Re: Are we simulated by some massive computer?

From: George Levy <>
Date: Wed, 12 May 2004 22:58:01 -0700

Hi Stephen

Stephen Paul King wrote:

> Dear George,
> Interleaving.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: George Levy <>
> To: Stephen Paul King <>
> Sent: Wednesday, May 12, 2004 3:00 PM
> Subject: Re: Are we simulated by some massive computer?
> Stephen,
> Stephen Paul King wrote:
>> Dear George,
>> How does indeterminacy and multiple-world-occupation follow
>> from an inability to deduce that one is not in a simulation?
Multiple world + comp => indeterminacy

> [GL]
> It seems to me that if two worlds are indistinguishable from the
> point of view of an observer, then the two worlds could be
> switched on the observer - or conversely that the observer could
> be teleported from one world to the other - without him knowing it.
> [SPK]
> The 3rd person abilty to interchange identical worlds does
> not necessitate the a priori existence of a multitute of identical
> worlds from a 1st person point of view, because, as you wrote they
> could be switched without him (the 1st person) knowing it. So why
> entertain their existence in the first place?
The existence of multiple worlds is a consequence of the principle of
sufficient reason as I have explained before. If a world is in a
particular state, and there is no reason for it to be in this state,
then it must also be in all possible states.

> Let us also take into account that the kind of teleportation
> that you bring up here is not physically possible. I do not
> understand how it continues to be used as a pedagological device.
Such teleportation would be trivial for creatures living in a simulation
or even in the real world when you have a distributed computing
capability like the Internet.. Applets are being teleported on the
Internet every day. In the future, robots may get to have their software
teleported from one machine in Paris to another one in Washington.

> [GL]
> The existence of many such worlds give rise to Quantum indeterminacy.
> [SPK]
> I beg to differ. IIRC, David Deutsch and others have
> repeatedly pointed out that it is the superposition principle of
> Quantum Mechanics that implies the existence of "many worlds" not
> the prior existence of multiple identical worlds.
As I mentioned above, multiple worlds + comp => indeterminacy

> [GL]
> Measurement only restricts the size of the ensemble.
> [SPK]
> Are you assuming the "collapse of the wave-function" or some
> classical or "ignorance based" interpretation of probabilities here?
No. When an observer exists in two worlds, (or equivalently in a single
world in two states of superposition), and this observer makes a
measurement, then obviously the measurement will come out differently in
each world. The observer's states which must remain consistent with the
world that he observes, must then diverge.) The world he now occupies is
a single world (or equivalently there is no more superposition).

> [GL]
> A creature nominally living in a simulation as observed (3rd
> person) by an experimenter, lives from the first person point of
> view in multiple simulations located at multiple levels.
> [SPK]
> It seems to me that you are assuming what I define as the
> "voyeur's framing" when considering the notion of a simulation.
> That is ok, IHMO, so long as you acknowledge that such a
> simulation will involve less computational power that one that
> dissallows for the voyeur's framing. It is like observing the game
> "EverQuest" on your computer monitor.
> When you make this assumption it follows that many -even an
> infinity - of simulated worlds could simultaneously exits, but I
> am arguing that the support for the multitute of identical worlds
> vanishes when we consider the case of the simulation that requires
> more computational power than that available to *ANY* observer
> that you, from within the simulation, could communicate with. To
> follow the EverQuest analogy, consider yourself as a NPC
> (non-player character) within the EverQuest "world". The maximal
> computational power that you would have available would be the
> computational power needed to generate the unfolding of events you
> could observe from a 1st person point of view.
> I argue that we have a similar situation in our "real" world.
> Stephen Wolfram wrote:
> "The behavior of a physical system may always be calculated by
> simulating explicitly each step in its evolution. Much of
> theoretical physics has, however, been concerned with devising
> shorter methods of calculation that reproduce the outcome without
> tracing each step. Such shortcuts can be made if the computations
> used in the calculation are more sophisticated than those that the
> physical system can itself perform. Any computations must,
> however, be carried out on a computer. But the computer is itself
> an example of a physical system. And it can determine the outcome
> of its own evolution only by explicitly following it through: No
> shortcut is possible. Such computational irreducibility occurs
> whenever a physical system can act as a computer. The behavior of
> the system can be found only by direct simulation or observation:
> No general predictive procedure is possible."
> I take this reasoning and invert to to argue that what we
> experience as "reality" is indistinguishable from a simulation of
> the world using the most computational power available, the latter
> being the world as a physical system, acting as a computer,
> computing its own evolution. What we take as a 1st person
> "reality" is nothing more than the best possible simulation. My
> rubric is: if we cannot 1st person distiguish between a "real"
> object and a simulated object, there is no difference.

