Comments

  • Is there any physical basis for what constitutes a 'thing' or 'object'?
    Like face recognition. A device that sets boundaries.Fire Ologist
    Meaning definitely needs to be conveyed (via programming, huge database, etc) to perform such a task. I'm looking for an example where one need not communicate with the device for it to work.

    The boundaries of such a device are loosely 'face'. Hair possibly inhibits its function. Don't know if a new hairstyle would fool it.


    Anyhow, you might be interested in the Problem of the Many, which is closely related:Count Timothy von Icarus
    The top half of your post concerned the foundations of language, which seems not particularly relevant since I am trying to find object in the absence of language. The problem of the many is very relevant, and I have not yet read all of the article, but it seems to hit on many of my points.

    The linked article lists 8 'mutually inconsistent' claims about what a cloud is, but I don't find the list necessarily mutually consistent without additional premises, if one starts out by accepting that there is but the one cloud and all subsets of it are not a cloud at all, but a mere portion. Maybe I didn't read it carefully enough. The cloud thing is very much like the tornado, except that from a distance the tornado's boundary is still kind of vague, especially where it's upper bound is.

    You post has caused much of the delay in making this reply. Too much reading to do, a good thing.

    The problem here is that fundemental particles increasingly don't seem so fundemental, having beginnings and ends, as well as only being definable in terms of completely universal fields (i.e., the whole)Count Timothy von Icarus
    Yes, I was going to bring something like that up. Quantization of field excitements has an awful lot of objectness to it, but even it fails to have identity and clear boundaries.


    Wittgenstein had supposed a form of logical atomism, the notion that there were elementary facts - simples - from which a complete description of the world might be constructed.Banno
    Does this help? I'm trying to get a classical device like the fictional phaser to apply its function to a classical object without using language to convey intent. A person getting shot might be a collection of simples, but the physical device needs to select which simples to disintegrate, and which to leave be. What does it do if the shooter's aim is off, or he pans it around?

    I shoot at a chessboard. Does it take out a piece, a square and whatever's on it? The whole game? Table too? How to design the gun to do the right thing? Can't be done of course.
    Anything indicated is likely composite, and the physical is required to glean which simples are members of the composite without any conveying of intended composite. When put that way, the problem is simple and unsolvable, requiring information that is nonexistent, or at least unavailable.

    What constitutes an object is not to be found in physics or in the physical structures around us, but in what we are doing with our language and what we are doing with the objects involved in those activities. We give consideration to the broom if we are sweeping, but perhaps only to the broomstick if we are using it to move something that is out of our reach, or to the brush if we are looking for hair for a scarecrow...Banno
    Agree to all of this. I am trying to figure out how something that isn't a person (or a device with intent) can do the same thing.

    One can see that I am sort of flailing around here. I'm getting likes to all sorts of stuff I've not read before (for which I am grateful), and having that already under my belt would have helped, if only to let me reply more promptly.


    But how does the phaser beam know this convention?
    — noAxioms

    Because the phaser beam is designed by an advanced civilization with, say, quantum computing powers, even the phaser beam has been uploaded with enough that it knows what a reasonable person of reasonable intelligence knows.
    ENOAH
    OK, the reasonable premise is that it is a smart device. You set it to kill (disintegrate), so it's going to work on a biological being as previously defined by its makers. So what if I shoot a teapot? What if I want to kill the scary spider on Kirk's chest without killing Kirk? How does the device handle that without needing to explain it at length first, something nobody has time for in combat?

    I should post this on a trekkie site. Star Trek cannot be wrong, so they are obligated to pony up an answer, just like the star wars guys needed a plausible explanation for the "Kessel Run in Less Than 12 Parsecs" fiasco.

    Same goes for that object "me". And that's the real point. "I" am a convention. What the body really is is accessed only in its is-ing.ENOAH
    Yes, it seems clear, even to animals that not only have concepts of critter, stick, whatever, but also of ownership of the object in question, such as 'my eggs', as opposed to 'no, my (food) eggs now, sorry'. But in the end, it is only convention, with apparently no physical basis.

    Give the two halves a new Signifier; suddenly the ontology has changed!ENOAH
    Yes again. Suddenly a broken pipe is two unbroken gutters.
    It's metaphysical since it's about what it is. Is it ontology?


    You know what happens if a fly gets into the teleportation chamber!fishfry
    Any chamber, like a DeLorean time machine, is a demarked volume, so what is affected is fairly unambiguous.


    Are non-climbers failing to see real things that are really there, even apart from the practice of climbing?petrichor
    They're failing to see what is relevant. Names are given to relevant things. A novice hasn't the sight, so hasn't the names.


    Again, thanks to all for your responses.
  • Is there any physical basis for what constitutes a 'thing' or 'object'?
    Thank you all for your replies. My topic was mostly an observation. If you can think of exceptions to my 'it isn't physics' assertion, such counterarguments would be especiallywelcome.
    one could decide to cut a pipe into two halves either by cutting across its length, so you get two shorter pipesLudwig V
    What if it isn't at the center? A what point does it cease to be two pipes rather than one pipe and a scrap resulting from me getting the length of it just right. Probably the line is somewhere around where the scrap is no longer useful as a short pipe elsewhere. The distinction comes from language and purpose, and is not physical, which is the point of me posting all this.

    or by cutting along its length
    Or in a double spiral, resulting in a pair of very difficult to disentangle Slinkys.

    When I posited painting the pipe, I did not consider painting the gutters.
    The painting helps get the mental concept across. It in no way helps the phaser gun which you intended to only disintegrate the blue gutter.


    Depends on what you mean by thing/objectSophistiCat
    My point exactly. Nobody has explained to the phaser gun what was meant. It just magically seems to know the intent of the wielder, as is also the case with all the other fictional examples.

    If you mean something like "moderate-sized specimens of dry goods,"
    What if I mean 'that tornado over there'? It's a physical thing of sorts, or rather a vaguely localaized effect that emerges from non-tornado matter, which is mostly air, something hard to point to. Where are the boundaries of a tornado? The ground is a reasonably decent lower bound, at least the part of the ground that remains stationary. The rest? All a matter of convention, and the convention doesn't care in that case.


    We all can’t start or have a conversation without making distinctions and understanding what these distinctions refer to.Fire Ologist
    Agree, but the point is that I cannot have a conversation with my physical device (such as the examples in the OP), so I can't convey meaning to it. All I can convey to it is 'this' (in the case of the teleport wristband), or 'that' (in the case of anything that can be pointed).

    I said Terminator franchise solved the problem, but it didn't. In T2, the liquid terminator can imitate anything it touches, which means there is some kind of physical definition of 'what it touches'. So what if it touches the red gutter? Can it now imitate a gutter, or can it imitate the pipe, or perhaps the entire plumbing system of a city? Somehow meaning is conveyed through mere contact, and it can be driven to contradiction.

    we can’t speak without standing on some basis that grounds the function of those words.
    I'm asking if something that to which meaning cannot be conveyed still perform as designed. How does the gun know the boundaries of what it is to disintegrate? You say words can do this, but I can't tell it. Sure, I can build an AI device that can parse verbal language so as to convey intent, but that just puts the device into conceptual territory. It ceases to be physical anymore if it's done that way.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    There is only one world, that of the simulators.fishfry
    We see things differently then. I have my world, and they have theirs. It's how I use the term 'world'. You don't seem to have a use for the term at all since you don't seem to see two different things to distinguish.

    What world are you referencing? I believe you are imagining a world that does not exist
    I'm referencing the world that I see when I open my eyes. Whether it exists or not depends on one's definition of 'exists'. To be honest, I don't thing Bostrom quibbled on ontology enough to bother giving his own definition of 'exist'. My dreams seem to exist, else I'd not be aware of them. But again, that's using my definition of 'exists', which is not, BTW, an epistemological definition.

    Ok, so you are speaking as if your dream world is the world.
    I said neither 'dream world' (which implies a sort of idealism, a very different ontological status) nor 'the world' which implies there's only one.

    In dualism, the simulated mind lives in some spiritual realm someone linked to the computation. If I reject dualism, as you prefer me to do, then the mind must live inside the computer somehow. Maybe you can explain that to me?
    There is no separate entity called a mind under naturalism. It isn't an object at all. At best, it is a process. Under dualism, the simulation probably fails because the simulated people have no way of connecting to a mind, or at least so say the dualism proponents that insist that a machine cannot summon one, despite their inability to explain how a biological thing accomplishes that.

    I pretty much think of myself as the automaton, doing what physics dictates. The arrangement works for the most simple device, and it seems to not need improvement beyond that.

    But I have already said that I reject dualism for sake of discussion
    Good. Then there's no 'mind' object, in a computer or in a person. Just process, a simulation process in the computer, and mental process in the matter of the simulated people. The word 'mind' has strong dualistic connotations.

    Feel free to convince me you have a coherent argument that a real storm and a dreamed or hallucinated storm have the same ontological status.
    I never claimed a dream or hallucination. I am talking about a computer simulation, which is neither. It simulates wetness among other things. A dream or hallucination is something a person does, not a computer running a simulation, neither is it something a storm does, simulated or otherwise.

    WE are the AGIs in the simulators' world. You don't follow that?
    No, that's not what an AGI is. We're simulated biological beings, not a native machine intelligence (a vastly simpler thing to implement).
  • Understanding the 4th Dimension
    isn’t it extremely likely, no, inevitable, that you could/would instantly find yourself inside of a solid object of some sort and instantly die?Mp202020
    No. The interface in the video always shows the user rotating in place, so where he is does not change, only things at a distance as the cross section rotates through different things. The rotation never changes the user's coordinates, only walking does, and one does not walk into solid things.
    The 2D frog cannot rotate into the interior of a 3D object since it stays put when only rotating.

    The same way objects appear in thin air can happen right where you are standing
    Again, no. Anywhere else, but not where you're standing. You're always at the axis of (actually plane of) rotation, so rotating does not put you somewhere else (into a solid object say).

    You can literally be standing in the same place another object in a separate 3rd dimensional cross section is currently standing at the same time but you are separated by the different 4D location you are at.
    The 'other object' is at a different location per your description. At least one of its four coordinates is different than the one where you are.

    This is the concept of “parallel” dimensions
    Not really what most are talking about when speaking of 'parallel dimensions',

    2- I do not understand why burrowing underground in your current 3D cross section would protect you any more than the 3D four-wall structure you built?
    I see no need for protection at all.


    The game simulates being able to perceive a 4th dimension as a 3-dimensional observer, essentially perceiving a 4th dimension, one 3-dimensional plane at a time.Tzeentch
    Just so, yes. Wonderful implementation done too. His (very capable) computer seems to have a rough time trying to keep up. Mine (not so capable) does even for a 3D world, and I have to turn the resolution and rendering distance down to keep the frame rate reasonable.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    your lengthy postfishfry
    It was over 40% shorter than the post to which I was replying. I do try to trend downward when the posts get long.
    This one for instance is also about 25% shorter.

    I lost the whole damn thing in the forum software.
    Funny, because my compose window survives crashes and such. I've had a few power failures, all without loss of the post. Still, I sometimes compose in a word document to prevent such loss.

    I do not live in a physical world. I am a mind, instantiated by a computation running in the simulators' computer.
    Sound like you're asserting that you exist in a physical world (the one with the computer), just a different world than the one I reference.

    I find your choice to not be particularly pragmatic. One end of my house is in this computer, and so is the other end. Since both are at the same location, my house doesn't have any meaningful size. All pragmatic use of size, time, identity, etc is all lost if you say everything is in some device in the base world. This is not confusion, we just use language in apparently very different ways. My saying that you (the sim) are at your computer is a pragmatic way of looking at things. It identifies the simulated location of you relative to the simulated location of your computer, which has far more pragmatic utility than saying that everything that either of us knows about is located at some vaguely random locations in the cloud where the networked simulation is potentially taking place.

    If we reject dualism, then ...
    ...
    Our bodies and our world are not being created by the simulation. Only our minds.
    That the two are not treated the same seems to be dualism to me. How is your 2nd statement consistent with a rejection of dualism?

    I think if we could agree on this
    I'm not going to agree that a dualistic view is relevant when Bostrom assumes a different view. Doing so would invalidate any criticism of his proposal.

    If I simulate a storm, nothing gets wet.
    Nothing in your world gets wet. Things in the simulated world very much get wet, since that wetness is an important part of what affects the storm.

    We are not simulations in the sense of the storm. If we were, then there would be a me, and there would be a simulation of me
    I don't get any of this comment. The proposal is that we are a product of a simulation just like a simulated storm is also a product of the simulation. There's no difference, no equivocation. Neither creates both a not-simulated thing and also a simulated thing. I don't know where you get that.

    We are not being simulated separately from our actual existence.
    And yet your comment above seems to suggest something just like that. Nobody but you seems to be proposing both a simulated and actual existence of the same thing.

    We have no independent existence outside of the simulation.
    Great, we actually agree on some things.

    Perhaps you can help me to understand why you believe that, under simulation theory, I am typing on a computer; when in fact by assumption, I am a mind created by a computation executing in the world of the simulators.
    Bostrom does not propose a mind separate from the world it experiences. That would be the dualistic assumption that you are dragging in. The simulation just moves mater around, and both the person and the computer in similar proximity are such matter. No demon, no lies being fed to a separate vatted mind.

    What is our moral obligation to any AGIs we may happen to create?
    An AGI usually refers to a machine intelligence in this world, not a human in a simulated world that cannot interact with ours.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    that is, the thoughts and feelings and experiences of humans such as you and I -- are as opaque to our simulators, as they are to us! So in the end, we are a great mystery to our simulators. They probably watch the stuff we humans do and go Wow, that doesn't make ANY sense!fishfry
    If they're human, and they watch what we do and we don't act human, then their simulation is missing critical things. Watching us should be indistinguishable from watching people in their own world, placed in our time.
    The thoughts may be opaque to those running the simulation, but not to the simulation itself since the physics Bostrom describes depends on those thoughts. Of course the implementers of the 'future' simulation need not implement it the way Bostrom describes, but Bostrom is looking for optimizations without removing the consciousness part (the most obvious optimization to make).

    So the simulators can't read our minds. That means they don't have control over us.
    Even if they could read our minds, they still have no control. If they had control, it wouldn't be a simulation.

    They're like a God who gives us free will, just to see if we'll choose the righteous path.
    The program is deterministic. Real physics might or might not be. But if simulated people have free will, that free will has a different definition than the usual one.
    I do agree that given naturalism, they have the same free will that 'real' humans do. Physics being deterministic or not is irrelevant to that.

    Once again, simulation theory is more like theological speculation than science.
    Pretty much, yes, except theological theory isn't bounded by physical limits, making theological theory more plausible.

    Can the simulators read our minds or not?
    The simulation can, so it is free to include that as part of the output. Text form perhaps. 'Bob is contemplating cheating on his homework'.

    can their computer scientists just look at the code and figure out what we'll do?
    No, not from the code, which only moves particles around.

    In which case they could ... simulate the sim, could they not.
    Bostrom posits that the simulation runs far enough into our future that it starts simulating our creation of such simulations, so most people actually end up multiple levels from the base reality. He does not posit that humans can run quintillions (understatement) of instructions per second, which they could if they and the simulation were the same thing.

    You could never have a 100% perfect geographical simulation. It must have a resolution, and reality is always more fine grained.
    He suggests that the resolution changes when you look close. Not when the observers look close, but when the simulated people (us) look close. So the simulators might look at a forest with no humans in it, and find themselves unable to observe details going on there. What details are omitted is TBD.

    How can you watch the rats if there's no light?
    It's an output viewing program. You can add false light that isn't actually in the simulation, so you can see the rats. But the rats probably aren't fully simulated if humans are not watching them. They might be hearing them in the walls, so the sound at least needs to be realistic.

