• noAxioms
    1.4k
    Without axioms it's difficult to get reasoning off the ground. You have to start somewhere, right?fishfry
    I start with a few.
    1) It's not all a lie. I mean, I can't know that, but if it's all crap, then I can know nothing regardless of how I interpret the lies, so I have no choice but to give weight to the empirical.
    2) It's not about me. If I am the center of the universe, the rest is probably a lie. So I pretty much find that any view that puts me, humanity, Earth, the universe itself, as the center of something larger, to be unproductive.

    Descartes apparently worried about it all being a lie. I reject that road only because it is untravelable, not because it is wrong. But it seems that modern science has thrown a cold paid of doubt on the validity of "I think therefore I am".

    VR says that all you know is potentially lies. You are not of this universe, but rather you are experiencing it. All very dualistic.
    If you think about it, the view can be empirically tested. Not so much with the simulation hypothesis.
    — noAxioms
    Yes but everyone agrees with that. There's a world "out there," and we experience it through our senses.
    fishfry

    Not sure what you mean by empirical testing here.
    As I said, one can empirically examine the causal chain that makes the body walk for instance. In a VR, it does not originate in the brain of the avatar, but external, from the mind controlling the body. Say you're playing tomb raider. Open up Lara Croft's head. No brain in there, or if there is, it's just a prop. None of the stuff she does has its cause originating from there.
    Why does nobody pursue such investigations? Is technogoly still so backwards that it can't be done? They already have machines that can detect a decision having been made before you are aware of having done so yourself.

    It's always been unclear to me which aspect of simulate/VR Bostrom is arguing.
    Definitely the former. But Elon musk is arguing for VR, and references Bostrom's paper to support it, so he has no idea what he's talking about.
    — noAxioms

    Right. And I saw a TED talk where George Smoot, the guy who discovered the cosmic background radiation anisotropy, was enthusiastically advocating simulation theory. Neil deGrasse Tyson too. A lot of people who should know better say trendy things for no reason at all. More arguments against simulation IMO.
    Trendy, yes. Kind of dumbs down the validity of any scientific discovery. Why would a simulation choose to display CMB anisotropy if that isn't what a real universe would look like?


    I've seen the argument -- perhaps this wasn't in the original Bostrom paper, I don't recall -- that we should consider Pong, the original video game. versus the amazingly realistic video games of todayfishfry
    I think that example was being used as an illustration of Moore's law, and not as support for a VR hypothesis.
  • RogueAI
    2.5k
    That's one of my objections to simulation theory. The "progress in video games" argument" fails. We've made no progress in simulating consciousness.fishfry

    :up:
  • RogueAI
    2.5k
    But if my consciousness itself is simulated, then the simulation argument requires that consciousness is computational, a point I strenuously disagree with, with Penrose and Searle on my side.fishfry

    Why do you think it's not computational?
  • fishfry
    2.9k
    I would put things differently. We have clearly made tremendous progress in simulating all manner of physical processes, including those happening inside brains. Where we have made no progress is in developing a conceptual framework for connecting such physical processes with the subjective experience of consciousness.Echarmion

    But you are agreeing with me. We have made zero progress in simulating or implementing consciousness.

    We are already able to create systems that appear like a conscious subject on a passing glance (though humans also occasionally ascribe consciousness to anything from cats to rocks, so perhaps that's not surprising).Echarmion

    Yes, the humans are the weak point in the Turing test. And LLMs are not conscious or intelligent, they're just "stochastic parrots."

    It seems likely that we'll be able to create artificial systems which are indistinguishable from conscious subjects in a number of circumstances in the near future.Echarmion

    I'll take the other side of that bet, having observed the AI hype cycle since the 1970s. And even if I'm wrong about that, we still haven't implemented consciousness. And you agree with me.

    Perhaps this will bring us closer to understanding our own consciousness, but perhaps not.Echarmion

    Most likely not. The current mania for LLMs is literally silly. Their utility is already fading as we've run out of training data, and they're starting to feed on their own online output.
  • fishfry
    2.9k
    Without axioms it's difficult to get reasoning off the ground. You have to start somewhere, right?
    — fishfry
    I start with a few.
    1) It's not all a lie. I mean, I can't know that, but if it's all crap, then I can know nothing regardless of how I interpret the lies, so I have no choice but to give weight to the empirical.
    2) It's not about me. If I am the center of the universe, the rest is probably a lie. So I pretty much find that any view that puts me, humanity, Earth, the universe itself, as the center of something larger, to be unproductive.
    noAxioms

    So you DO have axioms :-)

    Descartes apparently worried about it all being a lie. I reject that road only because it is untravelable, not because it is wrong. But it seems that modern science has thrown a cold paid of doubt on the validity of "I think therefore I am".noAxioms

    It works for me, as an objection to the VR aspect of the simulation argument. Even if I'm living in a realistic VR, that doesn't explain the "I" that's being deceived.

    Not sure what you mean by empirical testing here.
    As I said, one can empirically examine the causal chain that makes the body walk for instance. In a VR, it does not originate in the brain of the avatar, but external, from the mind controlling the body. Say you're playing tomb raider. Open up Lara Croft's head. No brain in there, or if there is, it's just a prop. None of the stuff she does has its cause originating from there.
    Why does nobody pursue such investigations? Is technogoly still so backwards that it can't be done? They already have machines that can detect a decision having been made before you are aware of having done so yourself.
    noAxioms

    I think Bostrom is trolling us and can't believe so many otherwise smart people take him seriously. Likewise Tegmark's mathematical universe. An even more obvious troll.

    Trendy, yes. Kind of dumbs down the validity of any scientific discovery. Why would a simulation choose to display CMB anisotropy if that isn't what a real universe would look like?noAxioms

    Why does Ms. Pacman have to eat those silly pellets if we, the simulators, have a much wider variety of nutritious and tasty food? In fact video games are the counterexample to the claim that our simulators' world must be similar to our own.


    I think that example was being used as an illustration of Moore's law, and not as support for a VR hypothesis.noAxioms

    Hmmm. Moore's law is just a heuristic, and is already failing. It's not a law of nature. You could be right, perhaps I'm misremembering where I saw the argument [that video games have advanced greatly therefore simulations will eventually be indistinguishable from reality].

    In any event, if you regard our media environment as a simulation, it's already taken for reality by billions of us. You know the meme going around. The Amish didn't contract covid, because they don't watch tv.
  • fishfry
    2.9k
    But if my consciousness itself is simulated, then the simulation argument requires that consciousness is computational, a point I strenuously disagree with, with Penrose and Searle on my side.
    — fishfry

    Why do you think it's not computational?
    RogueAI

    Searle. Bit flipping lacks intentionality.

    Is your web browser passing judgment on the opinions you post to this site? Does Ms. Pac-Man experience pleasure eating white dots, and terror being gobbled by monsters? The ideas are ridiculous on their face. The onus is on those who claim that a digital circuit could be self-aware. And to anticipate a common objection, the brain does not operate by the same principles as a Turing machine.
  • noAxioms
    1.4k
    requires that consciousness is computational, a point I strenuously disagree with, with Penrose and Searle on my side.
    — fishfry

    Why do you think it's not computational?
    RogueAI
    With the Penrose & Searle reference right there? The answer is obvious. Bostrom obviously doesn't hold this view.

    So you DO have axioms :-)fishfry
    I hold them to be true out of necessity, not because they necessarily are. Another one then I forgot to list: No magic. "I don't know, needs more investigation" is a far better answer than the god of the gaps explanation. Every time one of those open questions finally gets answered, it's never magic. The magic explanation is thus far on the wrong end of a shutout.

    Why does the sun cross the sky each day? God carries it thus. What's have we learned since? Clue: It isn't that Earth goes around the sun, since it doesn't do that each day, yet that's the rebuttal typically given.

    Likewise Tegmark's mathematical universe. An even more obvious troll.fishfry
    You may not buy into Tegmark's suggestions, but that doesn't make him a troll. I don't agree with him either, but I still read the book and find it revolutionary. His attempts at empirical evidence are completely faulty, but one is expected to pony up evidence to bump the idea from interpretation to actual 'theory'. He doesn't call it that, only calling it 'hypothesis', but even that word implies falsifiability.

    Is your web browser passing judgment on the opinions you post to this site?fishfry
    Matter of time. Right now it only passes judgment on my choice of sites on which I choose to post my opinions.

