-Tank" scenario, in which a human brain is suspended in a vat of liquid and attached to various electrodes that provide stimulation to the brain. These electrodes simulate perfectly the sensations that we associate with our daily lives (conversation, eating, running, etc) although there is no source for the stimuli other than the computer program feeding electrical impulses through the wires.

 

As you may all notice, this is the premise, with few alterations, of the Matrix movies.

 

I am skeptical that we are in such a world, or that we could ever know that we were in one. I suppose that if we all started noticing extremely anomalous behavior, such as any of Newton's laws of motion being contravened, or the gravitational field strength of Earth dropping to zero, we could justifiably suspect that our world is a computer program and that the anomalies are computer errors.

 

So, if you ever see a vampire or a ghost, remember: Its just a system error.

 

This argument is little more than a contemporary revision of the argument given by Descartes in Meditations on First Philosophy that he could not trust his perceptions on the grounds that an evil demon might, conceivably, be controlling his every experience. It is also (though more distantly) related to Descartes' argument that he cannot trust his perceptions because he may be dreaming. In this latter argument the worry about active deception is removed.

 

I advise everyone to examine the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on the subject:

 

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/brain-vat/

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You know when you are a sim when you look at the laws of physics closely enough, and find the architects fudged it and used random number generators to populate quantum data. ;)

 

 

Edit: Oh, and when you can't pick up an ET radio transmission for the life of you: sorry, its only a sim of one world and many generalized stars.

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I read a suggestion by a phisisist-philosopher that one way to tell would be to look for dissapearing glitches or changing constants -- if, for example, the speed of light were to suddenly change and, at the same time, the phenomena whereby x happens under certain conditions (espesially where x is pretty dam paradoxical or just plain wierd) were to stop occouring, it could represent the maintainers of the system 'patching' the universe after finding a bug.

 

Sort of like:

 

Bug QP1522458

Effected systems Universe simulator v5.2.*

Symptoms -- matter dissapears when equidistant from two identically-luminecent pulsars

Cause -- two identically strong light waves coming from exactly opposite directions will, under certain conditions, have a combined $velocity of 0, an unexpected situation causing their wavelengths to stack in an infinite loop resulting in a buffer overflow that over-rights any local $matter variables, effectively setting the value to 0 and causing the matter to cease to exist.

Resolution -- patch F54215454687654324658 slightly lowers c to prevent this situation occourning.

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this is the most amusing thread i've read yet!

 

as to my opinion on sims...i don't think a sim would be capable of detecting whether he/she indeed is a sim. a programmer and technology has to be that good/advanced to be able to create a sim with such independent awareness.:D

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This is a very interesting question, and it is something that I've thought about before. If you are an Atheist, you can wonder about how the universe can be stable enough to support intelligent life without some type of programmed management system such as a computer program. If you are a Creationist, you can wonder about why and how God created us. Nothing in the Bible seems to be directly against God using a computer. Perhaps he said, "Let there be light" using a voice recognition system on his computer.

 

Of course, you will have to think about what type of world would contain a computer that contains our universe. Is it similar to our world? Would it have other humans living lives like we do? Would humans create our universe for scientific testing, or could this possibly be one large video game?

 

What if these humans that created our Universe are also Sims? What if the humans that created those Sims are also Sims? Perhaps the Universe contains infinite layers of computers running simulation programs. Maybe the computers actually control everything, and we just live our lives acting like we are in control.

 

As far as looking for glitches, I'm not sure if that could prove anything. A computer containing our universe would be much more complex and powerful than our computers. What if they don't contain glitches? Maybe they automatically detect glitches and pause our simulation until the glitch is fixed.

 

Of course, everything I just said is probably just my imagination going crazy after being on the computer for over 10 hours today...

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The fact that we're thinking bout it...the programmer out there must be on a roll!:D

 

If we are just simulations...then why do we have to end? what is the point of death?

 

If we are just simulations...death seems too cruel.

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The fact that we're thinking bout it...the programmer out there must be on a roll!:D

 

He or she might be freaking out and about ready to delete everyone who read this thread before the truth spreads... :)

 

If we are just simulations...then why do we have to end? what is the point of death?