    Visual recording devices require light, that's a basic principle of physics.
    We need that to see our rats. The simulators don't need a camera to look at computer data, which can be colorized with pink stripes if that's what you want.

    The sims are us. I have in the past said the the process (forgive me if I ever said program, I know better) instantiates us.
    The processes might instantiate us, but they're not us. They exist in two different universe. So the term 'the sims' needs to refer to one or the other, because they're very different things. You've used the term to describe the running process, but I think you mean the people.

    I wonder if Bostrom explains how any of this works? The simulators write a program. They run the program. Somehow, you and I and the world all around us comes into being.
    Not sure what you mean by this. I simulate a storm. That doesn't bring a storm into being in my universe. It only brings a computer process into being, and it ceases to exist when I terminate the process. I can pause it for a month and then continue it again. Nothing in the storm will be able to detect the pause.

    If it's true, then where am I right now?
    Typing at your computer?? Where else? You're in this universe, and have a location in this universe. You seem to be asking where some other 'you' is in the simulating universe, but there isn't one there. Just some computer process, which arguably doesn't have a meaningful location.

    I'm an abstract consciousness floating above or around some physical piece of computing hardware. How is this magic trick supposed to work?
    Not my story, so whoever suggests that is free to attempt to explain it.

    What does Bostrom say in his introduction? It's a "quite widely-accepted position in the philosophy of mind." As if that explains anything.
    He says there's no 'consciousness floating above' anything. That's part of the widely accepted view to which he is referring.

    But if, for the sake of argument, I grant you this trick: The sims are the minds that arise out of executing the computation.
    It's the same trick that ordinary matter does. Wiggle atoms this way and that, and consciousness results. It's the non-naturalists that are trying to make something magic of that.

    Our world isn't real.
    It is to me, but I probably have a different definition of what is real than 'is the base world, the GS'. Given the latter definition, I agree. Our world is not real, but the simulation process is real, at least if we're only 1 level deep into it.

    We live in the spirit-space adjacent to their computer.
    Bostrom makes no such suggestion, no do I find that statement meaningful at all. It is simply a statement that comes from a belief system significantly different than the one Bostrom presumes.

    this is my statement:

    A computation is executed on physical hardware operated by the simulators. As it executes, it instantiates, by some unknown mechanism, a mind. That mind is me.
    Under naturalism, 'you' are a complete person, not just a mind. Your wording makes it sound like you are just the mind, something separate from the physical part of you, instead of being simply part of the dynamics of the matter of which you are comprised. There is no separate spirit/mind/woo. The simulation argument holds no water under alternate views.

    Simulation programs tend to be very simple, endlessly running the same relatively small list of instructions again and again over a relatively large data set.
    — noAxioms

    That's not even true. When you run a simulation of the weather or of the early universe or of general relativity, you are doing massive amounts of numeric computation and approximation.
    I think I said exactly that in my statement. That's what 'large data set' means. It means a massive amount of work to do.

    I don't know why you think simulation programs are simple. That's not true.
    I've written several. A simulation of Conway's game of life (GoL) can be done in a few hundred lines of code, but potentially involves trillions of operations being performed. OK, the weather is more complicated than GoL, but there's still a huge data-to-instructions ratio.

    We don't have to waste time trying to define ancestor simulation versus AI.
    Not vs. They're both ancestor simulations, just implemented in different ways, one far more efficient than the other. I'm talking about how the simulation software is designed. Why run 10000 instructions where one will do for your purposes. Of course, we don't know those purposes, so I could be full of shit here.

    what is the moral obligation of the simulators to us?
    Lacking any input from their world to ours, there doesn't seem to be much room for a moral code. They're incapable of torturing us. At best, they can erase the data and just end our world just like that. Morals in the other direction would be interesting. Are we obligated to entertain them? Depends on the simulation purpose, and since that purpose hasn't been conveyed to us, we don't seem to be under any obligation to them.

    Keep in mind that I see morals as a social contract, a sort of legal agreement. It's why, in European WWII conflict, it wasn't moral to kill a soldier carrying a white flag, but in the Pacific theater of the same war, it was OK (for either side) to kill a soldier doing the same thing. Different contracts.
    I see no contracts in either direction between us and our simulating world.

    By the same token, we can ask why our simulators, who art in Heaven, have cursed us with war, famine, pestilence, and death.
    They have not thus cursed us. The simulation has no inputs, so they (unlike an interfering god) have no way to impart calamities on us. A simulation of perpetual paradise would not be an ancestor simulation.

    I assume you're a fellow sentient human because I'm programmed to.
    That argument is also true of the GS world. It isn't specific to a simulated world.

    the programmers coded us up to accept each other as sentient humans.
    That would be the imitation method of running the simulation. Far more efficient to do it that way, but Bostrom suggests that it be done the way where nobody is programmed to follow the will of the simulation or programmers.

    I don't care about the resource argument.
    You should, because he's proposing more resource usage than exists in our solar system, so he has to find ways to bring that requirement down to something more than one person could have. Optimizations are apparently not on his list of ways to do that.
    The resource problem is not just power. Where do you put all the yottabytes of data?

    Aren't those NPCs?
    Yes, in the context of a simulation (as opposed to a VR), shadow people are the same as NPCs. He just doesn't use the term, perhaps because of the VR connotations. Philosophical-zombie is something else, a term not meaningful under naturalism.

    I said that Bostrom suggests many different kinds of physical law going on, as opposed to the base world with (supposedly) one kind of physics. So a shadow person is simply a person that operates under a different kind of physics, one with more code but far less data to crunch.

    Maybe everything is in big pixellated blocks, and we are just programmed to think it's all smooth and detailed?
    He kind of says it IS big pixellated blocks when nobody is looking, but that crude physics changes when you look close, so you never notice. The big blocks still need to keep track of time so aging can occur. Paint needs to peel even when crudely simulated. Trees might not fall in the forest, but they still need to be found fallen when a human goes in there. How much detail is needed to simulate the magma or Earth? Not at the atomic level for sure, but the dynamics still need to be there. Plausible layers need to be found when a deep hole is dug by a human.

    It's back to Bishop Berkeley. Since our experience is mediated by our senses, there doesn't need to be anything "out there" at all. Just the program running in the simulators' computer that instantiates our minds.
    Much closer to what he proposes, yes. The stuff 'out there' needs to be simulated to sufficient accuracy of shared experience: The same fallen tree that nobody heard falling. The same coffee temperature. It's still a very inefficient way to run an ancestor simulation.

    Bostrom clearly thinks the simulators live in (our) future
    No, he never says 'our future'. The simulators supposedly exist in some other world, and 'our future' is some later time in this universe. He talks about where our technology might eventually go as an exploration of what might be possible, but he never suggests that the simulation is being done in our world, which would be a circular ontology.

    So we're being run by people who invented these super-duper computers and mind-instantiating algorithms, but their society has not evolved past, say, the medieval period.
    Nobody said that. They perhaps staged their initial state in simulated medieval times, sure, but the simulation is not being run by entities with only medieval technology.
    I thought of a way to not have to create perfect people for the initial state: Make everybody shadow people, and only those conceived after the initial state are fully simulated. That way there's no need to create a person with a full set of false memories of times prior to the simulation start.

    Where do these minds live?
    This questi0on presumes dualism, or if it doesn't, then I have no idea what you're asking.

    The sims (us) don't have to know how it works. The simulators do.
    Why? Atoms don't know how consciousness works, so neither does something that only simulates atoms.

    If you accept Bostrom's assumptions at face value, we live in an ant farm owned by a sociopathic child.
    The model is apt so long as the child cannot interfere with the ant farm.

    But it somehow gives rise to a mind. Did I ask you where these minds exist? I think I did.
    Most people assuming the 'commonly held philosophy of mind' consider mental process to take place in one's head (and not 'hovering nearby'). Hence Bostrom suggests simulation of heads to a higher (but not highest) degree than most other places.

    Nor did I ever claim that. This was a real strawman post. You put many words and ideas in my mouth.
    I misinterpreted your words then. Apologies.
    The sims are programs.fishfry
    Quotes like that threw me off.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    BTW Google maps is not a simulation,fishfry
    No, but it has an interface which is the beginnings of what one might look like for viewing simulation states. Yes, the controls to the tool constitute input to the tool, but since viewing simulation results has zero effect on the simulation itself, it doesn't count as input to the simulation, only input to one of many read-only tools to view the data produced by the simulation.

    Google maps can only show you specific places. You can go into a few select buildings, but your view is mostly confined to streets. With the simulation, there is no restriction of views only where the van was, taking a picture every 10 meters or so. You can go inside walls and watch the rats eat the wiring if you want, even if it's totally dark in there.

    You define 'the sims' below to be the programs in the GS world.
    — noAxioms
    Yes, what else could we be talking about?
    I thought they were the people, not the programs.
    But you defined it earlier to mean 'the simulation processes", of which there may be many running at once, each simulating a different world.

    Note: You yet again redefine 'sims' to be the people below. Using the word in both ways is the source of so much of our disconnect.

    Bostrom: "Are YOU living in a computer simulation?" My emphasis. Me. You. Each of us. We are a program being run by the simulators.
    'Living in a computer simulation" is different from being that computer simulation. The two exist in different worlds. They're not the same thing. The simulation runs in the GS world. We exist in this (simulated) world. That's the distinction I've been trying to stress. I'd try to use your meaning, but all sorts of strawman conclusions can be drawn when one equates the two very distinct things, such as "the simulation program is conscious'" which it isn't even though you and I are. Simulation programs tend to be very simple, endlessly running the same relatively small list of instructions again and again over a relatively large data set.

    I meant executing program.
    I know. It is still a mistake to say you are an executing program, for the reasons stated just above and in prior posts.

    It's odd that Bostrom thinks the computers instantiate self-awareness in the sims, yet show little interest in it.
    Presuming 'sims' is the people with this comment, else it makes no sense.

    It's a very weak point in his argument in my opinion, so he avoids it. To run a good ancestor simulation like this, it would require far less resources to have a good AI imitate (rather than simulate) each of the people. We're talking about something far better than passing a Turing test since each person needs to not just type like a human, but to act and defecate and bleed like a human. Now your ancestor sim can go on at perhaps a thousandth of the resources needed to do it at the level of simulation of consciousness of each person. But his hypothesis requires this, so he's forced to posit this implausible way of achieving the goal he's made up. The ratio is likely waaaay more than 1000-1.

    He tries to address this by waving away my '1/1000th' guess with 'we don't know the real number'. He calls the imitation people (as opposed to fully simulated ones) 'shadow people', and discounts this strategy, and yet gives every simulated person a shadow body and populates the world with shadow animals and plants and such, none of which is actually simulated like the brains are. Go figure.

    Bostrom clearly thinks the simulators live in (our) future and we are simulations of their ancestors.
    The initial state of the sim had perhaps some real ancestors (depends what date they selected), but we (the descendants of those initial people) are not in any way their ancestors, and thus the simulators are not in our future, only the future of some past year they selected for their initial state.

    Yes, I agree with you that Bostrom seems to imply that history would play out more or less the same, in which case he's just fooling himself, or, if there's a script, it's not a simulation at all, but just a CG effect for a movie script, which doesn't involve people that need to make their own choices.

    Bostrom says that. That's the one great revelation I had from this thread. Bostrom explicitly states that the sims are self-aware, and blithely justified is as "it's widely believed."
    And I buy that. Yes, the simulated people (and not the simulation processes) are self aware. But he doesn't explicitly say that anybody knows how 'consciousness works'. You don't have to. You put matter together like this, and the thing is conscious. That's what the sim does. It just moves matter. It doesn't need to know how the emergent effects work.

    That's more likely than that the history majors are running ancestor simulations.
    Agree. Or the biologists, which is a history major of sorts. What will they get from a sim that starts at a state resembling some past state, but evolves in a completely different direction? Not much. What if you run a thousand of them, all with different outcomes. Now you have statistics, and that's useful. Output would look like a history book. 'Watching' specific events from a selected point of view probably won't be too useful for that, but such a view would be useful to find the initial cause of some avoidable calamity (like a war) which helps our future people know what to look for to prevent their own calamities.

    Point is, that's a good starting point to resolve the 'why would such a sim be run'? I also still say that imitation, not full simulation, would be a far less costly way to achieve any of the goals mentioned. Only Bostrom requires it, but he can't force the 'future' people to do it an inefficient way.

    You can map all the neurons and you would not know what someone's thinking.
    But they kind of already do. They can put a thing on your head, measuring only external EM effects on your scalp (like an EEG) and they can see you make a decision before you're aware of it yourself. Point is, one doesn't need to know 'how consciousness works' in order to gean what the sim needs, which is mostly focus and intent. What is our guy paying attention to? Why? The sim needs to know because the physics of that thing is dependent on it., It changes from when nobody is paying attention to it. This is done for optimization purposes, and for faking non-classical effects in a classical simulation.

    The sims are programs.fishfry
    ARGHHHHHH! The sims are conscious. That's on page one of Bostrom's paper. We are the sims.fishfry
    Aaand the definition changes again. You said the sims are the programs. The programs are processes running in the GS world. We are humans living in this simulated world. Maybe we should stop using 'sims' as shorthand for this ever moving target.
    Be explicit. Use either 'simulated people' (us) or simulation process (the program running in a different world).

    Bostrom does not use the word 'sims', so it isn't on any page of his paper.
    He says on page 1 (the only reference to 'conscious' on that page): "Suppose that these simulated people are conscious". He is proposing that the people in the simulated world, and not the program running in the simulating 'future' world, is what is conscious. This is consistent with what I've been saying.

    He goes on later to presume substrate independence, which is that consciousness is not necessarily confined to carbon based biological forms. But the simualted people in his proposal are based on simulated carbon-based simulated biological forms. But he must say this to emphasize the standard objection that by definition, no computer can instantiate something conscious.
    Nowhere does he state that something as simple as a simulation process is itself conscious.

    That's the funny thing. You have said you don't agree w/Bostrom. And for some reason, that makes you want to put great effort into explaining his wrong position to me.
    Yea, that's right. There's indeed not much point in this since your personal beliefs conflict, so you won't consider it on its own grounds.

    Bostrom speculates that WE are sims.
    Surely we agree on that, at least, yes? No?
    You keep changing what 'the sims' means, and Bostrom doesn't use the word, so I cannot say yes or no.
    Bostrom does indeed speculate that it is more likely than not that we are simulated people: that we are composed of simulated matter being manipulated by a simulation process running in some other world. He nowhere speculates that we are that simulation process itself.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    I asked WHAT is the output.fishfry
    We can only speculate as to the purpose of running this kind of simulation, and thenature of the output depends on that purpose. Maybe it is a sort of detailed history book. Maybe it is pictures. Maybe it's just a stored database. Maybe the purpose is simply to see how long humanity lasts until it goes extinct, in which case a simple number might be the output.
    I did mention the nature of the output later in the post above, such as the example of the output of google maps for instance, a very useful interface for display of simulation results.

    So the sims have an inner life (one of Bostrom's hidden assumptions)
    You define 'the sims' below to be the programs in the GS world. I see no assertion that either a program (a static chunk of software on perhaps a disk somewhere) or a computer process (the execution of said program on some capable device) with no inputs would have what you might consider to be an 'inner life'. Bostrom doesn't say this, and neither do I.

    but the simuilators have no knowledge of it?
    They have knowledge of it in the same way that I have knowledge of my wife having an inner life. If that's going out on a limb, then one is presuming solipsism. But my presumption of my wife having inner life does not let me know what it's like to be her.
    The simulation can report what each person thinks and feels. The simulation has to have access to this because physics is dependent on what people are thinking. So it can report that Bob at time X is paying attention to his laser experiment and is feeling frustrated that he cannot get the setup just right, and his bladder is getting full. It can show his point of view if that helps. Make up your story. What interface tech exists for them is speculation on our part. Humans are notoriously bad at predicting 'future'/higher tech.

