Posts tagged ‘reality’


Simulation Cosmology at the Commune

Last night I visited the Commune in my dreams. I’ve been there before, to the extent that that statement means anything; it’s a great dim ramshackle place full of omnigendered people and spontaneous events and kink and music and general good feeling. I’d love to get there more regularly (and in fact this time one of the regulars teased me for always saying how at home I felt, and yet only visiting once in a while; I said that it wasn’t that simple [crying_face_emoji.bmp]).

As well as having ice cream, I took part in a spirited discussion about whether this reality is just a simulation running in some underlying reality, and whether that underlying reality is also a simulation, and then eventually the question of whether that series has to eventually end in some reality that isn’t a simulation, or if it can just go on forever. (The question of whether we might be in, not a simulation, but a dream, and the extent to which that’s a different thing anyway, didn’t arise that I recall.)

I remember trying to take a picture with my phone, of some book that was interesting and relevant to the discussion, and of course it was a dream so the phone camera would only take a picture a few seconds after I pushed the button, and it was frustrating. (Also there was some plot about someone releasing very small robots to find and blow up the dictator of a foreign country, recognizing them by their DNA, but that probably counts as “a different dream”, to the extent that that means anything.)

Then after waking up, I took a lovely walk outside in the sun and 50-something air, and it was lovely, and I thought thoughts and things. So now I am writing words!

Anything that is consistent with all of your (all of my, all of one’s) experience so far, is true, in the sense that it is true for someone out there in the possible worlds who is exactly identical to you in experience, memory, and so on. (Which is in a sense all that there is.) And so it would seem mean or something so say it wasn’t true.

So there are many incompatible things that are true; it is true that you live in a simulation running on a planet-size diamond computer created by intelligent plants, and it is also true that you live in a simulation running on the equivalent of a cellphone owned by a golden-thewed Olympian deity who does chartered accountancy in his spare time.

It is probably also true that you don’t live in a simulation at all, but in a free-floating reality not in any useful sense running on any underlying other reality, created by some extremely powerful being from the outside, if that can be made logically coherent. And also that you live in a non-simulation reality that just growed, so to speak, without external impetus.

(I notice that I keep writing “love” for “live”, which is probably an improvement in most ways.)

The “if that can be made logically coherent” thing is interesting; in my undergraduate thesis I had to distinguish between “possible worlds” and “conceivable worlds”, because I needed a word for a category of worlds that weren’t actually possible (because they contained Alternate Mathematical Facts, for instance) but were conceivable in that one could think vaguely of them; otherwise people would turn out to know all necessary truths, and clearly we don’t.

So now given this liberal notion of truth that we’re using here, are the negations of some necessary truths, also true? Is there a version of you (of me) that lives in a world in which the Hodge Conjecture is true, and another in which it is false? Not sure. Probably! :)

That is, given that in the relevant sense my current experience (this present moment, which is all that exists) doesn’t differentiate between Hodge and not-Hodge, there’s no reason to say either Hodge or not-Hodge, and therefore neither Hodge nor not-Hodge is any truer than the other.

Eh, what?

It’s an interesting question what would happen if I got and thoroughly understood a correct proof that, say, not-Hodge. Would there at that point no longer be any of me living in a universe in which Hodge? Given that I can (think that I) have thoroughly understood something that is false, there would still be me-instances in worlds in which Hodge, I’m pretty sure. Which kind of suggests that everything is true?

Given all that, it seems straightforwardly true for instance that you (we) live in a simulation running in a reality that itself a simulation running in a … and so on forever, unlikely as that sounds. Is there some plausible principle that, if true, would require that the sequence end somewhere? It sort of feels like such a principle ought to exist, but I’m not sure exactly what it would be.

It seems that if there is anything in moral / ethical space (for instance) that follows from being in a simulation, it would then be difficult and/or impossible to act correctly, given that we are both in and not in a simulation. Does that suggest that there isn’t anything moral or ethical that follows from being in a simulation? (I suspect that in fact there isn’t anything, so this would just support that.)

It’s true that you can communicate with the underlying reality that this reality is running on, by speaking to a certain old man in Toronto. It’s also true that you can communicate with that underlying reality by closing your eyes and thinking certain words that have long been forgotten almost everywhere. You can even be embodied in a physical body in that underlying reality! You could make your way down the realities, closer and closer to the source (which is also an infinite way off!)!

If you were to arrange to be downloaded into an individual body in the underlying reality, would you want the copy of you in this reality to be removed at the same time? That would sort of seem like suicide; on the other hand leaving a you behind who will discover that they didn’t make it to the underlying reality, might be very cruel. Perhaps the left-behind you could be (has been) flashy-thing’d, per Men in Black.

Another thing that appears to be true: it’s very hard to use any of these AI things to create an image that accurately reflects or elicits or even is compatible with my dreams of visiting the Commune and having ice cream! Not sure what I’m doing wrong. Here is one that I like in some way, even though it doesn’t really reflect the dream. (The center divider is part of the image; it’s not two images.) Enjoy!


NaNoWriMo 2020!

It’s November, and therefore it’s National Novel Writing Month!

(I notice that my own NaNoWriMo landing page is a bit out of date; I think there’s at least one complete story that isn’t linked there, I’ll have to fix that.)