    Does Ms. Pac-Man experience pleasure eating white dots,
    Obviously yes. As a Searle fan, you should know this. The question is does Blinky experience pleasure eating Ms Pacman? Blinky is an NPC. Ms Pacman is not. The answer there is no only because such experience would provide no benefit to Blinky, so there's no reason for it to be there. This would not be the case in Bostrom's sim, were it possible.

    the brain does not operate by the same principles as a Turing machine.
    Agree, but a physicalist would say that the brain could be implemented by a Turing machine, just as it could be pencil and paper. Arguably, the latter might actually be more efficient. Turing machines are not designed for practicality. They're a model of computability.
  • fishfry
    2.9k
    So you DO have axioms :-)
    — fishfry
    I hold them to be true out of necessity, not because they necessarily are. Another one then I forgot to list: No magic. "I don't know, needs more investigation" is a far better answer than the god of the gaps explanation. Every time one of those open questions finally gets answered, it's never magic. The magic explanation is thus far on the wrong end of a shutout.
    noAxioms

    Why do people who reject God accept the Great Simulator? The GS is just God constrained to computability.

    Why does the sun cross the sky each day? God carries it thus. What's have we learned since? Clue: It isn't that Earth goes around the sun, since it doesn't do that each day, yet that's the rebuttal typically given.noAxioms

    One could write out the equations for a geocentric solar system -- hmm, I mean Earth system! -- and get the exact same predictions. It's just a matter of perspective and utility. A frame of reference problem.

    So: "God does it -- harumphh, you ignorant peasant!" but "Oh the Great Simulator does it, you're a wise TED talker." That's the logic I disagree with. Simulation theory is just theology in a black turtleneck and jeans.

    Likewise Tegmark's mathematical universe. An even more obvious troll.
    — fishfry
    You may not buy into Tegmark's suggestions, but that doesn't make him a troll.
    noAxioms

    I laid out my case that Tegmark is a troll here ...

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/904316

    Saying that the world "is" math rather than is described or approximated by math is such a massive category error that there is no possibility that Tegmark isn't trolling us.

    I don't agree with him either, but I still read the book and find it revolutionary. His attempts at empirical evidence are completely faulty, but one is expected to pony up evidence to bump the idea from interpretation to actual 'theory'. He doesn't call it that, only calling it 'hypothesis', but even that word implies falsifiability.noAxioms

    How does he get around the category error problem, confusing the map with the territory, or the program with its execution? My hat is off to you for having read the source material.

    Is your web browser passing judgment on the opinions you post to this site?
    — fishfry
    Matter of time. Right now it only passes judgment on my choice of sites on which I choose to post my opinions.
    noAxioms

    You give your browser far too much credit. It passes no judgment on anything. You are the one who has judgment. The browser just flips bits on your computer to implement certain communication protocols that it uses to exchange data with a web server. And the data has no meaning, it's just a long string of bits. Humans give it interpretation and meaning.

    Does Ms. Pac-Man experience pleasure eating white dots,
    Obviously yes.
    noAxioms

    You can't believe that. Are you joking with me or making some kind of point I'm not understanding? It's not possible that you believe that literally.

    As a Searle fan, you should know this.noAxioms

    Searle's rolling in his grave and he's not even dead. That's not true. Searle denies that bit-flipping instantiates intentionality or feelings like pleasure.

    The question is does Blinky experience pleasure eating Ms Pacman? Blinky is an NPC. Ms Pacman is not. The answer there is no only because such experience would provide no benefit to Blinky, so there's no reason for it to be there. This would not be the case in Bostrom's sim, were it possible.noAxioms

    You are totally trolling me. I am really puzzled by this. You can't mean what you are writing.

    the brain does not operate by the same principles as a Turing machine.
    Agree, but a physicalist would say that the brain could be implemented by a Turing machine, just as it could be pencil and paper. Arguably, the latter might actually be more efficient. Turing machines are not designed for practicality. They're a model of computability.
    noAxioms

    No. A computationalist would say that. A physicalist, which Searle is, would say that something unique to life implements consciousness, but whatever it is, it's not computational. Or maybe he didn't say that, but I did. That's what I tend to believe. Physicalism but not computationalism.

    I'm still disturbed by the things you claim to believe.

    Ms. Pac-Man experiences pleasure? What on earth can you mean?

    Anyway if simulation theory is true, we're all characters in a video game in an alien bar, and they're about to run out of quarters.
  • Patterner
    599
    Why is the burden of proof on me? We know mind and consciousness exist. The existence of mind-independent stuff is simply asserted. I would like to see a proof that this stuff exists. Something a little more robust than "go kick a rock".RogueAI
    I don't know enough about this. Is the idea that the many minds/consciousnesses all think up the same things that we generally take to be mind-independent stuff?

    Or is there another explanation for our agreement on so much of what's mind-independent?

    Perhaps only my mind exists, and, since it thinks up what I usually take to be other minds, it only makes sense that I think them up to perceive the same things that I take to be mind-independent?
  • noAxioms
    1.4k
    Patterner bumped this old post, so I tracked down what was being referenced.

    I'm not making any claim other than we know mind and consciousness exist. It's up to the people asserting mindless stuff (i.e., matter) exists and consciousness and mind emerge from it to prove it.RogueAI

    Minds/consciousness can't come from matter, therefore simulation theory is false.
    — RogueAI

    How do you prove that?
    — Benj96

    Why is the burden of proof on me? We know mind and consciousness exist. The existence of mind-independent stuff is simply asserted. I would like to see a proof that this stuff exists. Something a little more robust than "go kick a rock".
    RogueAI
    You're making the strong claim that mind/consciousness can't come from matter, so the burden of proof of that claim is definitely on you. If Bostrom makes the claim that mind/consciousness does emerge from matter, then the burden of proof of that is his. I'm not sure if he's making the claim directly, but his sim argument depends on it, and he's claiming the sim argument, so the burden is still there, as it is on you for your strong claim.

    You make a second claim, that sim theory is false if your assertion is true. To me, that's another thing in need of proof. You arrange matter into a person and somehow a mind thingy finds it. What's different about the simulation that the same thing wouldn't happen, that the simulated thing would be conscious the same way you claim to be, despite it being attached only to a simulated physical?

    I agree that 'klick a rock' is a catchy phrase, but since the experience of stubbing your toe is identical in the two views, kicking a rock demonstrates nothing. It seems to be a cheap counter to rocks being declared not-real.

    Is the idea that the many minds/consciousnesses all think up the same things that we generally take to be mind-independent stuff?Patterner
    That's a far stronger argument for mind independent stuff. It doesn't refute solipsism since there aren't other minds also agreeing on the rock that you haven't even noticed yet. But similar arguments can be used to refute solipsism.


    Why do people who reject God accept the Great Simulator?fishfry
    More to the point, why would anybody (even Bostrom) accept the SH? People choose a view either because there is evidence or because they want it to be true. The former is a rational motivation and the latter is rationalized. Bostrom's argument seems to attempt to bend the facts horribly to make the hypothesis plausible. This suggests that he wants it to be for some reason, but I cannot fathom why somebody would want to actually believe that. OK, I see why one might want to appear to believe it: Because of the popularity of the idea from movie fiction. He has gained money/status/notoriety from pushing a view that nobody else is in a coherent manner. Elon Musk is a decent example of an incoherent hypothesis, and he's not doing it for the notoriety that he already had. Without knowing it, he pushes for VR, and I can see reasons why somebody might choose that.

    The GS is just God constrained to computability.
    The world simulating us is not constrained to the computability laws that constrain our world. It is thus constrained in Bostrom's view, but not in general. It's sort of a computing version of deism. The creating simulator starts it up, but then steps back and never interferes and lays no demands on what the occupants do, nor does it make any promises to them. The typically posited god usually does have promises and demands, but not necessarily under deism.

    I laid out my case that Tegmark is a troll here ...fishfry
    I haven't got round to replying to that endless topic yet, but Tegmark is more appropriately discussed here since it has little to do with supertasks.

    You say category error: Please explain that without begging a different view. You do explain it there, but you are very much begging a different view when doing so. Tegmark is saying that mathematics (not any mental concept of it) IS the territory. Our abstract usage of mathematics is the map, but that abstraction is not what is the universe.

    How does he get around the category error problem, confusing the map with the territory, or the program with its execution? My hat is off to you for having read the source material.
    It's not much different than all these centuries where the universe was considered to be an 'object', a thing contained by time and in need of creation. They all of a sudden a new view comes along and the category changes. It isn't an object created in time, but rather a structure that contains time. Most people still hold the 'contained by time' view since it is more intuitive. Tegmark is doing something similar: changing the categorical relations. Refute it from its own premises, but not by begging different ones.