    I put 'future' in scare quote because maybe the simulation is being run in the year we call 1224 or something. Maybe in the GS world, advancements came much sooner, and in our simulated world, things happened much slower, and we're far behind them despite 8 more centuries to learn. If that is the case, the Gregorian calendar is only meaningful in our world, and they number their years differently.

    So YOU know how consciousness works.
    Geez, another strawman. I make no such claim. Bostrom presumes that consciousness is physical/computational. That assumption is no more an explanation of how consciousness works than is the non-explanation by anybody else.

    So step one, they figure out how to implement consciousness using computers; and step two, they entirely ignore that and focus on behavior.
    I didn't say they figured out how consciousness works, nor did I say they focus only on behavior. The simulation needs to know what each persons mental focus is, what his intent is, because physics as he describes it depends on it. One doesn't need to know how consciousness works to do this.

    And again, how is that behavior communicated to them?
    There's no 'them' to communicate to. OK, observers in the GS world can watch, (very similar to the google map interface), but they don't affect anything since that would constitute external input. The running of any sim doesn't require observation of any kind, but why run it if nobody's going to pay attention to the outcome? Yet again, the output is dependent on the purpose of running the thing, and we can only speculate on the purpose.

    An MRI does not provide access to internal mental states. You know that.
    A full classical scan of a person provides access to internal physical states, and that's all that's needed to simulate the person, per naturalism. But such a simple simulation would not have physics supervening on mental states like the sim Bostrom proposes, so the one he speculates is far more complicated and requires access to mental states, not just physical states.

    You're just speculating
    Yes, with that quote, I was. I don't know the purpose of the sim, and I don't know what tech is available to the entities running the sim, so I can only speculate as to how they would choose to 'observe' it.

    The sims are programs.
    Ah, not us, but the program in the GS world. Apologies for getting that wrong. Sims then typically not conscious, especially since it typically lacks input.

    Could you accept that you can't answer any of these questions except by making stuff up?
    Me saying what the output would be is definitely making stuff up. Me knowing what a simulation is and how it typically works is not making stuff up, since I did it regularly.

    Our opinions definitely differ, but I'm trying not to assert opinions. I'm trying to interpret what Bostrom's opinion is, and how he attempts to back it.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    So the humans are entities created by the software?Ludwig V
    I would say the humans are entities created by rearrangement of matter, and that the matter in this case happens to be simulated by the running process in the supervening world. It's a choice of how to word things is all.

    Then how are they not real people and not simulations of anything?
    They are (hypothesized as being) you, and you are real, per your definition:
    If I'm experiencing fear, the fear is real.Ludwig V

    But my experience is real experience, not a simulation of experience.
    You seem to be inconsistent with your usage of 'real'. Have you switched to a different definition?

    So the people "inside" your software are real people.
    It's not my software. It's the software of the entities running the simulation, which isn't me. I am hypothesized to be the product of that simulation, not hypothesized to be creating or running one.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    I don't see that. Isn't a simulation of a person without a will exactly what they call a philosophical zombie? It would literally be a terrific chatbot operating inside a highly realistic flesh and bone bot. Your neighbor, for instance. What makes you think they have a will?fishfry
    You seem to have a dualistic definition of 'will'. All of your examples (pacman, p-zombies) are dualist/VR references. Bostrom's hypothesis is not. He's not proposing we're in a video game. All this has been said before.

    The simulation program has no input. You write the code, then you execute the code and it does what it does.
    That's what a simulation is, yes. It has an initial state conveyed to it, and that is input of sorts, but once the simulation begins, there is no further input of any kind. If there was, it ceases to be a simulation. I've run plenty of these myself. It was my job for a while. The sims would run without any I/O at all for perhaps a week, and I don't think results were available until the end, but they could be reported as they happen.

    What is its output?
    Output (state of system at any given time) can be had any time, often at the end, but it doesn't have to be. A weather sim is a single simulation of a storm, and it could output the stats of the storm at regular intervals, or it could wait until the end and output the whole thing in a lump. It has to complete in hours, not days, to be useful. My chip sims were a little difference since each chip was run through a series of discreet tests, mostly designed to see how fast you could clock it before it started misbehaving, but also to check the design for bugs. Those sims still output everything at the end, but they didn't have to.

    How exactly do the Simulators examine its inner life?
    They don't. It makes no more sense than asking what it is like for a human to be a bat.

    In other words, they run the program, and inside the program I come into existence. Me with my subjective experience. (How does that happen? Remind me please).
    Same way it happens in the real (materialist) world: Particles interact and do their thing. Your experience is a function of matter interactions (not so according to someone like Chalmers, whom you referenced with the p-zombie mention above).

    Clearly they are interested in what I'm thinking and experiencing
    The simulation itself cares about what you're thinking, but only because it needs to change physics due to it. The runners of the simulation may or may not care. Certainly they don't have enough people to care about every single individual. It's an ancestor simulation of the whole human race. They perhaps want to see what history unfolds, and they care no more about what anybody is thinking than you do about what anybody is thinking. You only care about what they say to you, what they do. You may wonder what goes on inside, but that's a motive for a single-person simulation, not a planetary scale one.

    1) Do the simulators have access to my internal mental states, and if so, how? Copious log files of everything I'm thinking? and
    If 'the simulators' are those that put together the simulation, who want the ancestor sim, then they have perhaps access to the same data as we do with a pimped-out MRI scan: A picture of where the matter is. You're not getting thoughts from that. To log thoughts, something needs to interpret that matter state and render it into language for readable by the simulators. I suppose such log files are possible, but much of thoughts are not in language form.
    And per above, if this is the sort of detail one wants, it makes far more sense to simulate one or a very small number of people. So the motives are probably different for the ancestor sim.

    2) How do I perform actions for the Simulators to watch? They're running ancestor simulations, so they must want to see what I'm going to do next. How do they "watch" me? What are the outputs?
    Up to them to design a way to do it that is useful for their purposes. I suppose one could insert a sort of point of view interface that lets one look from any event anywhere (much like the little guy you can steer around in google maps), and lets it move at the observers control. The sim would need to save all state (and not just current state) for this to work since it probably wouldn't be useful if it was 'live', displaying only what constitutes the current state of the sim.

    You are avoiding the question of whether the sims are self-aware?
    I presume that 'the sims' are the humans in the simulation.
    The hypothesis is that the sims are us, so tautologically they're as self-aware as you are.

    If 'the sims' is a reference to the simulation software, program, or process, well that's a different answer since people are not hypothesized to be any of those things.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    Nobody is claiming that a simulation of X creates an X in the simulating world
    — noAxioms

    That's exactly what's claimed.
    fishfry
    Who makes that claim? Quote it please. If you can't do that, then you're making a strawman assertion.

    simulations of brains do not necessarily implement minds
    Not minds/people in the GS world, no. The claim is that we (the simulated people with yes, simulated minds) are in this simulated universe, and not in the universe running the simulation.

    you admit I have will! Therefore I am NOT likely to be a computer simulation.
    A simulation of a person without will would be a simulation of a body in a vegitative state.

    After all this you have to accuse me of bad will?
    What, my saying 'deliberate'? You seem to be putting words in people's mouths that they didn't say, and I don't find you to be an ignorant person.

    A program isn't conscious,
    Not the simulation being discussed here, correct. A running computer process forever without inputs by definition cannot be conscious any more than you would be without inputs ever.

    unless you think chatbots simulate consciousness. Many people believe that these days.
    I have a very loose definition that you would not like, but my opinion there is irrelevant. The chatbots (which perhaps imitate, but not simulate anything) at least have input, but so does a thermostat. The simulation in question does not.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    I have no limbic system. Only a simulation of a limbic system in a computer,fishfry
    You sound like Arkady, but no, that statement is misleading. It makes it sound like the limbic system is simulated but you are not. So either "I have a limbic system", or "The simulated 'I' has a simulated limbic system". Either of those wordings is at least consistent. Your opinion (and mine, but for very different reasons) of course is that neither you nor your limbic system are the product of a simulation.
    Nobody is claiming that a simulation of X creates an X in the simulating world, which is the strawman you seem to use in your gravity example every time where you deny an equivalent straw claim that simulation of gravity would create gravity in the GS world. That you persist in this suggestion means that yes, you're not getting it right, perhaps deliberately so.
    So no, a simulation in the GS world of a limbic system does not create emotion in the GS world. I agree with that. It is exactly for that reason that the program running the simulation isn't conscious.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    If we're in a simulation, what does "actually" flying mean? We're merely simulating the flying experience, making it simply a hyper-advanced flight sim. Pilots in flight sims aren't actually flying, after all.Arkady
    You seem to be referring to a virtual reality. The simulation hypothesis is not a virtual reality. The people (us) are simulated. In a VR, we would be real, and only our experiential feed is artificial.

    So in the simulation hypothesis, everything in our universe is as real as we are, and therefore it is meaningful for them to say that they actually fly. From the point of view of those running the simulation (if they're paying any attention to it at all), they might say that the simulation is simulating the flying of some of the simulated people, but that seems a needlessly wordy way to put it.

    perhaps they're advanced aliens which at some point in cosmic history made contact with humans, perhaps they're advanced AI like in the Matrix, and so forth.
    The Matrix is also an example of a VR, not an example of the simulation hypothesis.
    Aliens (or our robot successors) might indeed be running the simulation, but the simulated history (especially an initial state) would then likely not bear much resemblance to actual history.
    The robots would have perhaps some DNA evidence of mythical humans, and to demonstrate that humans might have been responsible for the genesis of the earliest machines, they run simulations of human evolution from primitive state to eventually creating their successors. They'd probably have to run it thousands of times to get one where it works before we go extinct.
    I have no idea how something robot/alien could create an initial state if they don't have a real human to copy. Perhaps they grow one from the DNA, and then populate their sim with what they learn from that.


    Where is the will that initiates the process?fishfry
    I can't answer for your view, but for the naturalists, it comes from different places, depending on what sort of thing is wanted.
    Most will comes from subconscious places (Limbic system), such as choices as to which way to swerve around the tree or to cheat on your spouse. But the will to choose option C in a multiple choice test comes from higher up (Cerebrum for instance).

    Ok. My reasons are irrational.
    I said that because the reasons seem backwards: Conclusion first, then selection of premises to support that conclusion. This is rationalization, something humans are very good at. I don't consider humans (myself included) to be very rational creatures.

    You sound like I said something that annoyed you.
    Not at all, but I apologize if my words annoyed you. The effect was not intentional.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    But if this is indeed a simulation, then anything we purport to know about our present levels of technology (and thus any extrapolation therefrom) is illusory, because we don't actually possess that technology: such technology is simulated.Arkady
    Take airplanes. If the simulation initial state was set in the 20th century, then it includes airplane technology. It is 'given' so to speak. If the initial state is started before that, then airplanes are our own invention.. Either way, we possess the technology. It isn't illusory. We actually can make airplanes that fly. If you crash in one, you really die, as opposed to say a video game where if you 'die', you simply exit the game. Getting shot in a video game is indeed an illusion.


    Perhaps given that it's supposed to be an "ancestor" simulation specifically, he would say that such a simulation would by definition closely (if not necessarily exactly) resemble the ancestral state of the civilization doing the simulating.Arkady
    @RogueAI correctly pointed out that only somebody who knows about humans would want to simulate them, so it is presumably our decedents, be they human anymore or not.

    The initial state would presumably resemble some factual state in the past of 'reality', as best they can estimate it, but it would subsequently evolve in a totally different path, regardless of what you define the term 'ancestor simulation' to mean. You're indeed not the first to bring this up.

    So why would they want to run such a simulation? It won't reproduce 'what really happened', so there must be some other reason to simulate an entire planet at the level of full consciousness. I can't think of one. Not with those requirements.




    How does Searle say [the arm] goes up in the TED transcript?fishfry
    "we know the basic part of the answer — and that is, there are sequences of neuron firings and they terminate where the acetylcholine is secreted at the axon end-plates of the motor neurons, sorry to use philosophical terminology here. But when it is secreted at the axon end-plates of the motor neurons, a whole lot of wonderful things happen in the ion channels and the damned arm goes up."
    That's a wordy version of what I said, which is "there's wires connecting the parts where the will is implemented, to the parts where the motor control is implemented". Under Chalmers, there isn't such a wire, hence the magic.

    Because I can't believe that a computer program of any complexity, running at any speed, could ever be conscious.
    Nobody ever said the program was conscious. It's dumb as rocks, implementing a fairly small program that simply knows how to move the particles around. It implements physics and is no more conscious than is physical law. It has no external input, so right there it doesn't qualify as being conscious. Some programs do have such input, but not most simulations.

    Anyway, you don't believe a simulated person could be conscious, so you make up an arbitrary rule that forbids it. I think that's what you're saying, but personal belief isn't evidence against somebody's hypothesis. It's only an irrational reason that you don't accept the hypothesis.


    Programs play chess and drive cars, and I'm duly impressed. Not same as being conscious.
    I say the car wouldn't be able to do its thing if it wasn't conscious of what's going on around it. Not the same as human consciousness, sure, but it's still a form of consciousness. A car stays conscious even when it's off, a sort of security feature that has caught vandals and thiefs.
    So maybe you have more of a Searle definition of 'conscious' which is 'only if a genuine human is doing it'. He actually defines the word early in his talk, but it's just 'awake' as opposed to 'asleep', something that regularly comes and goes with a human.

    What would constitute evidence of what might be possible in the future?
    Mathematics. Known physical limits. Psychology. Fermi paradox. All vague things, I admit, but at least not empty.

    The ultimate argument against my position is that some configurations of atoms are self-aware, and someday we may figure out what those configurations are.
    The computer doesn't need to know which configurations. It only has to simulate physical law. It means that if they successfully simulate a conscious being, they still won't know how consciousness works.

    This referred to the claim that everything physical is computational. If you agree with me that you don't assert this, then we're in complete agreement. In fact I think we might be in a lot of agreement in general.
    Both the physics community and I are in general agreement in that our physics does not appear to be computational. Bell's theorem even 'proves' this, but it is based on empirical evidence, and one has to accept empirical evidence for the proof to hold.

    Programs don't have souls, don't have life energy, aren't alive.
    OK, but naturalism is in contrast with concepts like souls, life energy, vitalism, etc. None of these things is necessary to be alive, and indeed, a running program is no more alive than is your brain processes.
    They do have a hard time defining 'life'. I mean, given one example of Earth life, it's pretty easy: Anything that trances its ancestry to the earliest life form. But that definition fails as a metric to decide if something alien is alive or not.

    Our theory of gravity works, but we know it's not quite right.
    It's 'right' enough to know where the moon will be 17 years from now, but the physics is chaotic enough that we don't know where it will be 17 millennia from now.

    Oh no, that's chaos theory. Even if we had all the details of the initial state, we can't necessarily predict the future.
    Indeed, but we can for a limited time. For the rolling lumpy rock, yes, that's a chaotic function, but with sufficient precision, we can predict its brief path until it stops, with arbitrary precision. Same with the weather. Our current precision gets us maybe 6 days of what that storm will do, and much of that error is due to lack of perfect model, and lack of detailed initial state.

    Tiny rounding errors add up to great differences in output. Nearby points in the initial state space lead to vastly different outcomes. We know this.
    Which is exactly why there's no point in doing an ancestor simulation. It will show an alternate history that bears little resemblance to what the books say. If started far enough back, it will not evolve humans.

    He says that in the future, computations will instantiate consciousness.
    That's very different than us being a program.
    It is "I am a human" vs "I am that on which the laws of physics supervene". The program can't be conscious because it has zero sensory input. It has nothing to be conscious of.

    Very distinct. The universe, or God, instantiates all the stuff around us. It is the stuff around us. It's the exact ultimate laws of the universe. The execution of a model is just that. It lets us predict, to sufficient accuracy, how the galaxies will move. It doesn't move the galaxies and it's not exact.
    This is Searle's language game again. Instantiation if an anthropomorphic god does it, and 'execution of a model' if anything else does the exact same thing. The model may be a map, but the execution of it is territory.

