[ExI] simulation as an improvement over reality

The Avantguardian avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com
Sun Dec 26 08:48:34 UTC 2010

----- Original Message ----
> From: Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org>
> To: extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
> Sent: Sat, December 25, 2010 2:56:05 AM
> Subject: Re: [ExI] simulation as an improvement over reality
> On Fri, Dec 24, 2010 at 04:17:28PM -0800, The Avantguardian wrote:
> > > Presumably, the lifetimes for each species will follow a power law.
> > 
> > So you readily admit that after a few minute or hours of real time, the 
> > would not be recognizable as human -- let alone Eugen Leitl? Then why 
> You're no longer recognizable as a blastula stage embryo, yet
> you still bothered enough to be still around.
> http://www.aleph.se/Trans/
> 'What is a human being, then?' 
> 'A seed.'
> 'A... seed?'
> 'An acorn that is unafraid to destroy itself in growing into a tree'
> David Zindell, The Broken God

But I am still genetically isomorphic to that embryo as is the acorn to the oak 
tree. While the morphological phenotypes may have changed, the genetic 
information has been fairly well conserved and if you look at the right genomic 
subsets, both the acorn and the embryo can be found described within.
No such conservation of either morphology or information is likely for an 
> > > You're sharing the same physical layer. If it doesn't sound ominous,
> > > it should.
> > 
> > Yes. That is ominous. But those native to the physical layer would have an 
> > easier time manipulating the physical layer. Uploads would need an interface 


> There is no fundamental difference between postbiology and you. All
> cognition is embodied. 

What? Just the differences in the matter substrate *and* the volatility of the 
information embodied thereby. Nothing fundamental to see here! Move along, 
> Only, postbiology is a lot fitter than you.

What is your evidence for this assumption? Or is it an article of faith? Do you 
mean more fit than me in the vacuum of space or in the jungle? In a virtual 
reality or within ten feet of an active Tesla coil? Fitness is relative 
to your environment, to the guy next to you, to any predators, and to the 
"microbes" beneath your contempt. And if postbiology is manufactured using 
modern practices, then it would 

probably fail once its warranty period expired.
BTW I dislike the term postbiology. Biology is the study of life and would be 
just as applicable to machine-phase life as to wet-carbon life.  

> Far more adept at manipulating
> the physical layer.

Well we were originally talking about uploads and now we are talking about 
postbiology. Uploads would have to compete with other processor threads for 
access to IO 

ports on their box. As long as we meat people don't make some stupid mistakes, 
what is on the other end of that IO port is under our control. Independently 
evolved hive-minded nanospiders on the other hand could pose a serious 

> So we are the endangered species, for a change.
> It would be an act of cosmic irony, if the perpetrators of the Holocene
> extinction event themselves succumbed to habitat destruction and industrial 
> pollution at the hands of their offspring. Mere indifference would be enough.

There is no irony in this and H. sapiens would not be the first species to have 
done this. The cyanobacteria did exactly this when they evolved chlorophyll and 
threated all life by unleashing oxygen on the world.  

> > do so and interfaces can be manipulated.
> What is your interface to reality? Why is it not being manipulated?
> So what should be different?

My senses and effector organs are my interface to reality. They are, every time 
I flip on a TV.The difference is 

that my interface is more fundamental than my processor because it evolved 
first. This would likely be the converse of the situation faced by uploads where 
IO devices would be ancillary to core data processing and storage devices. Sure 
virtual eyes could see virtual skies but the ccd camera for peeping at the 

"real world" may not even be connected. 
> > > Everyone seems to think everybody will be so very smart.
> > > Diversity works in all directions.
> > 
> > It's much worse than that. Imagine being locked in a (unix) box with John 
> Imagine suffering from locked-in syndrome.
> > Malkovitch for a thousand subjective years. Could you guarantee that at the 
> So don't do it, then.

 I just don't see the enlightened self-interest of uploading. You don't get to 
live forever. Instead a bit-pattern that very quickly diverges away from you 
gets indefinite run time. That's not any closer to immortality than having kids 
or writing a book. Even if one didn't upload onself, a simple brute-force search 
of permutation space is liable to hit upon any specific bit-pattern of 
your evolution in finite time. That means that given enough evolving bit 
patterns any bit pattern that represents "you" at any instant of time would very 
likely to be converged upon by another entity in the course of their own 
evolution. So for example, some other upload could assume the same bit pattern 
you might have had at some stage of your evolution.  You and someone else could 
become identical copies of one another for some duration because of the birthday 
paradox. If identity becomes too malleable somewhere along the line, 
it becomes concomitantly meaningless.
And if one contends that identity is inherently meaningless, then what precisely 
are you "preserving" with an upload?   

 > You're also subject to selection pressures. Good old Darwin.
> > or the virtual environment itself that would feedback on their configuration 

> The virtual environment does not differ from real environment in any
> other way than it can be more easily changed. Just because it can
> it doesn't mean it will, because you will need a consensus for continuing
> interactions with others. Extreme solipsism is incompatible with 
> sustainable existance.

Virtual environments differ from reality another way too. I offer without proof 
that any simulation ought to be a reduced dimensionality subspace of reality. 
With reduced dimensionality comes fewer degrees of freedom and loss of 
information. Not to mention quantum effects whereby an enforced ignorance of 
certain aspects of reality is maintained. In other words  a physicist with 
decently equipped lab should be able to tell whether he is in a simulation or 
in the reality wherein the set of physical laws that he learned were formulated 
and apply. And yes solipsism sucks but I see uploading as a social form of 

> How about Jesus? He seems to visit a lot of people often.

Maybe Jesus is their gardener. What does religion have to do with this?

Stuart LaForge 

"There is nothing wrong with America that faith, love of freedom, intelligence, 
and energy of her citizens cannot cure."- Dwight D. Eisenhower


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