I do not understand the UD well enough to comment on it, so I'll stick with the OP computer.  It has as part of it's description the means by which it attains infinite processing power.  This is, of course, critical because there is a big difference between being able to do something in principle, and having an actually working theory as to how that thing can be done (infinite processing power in this case).  My idea is that if you accept this description of the universe, questions of how or when the process started become something akin to "where does the circle start" or "when does infinity start".  It is a cycle that comes back on itself endlessly and explains itself.  The gap in understanding is in trying to understand an infinite thing.  The OP by definition becomes timeless when it reaches infinite processing power, removing it from a "beginning and an end."  It timelessly cycles.  Therefore, asking "Is this fundamental reality leading up to a virtual reality," or "was anything ever real?"  is really just asking yourself where you are on the circle.  These concepts melt into each other as the cycle completes- VR creates reality and reality creates VR- endlessly.

Regarding your point about the "universe" expanding forever, if you accept MWI, then there must be universes that appear identical to ours that will ultimately collapse just as predicted in the OP theory.  Correct?

Danny Mayes

Hal Finney wrote:
Danny Mayes writes:
Assuming MWI is correct, and that Tipler's Omega point theory is correct 
in that in at least some portion of the multiverse there will exist the 
physical capacity for a computer to exist with infinite computing power, 
even in the confines of a finite universe,  does this then allow for an 
eternally self-recreating universe with no outside explanation necessary?

I think there are some problems with this, which I'll get to in a
moment.  But first it is good to keep in mind that current cosmological
observations contradict Tipler's predictions.  There is strong evidence
that the universal expansion is increasing and that there will be no
collapse and no Omega Point.

Specifically, the question is whether the Omega point computer could 
simulate the birth of a new, fully intact multiverse and run it through 
to the creation of a new virtual omega point computer, that would then 
continue the process in an endless cycle (or chain)?  Does one computer 
with infinite computing power (and only a millisecond to exist from an 
objective viewpoint) allow for this infinite layer of creation?  Does it 
matter whether the multiverse itself is infinite or just very large?

I see a few problems with this.  First, the OP computer could in
fact simulate many universes, including those different from itself.
Perhaps it could even simulate all possible universes.  So its actions
don't go too far in explaining why it, itself, exists.

Second, if you study the details of the OP you learn that it is a
difficult time to live.  It is not a stable situation.  Life will grow
exponentially more difficult as the collapse intensifies.  At the same
time, life grows perhaps exponentially more powerful, so there would
be reason to hope that it could manage to survive forever.  However,
this is not assured.

In particular, there is no guarantee that the OP computation project
will be maintained forever.  The beings in charge of the computer might
change their minds and start using it to play video games.  Or survival
may become so challenging that they can't waste their time simulating all
possible universes, or even their own.

Keep in mind that even though it only takes a finite amount of time from
the outside, the appropriate time scale is the internal one, and that
one lasts forever.  The OP is the product of life and intelligence, and
for this model to work, these entities must live forever and run their
computer forever.  Literally, forever and ever and ever.  That's the only
way the philosophical model works.  Such stability seems inconsistent
with the nature of life and intelligence as we know it.

Third, it's not clear how exactly this explanation works.  If the
universe is real, it doesn't need to simulate itself in order to exist.
If it isn't real, the fact that it simulates itself doesn't seem like
enough to bring it into existence.  I can imagine no end of universes
that simulate themselves, in fact most of them would have a much easier
time of it than the OP beings struggling with their chaotic collapse.
Does that mean they are all just as real as our universe would be, if
the OP's simulations were what made us real?

In fact among the simplest of such self-simulating universes is Bruno's
Universal Dovetailer, a trivial program which runs all programs
(including, by definition, itself).  If the OP brings itself into
existence, so does the UD, which is much simpler.  And the UD then makes
us exist along with all other universes, whether the OP turns out to be
cosmologically plausible or not.

Hal Finney


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