    Gravity simulations do not attract nearby bowling balls. They do not instantiate gravity.
    Nonsense. If they didn't instantiate gravity, then the simulated moon would not orbit the simulated Earth. That's what you defined instantiation to be. Are we changing the definition now of 'instantiation' to be 'not simulated'?


    My reply is half the size of your post, in an effort to stem the tendency to growth.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    triggered exactly by recognition of something that can be characterized by danger
    — noAxioms
    Could we just say "recognition of something as dangerous" or "recognition of a danger"?
    Ludwig V
    I tried to be more precise than that. Something not actually dangerous at all (say most spiders), can trigger a fear reflex. Some actually dangerous things don't trigger it if it isn't thus characterized. But yes, essentially, your wording is fine.

    Anyway, if I've understood what a simulation is supposed to be, it involves feeding me information that is false.
    No, that sounds like a VR. I say that, but since Bostrom posits the changing of physics when you pay attention to the thing, his vision of a simulation does feed the simulated humans lies, in particular, that the universe is non-computational, when in fact it is a computation.

    False information can easily trigger real or genuine fear.
    It can't be genuine since the person experiencing the fear is not genuine. The fear of being bit by the dog is very real and not false information, but the dog is apparently an NPC per Bostrom, just a mindless object controlled by AI, at least until you look closer, which most people don't.

    So the fear is not actually appropriate in that situation, but it would be misleading to call it simulated because that suggests that I am not really afraid.
    You are really afraid. If the dog bits you, it will hurt. You might bleed. You might get a permanent scar.
    Happened to me. Friendliest Pitt Bull I ever saw, and we played with it a while. There was danger but no fear. It had previously been romping through the poison ivy which covered me with the stuff, and I didn't know it until way too late. Lost vision in one eye, fixed by cataract surgery, my 'permanent scar'.

    I do care about the difference between reality and a simulation of it.
    By your definition of 'real', the simulation IS reality to the people in it. It simply isn't real to the people running the simulation, but Bostrom doesn't posit that we're the ones running it. We're not 'posthuman', as he puts it.

    Well, I don't really think that determinism is just hand-waving. It is much more serious than that.
    That's just a version of Laplace's demon. Hand-waving.
    Laplace's demon is a story illustrating/presuming determinism, which you declared to be hand waving, and now declaring it to not be just hand waving.

    Perhaps I misunderstand how you interpret the Laplace's demon story. Anyway, I agree that determinism is not hand waving. It doesn't appear to be falsifiable.

    Well, at least we are agreed that Laplace's demon is out of date.
    Very much so, yes. It just doesn't mean that determinism has died with the demon.

    I used to know [ what determinism is]
    Determinism says that subsequent states of a closed system is fixed, given an exact initial state. It means that a system will evolve the same way, every time, from the same initial state. It implies all effects have a cause.
    This is the case for a computer program running a simulation, unless the program has some kind of randomness instruction it can access.

    Determinism does not imply that one can subjectively predict subsequent states, since knowledge of the initial state is impossible, per Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. Laplace's demon is an objective observer (whatever that means), not a subjective one.

    A simple example of uncaused phenomena is the decay of some unstable particle. It's half-life is known, which yields a time after which it is 50% likely to have already decayed, but it is completely unpredictable when the actual decay will occur.
    An interpretation like Bohmian mechanics asserts that there are hidden variables that cause this, and if they could be consistently replicated, the exact time of the decay would be fully determined. If they could be consistently set, then 20 particles all with the same hidden variable states would all decay at once.
    MWI is also fully deterministic, but says only that the wave function evolves according to Schrodinger's equation. All solutions to this equations are valid, which means that the particle in question decays at all possible time intervals, each in a 'different world'.
    Under Bohm, Laplace's demon could predict future states if it had access to these hidden variables.
    Under MWI, Laplace's demon could not predict a future state of anything since all possibilities are equally real.
    Many other valid interpretations have true randomness going on (God 'rolling dice' as Einstein put it), meaning the demon cannot predict at all.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    Genuine=Not simulated. If I'm experiencing fear, the fear is real.Ludwig V
    OK, by those two strangely unaligned definitions, if Bostrom's hypothesis is true, then your experience of fear is real, but not genuine.

    [determinism] would need an insane amount of power and memory, but a relatively trivial code base.
    I don't see that. For one, there is no power requirement for a simulation at all, except the impatience of the runners of the simulation. As for memory, why would a deterministic simulation need any more memory than a non-deterministic one? They would seem to have similar requirements as far as I can see. Do you know what determinism is? I suspect otherwise.

    How would one implement a non-deterministic simulation? It would have to employ a real random number generator somewhere, something that does say a quantum amplification,. No current CPU has such an instruction, but one could be implemented.

    Finally, determinism isn't an interpretation of simulations. It is part of interpretations of physics. Relativity theory for instance is deterministic, but also incomplete.

    So does Laplace's description of his demon. In addition, his thought-experiment describes predictability as opposed to determinism.
    That experiment has been shown to be wrong.
    Per wiki:
    [Per Laplace], According to determinism, if someone (the demon) knows the precise location and momentum of every atom in the universe, their past and future values for any given time are entailed; they can be calculated from the laws of classical mechanics. — wiki
    This is completely false. 1, I have shown an example just above (Norton) where classical mechanics does not do this. 2, Our universe is not classical

    None of the interpretations of physics, not even the fully deterministic ones, are consistent with the claim made above by Laplace.


    I have stipulated that I am not quoting Searle;
    ...
    Can we just start from what I also said, that I am willing to make this maxim my own.
    fishfry
    I'll do better. I retract much of what I said of Searle. I read the transcript of his Ted talk, and yes, he seems to attempt to stay physical. I perhaps have mixed up some assertions from Chalmers, It is Chalmers that needs to explain how the arm goes up, not Searle, who seems to have a consistent story about this.

    The Ted talk seemed to play the language game. If two things are doing the exact same thing, it is 'X' if a human does it, and it is not X if a machine does it. That's what I got from it.
    I got nothing from him that suggests that human consciousness cannot be simulated, that it isn't computational. That bit seems to be your assertion.


    My apologies if I seem to respond to most of your comments. We both tend to do that, which makes the replies lengthy. I try to edit out repetitive replies.

    Consciousness is physical but not computational.
    Why do you want this to be the case? It doesn't seem to be just a random assertion.

    LOTS of things are physical but not computational.
    I've said as much, but it doesn't prevent the running of simulations of parts of the universe. Why can all the other parts be simulated, but a human cannot? It's not like the simulated human has a different reality to compare, and say "Hey, this consciousness feels different than a genuine consciousness does!". Maybe it 'feels' totally different from one person to the next, and not just from one universe to the next.

    I have no proof of that either
    None of it is about proof. But a shred of evidence always helps. I have no proof that the universe isn't computational, but the evidence suggests that. If we're 'in a sim', the sim has to go out of its way to fake that evidence. Bostrom addresses this problem.

    If you have proof that everything physical is computational
    You seem to think I assert this, or even that it's my opinion. It isn't. Evidence suggests otherwise. There's no proof either way.

    There is no demonstration of the proposition or its negation.
    OK, so we're back to zero evidence for your opinion, which doesn't make the opinion wrong, but it also isn't evidence against the SH. It only renders SH something you won't believe because it conflicts with your opinion.

    That's where we differ. I don't reject something because of conflicts with my opinions. I don't consider my opinion to count as evidence one way or another.

    Wait, now you're agreeing with me. If a rock rolling down a hill hasn't been shown to be computational, then you admit that you claim that "everything physical is computational" has no proof.
    Science is not about proof. I've always agreed with you on this point. Evidence suggests physics is noncomputatinal, and a rolling rock (a genuine one, not a simple approximation of one) is physics.

    So we each have an opinion, and nobody has a proof. I hope we can agree on that.
    Yea, but my opinion doesn't count, except that my opinion rejects Bostrom's probability argued to the first two options.

    You have gone a long way towards agreeing with me. If a rock rolling downhill might not be computational, then surely consciousness might not be either.
    And my point is that like the rolling rock, it being noncomputational doesn't prevent it from being simulated to enough precision that it works. There's no evidence that consciousness is dependent on non-computability. If it was, then indeed, it could not be simulated at all. The lack of evidence of this dependency means that the SH isn't falsified by this [lack of] evidence. Falsification requires evidence.

    You seem to be making a distinction between "computaional" and "functioning in a computational way." I do not understand that distinction. Unless by "functioning in a computational way" you mean something that can be approximated or simulated by an abstract model. But that is not functioning that way -- it's only being approximated that way.
    Yes, you got it. Functioning in a computational way means being approximated to sufficient precision. I can approximate a car crash to sufficient detail that when I finally make a genuine car, I will know how safe it is, how it handles specific collision scenarios.

    Note that I am using here and earlier the word 'genuine' as defined by Ludwig at the top of this post, since his definition of 'real' would not be fitting.

    I agreed with you right up till you said, "any property I want." Clearly we can't do that, because we haven't got a theory of quantum gravity, meaning that we have not yet got a complete theory of gravity.
    OK, I grant that. I just want to know if the rock will bust in two when it hits that other rock, or if it will essentially bounce off with only small fragments ejecting. I don't expect the simulation to predict exactly which atoms within it will decay during the time simulated. No amount of precision will predict that.

    So there are SOME properties, tiny little wobbles, that we can NOT simulate or approximate, because we haven't got enough physics.
    Those we can predict with enough precision, with enough detail of initial state. Those are classical properties. They do have simulations of dark matter, and they explain the unusual rotation curves of some galaxies. The simulations show how those galaxies seem to have little dark matter in them compared to most. The simulations don't get the predictions correct partly due to the inability to guess correctly at initial conditions. Bostrom doesn't seem to address this problem in his paper. It is apparently 'hand waved' away. How does one set up initial conditions of this 'ancestor simulation'? Apparently an exercise for the people of the future to solve,

    He explicitly assumes that the "simulation" implements consciousness.
    Yes, he does. This point obviously grates against your opinion enough to prevent further reading.

    So he is (in my reading) NOT talking about simulation as approximation; or simulation as a perfect implementation of an abstract model that captures most but not all of a system's behaviors. He is talking about my consciousness, this noisy voice in my head and the feeling of the keys under my fingertips, the pleasant sensation of the soft breeze coming in the open window, being literally implemented, instantiated, created by the "simulation."
    Yes, that's what he's talking about. I thought that was clear, even from the abstract.

    I find that most unlikely, for the simple reason that I don't think computer programs have inner lives.
    He does not suggest that we're computer programs. Being a program is very different than being simulated by one. You don't buy the hypothesis because it conflicts with your beliefs. Nothing wrong with that.

    So he is using the word simulation to mean instantiation or creation; and NOT approximation or execution of an abstract model.
    I hate to say it, but how does instantiation differ from execution of a model? I thought I had got it right, but now you're treating these terms as distinct.

    Remember: Simulations of gravity do not attract nearby bowling balls. I hope you will consider this.
    No, but simulated bowling balls are attracted to each other (not much). Either that or the gravity simulation isn't as accurate to sufficient precision. Most gravity simulations don't go to that precision.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    But there is a conceptual link between danger and fear that makes it hard to understand what recognizing a danger could be if one didn't fear it.Ludwig V
    Not sure what you're saying here. If you don't fear something, then it seems you don't recognize it as a danger. I suppose one could employ wordplay to come up with a scenario illustrating one but not the other, but it seem that the fear reflex is triggered exactly by recognition of something that can be characterized by danger.

    I hope I'm free to disagree with you?
    As do most people. If determinism is true, then you still disagree, but the disagreement isn't free. I also want to point out that my personal opinion isn't one that supports determinism, but that doesn't mean the view is 'hand waving' or that it's wrong.
    "I believe X, therefore any other view is wrong" is essentially closed mindedness, an encouraged attitude for religion, but a terrible one for pursuit of truth. And no, I most certainly don't claim my view to be truth.


    And that adds up to genuine emotion?
    If Bostrom's hypothesis is true, and your definition of 'genuine' doesn't include simulated cognition influenced by simulated chemistry, then your emotion is indeed not genuine. That's the best I can answer without a clear definition of 'genuine' in this context.


    Searle is making an entirely naturalist premise. He denied dualism.fishfry
    I really need a quote on that for context. He asserts that mind works differently than everything else physical. Sounds like dualism to me. If it can be show that it really works that way, then physics needs to be rewritten to include this magic as part of naturalism.

    He says consciousness is physical, just not computational.
    And how has this been demonstrated? He has no more evidence of that than the science community has that it IS computational, but even a rock rolling down a hill hasn't been shown to be computational.
    Point is, it's no big claim to say something isn't computational. The big claim is one that says that the effect in question cannot function in a computational way.
    I can computationally simulate an approximation of the rock rolling down the hill, a simulation that will yield almost any property I want of a rolling rock.

    Bostrom's hypothesis suffers from this. A simulation seems necessarily classical, and yet science has demonstrated (Bell's theorem for starters) that our physics isn't classical. So Bostrom has to modify his hypothesis to change physics when attention is paid to it, to make it appear non-classical when in fact it actually is. That make the job of the simulation so very much more difficult.


    it's my point. Consciousness is physical, but not computational.
    Again, how do you know this? Fervent belief, or something with actual evidence? Are you asserting (without evidence) that something computational cannot be conscious? Or is it the weaker claim that consciousness simply exists in a classical environment that emerges from non-classical underlying physics? I would fully agree with the latter statement, but I know of zero evidence for the former.

    Wiki says:

    Penrose argues that human consciousness is non-algorithmic
    ...
    Penrose hypothesizes that quantum mechanics plays an essential role in the understanding of human consciousness. The collapse of the quantum wavefunction is seen as playing an important role in brain function.
    The same could be said of a transistor in a computer, the operation of which is utterly dependent on quantum effects. It doesn't mean that one cannot create a classical simulation of a transistor, something that is done all the time.

    Penrose may hypothesize these things, but hypothesizing and demonstrating are two different things. In particular, he suggests that consciousness is dependent on wave function collapse, but wave function collapse has never been demonstrated. If it had, then all the interpretations that deny wave function collapse (about half of the ones listed on Wiki) would have been falsified.

    He's expressing opinion, as are you. I try to keep my opinions out of the discussion, and try very hard not to escalate them to assertions.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    Code which is influenced by chemistry.Ludwig V
    No. Simulated cognition influenced by simulated chemistry. The code is not simulated, unless of course you're multiple layers deep.

    That's just a version of Laplace's demon. Hand-waving.
    Another word for determinism, and determinism is not hand waving. It's simply a valid philosophical view.

    That's just a lot of hand-waving.
    Yes, that part is hand waving. It assumes that the hard problem isn't hard, or rather, that there isn't a hard problem. The hard problem, as stated, is also hand waving, and will by definition never be solved, regardless of the progress of science and the success of a simulation such as Bostrom describes. The runners of the simulation have zero evidence that the simulated people are conscious as defined by the dualists, as opposed to p-zombies.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    What makes free will possible?Patterner
    That depends heavily on how one defines free will. The way it is being used in this topic, free will is agency of a physical entity (something in the simulation) from a will that isn't part of the physics of the universe (the simulation). So in a VR, Lara Croft has free will since her will comes from outside the physics of the tomb. The NPCs she shoots do not have free will since their agency does come from said physics.

    That's what I'm asking.
    I don't see a fundamental difference, so 'other people' must answer your question since you say that "It is only when talking about what humans (some people include other animals) do that anyone calls the outcome choice", which implies that only living things have choice. But 'living' is just a language tag. There's no physical difference between a thing designated as living and one that isn't. They're both (per the naturalism view) just material doing what material does.