    You give your browser far too much credit. It passes no judgment on anything. You are the one who has judgment. The browser just flips bits on your computer to implement certain communication protocols that it uses to exchange data with a web server. And the data has no meaning, it's just a long string of bits. Humans give it interpretation and meaning.
    Your refusal to apply the language you use for human activities to something non-human doesn't mean that the non-human thing isn't doing them.

    Does Ms. Pac-Man experience pleasure eating white dots,
    Obviously yes.
    — noAxioms

    You can't believe that. Are you joking with me or making some kind of point I'm not understanding? It's not possible that you believe that literally.
    Ms Pacman is you. It's a VR game, and you enjoy eating the dots, else you'd not be cramming quarters into the machine. It is a straight up case of dualism. Ms Pacman's consciousness is yours. She is the avatar, who doesn't enjoy the dots any more than you claim your physical avatar enjoys the ice cream.

    Searle's rolling in his grave and he's not even dead. That's not true. Searle denies that bit-flipping instantiates intentionality or feelings like pleasure.
    Searle says exactly that, since what your avatar does instantiates feeling in your mind. Intentionality comes from that mind and not from the avatar. Likewise, Ms Pacman makes no choices on her own, since the intentionality comes from the mind (you) who is obviously very much enjoying eating the dots.

    A physicalist, which Searle is
    Perhaps this is the disconnect. In what way is Searle a physicalist? Usually the term is used for a physical monist: All physics (including people) operate by the laws of physics, every bit of which is arguably computational.; Searle perhaps posits a different kind of matter that he still labels 'physics', but the physics community doesn't since there's been no demonstration of it.

    I'm still disturbed by the things you claim to believe.
    Have I claimed beliefs? Do I believe the rock exists independent of me? Do you know enough of my beliefs to answer that?
    What's the point of sharing them? I try to understand the alternatives, and point out those alternatives to those asserting that some particular view must be the case. I don't think I assert that any particular view must be the case, but maybe I do sometimes. Like I said, I shy away from something like BIV due to it being empty of information, but not because it must be otherwise.

    Anyway if simulation theory is true, we're all characters in a video game
    No, that's if VR is true. SH is not modelled by a video game.
  • Barkon
    112
    Simulation doesn't necessarily mean non-technical. It's not just a simulated phenomenon and that's it. Implying ultimate fakeness to the concept of a simulated universe is wrong.

    If simulated, it is simulated in some logical way; perhaps we just don't understand it.
  • Patterner
    599
    That's a far stronger argument for mind independent stuff. It doesn't refute solipsism since there aren't other minds also agreeing on the rock that you haven't even noticed yet. But similar arguments can be used to refute solipsism.noAxioms
    Yes, for things I haven't even noticed yet. But I think an explanation is needed if I am in a place I've never been, write a list of what I see, and another person in the same situation puts the same things on their list.
  • RogueAI
    2.5k
    You're making the strong claim that mind/consciousness can't come from matter, so the burden of proof of that claim is definitely on you.noAxioms

    For the purposes of this thread, I'm just being agnostic about whether consciousness comes from matter. People should be agnostic about whether matter even exists (we can't be wrong that mind and consciousness exist), but of course very few are. Almost everyone believes matter exists.

    If anyone is asserting matter exists the burden of proof is on them. If they are also asserting mind and consciousness can come from matter somehow, they have an even higher burden of proof.
  • RogueAI
    2.5k
    I don't know enough about this. Is the idea that the many minds/consciousnesses all think up the same things that we generally take to be mind-independent stuff?Patterner

    Yes, this reality is the particular dream the minds have come up with and work unconsciously to maintain coherency. Or there's only one mind, and this reality is what it's dreaming up and we're all dissociated aspects of it, or there's a god and a bunch of minds and this reality is what the god wants us to experience.

    Perhaps only my mind exists, and, since it thinks up what I usually take to be other minds, it only makes sense that I think them up to perceive the same things that I take to be mind-independent?Patterner

    Possibly. Idealism is going to have to posit that for some reason, we're all dreaming of a reality where matter seems to exist. This, to me, seems like less of a problem than the Hard Problem.
  • Patterner
    599
    Idealism is going to have to posit that for some reason, we're all dreaming of a reality where matter seems to exist. This, to me, seems like less of a problem than the Hard Problem.RogueAI
    It seems odd enough that beings of a certain nature would come up with the idea of a reality that was of a nature unlike anything they had or could ever experience. Odder still that they would only ever see themselves as inhabiting that reality, and, indeed, being of that nature themselves. That doesn't seem like less of a problem than anything I can think of. :grin: I'll stick with proto-consciousness.
  • fishfry
    2.9k
    Patterner bumped this old post, so I tracked down what was being referenced.

    I'm not making any claim other than we know mind and consciousness exist. It's up to the people asserting mindless stuff (i.e., matter) exists and consciousness and mind emerge from it to prove it.
    — RogueAI

    Minds/consciousness can't come from matter, therefore simulation theory is false.
    — RogueAI

    How do you prove that?
    — Benj96

    Why is the burden of proof on me? We know mind and consciousness exist. The existence of mind-independent stuff is simply asserted. I would like to see a proof that this stuff exists. Something a little more robust than "go kick a rock".
    — RogueAI

    You're making the strong claim that mind/consciousness can't come from matter, so the burden of proof of that claim is definitely on you. If Bostrom makes the claim that mind/consciousness does emerge from matter, then the burden of proof of that is his. I'm not sure if he's making the claim directly, but his sim argument depends on it, and he's claiming the sim argument, so the burden is still there, as it is on you for your strong claim.
    noAxioms

    Me? I make no such claim. I've made the opposite claim. I say that consciousness is physical but not computational. I hope that's clear. Or was that for the other tagged handles?

    You make a second claim, that sim theory is false if your assertion is true. To me, that's another thing in need of proof. You arrange matter into a person and somehow a mind thingy finds it.noAxioms

    Yeah that's a real puzzler. It clearly seems to be going on a lot, so it's true. We just don't know how it works. Sim theory is false because consciousness is not computational. You're right that I assert both those claims.

    By the way, do you believe in intelligent design? If you said that in polite company you'd be shunned. What's the difference between than and sim theory?

    What's different about the simulation that the same thing wouldn't happen, that the simulated thing would be conscious the same way you claim to be, despite it being attached only to a simulated physical?noAxioms

    When I run a simulation of gravity on my computer, nearby bowling balls are not suddenly attracted to it by any amount greater than what can be accounted for by the mass of the computer. A simulation of gravity does not implement gravity. Simulations of brains therefore do not necessarily implement minds. Not saying they don't, just that it's not the case that they necessarily do.

    Why do people who reject God accept the Great Simulator?
    — fishfry
    More to the point, why would anybody (even Bostrom) accept the SH? People choose a view either because there is evidence or because they want it to be true. The former is a rational motivation and the latter is rationalized. Bostrom's argument seems to attempt to bend the facts horribly to make the hypothesis plausible. This suggests that he wants it to be for some reason, but I cannot fathom why somebody would want to actually believe that. OK, I see why one might want to appear to believe it: Because of the popularity of the idea from movie fiction. He has gained money/status/notoriety from pushing a view that nobody else is in a coherent manner. Elon Musk is a decent example of an incoherent hypothesis, and he's not doing it for the notoriety that he already had. Without knowing it, he pushes for VR, and I can see reasons why somebody might choose that.
    noAxioms

    Not the point I was trying to make. The question is, why do we mock the Godly street preacher, and venerate the simulation theory TED talker?

    Again, do you believe in intelligent design? Nothing provokes scientists more than that idea, they hate it. While gladly advocating simulation theory.

    Simulation theory is a theological belief. That's the point I was making. Not, why do people believe in simulation, but why do so many who believe in simulation reject intelligent design or God? I see no difference between "God did it" and "The Great Simulator" did it, except that the GS is required to be a computation, and that makes it less likely than God, because God requires one less assumption.

    The GS is just God constrained to computability.
    The world simulating us is not constrained to the computability laws that constrain our world.
    noAxioms

    This I utterly reject. Simulation theory says we are computations. That can only be understood as computation as we currently understand it. Turing machines, finite state automata, etc.

    If someone is saying we're computations but computations defined differently than they are in computer science, the burden is on them to make that remark coherent.

    It is thus constrained in Bostrom's view, but not in general.noAxioms

    At least Bostrom agrees with me in that regard, then. The word computation has a very specific meaning. For example if the Great Simulator can solve the Halting problem, it's not a computation. Maybe it's a computation with an oracle for the Halting problem. If so, then simulation proponents should make that assumption explicit.

    It's sort of a computing version of deism.noAxioms

    Well then you are agreeing with me. It's a theological claim.

