[extropy-chat] Fragmentation of computations

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Thu Mar 22 06:42:43 UTC 2007

On 3/22/07, Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:

How exactly would you run a simulation out of sequence? Here's a gas box.
> It computes system refreshes (trajectory frames) once a second. It
> dumps a snapshot image every minute. You don't know what the snapshot
> image after an hour is, without running the computation.
> You can go back to the snapshot frames, and and resume from there,
> but it doesn't change the end result. But you can't shortcut to the
> end result without doing the work.

But once you have done the work, you can take the snapshots and run the
computation a second time out of sequence, e.g. running the first minute
last and the last minute first. Would the inhabitants of the simulation
notice that something unusual had happened? I think if they did, that would
indicate there was something non-computational, perhaps even magical, about

>      How do you verify the subjective experience? The only way to do
> >      that would to
> >      access the trajectory frames, which requires information about
> >      the sequence of trajectory frames.
> >      See, there's a giant can of worms implied.
> >
> >    You verify it the way any psychological experimenter would: by
> >    observing the subject's behaviour, in this case perhaps on a computer
> >    screen if the program includes a visual representation of the action.
> But you're running things out of sequence (which is usually impossible,
> but Hash Life gives you a minor leeway here). How can you measure
> behaviour which is out of sequence? You have to access it in sequence,
> so you're doing the work. Not the system.

You look at the behaviour in a segment which is out of sequence and compare
it to the behaviour in the original in sequence segment, noting that it is
the same in each case. Do you expect to observe anything different if you
did the experiment? Do you believe it is possible that, if we broke up the
simulation into minutes and mixed them up, the overall stream of
consciousness of the simulated subject would be different even though at
every point in every segment the observed behaviour is exactly the same as
in the original?

Stathis Papaioannou
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