Riz Virk, The Simulation Hypothesis Beyond Materialism |442|

#1
Riz Virk, The Simulation Hypothesis Beyond Materialism |442|
by Alex Tsakiris | Feb 25 | Consciousness Science
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Riz Virk, expertise in computer simulation, gaming and AI push the simulation hypothesis beyond materialism.
photo by: Skeptiko
Hi everyone. I have an interview coming up in a minute with Riz Virk, the author of The Simulation Hypothesis, and a guy who keeps popping up more and more these days in all the right places. Super smart, super accomplished, with a fresh new, very imaginative and very challenging angle on this simulation, are we living in a simulation hypothesis? He comes at things from a very advanced computer, MIT, cutting edge gaming, virtual reality, AI perspective, and that really brings a lot to the table. Here are some clips from the interview.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:46] If you can do it, you will do it and the Luddites never really win, do they?
Riz Virk: [00:00:53] Yeah, I mean, if that’s one thing that we’ve generally learned in history is that if something can be done technologically, it’s likely that it will be done. When you talk about simulation, it’s the kind of thing that I lay out in my book, the 10 stages to the simulation point. So these are stages of technology that we will have to develop, and of course, I look at it from a video game perspective.
So stage one is the creation of the first text adventure games. Stage two are graphical games like Pac-Man, etc. Getting to virtual reality and augmented reality where we are today.
But what I like about the simulation hypothesis is that it provides a bridge between the materialist worldview and the worldview of the mystics and people who think that consciousness is fundamental. And that’s why I’m glad, the first thing you brought up was this distinction between Neo and Agent Smith, because that really is the fundamental tension that I tried to explore in this book is that, is consciousness just a reproduction of neurons, in which case consciousness can be reproduced? Or is it in fact a conscious entity outside that’s playing a role or playing a game?
But that’s something that I can discuss with physicists and people at MIT, and I can discuss it with Buddhist monks and I can discuss it with biblical scholars as well, because there are lots of aspects to AI and this idea that the world around us isn’t quite the real world, that perhaps there is another world that we cannot see.
The same thing with spoon bending, right? People will say it doesn’t exist, but many people have seen it. So, I think it’s showing us that the material world is not quite what we think it is, but it’s so far out of the paradigms.
So getting back to Jacques Vallée and UFOs, I had lunch with him recently and he told me he investigated a case where there was supposedly a UFO and they said it came down at a 45 degree angle and it actually left some marks on the ground. So there was some physical evidence. So Jacques went back after the original investigation, and he looked at and he said, “You said it went in a 45 degree angle. That means it would’ve had to go through the trees.” They said, “Yeah, but we didn’t want to tell anybody that because nobody would believe us.” Which gets back to, is this a virtual phenomenon that gets materialized when it’s needed? And it’s something that we see. So, I think that’s where kind of explaining how all that works is a task that’s ongoing?

Stay with us for Skeptiko.
 
#2
That was a wonderful interview - thanks Alex!

I do hope Riz will choose to spend some time on this forum.

To me, the idea that the photons or electrons in the double slit experiment only 'exist' when one particular choice is rendered, has great appeal.

The wave property of electrons is very real if you have ever done chemistry. You can't explain why chemicals have well defined properties without the wave interpretation of electrons, but waves don't make sense when you want to talk about an electron hitting at a particular spot on a screen.

I may listen again before I comment in more detail.

David
 
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#3
Exceptionally entertaining guest, this Riz fellow! His take on simulation made me think about one of the reported benefits of becoming enlightened. A number of yogis & other mystics tell us of an ability to monitor & control physical situations remotely. Le Hongzhi says he has fashun which are intelligent beings that protect his practitioners of Falun Dafa from harm when they reach a CERTAIN LEVEL of their cultivation practice. I have experienced many times that a sincere request to end excessive noise in the area where I am trying to meditate has been granted; this doesn't always work, but it does happen the majority of the time. This phenomenon, I feel, confirms his RPG version of the simulated hypothesis. His simulation hypothesis also makes sense of what some ND experiencers & other spiritually-oriented people have reported: that the material world & its experiences are in high demand in the cosmos & entities of all kinds clamor for the chance for a tour in the Veil of Tears. Whether or not these entities understand the karma that is incurred when touring here is a whole other question. In any case, Riz raised a number of fascinating topics that will keep me busy for quite a while, such as does ET really need a spaceship to get around? I think one level of ET learned how to change their vibration so that they can be any where they wish by matching their vibration exactly to where they want to go. This might explain some of the more inexplicable archaeological findings, such as the massive stone coffin-shaped boxes found under the desert in Egypt. Initially, the 23 boxes (which weighed as much as 5 mid-sized automobiles) were said to be burial caskets for the remains of sacrificed bulls. However, only one had the remains. The rest were empty. The caskets were placed below the floor level of the underground facility & the archaeologists who found them had to blast away the cover to enter in the first place. Were these "caskets" actually places where ancients ETs positioned themselves before changing vibrations or maybe where they could safely travel to from afar?
 
