Riz Virk, The Simulation Hypothesis Beyond Materialism |442|

#41
Many good points and questions!! Regarding npc's: I think there is a qualitative difference between the phase appropriate narcissism of a child and the psychopathological narcissism of a biological adult.
Suppose that the "phase appropriate narcissism of a child" as you so well put it is somehow frozen in place for physiological (e.g, brain defect) or psychological (e.g. some kind of abuse) reasons for the rest of one's life. Is there any blame here? Alternatively, is any element of predestination by a creator entity, out to teach a lesson, involved? We may apportion blame on purely legal grounds (i.e. assume that psychopaths know the difference between good and evil), but are they really evil if amorality is, through no intentional fault of their own, baked into the cake from the get-go?
Regarding: Do they have a soul? I often wondered about this. You could hang out and play with a lion and one day it just might kill you. We would not consider that evil. FWIW I remember Gurdjieff on the subject of essence as distinct from personality where he mentioned that there are humans walking around with "dead essence" which operate out of instinct no different than an animal.
I suppose the lion is just doing what lions can't help but do: to it, you're food or a threat and there's no blame in that, just hard facts of life, so like you say, no reason to consider the lion evil. By like reasoning, is the psychopath to blame? Can s/he be considered evil?

I've read some Gurdjieff too, and it puts the willies up me to think that some people might be, effectively (relative to the rest of us), zombies or "biological robots in a meaningless universe" to quote the phrase of our host.

Were it true, then I think it'd be more likely we were living in a simulation and that some people were indeed NPCs. Heck, the Abrahamic tradition paints a picture of a God who creates us, may predetermine our every life action (particularly for Muslims), and can't really give a tinker's toss about us as individuals.

That one individual is a hero and another a villain would be an arbitrary choice of the designer of the game. It seems to me that such a God would have designed the universe as a distraction for Himself, maybe to stave off some kind of boredom. It's my understanding that Muslims believe God can do anything He wants, including sending a righteous person to hell or, exercising mercy and forgiveness, an evil one to heaven. All one can do, in essence, is obey the rules and cross one's fingers.

The fly in the ointment is free will. If it exists -- and most of us would say it does -- then it's incompatible with predestination. Does an omniscient creator know everything that is going to happen, even though we have free will? Hard to wrap your head around that; I tend to the view that any creator, though immensely powerful, probably can't be omniscient or omnipotent and is, like its creations, capable of evolving into an "unknown future" as it were. That would be, for it, the goal of creation: to evolve and uncover more of its own potential.

It isn't necessarily that good is intrinsically better than evil; could be more that good is more efficient and effective in achieving a creator's aims through us, it's dissociated alters (to use Bernardo Kastrup's metaphor). I think it makes a certain amount of sense, because being evil is a particularly inefficient way to evolve and learn. I suspect that had we dissociated alters universally inclined to evil, we'd have annihilated ourselves long ago and any creator wouldn't have stood a chance of achieving its goal.
 
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#42
Good raises the odds life continues. Good increases the quality of life experience. Evil lowers the odds life continues. Evil reduces the quality of life experience.

For a long time I have moved away from looking at something as "good" or "evil" and instead tried to asses the odds that which I am looking at increases or decreases the continuance of life and/or the enjoyment of life.

IMO - The game requires certain dynamics. One is the appearance of self-referential, self-reflecting conscious agents as the sub-realm matures. Life must arise and what seems quite logical, there must be a greater appreciation for life to continue than a disdain for life (and its aburdity). And I see a multi-level game where each sub-realm can come and go (though none may go) where if all "go" it is game over. I also rule out an external "third party God thingie" as the creator of the game though a demigod could arise (like the Demiurge) which lures vulnerable souls into a sub realm of its own creation. But for me, ultimately, we created it all albeit from this POV, "we" are consciousness, itself.
 
#43
the Turing test short circuits this. do you every play x-box? there are times when it's impossible to determine if you are playing the machine or human player... extrapolate.
I can't help thinking of the way replicants were identified in Blade Runner. They were fictional, very advanced examples of AI, but in the end they could be found out by inciting some form of cognitive dissonance that might become apparent during questioning. The film seemed a bit sketchy about this, but hopefully, you get the point.

That said, it's not clear to me whether you're agreeing or disagreeing with the point I made about being dismayed when people glibly accept even the very notion of AI.

I don't play x-box games, but I'll take your word for it that it's sometimes impossible to tell whether an avatar represents a real-world player or an NPC. So does that mean you think we'd never be able to detect whether or not a person in real life was "an NPC", so to speak?

