RE: delayed reply

From: Doug <>
Date: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 06:31:55 -0800

While it's true that you don't NEED infinite chains of Great Programmers,
they happen anyway. Since all possible worlds exist, then all possible
programmers exist, and all possible (finite) programs will eventually be
written by them given sufficient time.

And they don't necessarily have to be great programmers. Obviously, the
vast majority of the infinite collection of programs that are written within
these infinite worlds will be buggy, ill-behaved, or even ill advised,
resulting in many worlds containing no self-aware-substructures at all, or
perhaps even lawyers and politicians. But an infinite number of them will
give rise to things like chocolate and love, and even more programmers
capable of great programs. (Actually, I just thought of a Great Program,
but alas the margins of this message are too small to contain it.)

Of course, even the greatest of these great programs may not be fully
appreciated by their authors, who generally only have time to observe a very
small portion of their output bitstrings. How many times throughout the
multiverse has a careless slip of the hand sent a blast of particularly
strong caffeinated beverage (or a particularly hot cup of tea) cascading
into the mechanism, prematurely terminating one of the greatest of all Great

Fortunately for us, there are lots of worlds where the program doesn't get
aborted. For any given Great Program, there ought to be a very large number
of worlds wherein that particular program is written, and in some of them
that program may have the opportunity to run long enough to give rise to
beautifully complex worlds, which give rise to even more programmers writing
more programs that define even more worlds, and on and on, until someone
writes that original program again. And of course it doesn't stop there
(and it definitely doesn't start there either).

So for any given world, there are a large number of programmers in a large
collection of worlds who can justifiably take credit for writing it, and
also no credit at all, since there is also a large collection of worlds
containing mindless automatons busily enumerating all possible programs.

Seems to me there may be somewhere in all this a proof of the existence or
non-existence of God, depending on which God Model one subscribes to (if
any). Perhaps a proof of the existence of the immortal soul can be
glimpsed. Of course, all this is impossible. But then, I long ago
reconciled myself to the notion of living in a world of measure zero.

Gotta go, the water is boiling and my teacup awaits.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Higgo James []
> Sent: Friday, February 26, 1999 3:02 AM
> To: ''
> Cc: ''; ''
> Subject: RE: delayed reply
> Great post from Juergen Schmidhuber. A superb explanation, from an
> unexpected source (computer science), of the subjective nature of
> everything. Lots of people - like me until recently - talk about
> subjectivity and fail to see the enormity of the idea. I have ccd this to
> Vic Stenger, who I have failed to move even slightly towards this view,
> which he regards as bordering on solipsism (Hi, Vic, hope Japan
> doesn't sink
> into the sea as our economic data indicate).
> One point of disagreement with Juergen: you don't need infinite
> strings of
> great programmers. There need be no great programmer, just the
> program. And
> since there's no programmer to make it complicated, the program
> is as simple
> as it can be.
> James
Received on Fri Feb 26 1999 - 06:42:53 PST

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