#4
I kind of think that Riz Virk and Donald Hoffman are pushing a fascinating agenda - to break materialism from within. Certainly with Donald Hoffman, he is either telling us that the world is utterly unlike what we think, and is controlled by conscious entities, or he is telling us (or at least thinking) that he has a mathematical proof that devolution by natural selection can't explain life on earth.

Notably, all three of these concepts involve some entities controlling what is going on here on earth. The first places all conscious entities outside the world they create, the second requires an external designer, and Riz's concept also involves external players.

These people get more traction within mainstream science than many of our guests - such as Rupert Sheldrake - so we may be seeing how materialism will collapse as the century proceeds.

David
 
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#5
Good interview. I like topics like these that get to the nuts and bolts of “reality.”

I have always found Tom Campbell’s metaphor the most helpful for understanding this. While he uses computers (specifically online multiplayer RPGs, as mentioned during this interview) to describe the model, he’s careful to point out that computers here are a metaphor for the greater consciousness system.

He likens our current existence to an online video game where you play with other people throughout the world. It’s a shared “objective” realm that is projected into our being via “the greater consciousness system” (ie-the server)

When people have NDEs or go out of body etc, they are “switching video games.” They’re moving to other shared realities where people are also “playing” characters (themselves).

There may be some “games” that can be played where you’re the only “player” and your subconscious is projecting “thoughtforms” (Non playable characters). Perhaps like many/most or all dreams. This was touched upon during the interview as well.

He ties this all into quantum physics. The whole observation thing. He says that the data is there to be “played” but it doesn’t become tangible until you look at it, in the same way that the video game is available on the server, but isn’t being “served” until you log in.


Video games often have bugs and the rules can be bent or shifted based upon character (conscious) ability and understanding. This is what miracles and other anomalous phenomena are. This was also touched on during the interview during the “rendering certain experiences to level 30 characters only” portion of the interview.

He’s carful to point out that this thinking is metaphoric, and that computers aren’t necessarily involved. The server is what he calls “the greater consciousness system.”

Campbell has claimed that he’s reached a point where he can “play two video games at once.” But I’ve never heard any other OBEr make a similar claim. Though I’ve heard at least one major author (William Buhlman) state that he thinks it’s impossible for us to currently “play two games simultaneously”.

However, Theres a community that I’m part of that discusses these topics at length. Jurgen Ziewe and William Buhlman frequently post there as do other OBErs that I consider credible. There’s a growing consensus there that our “higher selves” are playing “multiple game at once”, and that if you go out of body into the realm of the commonly encountered “astral earth” (which is a copy of Earth quite like this one, with some differences) that you are inhabiting another physical copy of yourself that already has an existence and a life there on that “Astral Earth.”

It is planes like this that guys like Jurgen, Buhlman, Cyrus Kirkpatrick (they all state that they meet and communicate with departed loved ones during these OBEs to the astral) and researchers like Roberta Grimes and Victor Zammit think that many or most us go after death. This comes through in a lot of higher quality channeled material that we have on record. These planes and realms are just as physical as our current existence and just as “real.”

Years ago I was always thrown for a loop when I would encounter NDEs where the experiencer stated that their experience was “just as physical as the experience we are having now.” Truthfully (having a western religious bias built into me) I thought they must be mistaken or that they were hallucinating. But in light of all that other data, it makes sense. I do think that the afterlife (for many or most) is just as physical as this one. But that’s not to say that there are not “non physical video games” that can be played. It seems that the further we move from physical “video games”, the more thought responsive the environment becomes.
 
