[ExI] Simulation

Bryan Bishop kanzure at gmail.com
Fri Jun 18 18:14:27 UTC 2010

On Fri, Jun 18, 2010 at 12:55 PM, Dave Sill wrote:
> If, by "replace" you mean "serve as a substitute for", then I think it's
> pretty easy to imagine a virtual reality that's as rich as the one that we
> can only assume is real.

I am sure there are many levels of richness and detail that we can
either now or one day simulate, yeah.

> If you mean literally replacing the universe with a virtual reality, I don't
> think that's possible or desirable.

What it sounds like to me- sometimes- is that there are in fact
advocates of virtual realities that would want to replace the universe
with a virtual reality. And yes, that's probably impossible; but
failing that, I get the distinct feeling that some people want to at
least act like there isn't a universe and reality beyond the virtual
reality. Now, this isn't to say that a simulation, virtual reality,
virtual environment, etc., isn't interesting, useful, or a wonderful
way to explore our developing reality, but it's definitely not the
same thing, right?

>  Who are you quoting here?

David Zindell.

>> " ... And more, I would say that the so-called virtual realities are
>> misnamed: they should be called something like "simulated
>> experiences." Because they aren't real, and can never be so, any more
>> than a map can be the territory.
> Virtual realities/simulated experiences are as real as anything, they're
> just not tangible by those outside them.

I agree, however I think he was talking about people who confuse the
map for the territory that it represents (like when you assume that
because a city layout is a certain way in Second Life, the city in
meatspace must therefore be the same way, but when you groundtruth it,
you find that it's not true).

>> And more, for the same reason that a
>> map is necessarily less detailed than the territory that it describes,
>> a virtual reality can only ever be a pale shadow of the real thing.
> Nonsense. I could, for example, take a salt crystal and construct a virtual
> reality based on it that incorporates vast complexity that isn't there in
> the real crystal.

Do you understand why (or how) the map is not the territory?

>> Such constructs might prove amusing, or even useful and illuminating,
>> but how could they ever take the place of the essential reality that
>> they represent? ..."
> It won't happen overnight, and it won't be the product of one
> person/team/corporation, but I don't see any limit to the richness possible
> in VR.

Me either. I don't think that he was arguing against the richness of
detail in simulations, however.

- Bryan
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