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(Discover)   The world's smartest scientists worry we live in The Matrix (yes, really). What do they know that we don't?   (discovermagazine.com) divider line 103
    More: Interesting, matrix, legal theory, red pill, carbon-based life, mathematical sciences, electron volts, electromagnetic forces, protons  
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5902 clicks; posted to Geek » on 09 Aug 2014 at 12:30 PM (37 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



103 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-08-09 10:27:12 AM  
Apparently a person staff writer can call most anything "science" in the media these days.
 
2014-08-09 12:21:39 PM  
Nov 15 2013

timely find
 
2014-08-09 12:22:10 PM  
In theory, we'd never detect these disappearing features, however, because each time the simulators noticed we were observing them again, they'd sketch them back in.

Maybe shortsightedness is to reduce the load on the simulators.
 
2014-08-09 12:38:46 PM  
Worthless without practical implications.
 
2014-08-09 12:40:56 PM  

calbert: Nov 15 2013

timely find


whoa, deja vu
 
2014-08-09 12:45:43 PM  
If we're to succeed at detecting some kind of high-tech version of providence, we'd have to figure out a way to test for it while looking like we're doing something else. Build telescopes that are actually microscopes. That kind of thing.

This is the kind of crap that can make people actually insane, by the way.
 
2014-08-09 12:54:46 PM  
Some problems might be too difficult to simulate. For example, only this year have the Programmers figured out how to simulate the Higgs boson.
 
2014-08-09 12:58:29 PM  
FTFA: The weird consequences would not end there. Our simulators may be simulations themselves ...
img.fark.net
 
2014-08-09 01:09:38 PM  
It's true, and we're a fluke, a virus. Everything that is trying to kill us is an antivirus program running, but we keep defeating it. Ebola is the latest release and I encourage all god machines to update their definitions.
 
2014-08-09 01:14:45 PM  
4.bp.blogspot.com
 
2014-08-09 01:20:42 PM  

HotWingConspiracy: It's true, and we're a fluke, a virus. Everything that is trying to kill us is an antivirus program running, but we keep defeating it. Ebola is the latest release and I encourage all god machines to update their definitions.


The sign of a good GM isn't how fast he can get a TPK, but how long he can keep you barely surviving till the players decide to change the universe they live in or die trying.
 
2014-08-09 01:22:06 PM  
Did the concept better:
upload.wikimedia.org

Unfortunately, no Kung-Fu.  So it got slightly overshadowed at the time it came out.
 
2014-08-09 01:23:14 PM  
www.smbc-comics.com

www.smbc-comics.com

All credit to SMBC
 
2014-08-09 01:27:27 PM  
I'm programming a root-kit now.

All you guys are about to have dick-butts spontaneously appear on your foreheads.
 
2014-08-09 01:27:57 PM  
And it would really make no difference at all if we were simulated. If we are, then we always have been, and nothing changes.
 
2014-08-09 01:28:15 PM  
So.... let me get this straight..... at some point we'll create a ton of simulated realities filled with AIs that think they are people. Since the number of simulated realities (a lot) is greater than the number of real realities (one) the likelihood of a self-aware individual being a resident of one of the simulated realities is greater than that of belonging to the real reality. Since I am a self-aware individual (I think therefore I am) it is more likely that I am a simulated being than an actual carbon-based life form. Cool!
 
2014-08-09 01:32:55 PM  
What appears to be the world's smartest scientists...
 
2014-08-09 01:33:38 PM  

NeoCortex42: Did the concept better:
[upload.wikimedia.org image 299x444]

Unfortunately, no Kung-Fu.  So it got slightly overshadowed at the time it came out.


I saw that in the theatre. You're right that it was better plot wise, but not as flashy or 'entertaining' (for values of entertaining that include explosions and guns).

In the screening I saw there was also a weird editing error where it jumped from the middle of one line of dialog to a scene minutes later in the middle of another line of dialog. Never seen anything like it before or since - perhaps it was a glitch in the matrix.
 
2014-08-09 01:35:39 PM  

WelldeadLink: What appears to be the world's smartest scientists...


They only recently became the smartest, when they stumbled upon a bobblehead in their office.
img3.wikia.nocookie.net
 
2014-08-09 01:47:40 PM  

Yankees Team Gynecologist: Worthless without practical implications.




What is the point of "worth" if we are just patterns of 1's ands 0's.

(Or just made of patterns of subatomic particles as we've suspected all along...)
 
2014-08-09 01:50:04 PM  
AKA the "brain in a vat" theory
 
2014-08-09 01:51:17 PM  
"The computer would have to be bigger than the universe, and time would tick more slowly in the program than in reality," says Lloyd. "So why even bother building it?"

Sounds so much like Professor Frink talking about the largest computers and the 5 richest kings of Europe owning them.
 