 

Death is usually a part of any simulation of life that we create. Your character can die in most first-person video games. In our simulations of civilization, it doesn't always show people die, but you might see the population count drop after a disaster. Even in Roller Coaster Tycoon the people in the simulation can die. If you ever play that game, make sure you put brakes on the roller coasters! :P

 

If we are just simulations...death seems too cruel.

 

What makes you think death is cruel? I can't think of anyone who died and lived to talk about it.

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I read a suggestion by a phisisist-philosopher that one way to tell would be to look for dissapearing glitches or changing constants -- if' date=' for example, the speed of light were to suddenly change and, at the same time, the phenomena whereby x happens under certain conditions (espesially where x is pretty dam paradoxical or just plain wierd) were to stop occouring, it could represent the maintainers of the system 'patching' the universe after finding a bug.

 

Sort of like:

 

[b']Bug QP1522458[/b]

Effected systems Universe simulator v5.2.*

Symptoms -- matter dissapears when equidistant from two identically-luminecent pulsars

Cause -- two identically strong light waves coming from exactly opposite directions will, under certain conditions, have a combined $velocity of 0, an unexpected situation causing their wavelengths to stack in an infinite loop resulting in a buffer overflow that over-rights any local $matter variables, effectively setting the value to 0 and causing the matter to cease to exist.

Resolution -- patch F54215454687654324658 slightly lowers c to prevent this situation occourning.

 

Hah! The thing is, maybe those 'glitches' and 'anomalous behaviours' are already known but just ignored! Take Quantum Physics for example - it's absolute nonsense, but it is correct (else we woudn't be typing this on a computer which relies on quantum mechanical engineering).

 

The reason I mentioned the double slit experiment, the fundamental problems with conciousness (and whether free will is just an illusion etc), dark matter, even relativity is because all these observed phenomena just don't seem to make any sense! The double slit experiment defies all logic! The planck constant is described by some as the grainyness of the universe - should that read the pixel resolution of the universe? In a computer simulation who needs logic!?

 

I think particle physicists, scientists analysing conciousness, neurologists, computer scientists and scientists investigating psi should start talking to each other a lot more.

 

I would even venture that the next major step in science (the grand unifying theory and all that) will NOT come from the fields of particle physics, but from

psychology, or a related area.

 

Oh, and when we die do we then see the Blue Screen Of Death? Maybe we just go to the next level...

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You know when you are a sim when you look at the laws of physics closely enough' date=' and find the architects fudged it and used random number generators to populate quantum data. ;)

 

 

Edit: Oh, and when you can't pick up an ET radio transmission for the life of you: sorry, its only a sim of one world and many generalized stars.[/quote']

 

 

Sorry, missed this one! I think you get my point!

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The reason I mentioned the double slit experiment, the fundamental problems with conciousness (and whether free will is just an illusion etc), dark matter, even relativity is because all these observed phenomena just don't seem to make any sense!

I don't fully understand what phenomena you refer to. However, as an aside, free will probably is an illusion. It seems like you have contemplated this, so I don't need to elaborate.

 

The double slit experiment defies all logic!

It is only illogical from a certain point of view. The ideas of quantum mechanics have explained, to a certain extent, the curious findings of the double-slit experiment. One of the limitations of logic is that it tends to be deductive always, that is we conclude things from certain premises. When, in reality, all of human discovery is essentially inductive. That is, we formulate laws based on observations. This does not mean we should abandon reason, but that we should remain flexible in our concepts of what appears logical or illogical.

 

 

I think particle physicists, scientists analysing conciousness, neurologists, computer scientists and scientists investigating psi should start talking to each other a lot more.

What is psi? If it is some kind of new-age spiritual theory, than scientists should not be talking to people that are researching psi. It is only a waste of their time.

 

I would even venture that the next major step in science (the grand unifying theory and all that) will NOT come from the fields of particle physics, but from

psychology, or a related area.

I do not think so. Psychology is defined and determined by the neurological processes. Thus, psychology is really a labeling system for different patterns of neuron firings and brain hormone levels, etc. For example, the psychological phenomenon called 'anger' has a measurable, albeit not fully understood, chemical signature. Scientists find that neurology is more fundamental and enlightening than conventional psychology.