#6
Good interview. I like topics like these that get to the nuts and bolts of “reality.”

I have always found Tom Campbell’s metaphor the most helpful for understanding this. While he uses computers (specifically online multiplayer RPGs, as mentioned during this interview) to describe the model, he’s careful to point out that computers here are a metaphor for the greater consciousness system.

He likens our current existence to an online video game where you play with other people throughout the world. It’s a shared “objective” realm that is projected into our being via “the greater consciousness system” (ie-the server)

When people have NDEs or go out of body etc, they are “switching video games.” They’re moving to other shared realities where people are also “playing” characters (themselves).

There may be some “games” that can be played where you’re the only “player” and your subconscious is projecting “thoughtforms” (Non playable characters). Perhaps like many/most or all dreams. This was touched upon during the interview as well.

He ties this all into quantum physics. The whole observation thing. He says that the data is there to be “played” but it doesn’t become tangible until you look at it, in the same way that the video game is available on the server, but isn’t being “served” until you log in.


Video games often have bugs and the rules can be bent or shifted based upon character (conscious) ability and understanding. This is what miracles and other anomalous phenomena are. This was also touched on during the interview during the “rendering certain experiences to level 30 characters only” portion of the interview.

He’s carful to point out that this thinking is metaphoric, and that computers aren’t necessarily involved. The server is what he calls “the greater consciousness system.”

Campbell has claimed that he’s reached a point where he can “play two video games at once.” But I’ve never heard any other OBEr make a similar claim. Though I’ve heard at least one major author (William Buhlman) state that he thinks it’s impossible for us to currently “play two games simultaneously”.

However, Theres a community that I’m part of that discusses these topics at length. Jurgen Ziewe and William Buhlman frequently post there as do other OBErs that I consider credible. There’s a growing consensus there that our “higher selves” are playing “multiple game at once”, and that if you go out of body into the realm of the commonly encountered “astral earth” (which is a copy of Earth quite like this one, with some differences) that you are inhabiting another physical copy of yourself that already has an existence and a life there on that “Astral Earth.”

It is planes like this that guys like Jurgen, Buhlman, Cyrus Kirkpatrick (they all state that they meet and communicate with departed loved ones during these OBEs to the astral) and researchers like Roberta Grimes and Victor Zammit think that many or most us go after death. This comes through in a lot of higher quality channeled material that we have on record. These planes and realms are just as physical as our current existence and just as “real.”

Years ago I was always thrown for a loop when I would encounter NDEs where the experiencer stated that their experience was “just as physical as the experience we are having now.” Truthfully (having a western religious bias built into me) I thought they must be mistaken or that they were hallucinating. But in light of all that other data, it makes sense. I do think that the afterlife (for many or most) is just as physical as this one. But that’s not to say that there are not “non physical video games” that can be played. It seems that the further we move from physical “video games”, the more thought responsive the environment becomes.
I'm a fan as well. Why hasn't Tom Campbell come on Skeptiko?
 
#8
Exceptionally entertaining guest, this Riz fellow! His take on simulation made me think about one of the reported benefits of becoming enlightened. A number of yogis & other mystics tell us of an ability to monitor & control physical situations remotely. Le Hongzhi says he has fashun which are intelligent beings that protect his practitioners of Falun Dafa from harm when they reach a CERTAIN LEVEL of their cultivation practice. I have experienced many times that a sincere request to end excessive noise in the area where I am trying to meditate has been granted; this doesn't always work, but it does happen the majority of the time. This phenomenon, I feel, confirms his RPG version of the simulated hypothesis. His simulation hypothesis also makes sense of what some ND experiencers & other spiritually-oriented people have reported: that the material world & its experiences are in high demand in the cosmos & entities of all kinds clamor for the chance for a tour in the Veil of Tears. Whether or not these entities understand the karma that is incurred when touring here is a whole other question. In any case, Riz raised a number of fascinating topics that will keep me busy for quite a while, such as does ET really need a spaceship to get around? I think one level of ET learned how to change their vibration so that they can be any where they wish by matching their vibration exactly to where they want to go. This might explain some of the more inexplicable archaeological findings, such as the massive stone coffin-shaped boxes found under the desert in Egypt. Initially, the 23 boxes (which weighed as much as 5 mid-sized automobiles) were said to be burial caskets for the remains of sacrificed bulls. However, only one had the remains. The rest were empty. The caskets were placed below the floor level of the underground facility & the archaeologists who found them had to blast away the cover to enter in the first place. Were these "caskets" actually places where ancients ETs positioned themselves before changing vibrations or maybe where they could safely travel to from afar?
hi Kim... welcome. Like you, Riz made me rethink the simulation hypothesis. I'm particularly drawn to the idea that it's not an all-or-nothing proposition. the idea of augmented reality and augmented consciousness might come into play here. it would seem to explain a lot of phenomena.
 