    I suspect the reason believers who don't engage in empirical research don't engage in empirical research is their minds aren't strong in that area. "God did it" and "How does it work" are not incompatible thoughts. Francis Collins is such a strong believer that, when he finished mapping the human genome, he called it the Language of God. Also Mendel, Carver, Maxwell, Cantor, Kelvin, Heisenberg, and many others.
    DNA doesn't explain how supernatural will has the agency to move one's arm. Searle apparently did a talk on how one can willfully move one's arm, but I don't know how he claims to have solved the problem. I'm pretty confident that there's a step in there that require hand-waving or begging or some such, but I've not seem a link to what he says.

    - - - -

    On the subject of computability: Where does randomness come into play? I've posted above that classical physics is computational, but there are valid classical situations where effects occur uncaused, such as described by Norton: "acausality in classical physics".
    The cleanest example was a particle on a cone that can at any random time slide off it, or remain at the top indefinitely. Computable physics is supposedly deterministic, but here's a case where the simulator is forced to pick a random value.



    The question is How much more?Ludwig V
    Well, all of it, but I see the question being, at what point can we back off on the level of detail simulated? Simulation is necessarily an approximation, and the further away you get (say the wall to your left), the more you can approximate the physics of it, if the intent is mostly to make the simulation undetectable to the humans. The bugs on the wall will notice, but the sim is not giving them buggy experience. The bugs are but phenomena to the humans, not things that have phenomenal experience themselves. All the above is per Bostrom, describing how the simulation could be optimized. But if the simulation does this (inconsistent physics between say the wall and one's gut biome), then it opens the door for empirical ways to detect this, but it gets hard because the sim is an AI that gleans intent, and it would change the physics of the bug if one focuses sufficient interest in one.

    Emotions (as opposed to moods) have a cognitive content, and that wouldn't be a problem. But they also involve desire and value.
    I find all of that list to be part of cognitive content, but with chemical influences as well. Fear is a very chemical emotion, but fear is necessarily initiated as a cognitive function: One must conclude a danger of some sort first before the chemicals come into play.

    That is extremely problematic. It seems to me that software commands can simulate emotion, but having an emotion (desire, value) is a very different kettle of fish.
    Software is not driving any emotions in the sim described. It is just simulating molecular interactions or some such, essentially an uncomplicated task. It is the molecules that are arranged into a person who has real emotions that emerge from the molecular activity, never simulated emotions.
    Fundamentally, the software could be a trivial program that does only that. Give it particles and forces and such, and off you go. It would need an insane amount of power and memory, but a relatively trivial code base.
    But Bostrom adds a lot more to the software requirement because it needs to know which molecules comprise a set of particles that is designated as a human, and it needs to glean intent from that human so that it can change the physics of some systems when necessary. Now the software is a million times more complicated, but the extra code is worth it for the optimization it buys.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    You grabbed a statement I made to Ludwig V about Searle, interpolated Bostromfishfry
    Ah, Searle said that, which makes sense. Of course Searle isn't going to accept a naturalist premise, but his unwillingness to set aside his opinion about it prevents his rendering any proper critique.



    People keep using the word naturalism and I'm trying to understand what it means. Is it the same or different than physicalism?fishfry
    For purposes of this discussion, I've been using the two terms interchangeably.


    The causes of the hormones in the brain and the effects of the hormones in the body, together with their psychological counterparts are all part of the package.Ludwig V
    If this world is part of a simulation, it is definitely going to have to simulate chemical/hormonal influences on our experience. Far more than that even.

    Much of my skepticism of SH is that he proposes that the physics of a system changes depending on how much attention is being paid to it.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    But our will is the result of physical interactions. Regardless of their complexity, physical interactional are physical interactions.
    -Physical interactions determine the final arrangement of the pool balls after the break.
    -Physical interactions determine whether a bunch of particles will gather into a planet orbiting a star; become a loose gathering, such as the asteroid belt; or scatter to the various directions of space.
    -Physical interactions determine if and when solid H2O will become liquid, and vice versa.
    -Physical interactions cause the globe's weather patterns.
    -Physical interactions determine what a person has for dinner, or how a person deals with a cheating spouse.
    Patterner
    I notice you seem to use the verbs 'cause' and 'determine' somewhat interchangeably there. I agree with all, but I want to highlight some distinctions, the main one being, 'under physical monism' (not dualism), all the above is true, since some (not just the last one) is not true under dualism.
    All of them are examples of 'physical interactions cause this and that'. The word 'determines' implies determinism, that not only does state X cause state Y, but state X can only cause Y and not any different outcome Z. There are valid deterministic interpretations of physics and valid nondeterministic ones, so we don't know if physics is deterministic or not.
    The second important point is: the lack of determinism does not imply free will, it only implies randomness, and randomness is not what makes free will possible. It isn't information (enaction of choice) from outside physical interactions of matter. Randomness conveys no information, hence cannot enact the external choice necessary for free will.

    Hence yes, determinism or no, under physicalism, an external entity cannot hold a physical entity responsible for how the physics works in this universe. Internal entities can, so justice is served if I go to jail for setting my cat on fire, but not if I go to hell for it, as if it is even meaningful to put a physically meaningful arrangement of matter into a non-physically meaningful state.

    How is this relevant to the simulation hypothesis? Well, the runners of the simulation have no meaningful way to exert their ideas of a moral standard on the states of matter in their simulation. OK, the simulators could sprinkle a bunch of 'divine scripture' copies here and there as part of the initial state of the simulation, but the runners really have no way of doing anything about it if someone in the sim doesn't follow the rules spelled out in the scripture. Lightning strikes from above would render it into an interactive VR for the simulators, and no longer a pure sim. It would reduce the occupants of our world to NPCs, zombies in a world with only one or a few actual free willed VR players (the ones aiming the lightning strikes, or whatever method they choose to implement their interference).

    It is only when talking about what humans (some people include other animals) do that anyone calls the outcome choice.
    Speak for yourself. I picked the cars as an example since I consider it to be making choices, even if I don't think it is a very good example of AI. They're complicated, but still very much automatons, but they do make choices about which route, which lane to use, and so on. If that's not choice, then fundamentally, as a physicalist, what am I doing that is different?


    The planet's weather is the result of more particles than are in our brains
    My decision to not burn the cat is also the result of more particles than is in my brain. In fact, that choice is a function of pretty much everything else you listed. It is not a function of matter 50 billion light years away. That's how far I need to go.

    Yet, even there, we do not speak of choice or will. Why do we only when the physical activity within a human brain is involved?
    Because that's how language is used, and language usage, more than anything else, sets one's biases.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    The pool balls can come to rest in a huge number of arrangements after being struck by the cue ball at the break. But I wouldn't say any arrangement is ever a choice.Patterner
    Pool balls don't seem to be an example of something enacting will, of something making choices.

    A self-driving car makes choices, unless you're the type to forbid such language being applicable to something other than a human doing it. Yet most would agree it has no free will. Again, I see no benefit of free will (an action whose causal chain isn't rooted in physical state somewhere) to be preferable to actions whose causal chain is rooted in physical state. Crossing the street is my typical example of this.

    in what way are our choices different if we don't have free will?
    I suspect that they're better choices if they're not free. Being 'free' seems to imply being controlled by an external entity, which I consider equivalent to being possessed. One never knows if what possesses you has your best interests in mind, especially if its survival isn't dependent on the survival of that which it possesses.

    Does naturalism state that we currently know of all things natural?
    Quite the opposite. It implies that it is far better to say "We don't know how X works yet" than to say "X? Oh, that's done by Gods, magic, woo, whatever. The latter attitude discourages research. The former methodology encourages it.
    Hence the dark ages when methodological supernaturalism was prevalent, and the explosion of knowledge when methodological naturalism took over some 7 centuries ago give or take.

    If your question is about a new kind of physics that implements mind, well, if it can be shown that such is how it really works, then it falls under naturalism, yes. But nobody is treating it as something that can be investigated. The whole point of woo is that it be based on faith in lieu of lack of evidence. So empirical research into any of it is discouraged.


    If there is a causal connection between my decision to point a gun and Lara Croft raising her arm, there are two things that interact. That's what causality means.Ludwig V
    Quite right, and there very much is such a connection in that example.

    Whether you are dualist, monist, physicalist, idealist, epiphenomenonalist or panpsychist.
    There's a difference. With physicalism, there's a wire connecting the physical system where the will is implemented, to the system where the motor control (and eventually the arm) is implemented. Under dualism, that causal chain is seemingly broken/unknown, and it's a problem that needs to be solved, something that isn't a problem for the monist.
    I don't know how Searle claims a solution to this problem, but I will lay odds it involves persuasion rather than empirical investigation.


    Do we have any inkling of how brains are conscious?RogueAI
    You're asking somebody who claims brains are not. Heck, even I am one of them since I wouldn't consider a brain on its own to be conscious. it is beings/complete systems, not just brains, that are conscious or not, per a physicalist view.
    No answer to this question will ever satisfy a dualist. Any progress towards such knowledge is waved off as correlation, not actual consciousness. I mean they have machines that know the choice you will make before you do yourself. "Oh, that's just correlation".
    Anyway, the existence of such a device does not mean that we know how biological beings are conscious.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    If entities create a simulation that includes other entities that do not have free will, the creators would be ... what's there right word ... idiots if they held the creations responsible for their choices.Patterner
    Quite right, but they still can be held responsible for their choices in the simulation itself. If you make a bad choice (cross street without looking), it's your fault if you get hurt/killed. No point in having a better brain if it isn't useful to make good choices. Not having free will does not mean you have no choice.

    I'm not sure it would be worse to hold characters in a story you write responsible for their choices.
    Characters in a story have no will at all. Their will is at best that of the author, and perhaps the author is responsible for their actions.


    Naturalism is computationalism? I genuinely doubt that, but I'm no expert.fishfry
    Naturalism is not-dualism. No secret sauce.
    Physics is not computational, but an approximation of it is, sufficient to simulate consciousness.

    The economy is the deterministic output of a computer program?
    Strawman. I never said that.

    Meaning that I'm not a simulation, I'm an instantiation.
    The way you seem to define instantiation, you are one whether or not Bostrom's hypothesis is true.

    Since we have made zero progress on instantiation (there's that word again) consciousness
    Your assertion. I disagree. I do agree that video games are not where this progress is being made since no video game to date has need of it.

    So the simulator implements my consciousness.
    Thee simulator implements physics. Physics implements your consciousness, regardless of whether the physics is simulated or not. Under supernaturalism, this isn't true.

    And exactly what is it that makes a program conscious?
    The program has no need of being conscious, just like atoms are not conscious. You are conscious, not the program, not the physics that underpins how your consciousness works.
    Technically, a simulation of some system is far simpler than say microsoft code, but it is also much larger since it needs far more data than the capacity of say some desktop.

    I would still be the one having the experience. The "I" having the experience.
    That's right, which is why a video game is not a model of the simulation argument. Sim is not VR. Video games are VR. VR is dualism. Sim is physicalism.

    If Bostrom thinks a computer can instantiate consciousness, the burden is on him to say how, since nobody has the slightest idea how.
    It's not on him to say how. It's on those GS guys 10 centuries from now. Part of being 'posthuman' is apparently that they've figured it all out, at least far enough to glean focus and intent from watching raw physics happen, because the algorithm he suggests depends on these things.

    Where is your evidence that computer programs are conscious?
    Strawman. I never said they were. If this world is a sim, it isn't any program that is conscious, it is just us. I don't think this world is a sim.

    So in the future there will be a breakthrough.
    A lot of them, yes. Far more than I can accept.

    But my simulator made me do it, honest. I had no choice.
    Patterner above makes a good reply to this. Determinism made me do it. I'm not responsible. Doesn't work that way.

    Do I have choice, by the way? Does Bostrom deny free will?
    Nicely illustrating the mistake of equivocating choice and free will. Don't need the latter to have the former, as evidenced by our having evolved expensive brains to make better choices. Free will does not add any survival benefit.

    Programs don't have free will by virtue of getting external inputs.
    Unless the external input IS the will, as it is in any VR.

    You contradicted yourself at least three times getting from the beginning to the end of that para. No free will but there might be if there's randomness, but it might only be pseudo-randomness, in which case it's not random after all.
    You've identified no contradictions. Randomness is not free will. I did not mention free will in the paragraph quoted. There is no free will in Bostrom's proposal.

    You asked what Bostrom's sim is a simulation of. I answered that.

    According to science?
    Per the methodological naturalism under which science operates. If one presumes otherwise, it isn't science.

    Yet you think I'm an approximate computation?
    I never said any such thing. You do like putting crazy words in my mouth.

    I urge you to think about what you are saying.
    I urge you to read what I'm saying.
    So brain in vat IS is like simulation after all?
    I urge you to read what I'm saying.
    The sim theorists say God did it and God is a Turing machine.
    I urge you to read what sim theorists are saying, because it certainly isn't that, and it isn't anything I've said.

    Why do you think his conclusion doesn't follow from his premises? That might be interesting.
    First option: We never get 'posthuman'. His description of the requirement for this posthuman state is so high that the probability of option 1 being the case is 1 to an awful lot of digits. His argument requires that probability to be close to zero. I could go on, but that's enough.

    Really. You're not here at all?
    I am quite here, no problem. But I'm not a realist, and 'instantiation' seems to be synonymous with 'to be made real in some way', or more exactly, to set the property of being real to true. I define being real as a relation, not a property like realism does, so an instantiator ceases to be a necessity.
    You asked. I don't expect you to accept it, and you'll no doubt bend it to something I didn't say.

    That you don't exist? That takes skepticism a bit too far.
    No, I just have a different definition of 'to exist', a relation, not a property. And yes, this very much solves a problem that plagued me for years, one that comes up in this forum frequently since the typical answers don't work.

    And if the simulators are a future civilization, who created them? In the end it's either "God did it," or "We don't know."
    And you said that my (minority) view didn't solve any problems, yet here is one that isn't solved by the more mainstream stances.


    How could the mind-body problem not be relevant if people are positing that sims might be people (and sometimes asserting that at least some people are sims?)Ludwig V
    Mind-body problem is only relevant to dualism, and sim theory isn't dualism, so the there's no problem. I think the term is 'interactionism', how the dual aspects interact with each other.
    It's very relevant to a VR. How does my decision to point a gun at the baddie cause Lara Croft to raise her arm? There has to be a causal connection between my decision and her arm, and there is. But under sim theory, there isn't two separate things that need to interact, so the problem doesn't arise. If Bostrom is wrong about his philosophy of mind, then his hypothesis falls flat.



    I believe in that same lecture (or perhaps a different one) he [Bostrom?] did NOT advocate dualism. ... That is, consciousness is physical, but not computational.fishfry
    Wait, Bostrom said that mind is not computational, and yet pushes a view that our consciousness is the result of a computation? That seems to be a direct denial of his own paper. Got a link to where this is said?

    I can't see reading further. Bostrom assumes that consciousness can be implemented on a computer.fishfry
    It's really hard to critique the paper if you cannot set your personal beliefs aside for a moment and take a non-dualist perspecitve for a moment. The inability to do so renders yours objections invalid, as evidenced by all the strawman statements you make above.
    Nobody is asking you to accept his conclusion or believe his premises.

    Oh, and instead of justifying and supporting his computational consciousness claim, he blithely says it's "widely accepted." By whom?
    The science of neural biology for one. There's possibly an exception to that, but I've never seen it: Somebody presuming your stance and implementing the scientific method to actually investigate it. Amazing that nobody tries such an obvious empirical thing.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    My reply was edited since I think I finally grasped what you mean by 'instantiation', as being distinct from 'simulation'.

    My point is that Bostrom and others are equivocating simulation in this manner,fishfry
    No they're not. They are using the word in a single consistent manner at all times. You admit that it is you that is finding two different meanings and trying to use two different words to distinguish them. Under naturalism, there is a physical system that is simulated using a model of physical laws. It's completely computational in all cases.