2014-08-09 01:56:00 PM  
It strikes me that atomic structure resembles computer programming.  A hydrogen atom, with its single proton and electron, acts like a bit. Move up to helium and lithium, now we're talking byte properties.  By the time you get to carbon atoms, we've got megabyte possibilities.  If so, then the universe nothing but a running computer program.

Or I could just put the bong down.
 
2014-08-09 02:00:10 PM  
...philosophers have long argued that we're actually more likely to be artificial intelligences trapped in a fake universe than we are organic minds in the "real" one.

On a related note, I have long argued that the reason we have not had visitors from other solar systems is that they invent ever deeper layers of artificial reality, which they then choose to migrate too in place of interstellar travel. As the article notes, within a century at most we will have the technology to create computationally based artificial universes, so my guess is we will do the same thing: create and migrate to matrixes of our own making rather than attempt to explore the galaxy as seen in our present reality.

There was a similar theme in one of the early 90's Star Trek - New Generation episodes. In it Picard ultimately traps Moriarty in a hockey puck-sized memory cube with enough capacity to simulate the galaxy, but I recall to this day being struck with the thought that we too may be stuck in our own simulacrum.
 
2014-08-09 02:08:50 PM  
Well, at least we're not trembling in fear of The Singularity, where a all-powerful computer intelligence will arrange things so that it will come to exist if you even think about it existing and then torture you for years and years at some unspecified date in the future.
 
2014-08-09 02:11:55 PM  
graphics8.nytimes.com

Be on the lookout for falling lights or elevators that open onto sound stages.
 
2014-08-09 02:12:28 PM  
So, why program in pain, sickness, war, etc.?  Would we recognize their absence?  Are such concepts malware at work, put in by some higher-reality black-hat?

We'll never know for sure.
 
2014-08-09 02:19:05 PM  

Stone Meadow: On a related note, I have long argued that the reason we have not had visitors from other solar systems is that they invent ever deeper layers of artificial reality, which they then choose to migrate too in place of interstellar travel. As the article notes, within a century at most we will have the technology to create computationally based artificial universes, so my guess is we will do the same thing: create and migrate to matrixes of our own making rather than attempt to explore the galaxy as seen in our present reality.


That's not an escape when the Sun melts the planet that you're actually on.
 
2014-08-09 02:30:55 PM  
www.vintage-computer.com

Found God's control panel. No wonder shiat's farked up.
 
2014-08-09 02:35:57 PM  

ReverendJynxed: [www.vintage-computer.com image 800x567]

Found God's control panel. No wonder shiat's farked up.



farm1.staticflickr.com
 
2014-08-09 02:42:34 PM  

indy_kid: So, why program in pain, sickness, war, etc.?  Would we recognize their absence?  Are such concepts malware at work, put in by some higher-reality black-hat?

We'll never know for sure.


1.bp.blogspot.com
 
2014-08-09 02:43:02 PM  
I thought we were living in the explosive remains of a 4D supernova?
 
2014-08-09 02:46:35 PM  

Evil Twin Skippy: What is the point of "worth" if we are just patterns of 1's ands 0's.


Well, I can't expect to understand our fundamental worth, since I'm just a simulation component. But if we're running, the entity that set us running and keeps us running must see some value in us.

/or maybe It's just not keeping on top of its AV updates
 
2014-08-09 02:47:01 PM  
Humans are so cute when they try to wrap their heads around the fact we live in a multi dimensional quantum computer. Adorable.
 
2014-08-09 02:47:56 PM  
42
 
2014-08-09 02:52:00 PM  
Also, FTFA:

Seth Lloyd, a quantum-mechanical engineer at MIT, estimated the number of "computer operations" our universe has performed since the Big Bang - basically, every event that has ever happened. To repeat them, and generate a perfect facsimile of reality down to the last atom, would take more energy than the universe has.

"The computer would have to be bigger than the universe, and time would tick more slowly in the program than in reality," says Lloyd. "So why even bother building it?"


That's a fine argument against our ability to accurately and completely simulate our universe within itself. But that's not especially relevant to the bigger question.

It's easy to imagine a larger and more complex universe than our own -- higher speed of light, more fundamental forces, whatever. WIthin such a universe, simulating one like ours could be trivial.
 
2014-08-09 03:10:25 PM  

indy_kid: So, why program in pain, sickness, war, etc.?  Would we recognize their absence?  Are such concepts malware at work, put in by some higher-reality black-hat?

We'll never know for sure.


Well, there have to be some challenges. How else would we gain XP?
 
2014-08-09 03:12:26 PM  

nucal: AKA the "brain in a vat" theory


Actually, no.

What the article hypothesized was not the same thing as the Matrix, or "brain in a vat" which is more or less the same thing.

Brain in a vat means your brain is real, everything else is simulated.  The hypothesis of the article is that everything, including our own brains and bodies, is simulated.  It did suggest something vaguely like brain in a vat, namely that the Earth is fully simulated, but the things outside the Earth are only simulated approximately enough to fool us.  But that's still everything being simulated.