#9
For me, this is the best Skeptiko yet! When I thought I could never say that again after the Don Hoffman Skeptiko - BAM! Alex does it again.

I loved Kim's speculations above.

And Wormwood's post - super excellent.

The question I have begun to ask myself is this: (referring to myself as "you")

If you have reached the 'stage of being' whereby you consciously apply the simulation theory as foundational (that which informs my most powerful and deepest reactions) as to then, after experiencing your actions (including words, including the thoughts that arise from stimuli) as to how you then "self-reflect" in your daily ordinary state of consciousness life - meaning in this world which is parametrized by your "birth" into it and the inevitable permanent exit from it (transition)...
what has changed in how your approach the world?
What has become of your most deepest perspectives?
and the most important question - Do you see a correlation in what you are now experiencing in relation to these profound perspective changes?

My answer to the third question is (though I don't want to jinx it knowing the power of 'the shadow' in my sub-conscious - haha) YES!
 
#10
However, Theres a community that I’m part of that discusses these topics at length. Jurgen Ziewe and William Buhlman frequently post there as do other OBErs that I consider credible. There’s a growing consensus there that our “higher selves” are playing “multiple game at once”, and that if you go out of body into the realm of the commonly encountered “astral earth” (which is a copy of Earth quite like this one, with some differences) that you are inhabiting another physical copy of yourself that already has an existence and a life there on that “Astral Earth.”
Can you give us a link please?

David
 
#11
For me, this is the best Skeptiko yet! When I thought I could never say that again after the Don Hoffman Skeptiko - BAM! Alex does it again.

I loved Kim's speculations above.

And Wormwood's post - super excellent.

The question I have begun to ask myself is this: (referring to myself as "you")

If you have reached the 'stage of being' whereby you consciously apply the simulation theory as foundational (that which informs my most powerful and deepest reactions) as to then, after experiencing your actions (including words, including the thoughts that arise from stimuli) as to how you then "self-reflect" in your daily ordinary state of consciousness life - meaning in this world which is parametrized by your "birth" into it and the inevitable permanent exit from it (transition)...
what has changed in how your approach the world?
What has become of your most deepest perspectives?

and the most important question - Do you see a correlation in what you are now experiencing in relation to these profound perspective changes?

My answer to the third question is (though I don't want to jinx it knowing the power of 'the shadow' in my sub-conscious - haha) YES!
hi Sam... thx... and for these insights. the thought that keeps popping into my head is the eckhart tolle quote I mentioned in the show, paraphrasing-- " ok you're in a simulation, but it's still you in there experiencing... all of the same stuff still applies... nothing has really changed."
 
#12
Good interview. I like topics like these that get to the nuts and bolts of “reality.”

I have always found Tom Campbell’s metaphor the most helpful for understanding this. While he uses computers (specifically online multiplayer RPGs, as mentioned during this interview) to describe the model, he’s careful to point out that computers here are a metaphor for the greater consciousness system.

He likens our current existence to an online video game where you play with other people throughout the world. It’s a shared “objective” realm that is projected into our being via “the greater consciousness system” (ie-the server)

When people have NDEs or go out of body etc, they are “switching video games.” They’re moving to other shared realities where people are also “playing” characters (themselves).

There may be some “games” that can be played where you’re the only “player” and your subconscious is projecting “thoughtforms” (Non playable characters). Perhaps like many/most or all dreams. This was touched upon during the interview as well.

He ties this all into quantum physics. The whole observation thing. He says that the data is there to be “played” but it doesn’t become tangible until you look at it, in the same way that the video game is available on the server, but isn’t being “served” until you log in.


