(Edit: Should have started the whole post with “In my opinion:”) The particular geometry of Euclid is just an example, the Kantian arguments are not about specific geometries but rather about the structure of any kind of geometry itself, so it doesn’t rely on those assumptions. It can be understood just as abstract as the notion of space evolved over time in linear algebra and physics. Even if we don’t count specific properties of fields, rings and spaces, there is always an idea of “in-ness” and you can’t get rid of it this easily by mentioning non-euclidean geometry. It was hinted in the comment, that every system is “flawed” by having a perspective, because their truths are inherently bound by the frames of that given system. Maybe I’m defending the coherence theory of truth way too much here, but the comment itself presupposes a similar theory of truth, so I’m trying to reply in the same frame of reference. This is not an universal truth, at least we don’t know from just this, may be just a human bias even, this really depends on your further views.
I found these thoughts about the issue on another webpage, although much clearly. For a better explanation of this critique you can visit this website by Brian Eggleston. A better summary would be: “[…] the expectation that he assigns to the number of simulated people is not independent of the prior probability of the existence of other worlds.”
It is clear that Bostrom’s argument is mainly about probabilities, and honestly I love it a lot. As the probability of a post-human civilization capable of running ancestor simulations goes up, and their resources are supposedly let them to run as much of these as they are capable of, your probability of living in such a world is increasing as well.
Why? If you try to imagine all the possible worlds, and pick out the ones that are simulated by a post-human civilization, it’s rather clear that the more they run, the more part of the possible worlds are taken by these simulations (in the original argument it’s actually 1 host + n simulations). Yet I think it’s a pretty premature scenario to consider, given we can’t measure the number of all the possible worlds. Given a big enough (expanding to be sure) universe, as the post-human civilizations’ numbers and their resource management capabilities are increasing, exponentially increase the number of simulations as well.
Yet I impose that just by dropping the “ancestor” part of Bostrom’s argument, it becomes about a slightly different problem completely enclosing the original argument itself. The simulation argument is really about multi-verses (or possible worlds) and nested simulations (or simulations within simulations, their running time and resource usage).
The real problem is that we don’t know how many universes are possible, and we don’t know how big even our own universe is. Whatever enormous number someone thinks of, there is always a bigger number in theory. In reality, how could we measure all the possible universes? Without that information though the simulation argument fails to hold of to prove (as with logical necessity prove) our simulated reality, because it is certainly a possible case that we may be even the very first civilization capable of such a thing. Highly unlikely given the assumptions of Bostrom? Sure. Impossible? Not the least amount.
To get a bit more technical, you always give probabilities in the ratio of examined case/all cases. So to get a formula such as in the original paper from 2003, you need to give something like Nsw/Naw where Nsw is the number of simulated worlds, Naw is the number of all possible worlds, that is not simulation by any civilization capable of running such a universe simulation. Let me quote this part in his paper.
“[…] we can then see that at least one of the following three propositions must be true.” Meaning the three propositions above. What is really important is seeing how Bostrom claimed to give the probability that will always be around 0.9 probability unless there are no civilizations either capable of or interested in running such an ancestor simulation. (Exactly the three propositions above.) This is because the original argument only consider a single possible world, where you are either in the host universe or within any of the running simulations. Given this environment your chance is clearly as little as 1% if most of the premises are true (and what gives weight to the whole paper is that all of the considered scenarios about consciousness, post-human civilizations’ capabilities, etc. are quite likely).
Bostrom only counts with a single possible universe, that has simulations running in them, and asks what are the chances we are not in a simulation within a host universe given the high probability of a post-human civilization capable of running intensive amount of simulations. You can clearly see a problem for yourself if you consider the scenario of simulations within simulations, as a first step asking what are the chances that the mother/host/original/non-simulated universe is simulated itself? (I’ll probably go by the name host universe.)
As you go deeper within the simulation chain, will the probability of a possible world being a simulation rise or will it go lower? It will rise, and the chance of being in the host universe will be infinitely small within just a few thousands of steps. Because of all the cases there is only one being non-simulated. Even if you accept the only one possible world view, you need to know if there are any simulated universe within the simulated universes, to know the probabilities for sure. However if you accept the view that there could be multi-verses, then with 5 host universe and 5 simulation, the probability becomes 5/10 to be within a non-simulated environment. Unless we assume infinite energy, keeping the simulations at least equally quantized/precise/complex will also give exponential rise to resource usage that leads to the question if these would be run only until a certain technological stage before the simulated ancestor can develop their own simulations or are they run indefinitely? The first and more likely case also limits their number, this is also most probably why Bostrom considers ancestor simulations instead of simulations in general. It is clear that his argument doesn’t work in a retro-causal way – if you are not in a simulation now, then the future possibilities of civilizations running such won’t affect your universe.