    I am allowed to have an opinion, right?
    I acknowledged your opinion. It isn't wrong, merely inconsistent with Bostrom's naturalism opinion.

    My opinion is that the economy isn't an example of something noncomputational.

    I deny that physics is computational, or rather I'm pretty sure it's not.
    With that I completely agree, which is why any computation of our physics is necessarily an approximation.

    Whereas (this is my thesis and maybe not Bostrom's) simulation theory says that our very existence, as it really is, is a program in the big computer in the sky. An entirely different thing than simulation.
    I'm unclear of the distinction between that and simulation. Bostrom says that it is humans (or 'post-humans') running the big computer. Simulation theory in general doesn't require that detail.

    Oh my, are we disagreeing on propositional logic?
    Not at all. I am balking at your equating a premise that science in general would find false (2+2=5) with one that science in general accepts as true (naturalism).

    So I'll call PacMan early VR, I have no problem with that.
    Good. Best they could do at the time. Even today, few non-headset games even have a first person perspective. Minecraft and Portal come to mind. I'm sure there are others, but still a small percentage. Earliest one I can think of is Battlezone. Remember that one? It pre-dates pacman I think. Ground breaking stuff it was.

    I assume computer scientists must have a technical term for that, when execution speed makes a difference in the output of a computation
    Yes. "Real time". But technically, all computation has this requirement, which is one reason nobody makes real Turing machines. Imagine if you had a 4-banger calculator that took 40 years to add 2+2. Would you use it? Does that make adding 2+2 something more than computational?

    I have opinions, I have beliefs, I don't deny them.
    A good stance, and I worded it as 'belief' instead of 'opinion', which may have been too hash. The simulation hypothesis can only be considered under the naturalism it presumes, whether or not naturalism is part of one's opinion.

    We have some extra secret sauce, I don't know what it is.
    Your opinion then is that we have the secret sauce, and that whatever it is, it isn't computational, although I don't know how you can infer it being noncomputational if you don't have any idea what it is. So probably also another opinion.

    But then was is my Cartesian "I", the thing that doubts, the thing that is deceived?
    There isn't a separate Cartesan "I" thing under naturalism.

    But you'll defend it to the death against the likes of me, who hasn't even read the paper?
    Explaining it and defending it are two different things. The abstract is accurate, meaning I find it reasonably valid and sound, although it seems that it has been updated since wiki lists 5 options now instead of the original 3, but the new ones seem to overlap with the old ones.

    That's because even though I haven't read Bostrom, I've read a bit of simulation criticism and support.
    Much (the majority?) of criticism and support seem to be from people without a reasonable understanding of what it says. You can include me on that list. Don't trust what I say, but I have read the actual paper at least, and I know the difference between it, other sim proposals, and with a VR proposal. Many of the articles discussing it seem not to know the differences.

    Is my consciousness part of the simulation?
    So says Bostrom, yes. Naturalism says it is if the simulation is run at a sufficiently detailed level, which is still classical, not necessarily down to the quantum level.

    Is that the distinction between VR and Sim?
    A VR does not produce a second consciousness for the avatar. A sufficiently detailed VR might for an NPC, but nothing like that exists in any current VR system. The current VR immersion (with the 3D headset and all) is barely better than the one for Pacman. With a good one, there'd be no controller in your hand. You would not have access to say your real body being touched.

    So maybe or maybe not?
    Very likely not.

    Full knowledge of how memory and consciousness works.
    No, that isn't needed, but it is needed if the sim is gleaning intent from the physics it is simulating, and Bostrom very much does propose that it is interpreting human intent. Also, that understanding is needed for any human that is not born, but is part of the initial state. So bottom line, yea, it is needed.
    A pure simulation of a human from the human's initial state has no need for knowledge of how memory and consciousness works, for the exact same reason that physics doesn't need to know the details of the workings of the things that result from the physics.

    So Bostrom is assuming this problem has been solved?
    Centuries hence, it seems so. Without it, there can be no plausible initial state, unless you go back 3 billion years where the initial states were less complicated

    But that goes against the claim that "the video games are so much better now," an argument often given in support of the simulation hypothesis.
    No video game claims any understanding of what is referred to as the hard problem. If somebody references a game as an illustration of Bostrom's hypothesis, then they don't understand the difference between a sim and a VR. But they're probably just using games as one way to demonstrate Moore's law, which Bostrom presumes to continue for centuries.

    So I'm not real, according to the theory.
    If all this is a simulation, I am still very much real according to my stated definition of 'real' and you've not given yours. SH is very different than BiV and Boltzmann brains.

    Even if they did, they would not know what each person is going to do next. Unless you also reject free will.
    I don't think there is the sort of free will you're thinking if our world is a simulation. A simulation like that doesn't have causality from outside the system. If it did, it would probably be a VR. I say this, but I've done chip simulations that get driven from external state. The signals fed to the chip are artificial, not from other simulated circuits since it's only the one chip being tested. Such a chip simulation is hard to classify as a VR.

    If I'm a simulation, what am I a simulation of?
    You are part of the physical evolution of the chosen initial state. That answer pretty much applies to any simulation, including all the ones I've seen done. You want to call it an instantiation and I think I see how you're using that word. A simulation is the execution (instantiation) of a mathematical model, that model itself being an approximation of some hypothetical corresponding reality. Since it is the execution of a model, it is presumably exact, except the model might include randomness, in which case the exactness is wrong since multiple instantiations of the same model will evolve differently. Bostrom does propose some randomness in his model, so not sure how 'exact' it would be. Said randomness need only be apparent, so it can be driven by a pseudo-random mechanism, which restores the deterministic nature of the simulation.

    You can't go from "people aren't special in the universe," to "therefore people are computational."
    I don't think any physical thing (people or otherwise) is computational. But an approximation can be, and people are no exception to that according to science.

    You are strenuously trying to explain to me that Bostrom's idea is nonsense; but not liking my own argument as to why it's nonsense. Why are we doing this?
    You're not taking down Bostrom's argument. You presume his premisies to be false. I presume them to be true, and I think his conclusion doesn't follow from them.

    SH is not brain in vat?I thought VR was like a video game, and SH is where my mind is being instantiated too.
    That's right. BiV is like the video game: an artificial (virtual) experience stream to the real (not simulated) experiencer, effectively a video game for the B in the Vat, whatever its nature.

    So now I'm a simulation of a dead person.
    Very unlikely for the reason's I've stated. Only if you're part of the initial state, and then only if that initial state had some kind of access to the molecular state of everybody on Earth many centuries prior, which they don't because there's no tech today that can do that.

    There cannot be instantiation? What do you think the universe is?
    Under Bostrom's view, the universe is a simulation, or at least something that can be seen from the simulation since most of it is just phenomenal.

    Yes, our universe is what it is, and that's an intantiation in your wording. But the wording give no clue as to the nature of how it comes to be, since any story fits. Bostrom gives one possible way that it is instantiated. A deity is another. Both fail to solve the problem of 'why there's something and not nothing', but Bostrom isn't positing a solution to that problem. The deity answer often is such an attempt, and a failed one since it explains a complicated thing by positing an even more complicated thing.

    We've all been instantiated somehow. We are here. We have been instantiated. That's the point.
    I think I understand your usage of that word, and I don't in any way presume that I am instantiated. But that's me, being far more skeptical than most. Being instantiated doesn't solve any problems. I personally suspect that the sum of 2 and 2 is 4 even in the absence of anything actually performing that calculation (absence of it being instantiated). Apparently I am in the minority in this opinion.

    if you simply want to make the point that I have an opinion and that I'm wrong. I agree.
    I never said your opinion is wrong. It's just a different one than somebody else's. Different premises.

    I have my opinion and I may be wrong, but the more we talk about it, the more these concepts are clear in my mind, and I think I'm right.
    I think I'm in the minority of being somebody who has opinions X and Y and such, and I also think I'm mostly wrong about them. Some are probably right, but I realize that the odds of me getting most of them right is stupidly low.

    God instantiated the universe. You say God is a digital computer.
    I say that?

    I say that's one extra assumption and by Occam, we should just stick with God. That's what I get from Bostrom.
    'God' sound like the extra assumption in that statement. Occam says it's better to ditch both the deity and the simulation layers

    But if we have free will, then we aren't simulations.Patterner
    Totally agree. Some take that as evidence against the argument, but only because 'free will sounds like a good thing, therefore I must have it". To me it sounds like a bad thing, but I don't hold a presumption that the entities in the simulation will be held responsible for their choices, by entities not in the simulation.

    .
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    what the "GS"?Ludwig V
    It means 'Great Simulator', which is the base reality running the base simulation. So if we're 3 levels down, the GS is the first level, the only level that isn't itself a simulation.

    The term was coined by fishfry in this topic many posts back, and it's easy to type.

    But computers as we understand them now don't qualify for simulation of biological phenomenon.SpaceDweller
    I beg to differ. Computers as we understand them now are quite capable of the task, but at this time, perhaps 40 orders of magnitude speed and memory capacity short of the scale of simulation described by Bostrom. This presumes naturalism of course, and many here (fishfry, possibly Ludwig, possibly yourself) do not so presume.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    No, there are only simulated storms and rain in the simulated world.Ludwig V
    Nobody calls them simulated storms. I was in one last night, and we all call it a storm.
    Sure, they are simulated storms in the GS (fishfry's term, which I find very useful) world since that's the world in which the simulation is running, but in our world, they are storms. In the case of a weather simulation, in the simulated world, they are storms, but in that case, the GS world is ours, so they are simulated storms relative to us. There are no people in our weather simulations to call them storms, but the point stands: What they're called depends on the point of view.

    I can believe that it is not compatible with Bostrom's view. The question is whether Bostrom's view is coherent.
    Bostrom proposal is consistent with the methodological naturalism under which all of modern science is based. That means that human beings are treated as just collections of matter doing what the laws of physics says that matter does. I say consistent, but then Bostrom changes the laws of physics from here to there, as does any simulation. A simulation has boundaries, and so a distant star is probably modeled (most of the time) as a simple point source of light. The people in the sim would probably notice if there were no stars in the sky but the simulation hardware is not capable of simulating stellar combustion at the molecular level for the entire visible universe.

    So Bostrom does suggest that the simulations of people "inside" the (non-conscious) computer are conscious.
    He proposes that we are likely in such a simulation. If you consider yourself to be conscious, then yes, the hypothesis says that you (a simulated thing) is conscious. That's different than saying that the simulation itself is conscious. The simulation and you are different things. The former is a process running in some GS world, and the latter is you, an simulated dynamic arrangement of matter in the simulated world.
    His argument proceeds along probability lines, not along empirical evidence lines. This is very similar to the sort of probabilistic reasoning behind the dangers of Boltzmann Brains. No argument for or against Boltzmann Brains can proceed along empirical lines so one is left with probability.

    if the "me" in here is having subjective experience, then I must be able to interact with the presented illusory environment,
    Of course you interact with your environment. what kind of simulation would it be if you couldn't? Even a statue of Ludwig interacts with its environment, if only to get wet, change temperature, and exert force on the ground. Having subjective experience or not doesn't change that, but you'd probably die pretty quickly if you didn't have that subjective experience.

    But that would make me a real person, not a simulation (though I might be a clone.)
    You are a real person in this world, but a simulated person relative to the GS world (according to Bostrom). I am perhaps using a different definition of 'real' than you are, and this likely needs to be clarified. I consider what we can see, reach out and touch, to be real to us. You seem to be using a different definition, such as perhaps "is part of the GS", the base world. which presumes no infinite regress.

    There's an ambiguity here. There could be simulations of people that are like fictional people. Their originals would be people in general, not people in particular (though an ancestral simulation suggests that they would need to be people in particular - if they aren't, then what makes it an "ancestral" simulation.)
    Totally agree. There would be no particular correspondence between people or events in the sim, to people and events in (the past history of) the GS. A war in this world, or a cup being dropped and breaking, would have no particular corresponding event in the GS world. And you're exactly correct: Without this correspondence, how is it being described as an ancestral simulation justified in any way?


    But problem is that in real world there is biology and biological things happening such as us, plants and animals, this is something which "computers" (electronic devices) don't doSpaceDweller
    Bostrom's hypothesis is consistent with the methodological naturalism under which all of science operates. That means that plants/animals are very much something that computers can 'do'.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    , if I am a simulation that is not aware of the fact, I must be able to act and react in my world. In that case, I am not a simulation of anything.Ludwig V
    We seem to be unable to communicate. A simulated thing that was causally disconnected from its environment would be an inaccurate simulation, unless perhaps it was a simulation of dark matter, which really is unable to 'act and react' in its world in any way beyond contributing to the curvature of spacetime.

    I can think of models of the weather system that are used to predict the weather. They can be called simulations. They remain quite distinct from the actual weather. There are neither storms, nor rain, nor sunshine inside the computer.
    But there very much is storms and rain in the world simulated. It wouldn't be a weather simulation without such things.
    Similarly, a simulation of a conscious being would not make a computer conscious, but that doesn't mean that simulated person is not conscious. Bostrom suggests that is exactly what's going on.

    Yet the point of the exercise is that it remain as close as possible to what actually happens/-ed. (I can't imagine what the point of ancestral simulations would be, if not that.)
    I suppose that's the point, but Bostrom has zero awareness of chaos theory if he thinks that will happen. And he doesn't suggest it. He makes no suggestion that us (the simulation) is evolving in any way the same history as in the simulating world. But yes, what's the point of running such a simulation? Not for prediction purposes, and that's almost always the motivation behind running any simulation.

    Once you suppose that the simulations are conscious
    I don't think anybody is supposing that. See the above. Yes, a simulated person would behave differently than 'their originals', which I put in quotes because there are no originals in the scenario in question, except as a wild guess at an initial state, giving some characters the same names and roles as historic figures.

    The point of the simulations would be lost if real people capable in their own right of acting and reacting in their world.
    That sentence lacks a verb, and you lost me. Real people are the ones supposedly running the simulation. The 'point of the simulation' is meaningful to those that are running it. The simulated people have no access to those running the sim, and if they detect or just suspect that they are a sim, they can only guess at the motivations behind the running of it.
    Your wording in the verb-less sentence suggests that simulated people would perhaps need to exert some sort of free will over the physics of the simulation. That model isn't compatible with Bostrom's view.




    It's me trying to EXPLAIN that OTHER people are using the same word for two very different things.fishfry
    Or its the other people always meaning the same thing, and thus needing only one word for it.
    You seem to be the one finding two different meanings, one which sounds like how others use 'simulation', and then this other thing which for reasons not spelled out, require exactness, and is perhaps not computational. I have no idea how to simulate something non-computational, let alone doing it exactly. I don't think anybody else is suggesting any such thing.

    But I also maintain that the hypothesis is false. So there's no contradiction.
    Well yea, you deny the premise that physics is computational at the necessary levels of precision needed.

    So I am not in a position to dictated whether or not 2 + 2 = 5 because I hold that the proposition is false?
    No, you're not in the position to say what other people think follows from accepting that 2+2=5.

    Pacman ONLY involves computation.
    You said "Then whatever [VR] is doing is not computational.", and now you say it is nothing but.
    Perhaps you don't consider pacman to be an example of VR. It's admittedly crude and not deeply emersive, but most action video games are nevertheless a form of VR.

    The point seems moot. The subject of the topic is simulation theory, not VR theory. VR examples have little to no bearing on simulation hypothesis, a hypothesis you just plain deny due to your lack of belief that a human is computational.

    The points you're making in this post are trivial and wrong, not up to your usual standards.
    — noAxioms
    I don't think I ever said that. This quote is mistakenly attributed to me. Maybe I'm wrong about that. It's a long thread.

    I take your point about real time computing, but that does not change the definition of computability.
    You seem to go on endlessly about me somehow disagreeing with the definition of computability. I'm not. Real-time issues don't exist in simulation hypothesis, so those are moot until one starts talking about something other than SH.

