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Are we living in a computer simulation?

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/are-we-living-in-a-computer-simulation/

This is so mind-blowing I can't even give a gist. Please do read it fully. It's very interesting and likely true.

Shoshin

Comments

  • TravellerTraveller East Midlands UK Veteran

    I'm already familiar with the hypothesis so didn't read the article. Personally I couldn't give a monkeys. Its the flat earth of its generation as far as I'm concerned.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Oh Puh-leese....* Roll my eyes *... Imagine... Hypothesis.... possible.... maybe....?

    Yeah.
    Right.

  • TravellerTraveller East Midlands UK Veteran
    edited September 14

    I'd be more interested if scientists could hack the matrix and give some funky kung fu super powers like in the movie. :awesome:

    dhammachickyagrsilver
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I have some 'funky super powers' given to me by Admin. Does that mean that Linc is this possible 'Higher Intelligence's "Right-hand Honcho"?? Now that, I WOULD believe! :lol:

    Travellerdhammachickyagr
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    "I slept and dreamt I was a butterfly. Or am I a butterfly awake, who dreams it is a man?"

    Or, something like that.....

    Traveller
  • TravellerTraveller East Midlands UK Veteran

    So much for evolution now even the scientists are preaching intelligent design. :(

    person
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I prefer the Truman Show route of explanation myself.

    It's funny how sometimes our beliefs are so very strong that can will find whatever proof to make them real. But you can also look at the simulation idea as another web of what we know in Buddhism, that nothing really exists, because everything is empty of inherent form. So really, it is all simulation, but not in the virtual sense the article gets to.

    In any case, it makes no difference to me. I always ask myself "If X turned out to be true, would it change how I function in my daily life?" and the answer has been overwhelmingly no. It wouldn't matter if the rapture really was coming next week, if God really exists, if nothing exists, if we're a computer game or in the Truman Show. I try to carry on my life the best i can with what I understand to be right, and whether someone else is watching or overseeing that wouldn't change things for me.

    If there is some grand simulator controller out there, could you please give us save points so we can just reload when we screw up? ;)

    TravellerlobsterSnakeskin
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran
    edited September 14

    @federica said:
    "I slept and dreamt I was a butterfly. Or am I a butterfly awake, who dreams it is a man?"

    Or, something like that.....

    Chuang Tzu, I believe.

    I'm mostly of @Traveller's persuasion. I once read this paper which said that each era in history tended to view complex things as a form of its most sophisticated technology. In ancient times it was hydraulics, in the dark ages it was vapours, in the enlightenment period it was mechanics, today it is computer simulations.

    It's no use trying so simplify what is - it just is.

    TravellerpersonSnakeskin
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    Even if it is, it doesn't change anything or answer the big questions.

    If we are a program then do the programmers have beliefs about where they came from? Is it simulations all the way down?

    Meh.

    karasti
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @techie said:
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/are-we-living-in-a-computer-simulation/

    This is so mind-blowing I can't even give a gist. Please do read it fully. It's very interesting and likely true.

    @techie

    If it were true, then what ?

    When it comes to things like this I have an open mind ...But ...

    dhammachickNirvana
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    To me this smacks of a technologists version of a creation myth. It fills in a gap in our understanding of the origins of the universe.

    Regarding specifics I think there is a fundamental flaw in the reasoning behind it. It's that we don't understand consciousness well enough to use the argument from probability that the idea rests on. I'm not convinced that there isn't something fundamental to the physical wetware of our brains needed to generate consciousness to even say that a robot that perfectly replicated a human brain would be conscious. Let alone a computer simulation of a brain that lacks the biological structure.

    To put it another way, we could develop far more advanced weather simulations that might perfectly predict the weather at every moment but it would never actually get wet in the simulation. So advanced civilizations could perfectly simulate a universe with beings in it, but does that mean that the simulated beings are ever conscious? We just don't understand that variable enough to say living in a simulated universe is highly probable, because it might actually be impossible.

    dhammachickNirvanaSnakeskin
  • techietechie India Veteran

    @person said:
    To me this smacks of a technologists version of a creation myth. It fills in a gap in our understanding of the origins of the universe.

    Regarding specifics I think there is a fundamental flaw in the reasoning behind it. It's that we don't understand consciousness well enough to use the argument from probability that the idea rests on. I'm not convinced that there isn't something fundamental to the physical wetware of our brains needed to generate consciousness to even say that a robot that perfectly replicated a human brain would be conscious. Let alone a computer simulation of a brain that lacks the biological structure.

    To put it another way, we could develop far more advanced weather simulations that might perfectly predict the weather at every moment but it would never actually get wet in the simulation. So advanced civilizations could perfectly simulate a universe with beings in it, but does that mean that the simulated beings are ever conscious? We just don't understand that variable enough to say living in a simulated universe is highly probable, because it might actually be impossible.