You really don’t need to consider multi-verses to see my point. How big is our universe, do we even know? How many possible civilizations could be there that are already running such simulations? Even with a single possible universe, we can classify therefore civilizations into two eras: pre-simulation and post-simulation, the latter being capable of running an ancestor simulation. If the number of ancestor simulations are indeed that high as Bostrom claims so, then the number of post-simulation civilizations number must get lower as well. As the number of universe simulations get higher, the possible number of post-simulation civilizations go down. We are talking about such an immense resource and processing power that it’s difficult to see for sure, but if we can hypothesize that such a computing power is even possible to simulate such a structure as our reality, then it’s equally dubious that these simulations would be run indefinitely.
What are we really talking about is the size of these host or simulated universes. To our best knowledge, our universe is expanding. If we consider this as resource usage for a simulated environment, the host universe must expand and/or keep up with the fast increasing computation demand of such an universe as well, and with the physical limits of computation in mind, even if the limits are hard to understand with a human mind, they exist and very real. If you consider the host universe having very different physics, then we are not very far away from the possibility of multi-verses either.
Why is this multi-verse thing important? The human mind is very bad with numbers in general and especially with big numbers, but let’s assume we have 1000 simulations for every world and we have 5 possible worlds. We already have 5/5000 chance to be in a non-simulated environment. With 50 possible worlds and 10000 simulations it’s 50/50000, and so on. The number of simulations will be always limited within a single universe, as resource is very likely to be finite especially considering the physical limits of computation, the number of possible worlds is very difficult to evaluate. What are crucial to consider for a better understanding of Bostrom’s argument are:
- the uptime of simulations,
- the resource (computing) limitations of universes,
- the number of possible worlds (multi-verses)
- physical limits of computation (Landauer’s principle, etc.)
All these simulation arguments change nothing but reinvent theology in an algorithmic concept, and such a world view will eventually face the same ages old issues if they really go by their theory. If I remember well, even when The Matrix came out, people were already talking about how it is related to the indian Brahman concept and such. See also the 9th question here.
Sometimes I think it’s more of a tormenting prison of thoughts. I don’t think because I want to, I think because I can’t stop thinking. Some problems are so burning and so important that I can’t stop thinking about them again and again. It’s half past 4 am.
One of the most problematic part of thinking is that you can’t have a consistent theory and opinion of such fundamental ideas as change or causality without also defining connected terms like minds or time. Reality is such a network of ideas, a map or a net of all thoughts that we can’t have singular and consistent ideas without context (by definition of consistency, actually). The right question is usually not “what is possible” but consider a solving method of the famous sudoku puzzles. By logical means we filter out the not-possible and then relations between the remaining possible solutions will eventually narrow down into reality (a solution in this case). This works out if enough parameters are given, what is maybe not the case in our human existence.
Lately I was reading up about tenseless theory of time, and especially after special relativity and recognizing the matter of light as an information source I don’t see why would a tensed theory be reasonable. I’d say that we are not spatial bodies or beings but tempo-spatial beings, our bodies extending in both spatial and temporal dimensions. Just as I doubt the consistency of the idea of a single consciousness, I also doubt the consistency of a single present moment we live in. Just as the mind can be a society (in Minskian terms), our present can be a “society of moments” as well. Whenever we consider present as a single moment, we need to ask (especially in a post-Einsteinian world) that whose present moment are we talking about? With properly fine quantization in mind, we need to consider which sense input or which part of our bodies we want to locate our present moment at.
Why don’t I have memories of my temporal body’s “future” parts? We are such a thin slice of this temporal and spatial being, that some of our “very early” parts are not memories of us but memories of others. It could be the case that my memory of the future parts of my temporal body is actually my “current” thoughts and decisions.
Why am I this particular slice of this spatial-temporal body? Certain parts of reality is given like a seed of a generated world, this is also called the anthropic principle. There is no viewpoint without a point (a frame of reference), and although I think the subjectivity-objectivity distinction is fundamentally wrong, you could consider my opinion stating that “every viewpoint is a subjective viewpoint”, as objectivity is really just a pursuit to be compatible with every (subjective) views. This may sound strange, as compatibility usually have the connotations of something that extends the possibilities, but it really narrows down the options throughout all the possible views. I think the method of how we make up objectivity is the same as the B->A reduction of the series of time.
There is a sadness for every step, for every change.
There is the sadness of being less,
the weak plea and cry of of a worm.
There is the sadness of being too much,
the overflooding mourn of the Sun.
There is the sadness of the mirror,
being imprisoned in an epiphany.