Sorry, it may be just me, but I'm not quite getting your point.
 
#47
It isn't just you - I agree.

All through the 1980's people were discussing AI very much as they do now, and nothing came of it!

I wish Alex would open a thread to discuss AI at length, since he used to work in that area.

David
AI sucks. It has never lived up to its promotion from various sales people. I have had to evaluate some for mining and analyzing so called big data and it fails every time. It's only as good as the human programming it and the machine learning part that is supposed to make it special goes splat like a bug on a windshield every time it encounters data that isn't pre-canned.
 
#48
AI sucks. It has never lived up to its promotion from various sales people. I have had to evaluate some for mining and analyzing so called big data and it fails every time. It's only as good as the human programming it and the machine learning part that is supposed to make it special goes splat like a bug on a windshield every time it encounters data that isn't pre-canned.
Funnily enough, I have just had to tangle with a new AI front-end to my bank's telephone banking facility (I don't trust online banking). It was terrible, and in the end I had to more or less trick it into connecting me to a person. When I finished my transactions, I asked the guy to pass on my frustration with the AI front-end, and he said he had had masses of complaints already!

Banks have money, and I am sure they paid handsomely to use this system, so it is isn't that it is new - it is just rubbish. I'd love to get a debate going about AI because I think this is central to so much we discuss here.

As far as I can see, a task is either open-ended, or it might be programmable. If AI is applied to an open-ended problem, what happens is that the problem has to be constrained until it isn't open-ended - at which point it may or may not be of any use!

The classic example of of a driverless car, is obviously an open ended problem, and that was what they said they would have developed by now. In reality, they have touted a variety of ways to constrain the problem to something manageable:

1) The car operates as a driving assistant, so the real driver can let it drive, but has to be alert to take over at any instant!

2) The car only drives on selected roads (basically motorways / freeways). How such a vehicle is supposed to be of use, is a mystery to me.

3) Self driving cars would follow each other in convoys down a freeway, with the lead vehicle being driven by a human!

They are all of them essentially useless, and most certainly not worth the billions of cash that have been invested in them.

I'd really like Alex to discuss his experiences in this area, but maybe he still has some AI business and doesn't want to compromise that.

David
 
#49
AI sucks. It has never lived up to its promotion from various sales people. I have had to evaluate some for mining and analyzing so called big data and it fails every time. It's only as good as the human programming it and the machine learning part that is supposed to make it special goes splat like a bug on a windshield every time it encounters data that isn't pre-canned.
There’s a lot of confusi
AI sucks. It has never lived up to its promotion from various sales people. I have had to evaluate some for mining and analyzing so called big data and it fails every time. It's only as good as the human programming it and the machine learning part that is supposed to make it special goes splat like a bug on a windshield every time it encounters data that isn't pre-canned.
I had a friend during undergrad (circa 2005) who kept trying to tell me that his new toy remote control truck made decisions and thought “like a human” because it had a camera on the front and would, very clumsily, work it’s way around an object even if it wasn’t directed to do so. I tried explaining that it was nothing like a human and that it could just as easily be programmed to run into the object every time. This is an extreme example of the confusion fusion that the general public has regarding this issue and consciousness in general. They are so close to consciousness because THEY ARE consciousness that they can’t even see it. People really don’t understand how remarkable it is and how alien it SHOULD be to a strictly materialistic universe.
 
#50
Whoooweee! I listened to the Hugh Urban interview & flashed on two incidents, one in regard to Scientology & another to Osho. I finished reading L. Ron Hubbard's first work & called up a Dallas, TX number wanting to talk to some members there about Scientology. I will never forget the "guy" who took my call. I say "guy" b/c that was the emptiest person I have ever encountered. I don't know if you all experience phone calls the way I do, but I generally get the sense of another person on the other end of the line, a connection, so to speak, of a person paying attention, listening, & so on. In this person's case, I kid you not, it was as if I had connected to an evacuated space, a place w/o any limits or surfaces from which impressions could be reflected back. After a few minutes of dealing w/an echo, I shuddered & definitely scratched Scientology off my list. I saw some of the fall-out of Osho's commune while I was staying at Ananda Cooperative Community in the late '80s. There was a period during which a steady stream of ex-Osho folks passed through Ananda. They were all wearing wine-colored robes & carrying a child. A few tried to settle at Ananda, but they were collectively a very poor bunch, so they were soon encouraged to move on b/c Swami Kriyananda wanted people who could pay for membership status. It was sad to see so many who had been run off b/c a child had resulted from all that sex & drug use, but raising kids tends to get in the way of getting high & getting laid.
 