Speaking of which, I felt that the article too casually dismissed the idea that the computer was too big for the universe to be a simulation.  He asked why you'd build a computer that large.  Um, our Programmer Overlords ("Gods", if you will) live in another plane of existence, where a computer with 4 googolplexabytes of RAM and 50 googolpexahertz of bandwith might just be a simple calculator.  Hell, we are probably just a screensaver.  And any minute God could come back to His workstation....
 
2014-08-09 03:12:55 PM  
When I read the headline and then reread it and thought it said "world's smallest scientists".  They must have fixed the glitch.
 
2014-08-09 03:22:53 PM  
Well, back to playing Civilization. Sorry 'bout taking all your cities, Egypt.
 
2014-08-09 03:31:46 PM  

Mjeck: I thought we were living in the explosive remains of a 4D supernova?


www.rzg.mpg.de

We are, it's part of the simulation.
 
2014-08-09 03:34:06 PM  

Evil Twin Skippy: Yankees Team Gynecologist: Worthless without practical implications.

What is the point of "worth" if we are just patterns of 1's ands 0's.

(Or just made of patterns of subatomic particles as we've suspected all along...)


If the finding leads to discovering ways we can "hack" the system for our benefit, then that's worth something, even if ultimately we are just data and/or dimensionless particles.

For example, within the confines of what we experience as "reality," my simulated non-self can still enjoy judging a supermodel blowjob contest.  If confirming we're in the matrix means we can then alter our reality to make that--or, you know, other important stuff like ending hunger or curing cancer--happen easily, I'll rejoice at the news. But if it's just a different way of describing the same insufferable shiat, it's a non-story.
 
2014-08-09 03:34:45 PM  
Is William of Ockham gonna have to cut a biatch?
 
2014-08-09 03:36:50 PM  

notyoucoach: When I read the headline and then reread it and thought it said "world's smallest scientists".  They must have fixed the glitch.


lol this

I thought they were down there tinkering at the Planck level and found the White Rabbit.
 
2014-08-09 03:37:36 PM  
An insanely complex computer program  simulation, that is more complex than we can dream of creating, wouldn't be able to change the readings in your instruments to say whatever it wants it to say?

Its like all this thought went into it figuring out how we could tell if we were inside a computer simulation, and yet no one treats it as if it was a computer simulation?

I felt like they more approached it from, "If we are in a simulation, what bugs would be in it that we could test for?" And then they proposed that, "Oh hey, I bet they totally forgot to simulate this part correctly, so lets check on that!", like we'd be smarter than the person (or  alien or whatever) actually creating the simulation of our whole universe. Then it basically comes down to, "Well, if they simulated it really really well, we wouldn't be able to tell at all... which I guess is the point of simulating something in the first place"
 
2014-08-09 03:39:38 PM  

Stone Meadow: within a century at most we will have the technology to create computationally based artificial universes


You're a little late. Try 1992:
upload.wikimedia.org upload.wikimedia.org
 
2014-08-09 03:40:30 PM  
I can't be in the Matrix as steak doesn't taste as good as it should
 
2014-08-09 03:41:23 PM  

How to tell you are a simulation


1. Do you spend your entire life in one small room in your Mother's basement? If so, you are in a one-set low-budget comedy.
2. Do you spend all of your time in a few rooms at home or work? If so, you are in a three-camera sitcom.
3. Do you have almost no furniture? You are in a web-cartoon.  (If the scenery constantly repeats when you walk or run, you are in a Hanna-Barbera cartoon.)
4. Do you ever see large areas of pixellation besides Farkers and Fark Parties? You are in a digital TV programme.
5. Is the resolution limited and your environment constantly snowy, or smoky, or foggy? You are an analog TV broadcast.
6. Does nothing make any sense? Can you be pounded with constant punches and blows that would crush a rhino without bruising or suffering more than temporary pain? You are the hero or villains in a major motion picture.
7. Do you constantly die and come back in the next scene or episode? You are a character in a cartoon or a soap opera.
8. Is the world finely detailed but monotonous and repetitive? You are a high-res videogame character.
9. Is the world massive but full of absurd inconsistencies? You are a brain in a jar.
10. Does the world follow basic rules but still make no sense? You are a Broca Brain in deep space.
11. Is there a God? You are a Biblical character.
12. Is God a whiney biatch? You are a Conservative Christian or a Republican. You live in a consensual reality modeled on your own defects as a person. Imagine there is no Heaven and no Hell. It will make your pointless existence marginally more bearable. Like a Beetles tune.
 
2014-08-09 03:43:07 PM  

nucal: AKA the "brain in a vat" theory

 
2014-08-09 03:44:20 PM  

notyoucoach: When I read the headline and then reread it and thought it said "world's smallest scientists".  They must have fixed the glitch.


We fixed the glitch. :)
cdn.hark.com
 
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