Video games often have bugs and the rules can be bent or shifted based upon character (conscious) ability and understanding. This is what miracles and other anomalous phenomena are. This was also touched on during the interview during the “rendering certain experiences to level 30 characters only” portion of the interview.

He’s carful to point out that this thinking is metaphoric, and that computers aren’t necessarily involved. The server is what he calls “the greater consciousness system.”

Campbell has claimed that he’s reached a point where he can “play two video games at once.” But I’ve never heard any other OBEr make a similar claim. Though I’ve heard at least one major author (William Buhlman) state that he thinks it’s impossible for us to currently “play two games simultaneously”.

However, Theres a community that I’m part of that discusses these topics at length. Jurgen Ziewe and William Buhlman frequently post there as do other OBErs that I consider credible. There’s a growing consensus there that our “higher selves” are playing “multiple game at once”, and that if you go out of body into the realm of the commonly encountered “astral earth” (which is a copy of Earth quite like this one, with some differences) that you are inhabiting another physical copy of yourself that already has an existence and a life there on that “Astral Earth.”

It is planes like this that guys like Jurgen, Buhlman, Cyrus Kirkpatrick (they all state that they meet and communicate with departed loved ones during these OBEs to the astral) and researchers like Roberta Grimes and Victor Zammit think that many or most us go after death. This comes through in a lot of higher quality channeled material that we have on record. These planes and realms are just as physical as our current existence and just as “real.”

Years ago I was always thrown for a loop when I would encounter NDEs where the experiencer stated that their experience was “just as physical as the experience we are having now.” Truthfully (having a western religious bias built into me) I thought they must be mistaken or that they were hallucinating. But in light of all that other data, it makes sense. I do think that the afterlife (for many or most) is just as physical as this one. But that’s not to say that there are not “non physical video games” that can be played. It seems that the further we move from physical “video games”, the more thought responsive the environment becomes.
thanks for this great post... lots of good stuff here.

The one thing that I keep coming back to in all of this is the spiritual... it would seem to me that trumps everything else. one of the reason I've been doing shows on the evil thing ( and yes there are more to come :)) is that it helps clarify the spiritual questions. I take WWJD as a metaphor... and apply it to tom campbell stuff. so, you can play two games at once... oh, great, WWJD?
 
#13
Can you give us a link please?

David
Well, I’m noticing a confluence of people on the various forums that I post on who are conveying this stuff. If I had to suggest just one I’d direct people to the “Afterlife Topics and Metaphysics” page on Facebook. “A group by Cyrus Kirkpatrick.” Cyrus is an afterlife researcher and “astral traveler” who had a couple of books on the Afterlife. He does a good job of allowing anybody to post whatever they want, but at the same time holding them to a standard of objective data. Jurgen is active there, William Buhlman, the Zammits, and some other notable researchers. Maybe Craig Hogan as well. People, as best as they can, try to put together the nuts and bolts of various potential afterlife states.
 
#14
I expected to dislike this interview much more from the topic, but Riz is so cordial I think he might be able to seduce the scorpion not to sting the frog.

Besides that all I could think about was, but what about all the technology that’s way beyond fun and games? What about when our weather is completely controlled? What about when the food is too toxic to eat? What about when the atmosphere is so saturated with electro-magnetic frequencies we are forced to live underground?

Yeah, someone has to be the Luddite party-pooper in this crowd.

https://apps.dtic.mil/docs/citations/ADA333462
Weather as Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025

Nanotechnology and Military Attacks on Photosynthesis
 
#15
"If one can, one will" starts with an inconvenient conditional word. However, sometimes one can't, however hard one tries -- iow, it's impossible.

It really dismays me how anyone can allow themselves to think that computers can actually think and reason -- and these days, that even includes some otherwise highly intelligent professorial types. Computers can't think or reason and have no internal awareness of themselves as autonomous entities. I see them as just a means for us to instantiate and externalise our own conscious intentions. Sometimes computers may be able to do something we can't, but only because it would take us too long and we would find all the iterativeness that we've encoded in their programming too tedious to carry out quickly enough to be practically useful.

If we program them to rule us, sure, they'll rule us, but only because of our programming. We aren't any nearer to making them think and reason; there's no such thing as "artificial intelligence", and that's because intelligence implies the underlying consciousness inherent to a sentient being. Computers don't have sentience; they're not autonomously aware of anything whatsoever, let alone their own existence.

