Re: Fwd: Implementation/Relativity

From: Christopher Maloney <>
Date: Mon, 02 Aug 1999 08:16:02 -0400

Hans' ideas are quaint and curious, but ultimately vacuous, IMHO.

Hans Moravec wrote:
> A universe I see depicted on the screen of a simulator in front of me
> has enormous measure of existence (1.0) for me. As do a universes
> recorded in books that issued from the wet simulator we called
> Asimov's brain.

Not useful for determining physical laws as seen by the consciousnesses
within the simulations.

> > my own existence is the only thing I can be really sure of
> > ... trapped inside some sort of universe that I never made, and that
> > obeys physical laws. How do you explain that?
> You interpret the universe as real. The universe returns the favor.

Not useful for my own ability to determine physical laws.

> Leaving out inessential details is how mathematics generalizes. It is
> often immensely useful, because with details gone, your results apply
> to a larger universe of examples.

Here I think Hans has finally revealed what the hell he has been
talking about. He is talking here in general about a "simulation".
In this usage, "simulation" can mean just about anything - the dream
I had last night, a fleeting thought I have about a fictional character,
an image I have of a teddy bear talking, the text inside a Sherlock
Holmes book. A simulation is an elided construct representational
of something else. Hans has said above that the more elided the
simulation, the more general it is, and the more applicability it can
have. I agree that that's often immensely useful.

So any simulation encodes some physical laws, perhaps very generally.
Those physical laws delimit an ensemble of universes which contain
(by assumption) SAS's. Fine. But Hans seems to go further to submit
that an elided simulation actually is the reality it is simulating.
But at the same time, he has said that an implementation is not
important for existence.

So is a simulation an implementation, or isn't it? If I imagine
terrible things, like hitting somebody I don't like, have I actually
generated universes in which injustices have been done? Or did those
universes exist already, and I've just opened up a window into them?
>From Hans' disjoint rantings, it's difficult to say which he

I don't believe it's an empty question -- it would have consequences
with regard to the measure of those simulated universes. And I don't
see the point of saying that the universe I've thought about has
"measure 1" to me. Do we all agree that there must be some absolute,
objective measure over universes? If not, I see no hope for ever
saying anything useful about the AUH, and we might as well all sign
off now.

The answer to the question would have obvious ethical consequences as
well. In the former case, where each simulation in one universe
affects the measure of others, it would be difficult to determine how
the measure is affected. It might be possible, but I foresee
problems. Does the amount of elision play a role in the affect?

In the latter case, his view is isomorphic to the view that fictional
characters are not real.

Chris Maloney
"Donuts are so sweet and tasty."
-- Homer Simpson
Received on Mon Aug 02 1999 - 05:23:08 PDT

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