    This is based on the premise that there is a thing called consciousness. What if even 'consciousness' is just another program? We could be programmed to feel a certain way.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    I think maybe someone is a little too techie.

    federicaShoshindhammachickkarasti
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Now there IS a possibility! ;)

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    edited September 15

    @techie said:

    @person said:
    To me this smacks of a technologists version of a creation myth. It fills in a gap in our understanding of the origins of the universe.

    Regarding specifics I think there is a fundamental flaw in the reasoning behind it. It's that we don't understand consciousness well enough to use the argument from probability that the idea rests on. I'm not convinced that there isn't something fundamental to the physical wetware of our brains needed to generate consciousness to even say that a robot that perfectly replicated a human brain would be conscious. Let alone a computer simulation of a brain that lacks the biological structure.

    To put it another way, we could develop far more advanced weather simulations that might perfectly predict the weather at every moment but it would never actually get wet in the simulation. So advanced civilizations could perfectly simulate a universe with beings in it, but does that mean that the simulated beings are ever conscious? We just don't understand that variable enough to say living in a simulated universe is highly probable, because it might actually be impossible.

    This is based on the premise that there is a thing called consciousness. What if even 'consciousness' is just another program? We could be programmed to feel a certain way.

    What I'm talking about more or less goes all the way back to Rene Descartes. He thought that it was possible that everything that he experienced could be a trick played on him by a powerful demon, except for the simple fact that was experiencing something. That's where the phrase "I think therefore I am" comes from. He drew some further conclusions from that which have been pretty universally dismissed but that idea still holds influence.

    An updated version of the philosopher's thought experiment was maybe we are all just brains in a vat, that idea inspired the Matrix movies. Saying we are all just simulations is similar to that but it misses an important element. In a simulation there is no brain and there is no vat. Everything about our experience could be simulated but the simple fact that we have experience without some sort of basis probably not.

    We could perfectly simulate the weather but it would never actually get wet. We could perfectly simulate a universe and beings in it, but they would never actually have conscious experiences.

    I recommend reading the link @lobster provided. It says much the same thing but better.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited September 16

    The brain 'is' in a sense a simulator and reactor which is self-generated ...
    Welcome to the "illusion" of our own making... (not knowing which way to turn ...It's enough to put the mind into a spin) :) Thanks for nothing "Mara" :winky:

    Traveller
  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `     ` `     ` Outa Range Fridays thru Sundays South Carolina, USA Veteran

    @techie said:
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/are-we-living-in-a-computer-simulation/

    This is so mind-blowing I can't even give a gist. Please do read it fully. It's very interesting and likely true.

    Likely True????

    Sorry but, just because a theory is very interesting and thought provoking, which I think this is, does not mean it is even remotely close to being true. This wouldn't even approach the discovery phase.

    federicalobster
  • nakazcidnakazcid Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran

    Neile DeGrasse Tyson is not a wild-eyed dreamer, but a highly respected astrophysicist and science educator. I have heard this theory before, and it actually makes some sense. Don't dismiss it out of hand.

    However...it reminds me of the four imponderables. How would this change the way you live your life? How deep a rabbit hole would you go down in debating it? Is there any way to actually prove it? Even if it is true, it would only confirm a central Buddhist thesis - reality is an illusion.

    federica
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    Kurzgesagt just posted a video on the topic.

    My main disagreement is with condition 1. Even if the behaviors of consciousness could be perfectly simulated, without a physical brain would it would there be any individual that would actually have a first person experience of that data processing like we do. Does a weather simulation ever actually get wet?

    KannonShoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Are we living in a computer simulation?

    Um.....

    "Take this kiss upon the brow!
    And, in parting from you now,
    Thus much let me avow —
    You are not wrong, who deem
    That my days have been a dream;
    Yet if hope has flown away
    In a night, or in a day,
    In a vision, or in none,
    Is it therefore the less gone?
    All that we see or seem
    Is but a dream within a dream.

    I stand amid the roar
    Of a surf-tormented shore,
    And I hold within my hand
    Grains of the golden sand —
    How few! yet how they creep
    Through my fingers to the deep,
    While I weep — while I weep!
    O God! Can I not grasp
    Them with a tighter clasp?
    O God! can I not save
    One from the pitiless wave?
    Is all that we see or seem
    But a dream within a dream?

    "A Dream Within a Dream"

    ~EDGAR ALLAN POE~

    TravellerKannon
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited September 23

    It wouldn't surprise me to learn that the universe is a bit digital by nature but it would take a leap of faith to believe that we are living in a computer program.

    I love Neil but that's just too much whatifing going on there.

    Traveller
  • techietechie India Veteran

    @person said:
    Kurzgesagt just posted a video on the topic.