It seems to me that AI is a term bandied about thoughtlessly. At best, computers can only simulate intelligence, hence I favour the term SI to remind us we are talking about things that are as unaware as house bricks. Their "awareness" is simply our own that we've cleverly been able, as I said earlier, to instantiate and externalise. We've just modelled in them, using the cumulative effect of many very small instructions performed in predetermined sequence, something that some hubristically call AI. But computers have not the slightest degree of ability to do anything they're not programmed, by us, to do.

There's no computer program that couldn't in principle be modelled by one or more people simply following laboriously every machine-level instruction in sequence. We can definitely, for illustrative purposes, behave exactly like computers, but no way can they truly behave like us, and that's because they lack the slightest degree of self-awareness. The most significant computer instruction is probably the conditional (branching) statement, which allows for testing something that gives a result with two possible outcomes. We can then follow one path rather than another. We can string many conditional statements together in sequence to give the simulacrum of intelligent behaviour, and that is because we can use strictly logical rules to achieve many -- but by no means all -- of our ends.

Computers can't achieve anything other than by following logical rules. They can, for example, be made to detect the presence of a certain gas, say, by their program interfacing with a device we've designed to be able to detect it, and signal whether or not it's present. However, there's no way they can experience how it might smell, or anything that lies in the realm of qualia. They are machines that are totally dependent on logic and are able to feel nothing. Human beings, on the other hand, can process both logic and qualia. It so happens that logic can be encoded, but not the sensation of qualia.

They have no ability to experience -- and to know that they experience -- smells, sounds, feelings, tastes, sights or textures. To be able to do that would require consciousness; but we don't even know what consciousness is and can't encode it in logical terms. Even if we did know what consciousness was, it's a moot point whether or not it would be something encodable, i.e. programmable. I doubt it very much, but even if it were, it's very plain that we haven't yet been able to do it, so by using the term "artificial" (as opposed to "simulated") intelligence, we're being somewhat disingenuous with ourselves and others.

We have a tendency to use the terminology of the latest technology in the way we think of the world. At the moment, computers are part of the intellectual wallpaper -- the things (superfically) most akin to intelligent entities. We've allowed ourselves to overreach by using the term AI, and, predictably, shaped many of our fears around some vague notion of being ruled by robots that are cleverer than us. Well, they aren't cleverer; they're complete morons that at best can do only what some very clever people program them to do. We're really talking about a disguised form of fear of the projected darker aspects of human nature.

IMO, we may also, in a back-to-front way, utilise the totally unsubstantiated idea of AI to model consciousness. We see certain parallels and make those into almost articles of faith. But AI doesn't create or model consciousness; rather, it's consciousness that creates and models AI (more accurately SI), and to me it makes no sense to invert the hierarchy merely because we can explain SI to ourselves, but not the consciousness in which it originates.

Tom Campbell, it's true, is heavily into the simulation hypothesis, and speaks of things we perceive as being "rendered" in real time, maintaining the kind of consistency we can perceive all around us. He's also conducting experiments to try to demonstrate some aspects of his "Big TOE" (Big Theory Of Everything). As far as I'm aware, the results aren't yet in, but my suspicion is that at best the evidence could only be supportive of his model rather than a completely accurate description of what's actually happening in the universe.

At some point, if we're living in a simulation, there's no denying that sure as heck we don't experience it that way -- may just have a propensity to think that way. We experience all sorts of qualia, and if they're in some incomprehensible way programmed into us, it speaks of a creative intelligence that possibly has a quality of experience an order of magnitude greater than ours. And, could that itself be a simulation in a higher-level reality -- and so ad infinitum, turtles all the way up?

The mind rebels. At some point, reason indicates that there is a single fundamental conscious agency at the root of everything. Maybe there are some intermediate levels or entities, but it can't go on forever, and our ways of explaining reality almost certainly won't follow relatively simple metaphors such as AI.

In my view, AI is indeed just another materialistic concept and it's a mistake to think of it in any way being something that miraculously bridges the gap between reality and the way that reality appears to us. We've long hubristically imagined that our latest materialistic concepts somehow explain anything at all. Logic is a human construct, and imo inherently limited in its scope at any given time to explain any phenomenon.

