[ExI] the truman show and psi

spike spike66 at att.net
Wed Jul 14 17:56:24 UTC 2010

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--- On Wed, 7/14/10, John Clark <jonkc at bellsouth.net> wrote:

On 7/14/2010 12:32 AM, spike wrote:

>>...Truman Show is my favorite movie, and very relevant to
this discussion... spike

>...I liked "The Truman Show", but just a few months after it came
out there was another movie that few have heard of called "The Thirteenth
Floor" that had many of the same themes and handled them even more
skillfully... John K Clark

John, here's my transhumanist take on The Truman Show, and how it is related
to Psi, a topic in which you have been involved as I recall.

Yesterday I saw a puzzle that I had first solved about 30 yrs ago in closed
form: a square dance leader invites 17 of her friends to a square dance
party, gives each a number from 2 to 18, keeping number 1 for herself.  She
instructs each to find a partner such that the sum of their numbers is a
perfect square.  What is her partner's number?

Thirty years ago I solved it closed form.  This time I have a competent
computer, so I decided to write a sim, having the partners pair up in every
possible combination, to show that the host's partner could only have one
possible number.  That sim took about 50 minutes to run, and I solved it
closed form before the sim finished, but the point is this: the sim dancers
did something I cannot do: dance thru every possible combination.  My life
isn't long enough to do that.  Keep that thought and read on please, for
this post is actually about Psi.

The Truman Show had a bunch of interesting subthemes, such as autonomy, or
possibly the illusion of free will, privacy, government authority, assumed
authority, and so forth, but there was something else which many of us
humans here will likely relate.  Truman had a girl he really loved, but one
day POOF she was gone to Fiji.  Into his lap (literally) fell the dazzling
sweetheart Laura Linney.  Hey, well, for Laura Linney, maybe Miss Fiji would
hafta go, for here is Laura, sweet, kind, good, beautiful.  So she has this
puzzling habit of endorsing household products for some unknown and unseen
sponsor.  We can overlook that for all her other fine traits.

But Truman can never quite forget Miss Fiji, a burning memory of a girl of
whom he has not even one photo.  He has Linney, and oh my, she is a fiiine
specimen of womankind.  But there is an aching empty space in his heart
which Miss Fiji once occupied, where she is sorely missed.  Do not most of
us here have a Miss Fiji?  How did that feel when you saw Truman buying the
magazines, trying to piece together a picture of his missing first love?  I
could relate, for I had a Miss Fiji, and I now have a wonderful and
satisfying life with my own Laura Linney, only better, with all Laura's
beauty, sweetness and kindness, with none of the annoying product
endorsements.  Life is gooood, and getting better.

During the Truman Show, mistakes and anomalies kept coming up.  At the beach
with the family, a guy pops out of the trash can, "TRUMAN!  It's all fake,
you're on TV!"  Five guys grab him and haul him away, as child Truman
wonders "Whaaaat in the heeeeelllll?"

Now, imagine a species of super intelligent super programmers, who cannot
feel emotion themselves, but want to observe and understand the phenomenon,
so they write a sim that can do things they cannot do, analogous to my
dancer sim above.  They create an elaborate digital set, analogous to
Truman's world, just to see what their emotion-capable sim guy will do.

Is it so difficult to imagine that we are the Software Trumans, or that you
are, and those around you are merely three-dimensional avatars, part of the
set, digital actors analogous to everyone in Truman's world?  Could it be
that the baffling unexplainable stuff we see around us are the mistakes and
anomalies, Truman's beach guy in the trash can, possibly intentional
anomalies such as Psi, the Texas lottery champion, the last eight Mersenne
primes, quantum mechanics?  If so, how would you figure it out?  What
experiments would you run?

Is it so hard to imagine that we, or you, exist so that some unemotional
superprogrammers can study what it is like to feel pain and joy, to wonder,
to grieve, to love?

spike

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