X-Message-Number: 11671
Date: Mon, 3 May 1999 14:02:21 EDT
Subject: sub-emulations

Mike Perry writes:

>The emulation does not stop the real world, and similarly, the sub-emulation 
>(and any descendant emulations) would not stop the emulated world, if 
>reasonably programmed.

I don't want to spend much time on this, but I don't think that analysis is 
correct. An emulation in a computer of course will not stop or slow down the 
real world, because the computer is only a tiny part of the real world and 
has virtually no interaction with it. But the emulation, and any 
sub-emulations, all rely on physical events (data processing) in the one real 
computer. Therefore, if we have a cascade of sub-emulations, all of those 
resulting virtual computers must rely upon, and tend to overload or slow 
down, the one real computer.

"reasonably programmed"--what does this mean? The programmer, as far as I can 
see, has no wiggle-room. He either programs an emulation or he doesn't. If it 
is a true emulation, it rigorously follows the script of what the original is 
doing or would do. Of course, as Donaldson again recently noted, a true 
emulation is impossible as long as the programmer does not completely 
understand the original, and no one does have such understanding or is likely 
to in the foreseeable future, since new facts and laws of nature are 
constantly  emerging.

As for an interactive emulation, again, if it is interactive then it is not a 
true emulation--i.e., its behavior no longer mirrors what the original is 
doing or would have done. 

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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