    So who is the me that's being simulated?
    Under the simulation hypothesis, you are yourself, which is tautologically true, SH or not. There is not a different 'more real' or 'less real' fishfry somewhere else. It is an ancestor simulation, not a simulation of a fishfry model. Your maker is still your mother, also part of the simulation.

    You (or you quoting Bostrom) say that I'm a simulation
    You are part of one large simulation, and yes, me quoting Bostrom. I don't buy the hypothesis for a moment.

    I'm asking what I'm an approximation of.
    You are not an approximation of anything. The simulation is an approximation of the physics of a system (a planet perhaps). You are part of the state of that simulation.

    So do I correspond to an actual person or not?
    Probably not, unless the simulation's initial state was very recent (our time) and that initial state included a real person who happened to identify as fishfry. I seriously doubt the GS people centuries in the future would know almost anything about you except your parental lineage, all of which is only relevant if the initial state was set since your birth. It has to start somewhere, and that means that the people of that time are created in thin air, with memories totally consistent with their nonexistent past. Doing that requires a full knowledge of how memory and consciousness works, not just a model of how physics works. The initial state requires far more work than does the simulation itself, which is fairly trivial if you get the state right.
    Such things are easy with weather and car crashes, but a nightmare for something complex.

    As I go through my daily life and encounter other humanoid-appearing creatures, is there a way for me to determine which correspond to actual people and which don't?
    Probably none of them, unless they are older than the date of the initial state. Anybody conceived after simulation start has zero probability of having a corresponding real person.

    Are the non-corresponding creatures like NPCs in video games?
    No. They're no different, except they have real memories, not fake ones put there by the initial state. Maybe the sim only last 10 minutes and everybody is 'corresponding'. This is presuming that the people of the future know exactly who and where everybody is at some random time centuries prior. They don't.
    Why do you harp on this? Of what possible importance would it be to anybody in a sim to have a corresponding person (long dead) in the GS? I do realize that I am asking this question of a person who thinks people are special in the universe can cannot be computational like everything else.

    You know you are really out on a limb here
    Bostrom is maybe. You forget who's pushing the hypothesis. It isn't me, but I'm a computer person and at least I understand it enough to see it for the nonsense it is.

    but only because my vat programmers have erased my memory.
    SH is not a BiV scenario. VR is, but Bostrom is not talking VR.

    So we're all non-corresponding players now? Not just some of us?
    An corresponding people from the initial state of the sim would correspond to people centuries dead in the GS world, so nobody can correspond to any living 'real' person.

    Simulation as approximation. As opposed to simulation as instantiation.
    Sorry, but despite your repeated use of that word, I don't know what you mean by it. You've mentioned that it needs to be 'exact', and the exact physics of even a small trivial real system cannot be exactly simulated, so there cannot be what you call an instantiation. So we're back only to simulations of the approximate physics of some chosen system.

    This ignores the possibility that there may not be "lots of civilizations".Janus
    Bostrom addresses that point in his first of three possibilities listed in his abstract.

    I didn't get a notification of this. Glitch the matrix?Patterner
    I occasionally get a reply that doesn't make it to the 'mentions' list. Maybe a glitch. I suspect it perhaps might be a post that was already posted, and then later gets edited to mention you, but the one in question here is short and a reply only to you, so that's a significant data point against my theory.
  • Infinite Staircase Paradox
    My problem is that I don't understand what metaphysics is,Ludwig V
    I can answer this. Metaphysics is about what physically is, and physics is about what physically is measured. That's a crude definition, but what it comes down to is that the phrases 'physically possible' and 'metaphysically possible' mean the same thing. You can't have one without the other. Metaphysically possible means that there exists a metaphysical interpretation where the thing in question is physically possible.
    So for instance, physical determinism is a metaphysical issue. There are some valid interpretations that are deterministic, and some valid interpretations that are not. Therefore determinism is metaphysically possible, and therefore determinism is physically possible.

    Everybody posting seems to treat 'metaphysically possible' as some weird sort of realm between physically and logically possible, resulting in confusion when nobody can come up with an example of something distinct.
    So any argument against the lamp, or recitation of numbers, becomes a logical argument because these arguments have no application to physics. They are all metaphysically impossible for the very reason that they are physically impossible.

    Supertasks play on the difference between the physically possible and the logically possible to create an illusion.
    This seems to say it. It is a logical issue, but with applications to the physical when the scenario in question doesn't involve physical impossibilities.

    After completing the supertask the lamp must be either on or offMichael
    I am willing to accept this statement, but you are not willing to engage with any of the faults identified with your logic. Hence I can only presume you have no counters to them, resorting only to changing the subject every time a fallacy is pointed out. I for the most part have dropped out due to this lack of engagement.

    It is impossible to complete any action an infinite number of times.Ludwig V
    This is Zeno's strategy. Just beg your conclusion.

    The notation does not define an end,Ludwig V
    There it is. Not possible due to the asserted necessity of a bound of something which by definition has no bound. All the arguments against seem to take this form. Even Zeno avoided this fallacy, and his argument was made before the mathematics of infinite sets was formalized.

    Your post seems to add nothing new, and does not appear to engage with any of the points I've made. I have nothing to add till I see a need to write something I haven't already said.fishfry
    Myself as well. I have dropped out some time ago, and not surprisingly, nothing new has been posted. But I did chime in to define 'metaphysically possible' since the term seemed to be used in a way in which it was somehow meaning something different than physically possible, which it cannot be.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    But that would mean that the simulation is a reality of its own, independently of the "real" reality.Ludwig V
    I want to agree and disagree with this. By most definitions of 'reality', yes, a simulated world would be a reality of its own, but it being called a simulation is an explicit admission of it being dependent on the deeper reality running the simulation, just like saying 'God created the universe' makes the explicit relation of the universe being dependent on the god. Neither case is that of a 'universe on its own'.

    Well yes, by my definitions "couldn't simulate exactly" is synonymous with couldn't simulate.

    Again, we have this ongoing equivocation of the word simulation. I agree with you that when I program my computer to simulate gravity or the weather, the simulation is not exact. It's an approximation.
    fishfry
    The above two comments seem to contradict each other. By your definition, a simulation isn't one unless it is exact, and then you give examples of simulations that are not exact.

    But when the GS simulates my consciousness and the experience of my senses, that is exact.
    You also said that consciousness is not computational, and therefore the GS cannot simulate via computation, a conscious thing. That puts you into a position to not dictate whether or not those holding a different opinion would say that exactness is required or not.

    Then whatever [VR] is doing is not computational.
    ...
    If that is true, then VR is not computational.
    So pacman does not involve computation. Hmm....

    If you execute Euclid's algorithm faster, it is still Euclid's algorithm and has no capabilities (other than working faster) than it did before. It does not acquire more side effects or epiphenomena or "emergences" like consciousness or realism.
    Agree, but I was talking about VR when I said that the rate of computation is essential. None of your examples above are VR examples.

    Other examples is any other kind of real-time programming such as a self driving car. A car cannot function if its processing uses paper and pencil. A certain minimal rate of computation is required, or the task cannot be done. Computing slowly isn't enough if you take 3 months to see the stop sign. You seem to assert that what a self-driving car does therefore cannot be computation, but it very much is.

    What does running an algorithm fast do that running the same algorithm slowly doesn't?
    I already told you: It gets it done before the computer ceases computing. A human with a pencil lives maybe 50 years (with the pencil) and accomplishes what a computer can do in under a second, and computers tend to last longer than a second before they fail. A computer can come up with an answer while the answer is still needed. In a simulation, there are no deadlines to meet (except getting something done before the computer fails), but in any kind of real-time programming, it must be completed before the output is needed by the consumer of that output.

    Even if I agree 100%, the definition of computability specifically ignores matters of time, space, energy, and resources
    Ok you agree. That's good. So if I write some code, and when I run it slowly it computes Euclid's algorithm; and when I run it fast, it computes Euclid's algorithm and whistles Dixie; then by the definition of computability, which you have now agreed to, whistling Dixie is not a computable function. It it were, the slow algorithm would get the same output as the fast one.
    If it whistles Dixie, it is computing something different. Both should have identical output. Euclid's algorithm isn't a real-time task.

    That's the only point I'm making. But it's important, because you claim that running the algorithm fast makes a qualitative difference.
    Only to a real-time task, and none of your examples are one.
    .
    Wait. There's an abstract mathematical model of a human and any particular sim is only an approximate instance?
    There's a model of physics, and any sim is only a computable approximation of that. Bostrom says that a human is a product of physics, and thus can be functionally simulated given a sufficient level of detail, which is still classical.

    That's more like Tegmark, that we're all mathematical structures.
    Same model, different supervenience, if I get my terminology straight.

    So there's a simulation of a person AND there's a real person being simulated?
    I don't know what you think it means for a real person to be simulated. Bostrom suggests a sim of ancestral history, which means that random new people get born, and these people do not in any way correspond to actual people that might have existed in the history of the GS. Much depends on what period of history they choose for their initial state.

    Now you have TWO mysteries instead of one. I'm a simulation and there's a real me above that? I don't believe that.
    That would be something other than 'ancestral history'. You say take a molecular scan of a real person, create a sim model of that exact arrangement of matter, put it in a small environment, and see what it does. That's far more likely than this 'ancestral' thing, but it also would be trivial for the simulated person to realize he's not the original since he's been put in this tiny bounded space, a sort of jail, when he remembers getting into the scanning machine.

    Now according to your stated beliefs, that simulation wouldn't work. It is computational and you say a person isn't, so the simulated thing would not be functional at any level of detail.

    Then you tell me that I'm only an approximation of a real person.
    No, I did not suggest there needs to be a 2nd fishfry that is 'real'. Ancestral history simulations certainly don't produce simulated people that correspond to people in the GS world.

    I no longer accept the coherence of the thesis being proposed. I'm a sim fishfry and there's a "real" entity fishfry who's being simulated, but who isn't reall there.
    No, not two of you. Bostrom's sim hypothesis would have all of us being in one large simulation, and no real fishfry in the GS world. I apologize if something I posted led you to conclude that I was suggesting otherwise.
    What is approximated is the physics. I can simulate planetary motion by modeling Earth as a point mass. That's a super-trivial approximation of Earth that works for seeing where it is 100 years from now, but it needs more detail if you say want to see which way the planet is facing in 100 years.

    What we do is invent video games that use different physics and are nothing like us at all.
    Yes, but over time, many video games keep getting closer and closer to the sort of reality we'
    re used to. Not all of them. Some are still total fiction with deliberate fiction physics, if they have physics at all. They're also video games, which makes them VR, not simulations.

    I've seen videos where someone debunks every other relativity video on the Internet
    It's low hanging fruit to debunk various videos. There is indeed whole sites dedicated to debunking relativity in all possible ways, and it is a interesting exercise to find the fallacious reasoning in every one of the arguments. And I do know enough physics to do it to almost all of them.
    The delayed choice quantum eraser isn't really an experiment having anything to do with relativity theory.

    That's the astonishing thing. It plays pretty well even then, in games whose length exceeds the length of any of its training data..
    News to me as well. It seems to require at least some level of what would qualify as 'understanding'.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    Why are almost all my quotes labeled "keystone"?
    [The GS] can't be simulating itself, you just agreed with that.fishfry
    I said it couldn't simulate itself exactly. I didn't say it couldn't simulate itself.

    Faster does not help when it comes to computation.
    It is necessary for a VR, but not a simulation, all of which is pointed out in my topic. It's why a sim can be done with pencil/paper and a VR cannot. Still, Bostrom needs a fast computer because a simulation with paper and such would have humanity go extinct before a fraction of a second was simulated. Bostrom is not making an 'in principle' argument.

    Going faster can never let you compute more things than you could with pencil and paper. If going faster makes a difference, then the difference is not computational. It's something else.
    True only in principle. In reality, each number written on a paper will likely rot away before it is needed for the next step. The guy with the pencil will die, as will all of humanity. So will the superfast computer (it cannot run forever in practice), but it will have gotten a lot further than the pencil team, and a lot further than any TM, however pimped out you make it.

    That's a different kind of computability: the ability to get it done before the demise of the thing doing the computing.

    You agree with me on this point then, am I correct?
    I agree with all your points on the definition of computability, but I wasn't talking about that.

    This was about whether my mind somehow extends to Ms. Pac-Man's. I think it's an important point, not just semantics.
    OK. I seem to be blowing it off to semantics, and I made MsPM an extension of me, not an extension of my mind. I consider myself to be conscious, not just a body that contains something that is.

    It's a thousand percent different. It's apples and rutabagas. A simulation of gravity is the execution of an approximate mathematical model.
    Bostrom's view is that a sim of a person is also the execution of an approximate mathematical model. That this conflicts with your opinion means that your opinion is incompatible with what Bostrom hypothesizes.

    The GS's simulation of us is exact. We ARE the simulation. This seems to be a real point of difference, not just semantics.
    If you mean that the thing simualted (us) is exactly the same as us, that is tautologically true, yes. But I'm saying that the simulated 'us' cannot be an exact simulation of a person in the GS world.

    Then what is the thing being simulated?
    Yet again, the thing being simulated is 'ancestral history', whatever that means.

    You mean there's a real me
    Bostrom does not suggest that there is or ever was a real fishfry in the GS world. You are part of the simulation, and that's it. The history being simulated is quite different than the one that actually happened way in the past history of the GS world, although the initial state of the simulation presumably had similarities to some actual past state of the GS history. Bostrom gives no indication of when this initial state was likely placed. Last Tuesday? A minute ago? 50000 years ago when humanity just started looking like us?

    You are misconstruing what Bostrom and other simulationists believe, then. They're not saying we're an approximation. They're saying our exact reality is being instantiated by a computer.
    Again, tautologically true. But our reality is the causal result of an approximation of some past GS state.

    Why would anyone run an ancestor simulation? We don't, why should our future selves?
    Apparently 'because they can' and we don't because we can't. But visionaries have always had a lot of trouble guessing what purposes would be served by future high computing capacity. Anyway, I don't buy that reasoning because it's only there because the hypothesis needs it to hold any water.

    I've learned a lot about MOND and dark matter from her.
    And she exquisitely tore apart a lot of the woo surrounding the delayed choice quantum eraser since that experiment is so often billed as an example of reverse causality. The one I tore apart had to do with general relativity, which I don't even know that well, but I know enough to show the assertions in the video to be bunk.

    I have just been made aware, via flannel jesus, that an LLM has learned to play chess by training on nothing more than the records of games in standard chess notation.
    That works great for opening, perhaps for 20 moves even. But eventually it has to get to a position that it hasn't seen in its training data, and then what? It can't just auto-complete with more text, since the text given would likely not be a legal move. So I'd like to see an article about how it proceeds from a middle-game. Turns out that the LLM is often more capable than I give it credit for. Scary.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    Sim theory doesn't say the simulator approximates our world. Sim theory says the simulator creates or instantiates our world. Exactly.fishfry
    An exact simulation of any GS world cannot be done by that GS.
    My comment to which you replied talks about us being the GS, and when we run a simulation of this world it is always an approximation. My example was a VR one, but it goes for an actual sim as well.
    If our world is a simulation, then it is either a total fiction created by some completely different (and more capable) GS world, or, per Bostrom, it is an approximation of the GS world. It cannot be exact for several reasons, another of which is that our world is not finite in extent.
    Anyway, read Bostrom. The paper sets out details of where the simulation goes into greater detail (but still an approximation) and where it approximates to a greater degree.

    If the simulator is only approximating our world, then what is the real world?
    The base simulator IS the real world, and it isn't approximating our world, it is approximating its own world according to Bostrom. I say 'base' because we might be 13 levels down or something, but it cannot be infinite regress.

    Do you think (or does anyone think) the dots in Life have an interior monologue?
    Not me. There's probably somebody out there that does. It's like asking if electrons have an interior life. Wrong question.

