• StreetlightX
    3.8k
    Some speculative futurology. One of our collective techno-fantasies is a future in which fully simulated reality is a thing. Think the Matrix or even recent movies/books like Ready Player One. Plugged-In Reality, as it were. But it's not clear, I think, that this kind of virtual reality is actually something we (as humans), would actaully use all that much, outside of some very niche applications. The thing is this: the reduction of information presentation and manipulation to two-dimensional depthlessness is actaully super useful.

    Think of all the things you can do on a desktop or a flattened screen: you can have multiple tabs open to browse the internet (as you probably do right now), along with multiple windows running mutiple programs in parallel (a internet browser, a file explorer, and a spreadsheet, say), while at the same time being able to simply walk-away and go to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, say. This is a whole world - worlds, even - of choice. With a flat screen, what one essentially has is the advantage of multiple dimensionality folded into the flatness of a screen.

    Virtual reality, with it's added layer of depth - which would simply 'double up' the existing world - would actually lack this aspect of multi-dimentionality, losing the power of abstraction even as it adds a third, spatial dimension of depth. It is in effect more inconvenient, and not less. You lose the ability to swap between multiple streams of information on the fly, stuck as you are in the 'one world'. So VR is or can be pretty restrictive in comparison to the enfolded multi-dimentionality of screens that we currently work with.

    On the other hand, augmented reality, in which the 'real world' is supplemented by additional information streams, has the advantage keeping the multi-dimensionality offered by screens, while still staying in the real world. AR turns the world into multiple screens. To a large extent I think the tech world has realized this, although I'm not sure popular imagination has quite caught up. AR - in it's nascent form in Google glass, textile electronics (mini computers woven into clothes) or in the dashboards of certain cars (see below) - much more than VR, might be said to be the true realization of the integration of computing into society.

    That all said - and here's the true speculative bit - the real advantage of VR is the ability to, as it were, come up with things on the fly. Want to ride a unicorn? Just virtually conjure one into being and ride off into the sunset. But given the shortcomings of VR in the other respects mentioned above, one mid-way point between VR and AR might be something like microbots - specifically microbots in the vein of the ones in Big Hero 6! Microbots retain the real advantage of VR, without, for all that, being 'virtual'. In my science fiction fantasy of the future, everyone at birth is given one million microbots to do as one will, augmenting real life in real, tangible ways.

    Anyway, jsut some fun thoughts inspired by some refcent reading. Here's the Big Hero 6 clip I have in mind:



    An example of AR I have in mind:

    7673996-11865417.jpg?v=1428932797
  • GreyScorpio
    96
    Microbots retain the real advantage of VR, without, for all that, being 'virtual'. In my science fiction fantasy of the future, everyone at birth is given one million microbots to do as one will, augmenting real life in real, tangible ways.StreetlightX

    This is an excellent example of how VR could be implemented into the real world without the restrictions of being subject to 'one world'. As understood, VR games are always regarding one subject - whether it be shooting zombies or skydiving - there is no space to then leave that particular activity to do something else, like sit on the sofa and watch TV, because you have separated that experience from the real world - where VR and AR do not interact accordingly.
  • Wallows
    8.7k
    Speaking about the future, do you think this in some manner or form proves that technology is progressing at every greater rate in being able to simulate the world itself?
  • Ying
    223
    Speaking about the future, do you think this in some manner or form proves that technology is progressing at every greater rate in being able to simulate the world itself?Posty McPostface

    There's a reason why weather forecasts become increasingly unreliable the further one goes into the future. And that's just the weather. This problem becomes even worse when you try to simulate the entire world.

    "Two states differing by imperceptible amounts may eventually evolve into two considerably different states ... If, then, there is any error whatever in observing the present state—and in any real system such errors seem inevitable—an acceptable prediction of an instantaneous state in the distant future may well be impossible....In view of the inevitable inaccuracy and incompleteness of weather observations, precise very-long-range forecasting would seem to be nonexistent."
    -Edward Lorenz.
  • Wallows
    8.7k
    There's a reason why weather forecasts become increasingly unreliable the further one goes into the future. And that's just the weather. This problem becomes even worse when you try to simulate the entire world.Ying

    But, that irrelevant because the state space of a system is enclosed within that system itself. So, variances would arise; but, independent of any external factor.
  • Ying
    223
    But, that irrelevant because the state space of a system is enclosed within that system itself. So, variances would arise; but, independent of any external factor.Posty McPostface

    So you're saying that chaos theory is irrelevant when discussing simulations of the world? K. I think you and I are done talking about this topic then.
  • Wallows
    8.7k
    So you're saying that chaos theory is irrelevant when discussing simulations of the world? K. I think you and I are done talking about this topic then.Ying

    No, I'm saying that it's irrelevant because of the state space of a computer simulation being self-referential.
  • Ying
    223
    No, I'm saying that it's irrelevant because of the state space of a computer simulation being self-referential.Posty McPostface

    Yeah. I'm talking about the relationship between the simulation and the simulated. But apparently your notion of "simulation" doesn't require actual input.

    Edit: Ah, never mind. I think you're talking about scifi "simulations" in virtual reality or something. I'm talking about scientific models on supercomputers.
  • Wallows
    8.7k
    Ah, never mind. I think you're talking about scifi "simulations" in virtual reality or something. I'm talking about scientific models on supercomputers.Ying

    Yeah. What's wrong with that sort of thinking this issue through?
  • Ying
    223
    Yeah. What's wrong with that sort of thinking this issue through?Posty McPostface

    Nothing. I'm merely noting that we are talking about different issues.
  • Wallows
    8.7k
    Nothing. I'm merely noting that we are talking about different issues.Ying

    Yeah, if a sufficiently enough complex computer were to come about, then I'm not aware of any laws of physics prohibiting a simulation of reality that is sufficiently complex enough from occurring.
  • Ying
    223
    Yeah, if a sufficiently enough complex computer were to come about, then I'm not aware of any laws of physics prohibiting a simulation of reality that is sufficiently complex enough from occurring.Posty McPostface

    Right. A scifi computer could run a scifi simulation. But even a matrioshka brain would require tons of ecc memory (or it's scifi equivalent) to counteract all the interference... :)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matrioshka_brain
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECC_memory
  • Nort Fragrant
    25
    Computations are bound by rules; thus, random anomalies cannot occur. The weather is predictable for millennia ahead. We just don't have all the information or computer power yet to give the correct answer.
    Deceiving VR will and or has already got a hold on us!
    How do we know this has not already happened, we may well be in the future we are afraid of!
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