I had various thoughts about novel-writing this year. The first and most obvious being “given that I’m not spending any time driving or waiting for the train or riding the subway this year, writing 50,000 words should be a lead-pipe cinch and/or a piece of cake!”.

The next being “and for that matter I could just have GPT-3 write the whole thing for me!”. That was an evil thought, and I realized that I was not going to do that, because pheh. One year I did post 50,000 words written entirely by a computer program, but it was a computer program that I wrote. Which is entirely different.

I thought about doing a sort of collaboration with GPT-3, writing some myself and having GPT-3 do some. But then I tried that a little, and realized that although GPT-3 does have its moments, and is at all times better than anything I would have expected just a year ago, it’s still not very good, and I’m not willing to put my name on anything that it writes, beyond maybe a recipe or a selected sentence or two that I’ve edited for embarrassing errors.

(This is not surprising, really; it’s trained on much of the internet, and much of the writing on the internet is, surprise surprise, ordinary and mediocre and full of poor usage and solecisms. I don’t want my writing to be that way except to the extent that I do it myself!)

So yesterday I decided to just write normally, and be willing to use GPT-3 (in the form of AI Dungeon, Shortly, Philosopher AI, or whatever) for ideas and inspiration now and then, and perhaps a sentence fragment or suggestions for town and character names or whatever.

I went over to the NaNoWriMo site and donated and activated myself (that link seems to work only if you’re also logged into the site, which seems a pity, really), and I started writing.

book coverAnd I wrote over eight thousand words by the end of the day, which is rather preposterous, given that the sort of Required Daily Minimum is just 1,666 words, the Typical Daily Goal is like 2,000 words, and the Daily Stretch Goal is 2,500 or three thousand. So woot!

(I even made a cover for the novel, which you can see on my profile page if you can see my profile page, and why not I’ll also put the image here, using a cute site where you can do that for like $3 using their simple templates and tools and images and stuff, and yes I did get the title slightly wrong haha.)

The novel this year is called “All Reality” at the moment, and you can read it in real time, as I write it, here.

You can see my NaNoWriMo 2020 related Twitter updates like say here.

My thoughts about why I wrote so much on the first day include:

  • Maybe I have lots of thoughts saved up from the year or three since last time I did this, and once I’ve scrawled them all down I will slow down a lot, and/or
  • Maybe the few times that I did use GPT-3 to help (some proper names, a few sentence fragments, a pie recipe that I retried on several times and edited for flavor afterward) got me over spots that would normally have stopped me or worn me down enough to stop sooner, and/or
  • Maybe all of the textual interaction that I’ve been doing with the various GPT-3 clients in the last few months have gotten me both extra-fluent with text, and also full of ideas about stories and authors and levels of reality (which is what the 2020 novel is so far turning out to be about).

We’ll see if I can keep up anything like that pace today! :)


Days of splines and toeses

So in the morning when I wake up I am vaguely surprised to find that once again I am in the same bed and the same room, the same universe, as when I went to sleep.

’cause it seems like a big coincidence!

But, it occurs to me, that’s not necessarily what’s happening; memory is just as unmoored as immediate experience.

Maybe tomorrow morning I will wake up in my nest, surrounded by M and our other flock-group members, curled up in our diaphanous salmon-colored leaves, stretch and yawn, attach the platinum blades to my hind set of legs in case of hungry sleet-flies en route, and fly off to work, thinking all the while that it’s funny I’ve woken up yet again in the same nest, in the same mile-high tree, that I went to sleep in last night.

The King’s Country, as the royal precincts with their streets and shops and storehouses have come to be called over the paranoid years, is saturated with security, and eye-patches.

In order to present a disadvantage to anyone who might mean ill toward the monarch, anyone entering is given a tight black eye-patch, and must wear it over one eye as long as they remain within the walls.

A one-eyed man came to the Gate to King’s Country one autumn afternoon, upon a commission to repair a water-wheel. He assumed that, already equipped with an eye-patch, and more importantly a non-functional eye, the rule would have no effect on him.

But, due to zeal in defense of the sovereign, or perhaps certain reservations about the cut of the mechanic’s clothes, the Sergeant of the Gate declared that, in order to present a disadvantage as intended, the patch would have to be worn over the newcomer’s good eye, not the bad one.

Appeal to the Chief of the Guard did no good.

So, in the country of the King, the one-eyed man is blind.

(That was the easy case, I think, mundane and cloudy. One could as well have done “In the country of the King, the blind man has one eye”, which might have been about how the monarch’s deity-infused aura provides sight to the sightless, or alternately “In the country of the one-eyed, the blind man is King”, which might have taken more thought.)

And there was some third thing that I was going to write down, and that in fact is the thing that got me to open up this computer and start writing in the weblog here, but at the moment I have entirely forgotten it (phah!) so I will just say that I have been playing Real Racing 3 on the iPad here, and it is fun. And the graphics are woot good heavens! Right now I am working on upgrading my second car, a BMW M3 Coupe which I have “resprayed” all shiny red:

Real Racing 3 cars

That’s my first car, a now-fully-upgraded Nissan Silvia S15, behind it.

The In-App Purchases have not annoyed me, or tempted me, yet (unlike in certain other pad games).

Vroom vroom!