The very idea of explanation is itself a human construct based around the materialistic notion that the universe is ultimately composed of predictable, interacting material particles. But as Riz Virk pointed out, the more we look for material particles, the more elusive they become, and I think that's because they don't literally exist, but are rather just convenient and to some extent useful concepts in the human mind that materialists have reified -- that is, elevated into the status of being concrete "things".

It's similar with time and space, which our senses seem to tell us literally exist, but mystics have long opined don't. As Donald Hoffman muses, they could be rather just icons of phenomena that do literally exist. If there is no time and space as such, then, as I interpret what Bernardo Kastrup has recently and somewhat poetically implied, time and space and what creates the impression that they do exist is dependent on how familar we are with various phenomena. The more familar, the closer and/or the more immediate they are perceived as being. If anyone's interested, I replied to Bernardo's posting here.
 
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#16
Yea.... I mean I guess this topic is interesting in its own right, but the topic can get stale and circular. This seems like science answer to GOD. This conversation will come full circle to a Creator or creators and we are left wondering again.
Science will hypothesis our simulation was created by aliens or a super quantum computer and spiritual/religious people will claim its an omnipotent God/demi God or gods etc or who created the quantum computer or who created God . Debates will ensure people will get paid but we will still be left to wonder. Embrace the mystery is what I'm saying
 
#17
"If one can, one will" starts with an inconvenient conditional word. However, sometimes one can't, however hard one tries -- iow, it's impossible.

It really dismays me how anyone can allow themselves to think that computers can actually think and reason -- and these days, that even includes some otherwise highly intelligent professorial types. Computers can't think or reason and have no internal awareness of themselves as autonomous entities. I see them as just a means for us to instantiate and externalise our own conscious intentions. Sometimes computers may be able to do something we can't, but only because it would take us too long and we would find all the iterativeness that we've encoded in their programming too tedious to carry out quickly enough to be practically useful.

If we program them to rule us, sure, they'll rule us, but only because of our programming. We aren't any nearer to making them think and reason; there's no such thing as "artificial intelligence", and that's because intelligence implies the underlying consciousness inherent to a sentient being. Computers don't have sentience; they're not autonomously aware of anything whatsoever, let alone their own existence.

It seems to me that AI is a term bandied about thoughtlessly. At best, computers can only simulate intelligence, hence I favour the term SI to remind us we are talking about things that are as unaware as house bricks. Their "awareness" is simply our own that we've cleverly been able, as I said earlier, to instantiate and externalise. We've just modelled in them, using the cumulative effect of many very small instructions performed in predetermined sequence, something that some hubristically call AI. But computers have not the slightest degree of ability to do anything they're not programmed, by us, to do.

There's no computer program that couldn't in principle be modelled by one or more people simply following laboriously every machine-level instruction in sequence. We can definitely, for illustrative purposes, behave exactly like computers, but no way can they truly behave like us, and that's because they lack the slightest degree of self-awareness. The most significant computer instruction is probably the conditional (branching) statement, which allows for testing something that gives a result with two possible outcomes. We can then follow one path rather than another. We can string many conditional statements together in sequence to give the simulacrum of intelligent behaviour, and that is because we can use strictly logical rules to achieve many -- but by no means all -- of our ends.

Computers can't achieve anything other than by following logical rules. They can, for example, be made to detect the presence of a certain gas, say, by their program interfacing with a device we've designed to be able to detect it, and signal whether or not it's present. However, there's no way they can experience how it might smell, or anything that lies in the realm of qualia. They are machines that are totally dependent on logic and are able to feel nothing. Human beings, on the other hand, can process both logic and qualia. It so happens that logic can be encoded, but not the sensation of qualia.

They have no ability to experience -- and to know that they experience -- smells, sounds, feelings, tastes, sights or textures. To be able to do that would require consciousness; but we don't even know what consciousness is and can't encode it in logical terms. Even if we did know what consciousness was, it's a moot point whether or not it would be something encodable, i.e. programmable. I doubt it very much, but even if it were, it's very plain that we haven't yet been able to do it, so by using the term "artificial" (as opposed to "simulated") intelligence, we're being somewhat disingenuous with ourselves and others.