    The creating simulator starts it up, but then steps back and never interferes and lays no demands on what the occupants do, nor does it make any promises to them. The typically posited god usually does have promises and demands, but not necessarily under deism.noAxioms

    So the Great Simulator doesn't ask Abraham to kill his son? Or not mess around with his neighbor's wife? You are stretching a bit now.

    I laid out my case that Tegmark is a troll here ...
    — fishfry
    I haven't got round to replying to that endless topic yet, but Tegmark is more appropriately discussed here since it has little to do with supertasks.
    noAxioms

    As it happens, lately I just respond to my mentions and often have no idea what thread I'm in. But Tegmark's MUH is such a category error that I can't imagine he's serious. I'm sure others have made that point. That MUH is a category error, not necessarily that Tegmark's a troll.

    You say category error: Please explain that without begging a different view. You do explain it there, but you are very much begging a different view when doing so. Tegmark is saying that mathematics (not any mental concept of it) IS the territory. Our abstract usage of mathematics is the map, but that abstraction is not what is the universe.noAxioms

    Well, the map is not the territory. Anyone claiming that the map is the territory is making a category error. I don't think I need to explain that, it's pretty clear. What map is its own territory? Is it a map a map of itself? This is word play. The map is not the territory. I hardly need to defend that proposition.

    It's not much different than all these centuries where the universe was considered to be an 'object', a thing contained by time and in need of creation.noAxioms

    But now we know better. It doesn't need creation, only simulation!! /s

    They all of a sudden a new view comes along and the category changes. It isn't an object created in time, but rather a structure that contains time. Most people still hold the 'contained by time' view since it is more intuitive. Tegmark is doing something similar: changing the categorical relations. Refute it from its own premises, but not by begging different ones.noAxioms

    Having seen what mathematicians mean by structures, from groups, topological spaces, measure spaces, and the like, I find it impossible to comprehend a point of view that claims that these things are flesh and blood. A mathematical structure is a set with some operations and some rules. They can model certain aspects of reality. They are not reality itself.


    Your refusal to apply the language you use for human activities to something non-human doesn't mean that the non-human thing isn't doing them.
    noAxioms

    Your browser does not have an inner life. We've been having a very sensible conversation, but I can't join you in this belief of yours that Ms. Pac-Man experiences pleasure. I literally can't believe you are saying that to me.

    Ms Pacman is you.noAxioms

    I just can't hold up my end of this part of the conversation. What are you talking about? Perhaps if you have been inspired by something you read to assert such an absurdity, you can give me a reference so that I can regain my bearings.

    It's a VR game, and you enjoy eating the dots, else you'd not be cramming quarters into the machine. It is a straight up case of dualism. Ms Pacman's consciousness is yours. She is the avatar, who doesn't enjoy the dots any more than you claim your physical avatar enjoys the ice cream.noAxioms

    Oh I see your point! Thank you for explaining that. She gets her consciousness from me. I enjoy making Ms. Pac-Man eat the dots. I can see that. Ms. Pac-Man derives her inner life from mine.

    That is a very interesting idea.

    You raise a question that I'm not sure I can answer. What is the distinction between my enjoying myself playing the game, and Ms Pac-Man's enjoyment of eating dots? After all, I try to eat the dots and I try to avoid the monsters. I'm the one who has Ms. Pac-Man's experiences, but those are (in your view) her experiences nonetheless. My experience is her experience.

    I haven't got the words or concepts to argue that point but it's a very interesting way to think about it.

    At least I now see what you mean.

    Is this a form of pantheism? I enjoy throwing a rock, and by your theory, the rock enjoys being thrown. Not because it has an inner life, but because it inherits or represents my enjoyment. Is that a fair characterization of your point? I must give this some more thought. I don't think I agree with you, but it is definitely interesting.

    Searle says exactly that, since what your avatar does instantiates feeling in your mind. Intentionality comes from that mind and not from the avatar. Likewise, Ms Pacman makes no choices on her own, since the intentionality comes from the mind (you) who is obviously very much enjoying eating the dots.noAxioms

    But that's his argument against the Chinese room understanding Chinese. He says that we humans provide the meaning or intentionality. He says that the room does NOT have meaning or intentionality.

    You are turning that argument on its head, are you not?

    Perhaps this is the disconnect. In what way is Searle a physicalist?noAxioms

    I believe I saw him in a video lecture say that he thought there's something about life that gives rise to consciousness, but bit flipping is not sufficient. I might be misremembering or mischaracterizing his position.

    Usually the term is used for a physical monist: All physics (including people) operate by the laws of physics, every bit of which is arguably computationalnoAxioms

    Oh no no no no no. Physics is arguably computational, but also arguably not computational. I argue that it is not. Physics is the wrong word here. Physics is the historically contingent human activity of Aristotle and Newton and Einstein explaining why bowling balls fall down. The ultimate nature of the world itself is not necessarily computational. I assume we're talking about the ultimate nature of the world, and not just our latest theory of physics.

    Of course if I stipulated that the physical world is computational and that I am a physicalist, it would follow that I believe the world is computational. But I doubt very much that the world is computational. Computation is far too restrictive. Perhaps the world solves the Halting problem, perhaps it solves some other noncomputable problem, and that's how it manages to work. We just don't know.

    .; Searle perhaps posits a different kind of matter that he still labels 'physics', but the physics community doesn't since there's been no demonstration of it.noAxioms

    Not at all. Plain old matter. But not computational. You at least qualified your claim by saying that physics is arguably computational. It's also arguably not.

    I'm still disturbed by the things you claim to believe.
    Have I claimed beliefs? Do I believe the rock exists independent of me? Do you know enough of my beliefs to answer that?
    noAxioms

    You succeeded in making me understand your point about Ms. Pac-Man and gave me something to think about. I'm no longer disturbed.

    Anyway if simulation theory is true, we're all characters in a video game
    No, that's if VR is true. SH is not modelled by a video game.
    noAxioms

    Ok ... not entirely sure about this. Isn't it the opposite? If my mind is primary and my experiences are an illusion, the illusion-giver, the simulator, may withdraw my reality at any moment. If there's a simulator, they may get bored of providing me with this interesting reality and unplug me, and I'll cease to be.

    And if VR is true, the same thing might happen, but my untethered mind will remain, but devoid of experiences.

    Have I got that right?

    ps -- When I play chess, do you claim that the chess pieces care whether I win or lose? I'm the one who cares. They're just wood or plastic, or bit patterns in the computer.

    I reject your Ms. Pac-Man thesis as well as your misinterpretation of the Chinese room. [But at least I now understand it!]

    The humans care. The objects in a video game or chess game don't care. The Chinese room doesn't understand Chinese.
  • Christoffer
    1.8k
    While I don't believe in the simulation argument because there's no evidence for it, similar to any evidence for a God in theistic arguments, there are points to be made dealing with the concept, since I think the concept in itself usually attributes our own current existence to be of importance to the one's "simulating" us, when in fact we might be unimportant in our current state.

    First, if the world is simulated, why don't its 'designers' simply 'pop out' at times and leave us with some trace of their existence? Guidance through such a virtual world might be helpful, and yet there is no trace of anyone 'programming' or 'guiding' us anywhere.jasonm

    Why would it be helpful? If you help a moth shed its cocoon you will doom it to weakness in nature and death. "Helping" us out may be contradictory to the purpose of the simulation.

    On top of that, a simulation of this magnitude would more likely have an end goal, similar to the concept of emerging a god out of the determinism of this chaotic system. That "god" wasn't the start of everything, but instead being the goal; us, or a collective of intelligences throughout the universe merging together civilisations and technology into a final form so fundamental that it would be able to manifest reality on its own, i.e the equivalent of a god. That could be a purpose of a higher being simulating us.

    Or, we're observed and there's no interest in helping us out because that's not the purpose of the simulation. It could be simulating for the argument of how to avoid a downfall of society, as a demonstration for people outside the simulation to understand the importance of a certain societal practice that avoids self-destruction and that our simulation is a case-point to show what happens without that societal practice in order to teach young and ignorant of the reasons why they implemented it in society.

    The list goes on for the purposes of a simulation and very few would constitute a reason to interfere and "help" us.

    Similarly, why don't we sometimes notice violations of the laws of physics? If it's just a simulation, does it matter if the laws of physics are perfectly consistent? This applies to any law of this simulated world, including propositional logic. Again, if you are there, leave us with some trace of your existence through 'miracles' and other types of anomalies that our world does not seem to have. And yet there seems to be no instances of this kind.jasonm

    Why must the miracles or attributes of such anomalies be understandable or within a human concept? Maybe black holes and quantum superpositions and virtual particles are just such anomalies. Or if the simulation is so fundamental that it basically simulates the most fundamental aspects of reality itself, we wouldn't be able to find anything odd as everything is consistent with the laws of physics.