Alex

Administrator
#51
So does that mean you think we'd never be able to detect whether or not a person in real life was "an NPC", so to speak?
first off, I was it's much more in your camp on this... mainly because I was in the AI business for awhile 30 yrs ago and saw the hype first-hand. but times change and old dogs learn new tricks :)

as to your question, it seems to me that all these questions will become more and more blurred to the point where they're almost irrelevant. we can scoff at the idea of augmented consciousness but the path to some form of that seems pretty clear at this point. most of us will become more and more reliant on technology... and those that control that technology will have more and more power over us.

any accounts of ET seem to point to where this might be headed.
 
#52
I can see the exact dynamic a conscious agent enters a Grand Game as an RPG where, within the Grand Game, are innumerable, individually contained "world experiences." And the RPG is provided two levels of experience, one you could call your waking state consciousness that includes memories from within that single world experience" and a deeper level that is obscured from this primary level whereby at the deeper level you retain the memories from previous world experiences including memories from the perspectives of those you encountered within the Grand Game. The key is that at your level one consciousness, you cannot access memories to the level two consciousness in an easy fashion. There doesn't have to be any built in morals because you are not your avatar anyways. No one can be hurt, you can't be either. What would play out is there would be one of two outcomes though a third must be listed as the actual and only outcome up until one of the other two are achieved which could be never.

Those outcomes are - the participants eventually blow up the Grand Game structure (the game is over and everyone removes their virtual world creation device haha) or the participants don't blow it up but instead get tired and quit (again, game over). The third possibility is an ever continuing Grand Game where the participants are constantly struggling against the anti-game forces in their effort to preserve the game. This, to me, is a naturally occurring arising of good and evil and I could imagine the preservers would be considered "moral" to those who aren't bored of the game or who haven't reached the point they see the game absurd and somehow see they have a moral duty to blow it all up! So even "moral" ends up subjective.

In none of the above do you need a third party "God" thingie sitting at the top of a hierarchy. All you need is one or more really smart conscious agents who got together to create the game and conscious agents willing to participate in the game.

The idea there could be AIs that can't be easily distinguished from RPGs is a fun twist and may make the game even more interesting.
 
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#53
first off, I was it's much more in your camp on this... mainly because I was in the AI business for awhile 30 yrs ago and saw the hype first-hand. but times change and old dogs learn new tricks :)

as to your question, it seems to me that all these questions will become more and more blurred to the point where they're almost irrelevant. we can scoff at the idea of augmented consciousness but the path to some form of that seems pretty clear at this point. most of us will become more and more reliant on technology... and those that control that technology will have more and more power over us.

any accounts of ET seem to point to where this might be headed.
My feeling is the hype hasn't changed - it was utterly phenomenal back then!

I also think there is a deeper problem. Given modern huge computer memories, it is possible to store vast numbers of sentences relevant to a particular subject, and also maybe whole human-human dialogs. That means that all you need is to find an sentence that contains a few key words, and that could form the basis for the AI character in a game to respond. With luck, after that, the human will get pulled into one of those stored dialogs and become amazed at how much the AI character understands him! In effect you are sucking the intelligence out of human-human conversations and re-branding it as AI! I am not saying that is exactly what they do, but you can see how huge memories (and maybe access to the internet) can blur this issue.

That doesn't matter as far as making an attractive computer game, but it matters if this sort of 'success' is assumed to be a step towards general purpose machine intelligence.

Given the billions pumped into self-driving cars, I think they are a good test for AI in general. So far they seem to have stalled - basically because they have killed a number of people.

I think that general driving involves tackling an open ended series of problems - particularly here in the UK, where the minor roads are utterly clogged with parked cars, and there are potholes and roadworks to navigate.

I can't see how anyone can program against an open ended set of problems, and even training a neural network is tricky if the needed training set is infinite. Round here, you find horses on the roads - sometimes with riders who are in their early teens. The AI would have to to 'know' horses can scare easily and endanger their rider or others. We once found ourselves passing a bison in Yellowstone Park - just walking along the road! Every set of roadworks is slightly different, etc. How do you set up an AI to handle an arbitrary road accident in a safe manner?

David
 
#54
i 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.
Hey Alex

Exactly why is this a 'simulation hypnosis'? Simulation of what? There is that fundamental metaphysical notion that in reality the centre is everywhere and the perimeter nowhere. We can create a galaxy in a hard drive. Seriously? We have to stop thinking like materialists. We get sucked into this nonsense all the time. Can we please move on?
 