> [GL]
> This can easily be proven. If the experimenter pull the plug the
> creature continues living somewhere/when else in the ensemble. So
> if living in a simulator is indistinguishable with not living in a
> simulator, then the world is in a superposition of states. Ergo
> multiple world and indeterminacy
> [SPK]
> No, that does not follow because the premise is flawed! The
> ability to "pull the plug" necessitates access to the
> computational resources that go into the generation of the
> simulation and this is not 1st person possible, as I point out
> above. You seem to be conflating the 3rd person "voyeur framing"
> of an experimentor "outside" of the machine tinkering with the
> computation itslef and that of the creature existing within the
> simulation, having a 1st person experience of a "reality" that it
> cannot prove is or is not a simulation.
Let me rephrase: So if living in a simulator is indistinguishable for
any creature with a first person perspective, with not living in a
simulator, then the world is in a superposition of states for that
creature. Ergo multiple world at multiple level of implementation and
indeterminacy. Computation speed has nothing to do with it. One
implementation could have a one nanosecond clock and the other one a one
billion year clock. Consciousness will span these implementations
forward in time, backward in time as long as the transitions from one
conscious state to another are consistent from one to the next. You can
compose a coherent message by going to a library and selecting a
sequence of words from various books. eg: Hamlet word 201, A Tale of
Two Cities word number 5469, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone word
5892, ....

>> [SPK] Also, how is multiple-world-occupation knowable 1st
>> person unless by the means I discusses previously? Does this not
>> violate the anthropic principle?
> [CMR]
> I don't understand.
> [SPK] Let me put and paste the entire post that my quote comes
> from and try again.
> ***
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Stephen Paul King <>
> To: Everything List <>
> Sent: Wednesday, May 12, 2004 7:25 AM
> Subject: Re: Are we simulated by some massive computer?
> Stephen Paul King wrote:
>> Dear George,
>> My take of Russell's post is:
>> Unless the creature had some experience that was not
>> dismissible as a hallucination (1st person) and/or was witness by
>> others (a proxy of 3rd person?) that lead him to the conclusion
>> that it existed within a virtual reality then it would have no
>> ability to make such a deduction.
> True. But from its own point of view its world would then be
> indeterminate. The creature would occupy several worlds as long as
> this indeterminacy exists.
> ***
> [SPK]
> How is the anthropic principle consistent with the
> simultaneous co-existence of 1st person experiences, e.g. the
> situation where Identical creatures have different 1st person
> experiences simultaneously?
I don't see how identical creature can have different first person
experience and still be consistent with their world, unless you are
willing to allow some uncertainty in how you define "identical" creature
and/or "different" experiences.

> If we are considering the case of many identical observers
> having identical 1st person experiences, I argue that the
> existence of more than one observer X and 1st person experience A
> pair, {X, A}, only follows from the postulation of a secondary
> observer of {X, A}_i; where i can be more than 1. My symbols might
> be malformed here so I beg your indulgence. ;-)
> Does that help?
> Kindest regards,
> Stephen

Received on Thu May 13 2004 - 02:02:15 PDT

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