    My main disagreement is with condition 1. Even if the behaviors of consciousness could be perfectly simulated, without a physical brain would it would there be any individual that would actually have a first person experience of that data processing like we do. Does a weather simulation ever actually get wet?

    1) Is there consciousness?
    2) Is there a first-person experience at all?

    lobster
  • 1) Is there consciousness?

    No.

    2) Is there a first-person experience at all?

    No.

    Happy now? >:)

    ... and now back to the glitch ... o:)

    KannonTravellerdhammachick
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @techie said:

    @person said:
    Kurzgesagt just posted a video on the topic.

    My main disagreement is with condition 1. Even if the behaviors of consciousness could be perfectly simulated, without a physical brain would it would there be any individual that would actually have a first person experience of that data processing like we do. Does a weather simulation ever actually get wet?

    1) Is there consciousness?
    2) Is there a first-person experience at all?

    Some people do argue those positions and it just boggles my mind how they can get there. Like Descartes I can imagine that all the contents of my experience is an illusion but that I have experience seems undeniable.

    I can understand that consciousness could be like a mirage, some sort of constructed image that has no real substance, but not that there is no mirage at all. To my mind it sounds like they're acknowledging that there is something while at the same time saying it doesn't exist.

    DavidKerome
  • I prefer the truth...

    'I do not know anything'

    dhammachick
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @techie said:

    1) Is there consciousness?
    2) Is there a first-person experience at all?

    "I" find it is questions like these that one really needs to employ the service of the consultancy firm Cushion & Cushion...

    They will (given time) provide/come up with satisfactory answers ....and their service is pro bono (well apart from the cost of time that is ...But then that's relative :winky: )

    ...

    lobster
  • techietechie India Veteran

    Just adding to this ...

    If this theory is true, then

    • we don't have a self per se (as new programs are being added and so there is no core identity)

    • rebirth is the new and improved version of the software

    • order or dharma in this world is the result of careful, meticulous programming

    • chaos (like disease, earthquakes) is introduced now and then like a virus or malware to the system. Results in bulk delete. Explains dukkha.

    • Evolution - biological and other types - can be seen as successive software updates based on trial and error. Explains anitta.

    All this fits in well with Buddhism. =)

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited September 28

    If

    personTraveller
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited September 28

    Can I be a Trojan? [a type of virus] ... wait can I be hardware?

    dhammachick
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    @techie said:
    Just adding to this ...

    If this theory is true, then

    • we don't have a self per se (as new programs are being added and so there is no core identity)

    • rebirth is the new and improved version of the software

    • order or dharma in this world is the result of careful, meticulous programming

    • chaos (like disease, earthquakes) is introduced now and then like a virus or malware to the system. Results in bulk delete. Explains dukkha.

    • Evolution - biological and other types - can be seen as successive software updates based on trial and error. Explains anitta.

    All this fits in well with Buddhism. =)

    Except that it sort of posits a programmer/designer doesn't it?

    dhammachick
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @David said:

    @techie said:
    Just adding to this ...

    If this theory is true, then

    • we don't have a self per se (as new programs are being added and so there is no core identity)

    • rebirth is the new and improved version of the software

    • order or dharma in this world is the result of careful, meticulous programming

    • chaos (like disease, earthquakes) is introduced now and then like a virus or malware to the system. Results in bulk delete. Explains dukkha.

    • Evolution - biological and other types - can be seen as successive software updates based on trial and error. Explains anitta.

    All this fits in well with Buddhism. =)

    Except that it sort of posits a programmer/designer doesn't it?

    It's programmers all the way down. :p

    lobsterTravellerDaviddhammachick
  • techietechie India Veteran
    edited September 28

    @David said:

    @techie said:
    Just adding to this ...

    If this theory is true, then

    • we don't have a self per se (as new programs are being added and so there is no core identity)

    • rebirth is the new and improved version of the software

    • order or dharma in this world is the result of careful, meticulous programming

    • chaos (like disease, earthquakes) is introduced now and then like a virus or malware to the system. Results in bulk delete. Explains dukkha.

    • Evolution - biological and other types - can be seen as successive software updates based on trial and error. Explains anitta.

    All this fits in well with Buddhism. =)

    Except that it sort of posits a programmer/designer doesn't it?

    Members of an alien race? Maybe they invented all this to have fun, just like we've invented computer games to have fun.

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    @techie said:

    @David said:

    @techie said:
    Just adding to this ...

    If this theory is true, then

    • we don't have a self per se (as new programs are being added and so there is no core identity)

    • rebirth is the new and improved version of the software

    • order or dharma in this world is the result of careful, meticulous programming

    • chaos (like disease, earthquakes) is introduced now and then like a virus or malware to the system. Results in bulk delete. Explains dukkha.

    • Evolution - biological and other types - can be seen as successive software updates based on trial and error. Explains anitta.