#55
Hey Alex

Exactly why is this a 'simulation hypnosis'? Simulation of what?
A simulation of a reality which appears fundamental but is not. Perhaps for the purposes of learning, experience, and growth. It doesn’t necessarily have to mean that this “simulation” is perfectly mocking a deeper, more fundamental reality. But then again, perhaps it IS. “Simulation” is probably the best word we could muster to describe something like this. That’s my current opinion though, idk.
 

Alex

Administrator
#56
In none of the above do you need a third party "God" thingie sitting at the top of a hierarchy. All you need is one or more really smart conscious agents who got together to create the game and conscious agents willing to participate in the game.
how do you avoid infinite regress? Turtles all the way down :)
 
#57
Hey Alex

Exactly why is this a 'simulation hypnosis'? Simulation of what? There is that fundamental metaphysical notion that in reality the centre is everywhere and the perimeter nowhere. We can create a galaxy in a hard drive. Seriously? We have to stop thinking like materialists. We get sucked into this nonsense all the time. Can we please move on?
I think what's not being considered is POV. If you are, at your most fundamental level where the only properties you have are consciousness and individuality, essentially an RPG, why could you not enjoin a concept of a "seemingly real" matrix? Would not that matrix be a simulation of sorts?

Why does creating such have to involve, at its fundamental level, anything "material?" Why could it not be created mentally (thought out) and enjoined by conscious agents who, through the elaborate nature of an excellently designed, multi-level (multi-subrealities) game within the mind(s) of the creator(s) result in the RPGs entering a subreality of a mature stage of the game where they have lost memory of the game creation truth? And thus, everything "seems real" to them and, by golly, perhaps due to a design feature, by "believing it is real" everything acts real! Especially at the hard physical level we are anchored into in this seemingly material realm... yet, all and only made of and from "mind" (consciousness).
 

Alex

Administrator
#58
Why does creating such have to involve, at its fundamental level, anything "material?"
or maybe both. I keep coming back to the idea of augmented Consciousness and augmented reality because we already seem to be very close to this with some of our technology. this would also explain stuff like the Jacques Vallee story Riz references.
 
#59
how do you avoid infinite regress? Turtles all the way down :)
comment: I am afraid to post this because it will further solidify my "kook" status (well earned) but here goes

I love this! Because your question leapt at me this very morning... and what I did was create a multi-page document describing how from "all possibility" all of this could arise.

Here's the short version -

Within all possibility is the possibility of consciousness. From there, comes all possibility within that fundamental framework. One possibility is the arising of the first "thought" albeit a rudimentary one like "Hmmmmmm." Then, that which is caused by this, yet is also simultaneous to this, is the awareness of that thought which, also simultaneously creates the conscious agency that is aware. All three arise, the thought, the conscious agent and the relationship of the two. There is now the conscious agent which might then think, "Hmmmmm?" (what did "I" mean by the first "hmmmmmm")? This is self reflection... the self is fully born.

The turtle stands on consciousness (and thus, all possibility within consciousness). Consciousness stands on "all possibility."

It's not turtles all the way down after all!

We are conscious so we know the possibility for consciousness always had to be there.

And get this - I was sooooo convinced I nailed your answer, I somehow stopped the Riz interview just at the right place to catch this very screenshot of you -

Beautiful Alex - is he smiling Q 60.png

I only noticed I had stopped there just after I wrote up the longer version of what I sumerized above. The look on your face is Classic Skeptiko Alex! I say that because when I saw it at first, I saw a smirk. But then 30 or so minutes later (after writing myself into a feedback loop) I looked at you again and detected a frown! The same PIC! hahaha Sorry I am so excited but I realized this is such an awesome PIC because, when I look at it, I experience a different interpretation, each dependent on my confidence (arrogance) or lack thereof (humility? or maybe just recognition I am quite an idiot) all from the same pic! I even printed it on special photo paper and taped it to the wall, in the view just above my far left monitor between pics of Keanu Reeves (Neo), Sarah McLachlan (Angel) and below the Prayer to St Michael.

My Keanu Reeves pic has a quote attributed to him -

"The truth is, you don't struggle with depression, you struggle with the reality we live in."

Thanks to you doing the Riz interview, I decided to design my way out!
 
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#60
or maybe both. I keep coming back to the idea of augmented Consciousness and augmented reality because we already seem to be very close to this with some of our technology. this would also explain stuff like the Jacques Vallee story Riz references.
Could both arise as co-fundamentals? Well, within all possibility, why not?! You twisted me up again. I now think it is Alex the turtles are standing on.
 
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