    But on top of that, there's a problem with the frame of reference. If all our science and all our knowledge about reality comes from the foundation of this simulation, then our frame of reference is the reality of the simulation itself. What are you supposed to compare it to? You don't have an original to compare the map against, to reference Baudrillard's ideas.

    Third: what type of computing power would be required to 'house' this virtual universe? Are we talking about computers that are bigger than the universe itself? Is this possible even in principle?jasonm

    This is the problem with the simulation argument. It stems from a logical argument of probability about what we human's are likely to do, or what is likely to happen if technology evolves, but it ignores the physical nature of computational power. Yes, there might be computational power found in technology that we've yet to invent, but the calculation required for handling data down to the Planck scale at all positions of reality is so extreme it reaches either infinity or requires the same size as reality itself. Whatever it is, it would most likely have to be something beyond what is capable within this reality, something within some higher form of reality in which manifesting our reality isn't that big of a deal.

    Then, we can also view it through the concept of The Matrix and Dark City. In which the system that handles the simulation simply guard us from ever knowing about it. Since the ones doing the simulation have absolute control, they can simply tune our knowledge away from us, leaving us able to see these breaks in the simulation, but we're simply "edited" to not spot them.

    That's also similar to Westworld:

    ...it doesn't look like anything to me...

    In that sense, I think the notion that the universe is 'simulated' is completely superfluous and can therefore be explained away as being 'highly improbable.'jasonm

    Yes, as said, the argument is merely a logical one about progression of technology, but ignores computational problems. It's also based on humans conducting the simulation and we wouldn't need to simulate at this magnitude for any purposes other than creation itself, and if so, it really doesn't matter if we're in a simulation as our reality is simply the only reality we know, similar to the holographic universe theory.
  • Barkon
    112
    If the universe was secretly miniscule, as opposed to gigantic, would that be more efficient? It would, at least, be less to manage.

    There are an abundance of reasons concerning efficiency as to why having a simulated universe is greater than having a quantum universe. In such a case we have a lens unto some great prospect that is stealthily very smart and streamlined.

    It may be more a real simulation than you think, maybe it does seem like a simulation, and things don't seem like they are completely quantum, but none of us have all the knowledge required to perceive the universe this way.

    The burden of proof rests on you if you believe the universe is/looks completely quantum(or as you may put it, 'real').
  • Wayfarer
    21k
    LLMs are not conscious or intelligent, they're just "stochastic parrots."fishfry

    I put this to ChatGPT4. Have a look at what it said.
  • noAxioms
    1.4k
    Yes, for things I haven't even noticed yet. But I think an explanation is needed if I am in a place I've never been, write a list of what I see, and another person in the same situation puts the same things on their list.Patterner
    My example is memorizing words/symbols without knowing their meaning, only to learn later how to read them. That's proof of information independent of your mind, a sort of refutation of solipsistic idealism.

    If they are also asserting mind and consciousness can come from matter somehow, they have an even higher burden of proof.RogueAI
    Bostrom seems to presume this. If they do manage to simulate a human enough to appear conscious, those that deny consciousness can come from matter will simply deny that the simulated person is conscious. A successful simulation won't change their opinion.


    Me? I make no such claim.fishfry
    No, not you. No quote of yours was in the bit there to which I was replying.

    I say that consciousness is physical but not computational.
    What do you mean by that? I mean, technically, none of physics is computational if done to a sufficient level of detail, but I don't think that level of detail is needed in a simulation.
    Computation is classical and physics has been shown to be not.

    What's the difference between [ID]and sim theory?
    Not too much. Both are deliberate choices of interesting mathematics. The vast majority of possible universe are not interesting.

    A simulation of gravity does not implement gravity. Simulations of brains therefore do not necessarily implement minds.
    I didn't say implement them. I said that they would find the familiar pattern. If nothing is known about how that works, then you can't say it wouldn't happen with the sim.

    The question is, why do we mock the Godly street preacher, and venerate the simulation theory TED talker?
    There's a lot more veneration of the God talkers than you suggest here, and if Bostrom screamed his assertions from a box in a subway station, he'd get a lot less attention. He's getting mocked plenty in topics like this one. Bostrom is venerated at the Ted talk because the audience is full of people who's seen Inception and think that's what he's talking about.

    Again, do you believe in intelligent design? Nothing provokes scientists more than that idea, they hate it. While gladly advocating simulation theory.
    I'm gladly advocating it?? Bostrom claims we are in a sim of us: The world simulating us is the same as the one simulated. That's not ID since the design is already made and it is just mimicry. But in general, if you admit that we know nothing of the world running the sim, then the idea is no different than deism.

    I see no difference between "God did it" and "The Great Simulator" did it, except that the GS is required to be a computation
    Is it? If we can know nothing of those running it, how do we know it is a computation? At what point does it cease to be sim theory and just become straight up god:"whoomp, there it is" theory?

    It seems a lot of my answers agree with yours, but your tone suggests disagreement with my replies.

    Simulation theory says we are computations. That can only be understood as computation as we currently understand it. Turing machines, finite state automata, etc.
    OK. You have a tighter definition of the term. You must call it something else if it is done, but not done as computation as you currently understand it. Do quantum computers qualify? Are they (if one is actually created) beyond our current understanding? Can they run a simulation, or would a different world need to be used? Can a quantum computer solve the halting problem for a Turing machine?

    I mean, the god people do it all the time. God created physics, be it computable or not. Time as well, and general causality. That sounds an awful lot like a simulation mechanism to me. Old school says the sim began ~6000 years ago, but lately, in an attempt to avoid all out denial of science, they've backed off to a view of the project starting at the big bang, and perhaps with initial conditions that bring us about, because it's all about us after all.
    That's a big difference BTW between god and a sim: A sim is run to see what happens, to gain information. God creates something where he knows exactly what will happen, and he wants that to happen. He gains no knowledge by running the universe experiment, at least not the god typically asserted.

    Well then you are agreeing with me. It's a theological claim.
    Deism isn't theological. It would be if those running the simulation implemented say a moral code which they expect to be followed by the subjects being simulated, "or else ...".

    So the Great Simulator doesn't ask Abraham to kill his son?
    That's messing with the simulation, violating the causality rules and such. If it works like that, then its a VR for the great simulator, and the rest of us are NPCs being asked to kill our sons.

    But Tegmark's MUH is such a category error that I can't imagine he's serious.
    Him redefining the categories is not a category error. You're begging a different definition. Mathematics is not a map in the view.

    The MUH predicts that the majority of consciousness are Boltzmann brains, reducing the hypothesis to where it cannot be simultaneously believed and justified. That's a huge hit to the idea, and one which he must be aware, and has perhaps attempted a refinement, but it wasn't addressed in the book.

    But now we know better. It doesn't need creation, only simulation!! /s
    A simulation is a created thing. It exists in time. There's no evidence that our universe exists in time.

    Oh I see your point! Thank you for explaining that. She gets her consciousness from me. I enjoy making Ms. Pac-Man eat the dots. I can see that. But Ms. Pac-Man does not have an inner life.
    You see that Ms Pacman is you, but you still deny your inner life?

    My experience is her experience.
    A bit like you saying that your experience is the same experience had by the body of fishfry. Well, fishfry body doesn't have experience separate from 'you', and similarly Ms Paceman doesn't have separate experience. She does become a zombie while the game isn't being played, zooming around randomly and getting killed in short order.

    Is this a form of pantheism? I enjoy throwing a rock, and by your theory, the rock enjoys being thrown.
    It does? Where did I say anything like that? Because I intentionally caused it to move? That's different than me being the rock while doing so, making it move on its own.
    Pantheism? What's that got to do with it? Do you mean panpsychism?
    A dualist has a mind and a body, and typically the body has presumed boundaries which usually don't include the rock, but there's no actual hard definition of where the boundary is since there's nothing physical about it. So for instance, are the clothes I'm wearing part of me? The usual presumption is yes, despite that probably not being the answer if it is asked as a question.
    "Where does 'you'" physically stop? It's more of a language thing than a physics thing. I typically don't include the rock as part of 'me', and you probably don't either. I could open an entire topic about this.

    But that's his argument against the Chinese room understanding Chinese. He says that we humans provide the meaning or intentionality. He says that the room does NOT have meaning or intentionality.
    Searle also plays the game of refusing to apply a word to something nonhuman doing exactly what the word means when a human does it. That's begging his conclusion.

