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Monday, June 06, 2016


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Osaka Harker

The belief in religion is always based on supernatural existence. something out of the realm of existence as we know it. I would think any advanced culture running a simulation would be doing so basing it in the same physics they inhabit, as we try so hard to do on our own simulations so i would disagree you need to "believe" it is just knowledge applied to probability and no need for supernatural occurrences. Even as a Atheist i can't prove the non existence of imaginary friends but i can say they are less probable then an advanced computer programmer.


Elon secretion Moose Musk is making the mistake in thinking that these hypothetical aliens will think the same way we do. Have the same number base as we do and even the same type of body.

He is even making the assumption that they survived past the stage in which they could blow themselves up via war. OR that they survived the universe's various death plans that it has for us via exploding stars, rogue meteors and universes crashing into one another. Heaven forbid they live in a universe close to the great attractor. They may already be dead.

But somehow in the middle of all this chaos...they faffled around with a life simulator. OK.

Wagner J Au

Hahahaha. "Don't worry about the rogue meteors, let's play a few more hours of The Sims 8,323,3397!"


Does Silicon Valley secrete some sort of madness-inducing drug, something that seeped out of the wounded earth after you folks cut down all the fruit-trees?

These folks should have taken more humanities courses in college. They'd have already seen enough Beckett plays and Bergman films, read enough Baudrillard and Kerouac to have hashed out these ideas by the end of junior year.


Here's the problem with this: Imagine you did simulate a universe from the big bang forward until you finally managed to evolve an AI. That would be a lot of work, if you needed to do this every time you want an AI, but you don't -- once you've got the first one, you can copy it all you like from that point forward. You don't need to simulate evolution for any subsequent AI, you just make a copy of the one you created the first time.

But what about that first time, you ask? Two answers:

First, if computers keep getting more powerful, simulating 13 billion years of a universe unfolding becomes quicker and easier. Eventually, you may have the processing power you need to get the job done.

But, more importantly, you don't need to! We already have evolved intelligences -- our universe has produced them, and here we sit, arguing philosophy. :) If we have the ability to simulate the physics behind us, we just need to copy one of us, and Bob's your uncle! If we can correctly simulate physics, and we assume there's no supernatural component we need beyond that, a copy of our already existing physical intelligence can be simulated. Nature already did the work of the evolving, we just need to make copies.

Adeon Writer

Yes. Consiousness can be simulated. This can be imperically proven by the fact that your brain is simulating consiousness right now.

Amanda Dallin

The real question is would a simulated consciousness actually be conscious or only appear so? Is there a difference?

@Osaka A society advanced enough to create a simulation that we inhabit would appear supernatural as far as our understanding goes. As Leigh Bracket said, “Witchcraft to the ignorant, .... Simple science to the learned.”

Desmond Shang

"The real question is would a simulated consciousness actually be conscious or only appear so? Is there a difference?"

Appear so, to... whom? To us? Or to Master Chief, or Aerith, or perhaps Lara Croft? That's ultimately the question that Elon is posing, reductio ad absurdum.

If consciousness is an illusion thrust upon a bunch of molecules obeying the gas laws, that elevates the molecules to 'molecules that can sustain an illusion about themselves.' Which is a pretty absurd magical property, innit? Same thing with database bits. Not just 1's and 0's, but 1's and 0's with... feels.

Regardless of the magic ~ supernatural explanations, or ordinary matter somehow gaining self awareness all by itself... no matter how you turn it, it ends up with molecules that *shouldn't* have any sense of self, staring right back at you. This should philosophically bother just about anyone. Especially cat owners.

We are in the dark ages of cognitive science, and the first step forward is to truly understand that we. don't. know. what's. going. on.

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Wagner James Au
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