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  • ClaytonB's Avatar
    02-04-2018, 02:37 PM
    It depends on what you mean by "simulate". A simulation is some kind of replication of one thing in another context. So, we can simulate head of cattle with stones, for example, and this simulation might help us add or otherwise reason about the cattle. Such a simulation is obviously not aiming at realism and its purpose is only to replicate a very narrow fact about the cattle (their number). But we can extend the breadth and depth of the simulation - as well as our purposes in running it - to whatever level of detail at which we are able to build a replicating automaton. My hunch is that the material world is at an economic (or game-theoretic) threshold where exhaustively simulating a material process (down to the level of indifference, that is, the point at which a human can no longer perceive the difference between the real process and the simulated process) is at least as costly as running that material process directly. So, what makes the material world unique among all conceivable worlds (which we might build in simulators, like modern game titles but more immersive) is that simulating it is at least as costly as running the material process directly. Suppose we figure out the physics of planet-building. But now that we "know how to build a planet", we have to somehow acquire the material resources (harvesting galactic free energy, etc.) to do it. Orrrrrrrr, we could just hop in our simulator and presto-change-oh, we have a "real planet". What I am asserting is that to build a simulator that can accurately simulate the building of a material planet, you would have to harvest at least as much free energy from the environment as you would to actually build a material planet. So, there is no "winning"... if you want to do something in the material world, you may as well just do it, rather than trying to simulate it to evade the costs. But this is where the power of simulation really shines. We don't necessarily want to build a planet. What's the use? A gigantic, spherical rock hurtling through outer space. Useless. What we want, rather, is a habitable home and we form our idea of what constitutes a habitable home from the one we already have - Earth. So, Earth may inspire our simulations but we do not necessarily need to replicate Earth, as such. We may be able to build simulations that require far less energy to run but which provide all the "bang for the buck" that we are actually seeking.
    14 replies | 319 view(s)
  • ClaytonB's Avatar
    02-04-2018, 12:54 PM
    It is the result of timing differences between hardware platform and the virtual platform (which is running on another, completely different, hardware platform), such as, how much time it takes to perform a multiplication or to copy a byte from one memory location to another. These differences are inevitable and will always exist, whether perceptible or not, on an emulated platform.
    14 replies | 319 view(s)
  • ClaytonB's Avatar
    02-02-2018, 11:36 PM
    This is the video I meant to link in regard to psychoaucoustic phenomena (try the 3:45 mark):
    14 replies | 319 view(s)
  • ClaytonB's Avatar
    02-02-2018, 10:37 PM
    Well, I'm not espousing any particular outcome. I learned a long time ago that I have zero input into the evolution of the cosmos at any scale. All I can do is explain the menu of available options and observe as people make their choices (not necessarily in that order of precedence). In my opinion - from here on out, let's agree it is implied that anything I say is, of course, my opinion - dreams illustrate a deeper fact, namely, that all consciousness is, in fact, unitary. I feel like I am "ClaytonB" and I feel like I'm not "timosman" but this is not true in the sense that I feel that it is true. I don't espouse mumbo-jumbo Zenism, either. There is a way things are, and there is a way things aren't. Unfortunately, words fail at describing the case in fact. Precisely because words fail, there must be something else that is more fundamental than words and that more fundamental thing is conscious experience itself - dreams are the "gateway" to this wider reality that cannot be described in words. To put a little bit more meat on the bone, I will use a metaphor. You and I are like two leaves floating along on a deep river. We are on the same river, yet we feel like separate beings. The "laws" of our world that "push" us along feel like unalterable facts, a permanent reality that is indifferent to whatever happens to be floating on it. But if I become lodged against a rock, I can split the entire stream of the river in two - backed by the rock, I can split an entire river. And while a leaf is different from water, both are made of matter and it is ultimately only human prejudice that distinguishes between the two. Both river and leaf are equally fundamental parts of reality... we can say that the leaf is the river, and vice-versa. In the same way, we can see that the distinction we make between the leaves (between you and I) is equally prejudicial. The river itself is the "universal stream of consciousness", the eternal soul, the Prime Mover and we, like leaves floating across its surface, are as much a part of it as the river itself. So, dreams are the gateway by which the leaf peers down into the river - becomes the river.
    14 replies | 319 view(s)
  • ClaytonB's Avatar
    02-02-2018, 12:14 AM
    It's a deep subject. At some depth of visual resolution, your visual cortex cannot distinguish photographic representation from a real object (as measured in terms of your ability to describe the differences). There are, of course, still visual differences - texture, depth, glint, matte, iridescence, holographic phenomena, polarized light, etc. But each of these differences is really just a mathematical "rounding out" of the visual phenomenon. In short, we have designed computer displays as a kind of "hack" of the human visual system, a hack that vastly simplifies the computation and signaling involved in modeling and reproducing the physical evolution of light waves. But there is nothing stopping us from building more robust simulations and, in fact, we have done exactly this. Here is an interesting project that started using laser-scanning and some efficient, large-database systems to render scenes at "real-world depth". Of course, sensory experience is not just visual. It is audio, tactile, scent, taste, material (sense of mass), proprioception (sense of taking up space), and so on. Each of these dimensions can be faked, to an extent but - as with the visual sense - current systems always leave a lingering "sense of fakeness". In my opinion (my qualification on the subject is that I have spent absurdly way too much time thinking about this), there are two general ways to break down the "real-to-virtual-to-real" barrier. First, we can use analog computation (not necessarily quantum) to overcome the resolution-depth, rendering speed and data-set size problems. It's difficult to explain in non-technical terms but the basic idea is that you use the digital computer for the things that it's good at (like operating systems, managing hardware devices, etc.) but you leave the heavy-lifting for "analog processing units" that would be like GPU's in your system, but dedicated to analog processing. Quantum computers can be seen as a kind of extremum of the analog computer. Second, we can follow the "anime route" or "the yellow brick road", which is to re-calibrate the mind's expectations of what, exactly, is "real". Essentially, we render the virtual world in great detail but we purposely throw out realism and we immerse the mind in a constant stream of "non-realism" until real sensory inputs themselves begin to feel non-real by comparison. This route seems to me to be the only possible path for "mind-uploading" because the material world is simply too information-dense to be "copied in simulation". If you've ever looked at a Magic Eye image, you should have an intuitive understanding of how this might be possible. Basically, we use exotic rendering of sensory information to over-saturate each particular sense so that the virtual experience is more compelling than ordinary physical experience. You can create sound forms that have exotic psychoaucoustic effects - consider this song (around 2:40) and pay attention to the "piercing" effect that the highly compressed clicking has on the auditory sense - the effect is not entirely unlike that of fingernails on a chalkboard, depending on your sensitivity. On this theory, the natural world is muted by its weather-worn detail - it is earth-tones and blackness. It may very well be possible to build a virtual world to escape this sensory prison by radically reducing the information density of the virtual world, while simultaneously increasing the sensory saturation of that world (vibrant, bright colors, spine-tingling audio, and so on).
    14 replies | 319 view(s)
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