X-Message-Number: 11663
Date: Sun, 02 May 1999 00:24:18 -0700
From: Mike Perry <>
Subject: Computer Simulations and "Reality"

Raphael Haftka, #11646:
>It could be that I have missed something, but how do you know that our
>`real' world is not a computer simulations in somebody's (possibly a
>teenager in some real universe, based on how well things are going) computer?
A point I have been trying to make too.

Bob Ettinger, #11648:

>There's the rub, or one of the rubs. WHEN is the program "running" in a 
>Turing tape computer? During the time the machinery is moving the tape? 
>Hardly. During the time the head is reading or writing? Scarcely.

This is where I really don't follow you. When changes are occurring within
the system, by jeepers,  the program is running--how could it be otherwise?
"the head is ... writing"--that at least is a change, by any reasonable
criterion. It may take *lots and lots* of these changes to add up to the
events over even a small interval of time in the domain being emulated, but
so what? You have subdivided the changes down and stretched them out over
time, but certainly not eliminated them. The Turing system is by no means
equivalent to a book that just sits there unchanging on your shelf.

Daniel Crevier, #11649, I think describes a reasonable scenario, based on
Moravec's *Mind Children*, in which you could be conscious and entirely
within a machine. Another case like this happens all the time; it's called
dreaming (where you do have a kind of consciousness, even if sound asleep).
However, I wouldn't propose either to dream forever or to be forever
confined to a machine with no interface to the outside. But, as I've argued,
an interface wouldn't be ruled out, even with a slow and sequential, Turing
machine emulation. 

Mike Perry

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=11663