    I looked at the wiki page and the argument seems to have been updated. The guy doing it (instead of the computer) cannot pass the Turing test since speed is an issue. Somebody who takes 20 years to reply to 'hello' is probably not going to pass a Turing test. Speed up time in the box and this objection goes away. No, the man in the box does not understand the conversation any more than does the CPU in the AI or than does a human brain cell.

    Physics is the historically contingent human activity of Aristotle and Newton and Einstein explaining why bowling balls fall down.
    Not talking about a human activity. I'm talking about the actual nature of the world, not how we describe that nature.

    Ok ... not entirely sure about this. Isn't it the opposite? If my mind is primary and my experiences are an illusion, the illusion-giver, the simulator, may withdraw my reality at any moment.
    That's a description of VR, not a simulation. Mind is primary in that scenario. It is real, and the rest illusion.

    With sim, the world behavior (physics) is primary, and things proceed according to the rules, without outside interference or intentionality. I have done both kinds. They're very different.

    If there's a simulator, they may get bored of providing me with this interesting reality and unplug me, and I'll cease to be.
    That sounds more like a sim, yes. If they unplug it, everything/everybody is gone, but perhaps still on disk somewhere. It could be restarted 2 years from now and the simulated beings would never notice the interruption. They very much would notice if it was a VR.

    And if VR is true, the same thing might happen, but my untethered mind will remain, but devoid of experiences.
    It would be like quitting PacMan. Devoid of experience of the pacman world, but not devoid of experience.
  • fishfry
    2.9k
    I put this to ChatGPT4. Have a look at what it said.Wayfarer

    Impressive but meaningless, as all LLM output is.

    Not because machines could never be conscious. I believe they can't, but I could be wrong.

    Rather, because the very design of LLMs renders them literally moronic. They're autocomplete on steroids. They crunch a huge pile of text and make a big lookup table (conceptually) that says, "If you see this phrase, this other phrase is likely to follow."

    Then the programmers decide whether they always want it to pick the most likely phrase, which gives a boring LLM; or the least likely phrase, which gives a crazy but interesting LLM. They typically tune it till it outputs seemingly interesting blocks of text that are -- by the very design of the system -- utterly meaningless if you are looking for insight, but superficially clever looking.

    For factual data they can be excellent. "Write an essay on medieval sports." But for insight, "Are LLMs intelligent," they spout nonsense, no matter how seemingly clever.

    I'm not saying anything that people don't already know about LLMs. What I wrote is commonplace knowledge among people who work with LLMs.
  • fishfry
    2.9k
    Me? I make no such claim.
    — fishfry
    No, not you. No quote of yours was in the bit there to which I was replying.
    noAxioms

    Ok I might have been confused.

    I say that consciousness is physical but not computational.

    What do you mean by that? I mean, technically, none of physics is computational if done to a sufficient level of detail, but I don't think that level of detail is needed in a simulation.
    Computation is classical and physics has been shown to be not.
    noAxioms

    Oh ok these definitions are changing.

    Simulation, in the sense of simulation theory, means that my reality (VR) or my very self (Simulation) are exactly being created by the Great Simulator (GS from now on). If the GS is only approximating me or my reality, what is being approximated?

    Simulation is in fact not the right word. We have simulations of gravity, simulations of star formation, simulations of elections, simulations of economies. The word simulation is always accompanied by "of." If there is a simulation, it's a simulation "of" something.

    In simulation theory, there is no "of." The simulation is exact and perfect already. So the right word is instantiation, not simulation.

    So when I say that intelligence, or mind, or the world, is physical but not computational, I mean that the universe does something that is physical -- involves the atoms and the quarks and the quantum fields and whatever future physics will be discovered -- that transcends our current understanding of computation. It's a Turing machine with an oracle for consciousness, maybe that's a good way to put it.

    So my conception is not dualistic, not supernatural, not non-physical. It's entirely physical. But it's not subject to the profound limits of Turing machines, finite state automata, and any of the other things that we currently think of as "computation." The universe is transcending the [ul=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church%E2%80%93Turing_thesis]Church-Turing thesis[/url].

    That's my view of it, my conception of what's going on. Physical, but not a computation as we currently understand it.

    Of course I entirely agree with you that we can simulate the heck out of a lot of things via approximation and abstraction. But we can't instantiate consciousness with a computation, as computation is currently understood.

    Is my position somewhat clear? The world and the mind are physical but not computational, in our present understanding of computation.

    What's the difference between [ID]and sim theory?
    Not too much. Both are deliberate choices of interesting mathematics. The vast majority of possible universe are not interesting.
    noAxioms

    Ok, but that's not how the TED talkers would see it. They'd mock intelligent design, yet believe in simulation.

    [And again, I hope that we are agreed that a simulation of gravity or a simulation of the stock market is not the same use of the word as the GS simulating my mind for me. The latter is a complete instantiation, not just an approximation].

    A simulation of gravity does not implement gravity. Simulations of brains therefore do not necessarily implement minds.
    I didn't say implement them. I said that they would find the familiar pattern. If nothing is known about how that works, then you can't say it wouldn't happen with the sim.
    noAxioms

    Running gravity simulations does not attract nearby bowling balls. "Find the familiar pattern," not sure what you are getting at.

    Are you equivocating the word simulation? Simulation theory does not mean the same as when we simulate the Super Bowl to predict the winner. It means to instantiate. The GS instantiates my mind and/or my experience.

    The question is, why do we mock the Godly street preacher, and venerate the simulation theory TED talker?
    There's a lot more veneration of the God talkers than you suggest here, and if Bostrom screamed his assertions from a box in a subway station, he'd get a lot less attention. He's getting mocked plenty in topics like this one. Bostrom is venerated at the Ted talk because the audience is full of people who's seen Inception and think that's what he's talking about.
    noAxioms

    I didn't see it, I thought it would just aggravate me. I have a tropism against trendiness.

    Maybe I should just go read Bostrom. I did take a run at his paper once and gave up after a while. I should try again, I might learn something.

    I'm gladly advocating it?? Bostrom claims we are in a sim of us: The world simulating us is the same as the one simulated.noAxioms

    Right. That is a confusing equivocation of the word. It's not like when the physicists simulate the early conditions of the universe. Simulation theory is what God does to instantiate the universe. Which is why simulation theory is essentially a theological speculation.

    Apologies if I confused your views with Bostrom's.

    A thing can't simulate itself. Unless, by that definition, I'm simulating myself just by sitting here and being me.

    Simulation's a bad word. I always want to ask the simulation proponents, simulation of what?

    I had a funny thought. Just as all waves must travel in a medium; yet light is a wave that does not require a medium; perhaps the GS simulates without the need for an "of" to simulate.

    I think the word should be instantiate, because that is what's being conveyed.




    That's not ID since the design is already made and it is just mimicry. But in general, if you admit that we know nothing of the world running the sim, then the idea is no different than deism.noAxioms

    We agree then. Neil deGrasse Tyson and George Smoot believe in simulation theory. And Tyson, at least, would object to the claim that "God does it all, and we are His flock of lambs." Bothers me that people who should know better advocate these ideas.

    I see no difference between "God did it" and "The Great Simulator" did it, except that the GS is required to be a computation
    Is it? If we can know nothing of those running it, how do we know it is a computation? At what point does it cease to be sim theory and just become straight up god:"whoomp, there it is" theory?
    noAxioms

    Ah. My understanding is that simulation theory claims it's all a computation. If I'm wrong about that I should correct my thinking. I will go look at Bostrom's paper, maybe he says something about that.

    It seems a lot of my answers agree with yours, but your tone suggests disagreement with my replies.noAxioms

    I think we're in agreement. Apologies if I'm unnecessarily oppositional.

    Simulation theory says we are computations. That can only be understood as computation as we currently understand it. Turing machines, finite state automata, etc.
    OK. You have a tighter definition of the term. You must call it something else if it is done, but not done as computation as you currently understand it. Do quantum computers qualify? Are they (if one is actually created) beyond our current understanding? Can they run a simulation, or would a different world need to be used? Can a quantum computer solve the halting problem for a Turing machine?
    noAxioms

    As I understand it, quantum computers have no more computational power than classical ones. They run more efficiently in terms of complexity theory. But any function that a quantum computer can compute can already be computed by a classical computer. And the proof is that quantum computers are often simulated on classical hardware. They run slowly, but in principle they do the same things either way.

    A quantum computer most definitely can not solve the Halting problem. They can do certain problems much faster than classical computers, but a classical computer could solve the same problem if given enough time.

    I mean, the god people do it all the time. God created physics, be it computable or not.noAxioms

    Right. And simulation theory is God restricted to our current notions of computation. That's my argument. It makes God the more likely hypothesis, by virtue of requiring one less assumption.