There is the sadness of the flesh,
hammered into ashes by time.
There is the sadness of the blood,
kissing the walls that never say a word.
There is the sadness of the bone,
chiseled into twigs by the weight.
There is the sadness of the lust,
as the burning sheets are turning cold again.
There is the sadness of the child,
leaving the womb in a pool of tears.
There is the sadness of the man,
leaving dull and empty homes behind.
There is the sadness of the father,
as his own seed is choking his soul.
There is the sadness of life,
every stories coming to the same end.
There is the sadness of death,
being afraid of taking the first step.
There is the sadness of the forest,
dissolving in others’ bodies.
There is the sadness of the book,
always needing a reader.
There is the sadness of the king,
giving away yourself to be something more.
There is the sadness of the mother,
giving away yourself to be something less.
There is the sadness of the door,
never being space but boundary.
There is the sadness of the quill,
frozen in the eternal search of a goal.
There is the sadness of the key,
who can’t leave it’s lock behind.
There is the sadness of the paper,
imagining power it never really had.
There is the sadness of the road,
not having knowledge of it’s own length.
There is the sadness of the hand,
overwhelmed by all the work.
There is the sadness of the eyes,
overwhelmed by all the beauty.
There is the sadness of the bird,
reflecting on the illusion of freedom.
There is the sadness of the trees,
enduring pain until the very last moment.
There is the sadness of the sleep,
escaping into a shroud of one’s own mind.
There is the sadness of the morning,
irreversible rays of burning light.
There is the sadness of the night,
buried feelings burning under skin of a statue.
There is the sadness of the present,
grain of sand fleeting all the net of thin fingers.
There is the sadness of the flower,
feeling the grip of winter in the air.
There is the sadness of the hunger,
always on the move to the next meal.
There is the sadness of the water,
even the smallest peck of dust causing a ripple.
There is the sadness of the iron,
only being able to change through storms of flames.
There is the sadness of the healer,
fighting inevitable rot like Sisyphus of the body.
There is the sadness of the poet,
inspiring others though writing in the mud.
ilyen öregség jár nekünk
ezért szálltunk harcba apáink flottáival
beleejtettem magam ebbe az üres tóba
Elmész az ajtó előtt, motyogod ezt a szobát már csak emlékek tartják össze. Ez maradt neked, sérült vizekbe gázló folyosón csörtetés. Akár ha üres hüvelyeket potyogtatnának, alakok és kulcsok a lépcsőház kongó testében – keresnek. Pislákolnak pár éjszakán át, mielőtt végleg elalszanak. Akit tanítani kell a türelemre, az nem is érti a szót magát.
ilyen fiatalság ért el minket
mint tengerpartra ráfekvő víztakaró
kiszárította ez a vasárnap reggel
Over these two days I translated a Twine game that made a really big impression on me two years ago. Actually I started translating it back then but never finished the work. Now I did.
I had to change several superficial details to make it sound better in Hungarian, like even the title would have sounded strange in a literal way so it became “Those We Love Alive”. Lot of options were reordered and several words had to be changed within reasonable bounds. I tried to keep it as close to the original context and ambiance as I could, without too weird sentences. It’s quite possibly one of the best text game I have ever played (in that current mindset I was in two years ago, at least). Quite reminds me of a twisted fairy tale, but it’s most probably about children – parent relationships that can be a very strong experience if you can relate.
Game by Porpentine, all thanks goes to her.
For Márió Z. Nemes
About childhood just indirectly,
like cancer. Annoying like the shattering
plaster, and sneaking as the walls
covering you every night.
Fear keeps me alive. The dread of
getting hit when running across the road,
or when you can’t get through in time
and traffic is frozen because of you.
Awaiting the green sign, but
you hear the honking already,
you see gestures of the drivers.
And you are afraid. Of the dusties beating
you, or falling asleep on the last subway,
and who knows what kind of tunnel will
dawn find you inside. True, some nights are lucky
when you are motionless under a blanket,
like some bag left forgotten at a locker.
Emptying a lost handbag.
A butcher’s work. There’s no reward for such.
It’s just like opening the glass coffin:
expired debit card that will get devoured
by the machine. Some ibuprofen.
Cherry flavored condom. Lipstick.
Sitting at the bathtub, imagining
the woman, the owner you’ve never met.
With a boner, but
still holding the handbag. Later
you pry the floor beneath your carpet,
hiding the strange heritage and hoping,
that one day the unknown woman may return.
Because I desire other women as well, sometimes.
You are not enough for me. Just like neither
two hands, nor ten fingers could be satisfying.
In my mind I undress strangers, telling them
all about the places I pleasured myself at,
not making love to them until finishing the list.