 

However, all of this is academic. Why would the next revolution in science come from neurology or psychology? Certainly great innovations in those fields are being made, but discoveries in quantum mechanics are more fundamental than discoveries in psychology or neurology are, since both of those are dependent upon the workings of quantum mechanics. For me, the importance of a scientific discovery can be determined by how fundamentally it changes our understanding of the world. Therefore, I think that modern physics holds the greatest potential for revelations.

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What makes you think death is cruel? I can't think of anyone who died and lived to talk about it.

 

If I were the programmer, I would want my sims to live forever. I cannot make reall essences or persons, I might as well make whatever I can closest to it last.

 

I would think death is cruel for a sim. It hasn't even lived, and yet it has died.

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If I were the programmer, I would want my sims to live forever.

 

When I play SimCity, I'm always clicking on that "disaster" button. It makes it more interesting! :D

 

Of course, if I thought the sims actually had feelings, I would feel very differently.

 

I would think death is cruel for a sim. It hasn't even lived, and yet it has died.

 

What do you mean? It did "live" until it died.

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I don't fully understand what phenomena you refer to. However' date=' as an aside, free will probably is an illusion. It seems like you have contemplated this, so I don't need to elaborate.

 

 

It is only illogical from a certain point of view. The ideas of quantum mechanics have explained, to a certain extent, the curious findings of the double-slit experiment. One of the limitations of logic is that it tends to be deductive always, that is we conclude things from certain premises. When, in reality, all of human discovery is essentially inductive. That is, we formulate laws based on observations. This does not mean we should abandon reason, but that we should remain flexible in our concepts of what [i']appears[/i] logical or illogical.

 

 

 

What is psi? If it is some kind of new-age spiritual theory, than scientists should not be talking to people that are researching psi. It is only a waste of their time.

 

 

I do not think so. Psychology is defined and determined by the neurological processes. Thus, psychology is really a labeling system for different patterns of neuron firings and brain hormone levels, etc. For example, the psychological phenomenon called 'anger' has a measurable, albeit not fully understood, chemical signature. Scientists find that neurology is more fundamental and enlightening than conventional psychology.

 

However, all of this is academic. Why would the next revolution in science come from neurology or psychology? Certainly great innovations in those fields are being made, but discoveries in quantum mechanics are more fundamental than discoveries in psychology or neurology are, since both of those are dependent upon the workings of quantum mechanics. For me, the importance of a scientific discovery can be determined by how fundamentally it changes our understanding of the world. Therefore, I think that modern physics holds the greatest potential for revelations.

 

 

Well, to put it simply, I think consciousness itself may be able to affect reality. I think the act of conscious observation may be able to make wave functions become discreet values. I think once consciouness is fully understood we will realise that our discoveries in quantum physics are actually shaped by our consciousness. Conciousness may actually have the power to create form out of randomness at the quantum level - create reality in effect!

 

One analogy is this: I have a solid block of marble and I say to you, there is a perfect bust of you within this. "Rubbish" you reply. So I then start chipping away at the block and a month later there is a perfect bust of you and I say "told you so!".

 

I think this is what may be happening in particle physics/quantum physics. For example, we know that he Bohr model of the atom is actually just a a way of thinking about atoms but isn't really that accurate, because electrons do not actually ever have a definite position, just a fuzzy area where thay can potentially exist. Well, even this idea is probably just as false!

 

Conciousness is a really wierd thing. Did you know, for example, that general anaesthetics work on the sub-atomic level and that nobody really understands how they work? I would bet that reality and conciousness are fundamentally linked and one day we will find out just how much and it will alter the way we look at, well, everything!

 

I suggest you read stuff by Penrose and Hammeroff for more about this kinda stuff!

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Its an interesting idea that we're all sims, but one i hope isn't true thats for sure - but still when you look at it we have alot fixed parameters within our lives.

 

7 days in a week, 24 hours in a day, 12 months a year . . . .each of our days are named the same from one week to the next. These are the sort of things you're do if you were programming - its easier than random day naming . . . . though on the other hand im sure someone playing god with us would make Christmas last longer, they would see its the one day where alot of the world is happy. And how the hell do you simulate feelings like sex?

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