    Bostrom asks, "Are you a COMPUTER simulation?" (my emphasis)

    If he meant computer as understood by some future society but not by us, he would have said that. He didn't. Did he?
    I suspect he meant a computer as we know it today, but oodles smaller/faster, as if Moore's law can continue for many more centuries. The computers of today are pretty inconceivable to those that first made them, as are the applications to which they can be applied.

    You agree with me on this point then, am I correct?
    Being correct is not a function of finding one person that agrees with you on something. We could both be wrong.

    Can you remind me of what we're agreeing or disagreeing on then?
    Well for one, that mind is computational or not.

    My only concerns with what you've said so far are:

    1) That simulation theory claims the simulator approximates some deeper reality; and

    2) That Ms. Pac-Man is an extension of my mind and can be said to have an inner life, namely mine.
    About point 1: It has been proven that a world like ours cannot simulate itself perfectly, so it has to be limited, an approximation at best.
    About 2, the difference is pure language. You use words differently than do I. I see no fundamental differences between our views.

    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.
    I don't see a different usage of the word, no. But again, this might just be a difference in language, how each of us uses the words in question.

    The latter is a complete instantiation, not just an approximation.
    Again, that cannot be. That's not possible. All of them have to be approximations.

    Any simulation of something 'real' must be.
    Nonsense. Real things are simulated all the time, and all of them are approximations.

    The physics of the simulation will be different than the physics of the GS.
    Correct. It needs to be close enough to achieve the goal of the simulation, but it doesn't need to be closer than that.

    You are misconstruing what Bostrom and other simulationists believe, then. They're not saying we're an approximation. They're saying our exact reality is being instantiated by a computer.
    He goes into some detail about what parts are more heavily approximated and which are done to greater detail.

    Ok. But why would they do that?
    Indeed, why? I see no reason to do it, even if we had this unimaginable capability.

    A person does not suddenly become disreputable by virtue of being filmed.
    Agree. I said I didn't get my physics from videos. I didn't say that anybody that appears in a video is disreputable.
    I did take apart a Sabine video, showing it to be flat out wrong. It shows that the videos are not peer reviewed, and a good physics source is. This doesn't make Sabine disreputable. It means mistakes remain where peer review is absent.

    My consciousness is the thing that has the experience, and science has absolutely no explanation for that.
    You have no more explanation than science does. Just saying that your comment, true or false, isn't evidence one way or the other.

    Wait, you just got through emphasizing that functional behavior is understanding. If an LLM passes the bar exam, by your definition it understands the law. But now you are going back on that.
    Fair enough. I hold the bar higher for LLM because you can ask it to write a program to do a small thing, and it does, but it fails for something more involved, any task that requires more understanding of a deeper problem. This is why no LLM is replacing human programmers at corporations (yet), even if they very much are writing papers for students.

    Bottom line is, the LLM algorithm isn't "understand, then write about that understanding", it is more "write something likely to be a plausible reply", a reworded plagiarism of pre-existing content.

    If you agree with me that a TM is not a person, why are we having this conversation?
    Because asserting that a TM is or is not a person is very different than asserting that a TM and a human are or are not capable of simulating each other.
  • Is the counterfactual definiteness possible at the level of countries?
    I hope that people here have heard about the Elitzur–Vaidman bomb testerLinkey
    Having heard of it and understanding it are two very different things,.

    The bombs in the referenced experiment are never in superposition of anything. They're real classical bombs, some of which are functional and some of which are duds, with the only way to tell is to look at them, except any light at all triggers the bombs that aren't duds.

    The procedure to detect some good bombs does not involve putting any of the bombs into a state of superposition, something not really possible with a complex classical object, let alone an entire planet. But the bomb-detector test is something you can actually build in a lab, albeit an incredibly dark one.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    I did object to your idea of approximation. My understanding is that simulation theory creates reality, it does not approximate it.fishfry
    If I try to simulate our actual world, I must approximate it since perfect simulation is impossible, requiring, among other things, infinite precision variables. So Lara Croft has, among other traits, square legs. All very crude. It gets better in later years, but still an approximation of what it wants to be.

    If I simulate Conway's game of life (not our actual world, but one with very simple rules), well, it necessarily would have bounds, but otherwise would not be done as an approximation.

    and operates via the laws of computation as we understand them.
    No, operates under the laws of computation as they (in the far future) understand them. Not under our current understanding.

    It's just a magical speculation at this point.
    Agree with that. Hence my aversion to magic.

    The exact same people who disdain God love the Great Simulator. I find that viewpoint lacking in self-awareness.
    I agree with this. I'm certainly not promoting sim theory.

    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.
    Both will always be an approximation. Any simulation of something 'real' must be. The physics of the simulation will be different than the physics of the GS. If the two are close enough, then the simulation can achieve its goals. Hence weather forecasting not being a total waste of time.

    This was the first of many links I found. It's commonly done. Simulation to predict sporting events is done all the time.
    That's fine, but none of those has actually produced a real game before it was played. Sure, it can be used to set odds. Sure, it gets the final score right sometimes, but never the way the score gets that way. Of course the stock market is similar, but one can simulate the effect of certain news on the market. It can simulate a panic, and help test methods to control such instabilities.

    You have a subjective experience of your mind. Any theory of mind has to explain it or hold it as a mystery.
    Don't need a theory. Just a simulator. If it works, I don't have to know how it works. If it can't work, then it wont.

    Bostrom says that we are a simulation. And the question is, of what?
    "of ancestral history". His words. A fictional one at best, just like the football simulator. It's not going to show any historical events we know unless you start the sim just before they happen. If they start the simulation far enough back, there won't even be humans in it, ever.

    Smoot did a TED talk. I get all my physics from Youtube these days.
    Yea, I saw those links. I didn't watch the talk, because I don't get my physics from there.
    I still have no idea what Smoot is proposing.

    Well, I agree that if mind is physical but not computational, a new definition of computation must be in our future somewhere.
    Bostrom thinks mind is computational. I see few detractors that claim that it cannot be, and thus he must be wrong.

    The funny thing is that, other than civil war re-enactors. WE don't do ancestor simulations.
    I'm not sure if LARPing qualifies as a simulation. They all know it's an act. Nobody really wants to kill the opposing side.
    It happens a lot by me since I'm in a USA town that regularly holds a celebration of the British destruction of the place. The LARP types (reenactors) love it because the red-coats hardly ever get to be the guys that win. The blue guys fire back, but lose, but in reality there was no resistance. Everybody skedaddled and the place was burned down.

    My body processes the nutrients in the ice cream. My consciousness experiences the enjoyment.
    So the consciousness is a separate thing, not just a different process of the body that utilizes different noncomputational physics. If the latter were true, then the body would be liking the ice cream, just via a noncomputational mechanism.

    Even if pleasure is a chemical response in the brain, my experience is the pleasure. The chemicals in the brain don't have experiences, I do.
    Funny, but I totally agree with that wording.

    The chess pieces don't enjoy playing the game,
    Only because you choose not to consider them to be part of you, just like when you say "Also my body". That's a choice to include that.

    I say the system understands nothing, any more than the computer running a chess program understands chess.
    I would say that a thing with no understanding of chess would not be able to win the game. Again, the different in our views seems to be a language one. Two systems (black boxes) are doing the same thing, but the word 'understands' only applies if it's done the magic way and not the computational way. I take a more pragmatic definition: If it wins or even plays a plausible game, the word 'understands' is functionally applicable.

    An LLM passed the bar exam. That's impressive.
    It would probably slaughter any human at Jeopardy or some other typical trivial game. But I agree, the word 'understands' is pretty inapplicable to the LLM.

    There are no structures in the brain that implement Turing machines. The neurons don't work that way.
    If you mean that a brain isn't implemented as a Turing machine, I agree, but neither is any computer anywhere. The circuits don't work that way.
    Also, a brain is just part of a person-system just like a CPU is part of a self-driving car.. A person is conscious, not a brain,

    As a Turing machine or a digital computer?
    A person is neither. It can in theory be simulated by either of those, but it wouldn't be done by modeling the person as either of those. A person is no more a Turing machine than is the weather. A digital computer is a Von Neumann machine, and a person isn't one of those either. There are digital circuits involved however. Wires, on/off states, etc. No clock. No bus. No instructions.
  • Can a single plane mirror flip things vertically?
    Place the mirror flat on the floor like a rugAgree-to-Disagree

    It's... still not flipped vertically.Lionino

    Yea, A2D, what were you thinking? It's goes on the ceiling, duh! Putting on the floor requires you to step on it and break it.

    To flip something vertically means to draw a horizontal line in the center, and take everything in coordinate +1 and put it in -1, +2 to -2, and so on, now take -1 and put it in +1, -2 to +2, and so on.Lionino
    How does putting the mirror on the floor not do exactly that (assuming x axis is vertical, usually it is y or z by convention).

    A concave mirror (on the wall, sufficiently distant) rotates the image 180 degrees, and still flips it front to back, not top to bottom.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    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.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    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.
  • Infinite Staircase Paradox
    I did a short breakdown of the topic here:Lionino
    That goes down a rabbit hole of info and posts to even more topics. Good reading.

    I was looking at Steffan's slideshow, and it goes into how Cantor's axioms are paradoxical because the set of all sets has smaller cardinality that the set of all subsets of that set. But for similar reasons as have been discussed in this thread, I'm not convinced by it since the axioms only seem relevant to finite sets (similar to a sequence having a first and last step only being relevant to a finite set of steps), and none of the sets in the paradox is finite. So it's a bit like saying infinity squared is larger than infinity, which it isn't.
    Far be it for humble me to not be as distressed by this as the hardened mathematicians. I take their word that this has more teeth than I see.

    Also of interest is the mention of Godel demonstrating that a goal to find a complete and consistent foundation of mathematics cannot be reached. Does this mean that there cannot be one, or just that we cannot know it to be complete and consistent?


    Yes, and I think that Lionino may have been protesting at such ways of talking. If one is not a platonist, the way to say what you want to say is to conceptualise "real" in a non-platonic way.Ludwig V
    I have issues with what most people label 'realism', so I'm probably further from platonism than are most. Real is a relation to me, and I use the word that way.


    I've noticed a variety of extensions of the use of "=" lately, so I'm sorry if I misused it.
    OK, there can be more than one use of the symbol. We seem to not be in disagreement.


    The modal fictionalism link is appreciated.
  • Infinite Staircase Paradox
    I don't think the calculus is relevant.Ludwig V
    Well, when was the notion of limits of a series introduced? Not back then I think. I'm not an expert in the history, but Zeno was definitely using techniques beyond the state of the art at the time. Good for him.
    There are people today that say that there are no real infinities, whatever that means. I think this might be one example of such an assertion.

    If you accept that Twin Earth is not physically possible
    Where there's not-water? I accept that as a physical impossibility, yes, but overtaking a tortoise is not.

    there's no need to argue about the sun example. Maybe your imagination is richer than mine.

    A list of valid options is not a definition of a state.
    — noAxioms
    Parent = (Mother or father).
    Well illustrate. A list is not a parent, so I disagree with the '=' you put there. I'm sure there is a correct symbol to express that any member of that list satisfies the definition of parent.


    Tegmark must be trolling.fishfry
    I replied to this in the simulation topic since discussion of it seems to be of little relevance to this topic.

    But you [Michae] just proved P2 yourself! You agreed that under the hypothesis of being able to recite a number at successively halved intervals of time, there is no number that is the first to not be recited.

    This proves that all numbers are recited.
    fishfry
    The two of us also seem to be on the same page.



    I said that time stops?Metaphysician Undercover
    Not in those words. "Does not allow for a minute to pass", like somehow the way a thing is described has any effect at all on the actual thing.
    The specifications do not allow for a minute to pass, that's the problem.Metaphysician Undercover
    Anyway, I see nothing in any of the supertask descriptions that in any way inhibits the passage of time (all assuming that time is something that passes of course).


    I don't think so. I said that in the scenario of the op, 60 seconds will never pass.
    The OP scenario is pure abstract, and it directly describes a state beyond the passage of a minute.

    But clearly time does not stop. In that scenario, time keeps passing in smaller and smaller increments, such that there is never enough to reach 60 seconds, but time never stops.
    Ah, it slows, but never to zero. That's the difference between my wording and yours. Equally bunk of course. It isn't even meaningful to talk about the rate of time flow since there are no units for it. The OP makes zero mention of any alteration of the rate of flow of time.


    So you deny that numbers exist? Really?Ludwig V
    Not to put words in anybody's mouth, but such a statement depends heavily on the definition of 'exists'. For instance, does the number 37 have a location somewhere in our universe? When was it created? That references a definition of "is a object in our universe". If you define 'exists' as 'is an abstract concept in some mind somewhere', then 37 exists as long as somebody is thus abstracting. It's still a version of 'is part of the universe'.
    I am not really sure of the definition Lionino is using. I didn't get it from the brief context.

    Look at Tegmark's view mentioned above. He is definitely using a definition of 'exists' that doesn't supervene on our universe, and suggests that the reverse is the case.
  • Why The Simulation Argument is Wrong
    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.
  • Infinite Staircase Paradox
    So when someone describes the situation in a way that seems to make that fact impossible, why don't we just reject it as inapplicable?Ludwig V
    I do, but Zeno's division of the task didn't seem to make anything impossible. To read Aristotle, Zeno seems to believe in the discreetness of anything of magnitude, directly contradicting Aristotle's physics of the day, which were his opinions pretty much by definition. Much of his opinions held for millenia. Some still do.
    Also keep in mind that physics was absolute back then, and calculus was unheard of.
    So Zeno's premise that in any task of changing location, one must first go to the halfway point. Zeno seems to have put that up there as a ridiculous premise, one in which he didn't believe. It was an attack on Aristotle's position which would find no fault with the statement. Given Zeno's beliefs, the premise above is false, and he attempts to demonstrate why, but of course he can only do so by begging his own opinion, which is the second premise that I've been going on about.

    But we allow physical impossibilities into fiction all the time. They even crop up in philosophical examples. "The sun might not rise tomorrow morning"
    Not an example of a physical impossibility. Yes, i agree that physical impossibilities can be turned into fiction. Did I say otherwise?

    Your point about the final state not being defined is about logic, not physics (despite some people thinking that it is about physics).
    The state of Achilles is that he is even with the tortoise. It's admittedly not final because he continues on after the task of overtaking it is complete and takes the lead. There's nothing about that where physics stops being relevant.

    The lamp example? That isn't physics. Never was.

    In any case, the final state is defined. It must (on or off) or (0 or 1).
    A list of valid options is not a definition of a state.

    Wouldn't it be more accurate to say that it is undetermined?
    Synonym?

    But it would be absurd to say that every state in the series is indeterminate.
    They are, or at least the existing ones are. None of the ones you listed was an existing step.




    The time length is irrelevant.Metaphysician Undercover
    Says the proponent that time stops.

    See my comment above. I suspect Zeno believed his premise to be false, that one must first get halfway before getting to the goal. He was trying to illustrate this belief by driving Aristotle's assertions to absurdity, but he must beg his own beliefs to do this.
    If there was a better worded argument provided by Zeno himself, perhaps Aristotle didn't convey the full argument, in the interest of waving away a suggestion that he is wrong. So many modern mathematical tools were not available to them back then.

    I gave you Aristotle's wording.
    To me it was just another wording, but apparently so since I see it referenced verbatim on so many discussions. Interesting is the total lack of mention of the tortoise.

    He rejects most of the arguments because they contradict his own assertions.

    The matter of instants appears irrelevant here, and the problem seems to be with the assumed nature of space, rather than time.
    The argument is the same with space. He says "time is not composed of indivisible moments any more than any other magnitude is composed of indivisibles". Space qualifies as an 'other magnitude'.


    Like above, noAxioms insisted Zeno did not conclude that the faster runner could not overtake the slower,Metaphysician Undercover
    I said no such thing. Zeno very much is reported to have concluded such things.