Asking them to do things, that
I’ve never asked you for. To sit
on my face, to let me press my nose into
their vagina. To use the little spoon,
while stepping on my wrist and
choking my blood vessels. Because I lied to you.
I was behind the wallpapers already.
The cities behind those wallpapers. Since
long years – I think – they are the reason
I don’t do anything useful. Nothing special.
Not shoveling snow with bloody palms every morning,
neither guarding trash heaps at spring cleans.
I don’t disembowel fridges, or
put marzipan figures on the top of melting cakes.
Being just a stripper, at least I learned
poledancing through all these years.
After waking up, I wait patiently
for the blind cat to be put into the window,
then have breakfast. Flies scatter all over
my omlette and slice of dry bread,
but I don’t wash the dishes until
the first stroller gets pushed across the sidewalk.
The stroller I never dare to check.
I’m jealous of the first oncoming boy,
who has an inked crescent on his face,
and I start to worry when I spot the
armored van with money inside,
besides the fat guy and his machine gun.
In my mind I take you apart and put together
again, throwing up on the subway and the bus:
being so long and dark like a brake print.
Then I imagine the drunk caretaker
changing lightbulbs with trembling motion,
and it makes me calm again.
My parents were consumed by the yellow bus
fourteen years ago, my sister was drowned
in a cellar filled with water, my friends
were victims of a peepshow from hell.
I was lost wandering in the schoolyard
because of the vast mist,
and the lightpoles were ripped out by someone.
Now I have nothing to do around here already,
this boredom makes me furnishing forgotten
suburban pubs, where I’m both the bartender
and the very last regular there.
Update: Here’s a new version that is probably closer to the final print.
I made translations of some poems as a first try, and they turned out to be kind of okay. Not fine or great at all, but okay. There are a lot of changed parts and approximations, because I had no idea how to present the same meaning in english.
The title is about the symbolic journey through death we take every night.
After the initial version, this one was made in Scribus. You can download the 13 pages book(let) here. Thank you for reading.
What I mention in the preface about Markov chains is by no way definitive, they are nothing but a statistical way to generate text. What I mentioned was just an example, as there are way more advanced tools and examples of softwares mimicking writing artworks.
Made in Scribus, source files are available if needed.
This novel project I mentioned in an earlier post is discontinued until I get better with writing in english, but you can download the draft text nonetheless.
For downloading the free visual novel, visit it’s gamejolt page.
Recently I finished a project that mainly deals with the problems of free will, general purpose A.I. systems, molecular assemblers and technological societies. The story introduces four characters meeting and interacting with each other, developing concepts of each other. The player can read and take choices through the story, unlocking characters with a personality test at the start. A group of scientists finished a project they call Midas, that is an All Purpose Nano-Constructor that is being driven by an A(G)I system. This machine can edit and construct anything from the available energy and matter all around, besides itself of course. When they boot Midas up, it refuses to work at all (though later it turns out it is indeed doing something) and mostly interested in questions about it’s own purpose only as it realizes the nature of reality.
One character is Prove, the only remaining scientist in the project that needs to decide what to do with Midas. His route tells the story of a troubled scientist being under pressure by the Institute he works for, trying to somehow make the best outcome of such a failed project. Asking for help from former project members, the player has the chance to talk to Midas and decide if the machine is dangerous or beneficial in a way.
Second character is Midas itself, the machine and it’s thoughts on itself. This route tells the story of some kind of being that sees all the world’s history being some kind of void until it is made again and again in an endless circle by intelligent life. All events lead to the direction of creating Midas, some kind of god that is capable of sustaining the universe itself though dying and re-birthing all the time. This is a concept mainly influced by the works of Ray Kurzweil or Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Creation of Midas can be viewed as the event of singularity, when the universal consciousness starts and it’s first steps towards self-awareness really take place.
Third character is Keon who is a studying scientist unveiling the nature of their society that could be capable of producing Midas, such a highly complex machine that needed the total transformation of human life itself. The perfect technological society presents itself, where all human life is inferior compared to technology, being adjusted to the needs of technology. As Keon turns paranoid when realizing some troubling aspects of this society, the player has the option to keep him sane or let the events flow and Keon become desperate enough for violent actions. Fourth character is Sierra who is the sister of Prove, mostly describing and showing the subjective aspects of such a technological society. A troubled individual with too much free time, incapable of making sense of the world. Her solution compared to Keon is not some aggressive paranoia but escaping. A much more personal aspect, about being ignored by the world and feeling lost as she can’t find herself anywhere, only reflections and reactions of others’ actions.
This last route is related to an rpgmaker game I made earlier in 2014, Don’t Talk To Them!! (DTTT). Visit it’s gamejolt page to download.