    All this fits in well with Buddhism. =)

    Except that it sort of posits a programmer/designer doesn't it?

    Members of an alien race? Maybe they invented all this to have fun, just like we've invented computer games to have fun.

    Yes but would they also be programs or are we back where we started?

  • techietechie India Veteran

    @David said:

    @techie said:

    @David said:

    @techie said:
    Just adding to this ...

    If this theory is true, then

    • we don't have a self per se (as new programs are being added and so there is no core identity)

    • rebirth is the new and improved version of the software

    • order or dharma in this world is the result of careful, meticulous programming

    • chaos (like disease, earthquakes) is introduced now and then like a virus or malware to the system. Results in bulk delete. Explains dukkha.

    • Evolution - biological and other types - can be seen as successive software updates based on trial and error. Explains anitta.

    All this fits in well with Buddhism. =)

    Except that it sort of posits a programmer/designer doesn't it?

    Members of an alien race? Maybe they invented all this to have fun, just like we've invented computer games to have fun.

    Yes but would they also be programs or are we back where we started?

    This is similar to the argument made by religious fundies - since we can't explain origin, there must be a god at the beginning of it all. ;)

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    @techie said:

    @David said:

    @techie said:

    @David said:

    @techie said:
    Just adding to this ...

    If this theory is true, then

    • we don't have a self per se (as new programs are being added and so there is no core identity)

    • rebirth is the new and improved version of the software

    • order or dharma in this world is the result of careful, meticulous programming

    • chaos (like disease, earthquakes) is introduced now and then like a virus or malware to the system. Results in bulk delete. Explains dukkha.

    • Evolution - biological and other types - can be seen as successive software updates based on trial and error. Explains anitta.

    All this fits in well with Buddhism. =)

    Except that it sort of posits a programmer/designer doesn't it?

    Members of an alien race? Maybe they invented all this to have fun, just like we've invented computer games to have fun.

    Yes but would they also be programs or are we back where we started?

    This is similar to the argument made by religious fundies - since we can't explain origin, there must be a god at the beginning of it all. ;)

    Uh, yeah. That's my point. This is just another version. You see that, right?

    Travellerperson
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @techie said:> Members of an alien race? Maybe they invented all this to have fun, just like we've invented computer games to have fun.

    I imagine space aliens would have more interesting things to do. :p

  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran

    No, I don't believe we are living in a computer simulation. However, I do believe what we understand to be "reality" is probably not the case. Along similar lines, I believe my consciousness is an ethereal, mathematically derived, technical artifact. This is another way of describing "consciousness" as the operating system; which models attention, running on our biological computers (read: brains). Of course, I've stated this position here before, so I'll leave it at that.

    As an aside, I hope you have all been well...

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    @techie said:

    @David said:

    @techie said:
    Just adding to this ...

    If this theory is true, then

    • we don't have a self per se (as new programs are being added and so there is no core identity)

    • rebirth is the new and improved version of the software

    • order or dharma in this world is the result of careful, meticulous programming

    • chaos (like disease, earthquakes) is introduced now and then like a virus or malware to the system. Results in bulk delete. Explains dukkha.

    • Evolution - biological and other types - can be seen as successive software updates based on trial and error. Explains anitta.

    All this fits in well with Buddhism. =)

    Except that it sort of posits a programmer/designer doesn't it?

    Members of an alien race? Maybe they invented all this to have fun, just like we've invented computer games to have fun.

    I think it's a difficult proposition to think of aliens. If we are living in a simulation, then the entire universe would have to be part of it - it would be unimaginably vast and complex. You would have to propose some kind of alien entities outside of space and time for them to be 'operating' the simulation.

    It's alien entities all the way down...

  • techietechie India Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @techie said:> Members of an alien race? Maybe they invented all this to have fun, just like we've invented computer games to have fun.

    I imagine space aliens would have more interesting things to do. :p

    lol, you're probably right.

    When I observe myself and the world, it seems like everything is going on auto pilot. Inside as well as outside - our thoughts and actions as well as the environment. Like everything is programmed to happen in a certain way ... what we think and feel, or even the circumstances that occur every moment. Not saying this is proof, just an intuitive feeling.

  • MingleMingle Veteran

    I hope so. How would I delete Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber?

    lobster
  • techietechie India Veteran
    edited October 6

    @Mingle said:
    I hope so. How would I delete Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber?

    There is no Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber. =)

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @techie said:
    There is no Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber. =)

    LOL <3
    There is an escape button ... ;)

    Those carried into, away or beyond the presented reality are so happy to find on and off buttons are not part of 'quantum binary' with its infinity of options ...

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    @Mingle said:
    I hope so. How would I delete Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber?

    This gave me an insight: in a way social media is an extension of the high school popularity contest, except now it’s about how many millions of followers you have on Instagram.

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