    Time as well, and general causality. That sounds an awful lot like a simulation mechanism to me. Old school says the sim began ~6000 years ago, but lately, in an attempt to avoid all out denial of science, they've backed off to a view of the project starting at the big bang, and perhaps with initial conditions that bring us about, because it's all about us after all.
    That's a big difference BTW between god and a sim: A sim is run to see what happens, to gain information. God creates something where he knows exactly what will happen, and he wants that to happen. He gains no knowledge by running the universe experiment, at least not the god typically asserted.
    noAxioms

    Maybe God created us all then sits back and watches. Like a kid with an ant farm, do they still make those? Why yes, they do. https://www.antsalive.com/shop.htm

    That's another thing about Bostrom's argument. That the GS runs "ancestor simulations." First, WE don't run ancestor simulations, though we certainly could. Get some programmers and some sociologists in a room and they could work it out. Like Sim City, the game.

    But why should the GS run ancestor simulations? Isn't it rather arrogant of us to impute motives to the GS as if the GS thinks and feels like us? Maybe we are characters in someone's video game. We play video games for entertainment, not to gain insight into our ancestors.

    Deism isn't theological. It would be if those running the simulation implemented say a moral code which they expect to be followed by the subjects being simulated, "or else ...".noAxioms

    Matter of definition I guess. I don't think theology necessarily needs to come with a moral code. Just needs a supernatural being that instantiates the world. Like the GS.

    So the Great Simulator doesn't ask Abraham to kill his son?
    That's messing with the simulation, violating the causality rules and such. If it works like that, then its a VR for the great simulator, and the rest of us are NPCs being asked to kill our sons.
    noAxioms

    I'm not sure I remember what my point was with that question. But why not? Bostrom's GS likes to run "ancestor simulations." Why on earth would they do that? Why on earth would WE imagine that they do that? Maybe they are the cause of sickness and war and suffering. Maybe they are sadists. That's a more realistic hypothesis than that we're an ancestor simulation.

    But Tegmark's MUH is such a category error that I can't imagine he's serious.
    Him redefining the categories is not a category error. You're begging a different definition. Mathematics is not a map in the view.
    noAxioms

    He says the world literally is a mathematical structure. I have had the opportunity to see a handful of modern mathematical structures, and I don't think the world is one of those. It's a category error. So I should go read Tegmark too, another paper I took a run at some years ago without feeling the magic.

    The MUH predicts that the majority of consciousness are Boltzmann brains, reducing the hypothesis to where it cannot be simultaneously believed and justified. That's a huge hit to the idea, and one which he must be aware, and has perhaps attempted a refinement, but it wasn't addressed in the book.noAxioms

    But even a Boltzmann brain is not a mathematical structure. It's an implementation of one. Mathematical structures by definition are sets with operations and rules. They are abstract. They may have some earthly representations, but the representations are not the structures. A bag of groceries is not a set. Sets are far stranger than that, and sets do not exist in the physical world.

    A simulation is a created thing. It exists in time. There's no evidence that our universe exists in time.noAxioms

    Block universe? Time is an illusion? Maybe. Can't refute it.

    Oh I see your point! Thank you for explaining that. She gets her consciousness from me. I enjoy making Ms. Pac-Man eat the dots. I can see that. But Ms. Pac-Man does not have an inner life.
    You see that Ms Pacman is you, but you still deny your inner life?
    noAxioms

    No, by the time I was done last night I rejected your concept. Same reason that my chess pieces do not care if they get captured or win or lose the game. I'm the one who cares. They're just inanimate pieces of plastic or bit patterns on my computer screen run by a chess algorithm.


    A bit like you saying that your experience is the same experience had by the body of fishfry. Well, fishfry body doesn't have experience separate from 'you', and similarly Ms Paceman doesn't have separate experience. She does become a zombie while the game isn't being played, zooming around randomly and getting killed in short order.noAxioms

    I was momentarily happy that I understood the point you were making, but I now reject it completely. The chess pieces don't care. The baseball doesn't care when someone hits it out of the park. And which side is it on? The batter is happy but the pitcher is unhappy. And the baseball has no emotions at all.

    Is this a form of pantheism? I enjoy throwing a rock, and by your theory, the rock enjoys being thrown.
    It does? Where did I say anything like that? Because I intentionally caused it to move? That's different than me being the rock while doing so, making it move on its own.
    noAxioms

    I thought that is your thesis. That Ms. Pac-Man is imbued with my own pleasure in winning the game.

    But of course that's not right. It's just a video game run by a circuit board. (And so are we, according to the computational theory of reality that I reject).

    Pantheism? What's that got to do with it? Do you mean panpsychism?noAxioms

    Yes did I write pantheism? Well my fingers have a mind of their own, maybe you're right :-)

    Yes pansychism. How else can the rock, the baseball, the chess pieces, and Ms. Pac-Man experience my pleasure in the game?

    I think you are not convincing me of this thesis, though you did have me going for a while last night.

    A dualist has a mind and a body, and typically the body has presumed boundaries which usually don't include the rock, but there's no actual hard definition of where the boundary is since there's nothing physical about it. So for instance, are the clothes I'm wearing part of me? The usual presumption is yes, despite that probably not being the answer if it is asked as a question.
    "Where does 'you'" physically stop? It's more of a language thing than a physics thing. I typically don't include the rock as part of 'me', and you probably don't either. I could open an entire topic about this.
    noAxioms

    You seem to include Ms Pac-Man as you. Isn't that what you said? Am I perhaps not understanding?


    Searle also plays the game of refusing to apply a word to something nonhuman doing exactly what the word means when a human does it. That's begging his conclusion.
    noAxioms

    Well yes, this comes up in these discussions. We compute, computers compute, so we're computers. The Chinese room speaks Chinese, who am I and who is Searle to say it doesn't understand what it's doing?

    That's the argument against my position. My Chinese friend speaks Chinese and my Chinese room speaks Chinese, what's the difference.

    I say there's a difference. Searle says there's a difference. Everyone agues with Searle and I.

    I looked at the wiki page and the argument seems to have been updated. The guy doing it (instead of the computer) cannot pass the Turing test since speed is an issue. Somebody who takes 20 years to reply to 'hello' is probably not going to pass a Turing test. Speed up time in the box and this objection goes away. No, the man in the box does not understand the conversation any more than does the CPU in the AI or than does a human brain cell.noAxioms

    Well we're back to LLMs. They're not very bright but many people these days are impressed. Searle of course did not put his argument in terms of computers, but today we could literally program a Chinese room. It's Google translate. Which in general isn't very good, language translation is a hard problem. But I don't think we should let execution speed muddy the argument. I'm willing to stipulate that the Chinese room is as fast as it needs to be. It still doesn't understand Chinese. And a few million professional and amateur philosophers disagree with me.

    Physics is the historically contingent human activity of Aristotle and Newton and Einstein explaining why bowling balls fall down.
    Not talking about a human activity. I'm talking about the actual nature of the world, not how we describe that nature.
    noAxioms

    Ok.

    With sim, the world behavior (physics) is primary, and things proceed according to the rules, without outside interference or intentionality. I have done both kinds. They're very different.noAxioms

    I may be missing some subtleties. I thought VR is Descartes's clever deceiver, who gives me an illusion of all my experience, yet my mind is still mine. And Sim says that my minds also is simulated/instantiated by the GS so that there really is no me outside the GS.

    If there's a simulator, they may get bored of providing me with this interesting reality and unplug me, and I'll cease to be.
    That sounds more like a sim, yes. If they unplug it, everything/everybody is gone, but perhaps still on disk somewhere. It could be restarted 2 years from now and the simulated beings would never notice the interruption. They very much would notice if it was a VR.
    noAxioms

    Yes right, so I believe I'm understanding you.

    It would be like quitting PacMan. Devoid of experience of the pacman world, but not devoid of experience.noAxioms

    Memory?

    Well this convo's getting long.

    Apologies again if my tone is oppositional sometimes, it's how I try to figure out what I think.

    PS -- I looked up Bostrom's paper.

    https://simulation-argument.com/

    The very title of the paper is: Are You Living In a Computer Simulation?.

    If by "computer" Bostrom means something other than a computer as commonly understood, he should say that explicitly.

    So my remarks on computability stand. Bostrom's thesis that the world and my mind are computational, as the word is understood today, is an unwarranted and probably false assumption; and in any event, needs evidence.
  • noAxioms
    1.4k
    Oh ok these definitions are changing.

