Does everyone who is following the latest chapter of the book that
Hal is evidently writing agree that there is no necessary conflict
between it and more-or-less traditional realism? That is, I don't
find anything too outre here; it seems to be an interesting but
speculative theory about things more fundamental (in some sense)
than our perceptions that give rise to our perceptions (and to
> -----Original Message-----
> From: "Hal Finney" [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]
> Sent: Wednesday, July 27, 2005 10:44 PM
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: Reality in the multiverse
> One problem with "reality" in the context of multiverse theories is that
> it may mean different things to different people.
> If we assume (for analytical purposes) that some form of multiverse
> exists, then ultimately the reality is the multiverse. But it seems that
> each person is constrained only to see one universe out of the multiverse.
> For him, that universe is all that is real, the rest of the multiverse
> is irrelevant. So already there is confusion over whether we should
> include the other worlds of the multiverse in "reality".
> I have been exploring the concept that the Universal Distribution exists
> and is "real". Reality in this model is every computer program execution,
> or equivalently (I would claim, but it is not too important here) every
> information pattern.
> This is a sort of "multiverse", in that it includes multiple "universes".
> Anything that can be created by a computer program exists, and arguably
> universes fall into this category.
> But it also includes other things. Chaotic information patterns
> that would not seem to possess most of the properties of a universe
> exist as well - without time, or causality, or dimensionality perhaps -
> just raw noise.
> And disembodied consciousnesses exist, too. We could each have our
> information patterns, the processes that make up our minds, be produced by
> programs which do not actually create the rest of the universe but simply
> contain hard-coded sense impressions which are delivered by clockwork.
> The UDist framework allows us to theoretically approximate the measure
> of these various information objects, so we can say that some are more
> "prominent" in the multiverse than others. But all exist, all are real,
> in this model.
> One of the points Bruno makes is that in these kinds of models,
> the reality for a given observer is pretty complicated. Much of the
> multiverse is irrelevant to him, but that doesn't mean he can focus on
> just one universe as "real". The observer spans multiple universes and
> multiple realities.
> In the UDist framework, I would say it in this way: Many programs
> create the information pattern corresponding to a given observer.
> Some of those programs create the observer as part of a relatively
> straightforward universe that corresponds fairly simply to his sense
> impressions. Some programs create the observer within a universe that
> has a far more subtle and complex relationship to what the observer
> senses. In some universes the observer is part of a simulation a la
> The Matrix, being run on artificial machines within that universe, so
> that what the observer sees has little relation to the "true reality"
> of that universe. And some programs create the information pattern as
> I described above, without a real universe at all, so that the observer
> in effect hallucinates the entire universe.
> The point is that all of these programs exist, hence all contribute
> measure to the observer. From the observer's perspective, all of these
> are in a sense "real" to him. However, he can in principle calculate
> (at least approximately) the numerical contribution made by each of
> these programs, and perhaps it turns out that the vast majority of the
> measure comes from just one of them. He might be justified in that case
> in largely ignoring the others and saying that only that one is "real"
> for him.
> But for full precision he must still take into consideration all of
> the programs that could create instances of his information pattern,
> and consider all of them to be "real" to some extent. And then, perhaps,
> he may choose to accept that the whole multiverse is real, even the parts
> which do not affect him. Otherwise he has to say that all programs exist
> which happen to include an information pattern corresponding to him,
> the observer who is making this claim. That's not a very compelling
> theoretical model.
> Hal Finney