We have a tendency to use the terminology of the latest technology in the way we think of the world. At the moment, computers are part of the intellectual wallpaper -- the things (superfically) most akin to intelligent entities. We've allowed ourselves to overreach by using the term AI, and, predictably, shaped many of our fears around some vague notion of being ruled by robots that are cleverer than us. Well, they aren't cleverer; they're complete morons that at best can do only what some very clever people program them to do. We're really talking about a disguised form of fear of the projected darker aspects of human nature.

IMO, we may also, in an back-to-front way, utilise the totally unsubstantiated idea of AI to model consciousness. We see certain parallels and make those into almost articles of faith. But AI doesn't create or model consciousness; rather, it's consciousness that creates and models AI (more accurately SI), and to me it makes no sense to invert the hierarchy merely because we can explain SI to ourselves, but not the consciousness in which it originates.

Tom Campbell, it's true, is heavily into the simulation hypothesis, and speaks of things we perceive as being "rendered" in real time, maintaining the kind of consistency we can perceive all around us. He's also conducting experiments to try to demonstrate some aspects of his "Big TOE" (Big Theory Of Everything). As far as I'm aware, the results aren't yet in, but my suspicion is that at best the evidence could only be supportive of his model rather than a completely accurate description of what's actually happening in the universe.

At some point, if we're living in a simulation, there's no denying that sure as heck we don't experience it that way -- may just have a propensity to think that way. We experience all sorts of qualia, and if they're in some incomprehensible way programmed into us, it speaks of a creative intelligence that possibly has a quality of experience an order of magnitude greater than ours. And, could that itself be a simulation in a higher-level reality -- and so ad infinitum, turtles all the way up?

The mind rebels. At some point, reason indicates that there is a single fundamental conscious agency at the root of everything. Maybe there are some intermediate levels or entities, but it can't go on forever, and our ways of explaining reality almost certainly won't follow relatively simple metaphors such as AI.

In my view, AI is indeed just another materialistic concept and it's a mistake to think of it in any way being something that miraculously bridges the gap between reality and the way that reality appears to us. We've long hubristically imagined that our latest materialistic concepts somehow explain anything at all. Logic is a human construct, and imo inherently limited in its scope at any given time to explain any phenomenon.

The very idea of explanation is itself a human construct based around the materialistic notion that the universe is ultimately composed of predictable, interacting material particles. But as Riz Virk pointed out, the more we look for material particles, the more elusive they become, and I think that's because they don't literally exist, but are rather just convenient and to some extent useful concepts in the human mind that materialists have reified -- that is, elevated into the status of being concrete "things".

It's similar with time and space, which our senses seem to tell us literally exist, but mystics have long opined don't. As Donald Hoffman muses, they could be rather just icons of phenomena that do literally exist. If there is no time and space as such, then, as I interpret what Bernardo Kastrup has recently and somewhat poetically implied, time and space and what creates the impression that they do exist is dependent on how familar we are with various phenomena. The more familar, the closer and/or the more immediate they are perceived as being. If anyone's interested, I replied to Bernardo's posting here.
I basically agree with all of that, except that I thought Riz was accepting that you might not be using computers to do the simulation. The conversation didn't touch on the Hard Problem, but I imagine Riz has heard of it. The whole thing makes a lot more sense if you imagine that conscious entities are doing the processing (ie. Idealism).

As I said, I think this is another way to escape from materialism from within!

David
 
#18
I expected to dislike this interview much more from the topic, but Riz is so cordial I think he might be able to seduce the scorpion not to sting the frog.

Besides that all I could think about was, but what about all the technology that’s way beyond fun and games? What about when our weather is completely controlled? What about when the food is too toxic to eat? What about when the atmosphere is so saturated with electro-magnetic frequencies we are forced to live underground?

Yeah, someone has to be the Luddite party-pooper in this crowd.

https://apps.dtic.mil/docs/citations/ADA333462
Weather as Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025

Nanotechnology and Military Attacks on Photosynthesis
Your answer is simple... leave the simulation and don't come back. You can also do your part that these fears do not become reality, by action but perhaps even more effectively, by the consciousness you are personally responsible for feeding back into the sub-reality and Greater Reality.
 
#20
Your answer is simple... leave the simulation and don't come back. You can also do your part that these fears do not become reality, by action but perhaps even more effectively, by the consciousness you are personally responsible for feeding back into the sub-reality and Greater Reality.
Sorry, but that just sounds like word salad to me.
 
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