    Simulation, in the sense of simulation theory, means that my reality (VR) or my very self (Simulation) are exactly being created by the Great Simulator (GS from now on).
    fishfry
    I put out some definitions in my topic
    Simulation theory and VR theory are very different, but you seem to be using simulation for both. I often shorten the former to 'sim'. I am OK with defining GS as the world running the sim or the VR. With VR, you are in the GS world (but not necessarily of it), and with sim you are not.
    If the GS is only approximating me or my reality, what is being approximated?
    Depends on if its a sim or a VR. My topic covers this.

    The word simulation is always accompanied by "of." If there is a simulation, it's a simulation "of" something.
    Well, in sim theory, it is a simulation of at least me, so I disagree with your assertion that there is no 'of' there. In VR theory, it is the creation of my artificial experience.

    So when I say that intelligence, or mind, or the world, is physical but not computational, I mean that the universe does something that is physical -- involves the atoms and the quarks and the quantum fields and whatever future physics will be discovered -- that transcends our current understanding of computation.
    Fine. You don't buy into the possibility of simulation theory since it contradicts other values which you hold to be true.
    You say there might be 'future physics' discovered that completes your model, but the GS might already have that understanding, and might have built their sim in such a way as to leverage it.

    Ok, but that's not how the TED talkers would see [difference between ID and sim]. They'd mock intelligent design, yet believe in simulation.
    Besides the ridicule fallacy, how does that differ from the way I see it?

    I hope that we are agreed that a simulation of gravity or a simulation of the stock market is not the same use of the word as the GS simulating my mind for me. The latter is a complete instantiation, not just an approximation.
    Well, you deny the possibility of the latter, but I find it to still be the same use of the world. A simulation of our physics is necessarily an approximation since there is no way to represent anything physical exactly, so for instance it is probably going to be discreet physics with a preferred frame of reference.

    Are you equivocating the word simulation? Simulation theory does not mean the same as when we simulate the Super Bowl to predict the winner.
    How would anybody go about doing that?

    The GS instantiates my mind and/or my experience.
    In sim theory, there is no 'my mind' to instantiate. It is not necessarily a simulation of something that also exists in the GS world. Most simulations are of nonexistent things. I suppose the weather is an exception to this since the initial state is taken from the GS world, not as a work of intentional design.

    Apologies if I confused your views with Bostrom's.
    Good, because I think Bostrom's hypothesis falls flat.

    A thing can't simulate itself.
    That's well known. Godel showed it for instance.
    I mean, they can, but at far slower efficiency. I wrote a program that essentially simulated itself for profiling purposes. You could simulate the execution of any code (including itself), but it ran at about a 1/10000th of the normal speed, and optimized that to about 1/40th the normal speed. That could simulate itself, but per Godel, it could not be used to see if it finishes.

    I always want to ask the simulation proponents, simulation of what?
    Bostrom is clear on this. It is a simulation of ancestral history. I mock that suggestion in my topic.

    I had a funny thought. Just as all waves must travel in a medium; yet light is a wave that does not require a medium; perhaps the GS simulates without the need for an "of" to simulate.
    I can't see a simulation not having a model to run. There's always an 'of', else the task is undefined. So I could run a simulation of a three legged creature to see which kinds of gaits it might find natural. There is no creature in the GS matching the one being simulated, but there's still an 'of'.

    We agree then. Neil deGrasse Tyson and George Smoot believe in simulation theory.
    Tyson just seems to ride on Bostrom's paper ("<-- what he said"), which I doubt he understands.
    Smoot knows what he's talking about at least, but I could not find a paper/article with his hypothesis to get even a glimmer of what he's suggesting or what evidence he claims supports it. Perhaps something concerning the CMB. It's all you-tube, and I don't get my physics from you tube.

    My understanding is that simulation theory claims it's all a computation.
    Bostrom suggests that. A different sim theory might not. We know nothing of the GS, so I agree, it differs little from deism. Bostrom says we know everything about GS world since they us in 'the future'.

    But any function that a quantum computer can compute can already be computed by a classical computer. And the proof is that quantum computers are often simulated on classical hardware. They run slowly, but in principle they do the same things either way.
    Agree

    And simulation theory is God restricted to our current notions of computation.
    It is only this constricted if one presumes the GS world has the same constraints as the world we know.

    But why should the GS run ancestor simulations? Isn't it rather arrogant of us to impute motives to the GS as if the GS thinks and feels like us?
    He says the GS is us, so of course they think and feel like us. But I agree, I see no reason why they would find a need to create a fictional world framed in some past century, a simulation of the scale he suggests. It's not like it would produce any actual events that took place in the history of the GS world. What would be the staring date of such a sim? Last Tuesday?

    Maybe we are characters in someone's video game
    Not possible given your stated beliefs. Only the players can be conscious, not the NPCs. But actually, I have suggested similar things myself, claiming to be a p-zombie in a world where not all are, because I don't see this hard problem that so many others find so obvious. Clearly they have something I don't. So OK, I'm an NPC.

    Maybe they are the cause of sickness and war and suffering. Maybe they are sadists. That's a more realistic hypothesis than that we're an ancestor simulation.
    So a sim run by a world devoid of sickness and war, but populated by sadists with a need to create ant farms to torture? I can't see a world populated by such beings being free of natural misery.

    [Tegmark] says the world literally is a mathematical structure.
    Yes. He recategorizes mathematics. The hypothesis has severe issues, but category error isn't one of them.
    They are abstract.
    Not under MUH they aren't. Being abstract requires them to supervene on an abstractor, making them non-fundamental.

    But even a Boltzmann brain is not a mathematical structure.
    It would be be part of one under MUH, just like one would be part of our universe if there were some out there.

    By the time I was done last night I rejected your concept. Same reason that my chess pieces do not care if they get captured or win or lose the game.
    OK, you you have a definition of 'me' that doesn't include any avatar.
    Does your physical body enjoy the ice cream? You didn't answer that question. I want to see if you're consistent.

    Yes pansychism. How else can the rock, the baseball, the chess pieces, and Ms. Pac-Man experience my pleasure in the game?
    By being an avatar of a mind, but that isn't panpsychism I think, but I don't really understand that view. I suppose the rock is no different from a chess piece. I cannot move it by mind alone, but that's also true of my fingers.

    I think you are not convincing me of this thesis, though you did have me going for a while last night.

    You seem to include Ms Pac-Man as you. Isn't that what you said?
    Yes, I can extend my definition of 'me' to any boundary I wish. It's mostly just a language designation. There are no physical rules about it.

    The Chinese room speaks Chinese, who am I and who is Searle to say it doesn't understand what it's doing?
    Yes, the system understands Chinese. A part of the system doesn't necessarily understand it, just like the CPU of my computer doesn't know how to open a text document. That doesn't mean that the computer doesn't open the document, unless that you define 'to open a document' as only something a human does, and an unspecified alternate word must be used if the computer is doing the same thing.

    That's the argument against my position. My Chinese friend speaks Chinese and my Chinese room speaks Chinese, what's the difference.
    The Chinese room, as described, seems to be in a sort of sensory deprivation environment. Surely there are questions you can ask it that bear this out. They have machines now that officially pass the Turing test, and some of the hardest questions are along such lines.
    Well we're back to LLMs.
    An LLM cannot pass a Turing test. Something like ChatGTP does not claim to understand language. It's not how they work, but maybe it's not how we work either.

    I'm willing to stipulate that the Chinese room is as fast as it needs to be. It still doesn't understand Chinese.
    OK.

    I thought VR is Descartes's clever deceiver, who gives me an illusion of all my experience, yet my mind is still mine. And Sim says that my minds also is simulated/instantiated by the GS so that there really is no me outside the GS.
    Yes, like that.

    Memory?
    If Pacman was fully immersive, and I had been playing all my life, then I am essentially a mind connected only to pacman. If the game is unplugged, then all the hookups are still there, but I am left in a sensory deprivation state. If not hooked to a different feed, then it stays that way. I of course have no control over it. I cannot take off the VR headset because the connections required to do so have been severed in order to connect fully to pacman.

    If by "computer" Bostrom means something other than a computer as commonly understood, he should say that explicitly.
    Pretty sure he means 'as commonly understood'. It doesn't mean that all sim theories suggest that, but with him it kind of does.

    So my remarks on computability stand. Bostrom's thesis that the world and my mind are computational, as the word is understood today, is an unwarranted and probably false assumption; and in any event, needs evidence.
    One could argue that the claim that consciousness is not computational is the one in need of evidence. I mean, a perfect simulation of our physics is not computational, but consciousness seems to operate at a classical electro-chemical level, and that is computational. I don't assert it to be thus, so it's a possibility, not a hard claim.
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