Simulation theory – alcuni pensieri sciolti

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Ultimamente mi sto interessando ad una teoria filosofica che in qualche modo si ricollega in alcuni aspetti ad una credenza che, più o meno celatamente, mi porto dentro da quando sono bambino. La teoria in questione è presentata al grande pubblico come “Simulation theory”. Essa si domanda:

“E se l’universo e la nostra vita non fossero che una simulazione informatica messa in piedi da una civiltà molto evoluta?”.

Diversi personaggi di spicco stanno adottando questa visione del mondo; parlo di Elon Musk e dell’astrofisico Neil deGrasse Tyson. Pensiamo ai primi videogiochi, quelli degli anni ’70, per intenderci. Si componevano di pochi pixel, erano bicromatici, non sempre erano dotati di suono e, se lo avevano, era simile al rumore di un microonde quando va in tilt.

asteroids

Ora, neanche 50 anni dopo, ci stiamo avvicinando a videogiochi che sfiorano il fotorealismo. I dispositivi di realtà virtuale sono all’ordine del giorno. Di questo passo, secondo la legge di Moore (ammettendo che si concretizzi), fra un secolo non sappiamo fino a che punto arriveremo: potremmo effettivamente essere in grado di avere una potenza di calcolo e delle conoscenze informatiche tali che ci permetterebbero di creare una simulazione di vita molto realistica.

Potete approfondire la base teorica nel documento di Nick Bostrom, filosofo svedese che uscì nel 2003 con un paper dal titolo: “Are you living in a computer simulation?”. Vi metto di seguito alcuni link:

Are you living in a computer simulation?

Is reality real?

Are you in a simulation?

 

Qualche giorno fa ho raccolto alcuni pensieri erranti riguardo l’eventualità proposta da questa teoria, li ho riuniti ordinatamente e li ho proposti su /r/simulationtheory. Buona lettura!

 

Let’s first define the basic terminology for this post:

  • Simverse: the simulated universe.
  • Progenitors: those who started the artificial simulation.
  • Children: all sentient beings inside the Simverse.
  • Realverse: the “real” universe in which the progenitors live.

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1 – The Progenitors were able to build the Simverse only with elements belonging to a set of objects known in the field of their mind, or from combinations of them. Let’s say we now decided to create a simulation within a fantasy setting. Even the most weird of the fantastic beings within it would only be a re-elaboration of elements known to us. The unicorn, for example, is the amalgamation of the elements “horse” and “horn” blended together. Therefore, the Progenitors have expressed in the simulation only elements known to them. In this way we can understand the basic elements of Realverse through the elements of Simverse.

2 – Simverse is also governed by laws that establish the behavior of each object. These laws can be static but, not to be excluded, also dynamic, because the cre-actors could have the possibility to modify them in runtime. Laws, being established by an evolved race, should follow a trend and define, in their general framework, a purpose. When we program software and define certain laws through them, we are giving direction to its work. By understanding where Simverse‘s laws lead, we can understand the purpose not only of ourselves but of everything that exists in it, and in this way eventually understand the cre-actors and Realverse.

3 – Everything is energy. The matter that we believe to be solid and tangible is only a set of vibrations. It is thought that the brain is the interpreter of these vibrations and the producer of the sensory elements and of the 3d projection of what surrounds us. What is it, though, if not energy? There is therefore a mechanism in Simverse that has a particular nature that allows these vibrations to be interpreted. To think that it is the brain sounds strange. Since the brain is also made up of vibrations, what properties should it have to be able to interpret other vibrations? There should be a sort of large symbolic eye within this simulation that, not made of energy/vibrations, observes everything.

4 – Nothing is created and nothing is destroyed, says Lavoisier. If this is a true law, Simverse takes place, presumably, within an allocated memory space, always “fed” by a stable amount of energy. It is therefore not possible to allocate new memory and mobilize new energy resources for this simulation.

5 – The object of consciousness’s investigation is only the elements mentioned above, contained in the set of knowable objects of experience. Taking the alphabet as an example, and assuming that each letter is an element/object, we define consciousness as that act of awareness that can only have as its objects one or more of the letters contained in the whole “language” set. As we become aware of the thought “we are in a simulation” we are turning our consciousness towards a concept structured on defined elements that necessarily exist in the objects of the world. This means that the Progenitors, have inserted inside the code the possibility to be conscious of such reality (“the world is a simulation”). This possibility opens up different scenarios; I will mention some of them:

  • Can we become aware of this truth because we ourselves are the Progenitors, bound in this simulation in some way, and to become aware of it serves to help us to carry out a mission?
  • Is the awareness of this concept a bug of a software that has developed a superintelligence that “came to life” independently?
  • It’s an AI experiment in which the Progenitors are testing with artificial intelligence to express a certain form of consciousness, which is manifesting itself in us intelligent softwares.

6 – The Progenitors and the Realverse too are victims of the sensory illusion of finiteness. Admitting that the universe is infinite, we see the paradox of the existence of something finite within it. If we evaluate the concept of simulation we see how we start from the assumption that there is a simulator and a simulated, two finite concepts. Paraphrasing Spinoza, how can there ever be something finite within an infinite set? Can we “slice” the infinite and obtain sections from it?

7 – If we are intelligent code, sets of cybernetic functions, is there a way out? Is spirituality a way out of the simulation? In Vedanta, Brahman, the Cosmic principle, is defined with “neti neti”, “not this and not that”. The key is that all that can be defined (set of objects/elements of Simuverse) is not Brahman, which is by nature indefinable. To exit from the simulation would perhaps correspond to stop being an entity defined in a program and to return to a void nothingness or to something infinite, if you prefer. The Progenitors too are subject to this possibility, because having they been able to define the concepts and the actions to create a simulation they too would be inside definitions and concepts, and therefore inside a sort of simulation. Probably as long as there is conceptuality there is also simulation, making the base-reality forcibly something infinite and without defined attributes.

 

 

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