[ExI] Virtual Reality is where the aliens are

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Sat Sep 5 21:45:46 UTC 2015

[Delayed posting]

On 2015-08-28 01:55, spike wrote:
> *From:*extropy-chat [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] 
> *On Behalf Of *Mike Dougherty
> *…*
> >>… On the contrary, do invent dimensions, if the notion explains some 
> observed phenomenon.
> >…Is it still ok if it is to explain un-observed phenomenon ... or 
> observed non-phenomenon. :)
> Hmmm, that is a bit close to improper procedure.  A bit too religioney 
> for my taste. {8^D  However, in the particular case of Fermi’s 
> Paradox, I am flat desperate.

As one of our locals once said, "pluralitas non est ponenda sine 
necessitate" - do not add extra stuff to your theory unless you need it. 
But the *kind* of stuff can be strange: extra dimensions are not 
stranger than other kinds of matter or negative numbers. But simpler, 
less extravagant stuff is of course always preferable.

For Fermi, we are dealing with something that is either very simple (we 
are alone) or deeply complex (the overall evolution and behavior of all 
intelligent life in the universe). We cannot tell which side is the 
right one, so we should consider both (and weigh them according to what 
our evidence and prior guesses are).

> >>… Edwin Abbott was brilliant.
> >…You probably could read the book in about as much time as watch: 
> http://www.flatlandthemovie.com/ - however the movie does a good of 
> preserving the intent while updating some of the obsolete social 
> commentary.
> The political incorrectness of the original is part of its charm.  
> Even my bride has sufficient sense of humor to appreciate the flagrant 
> (apparent) sexist and classist views of Abbott.  It gives us a view of 
> how far society has come, ja?  There is another dimension as well 
> ({8^D): Abbott was writing parody within parody, ridiculing the sexism 
> and classism of his day and place.
It is one classical satires. I remember encountering it via Martin 
Gardner's writings, and then spending weeks drawing cross-sections of 4D 

Anders Sandberg
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
Oxford University

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