> Norman [writes]
> > At last, I may be getting a glimmering of
> > understanding of your point of view (which
> > doesn't mean that I agree with you).
> > You seem to be saying that it is irrelevant if a Turing Machine, even one
> > that operates at the speed of light, takes a billion years to simulate one
> > second of a cubic meter of space. The fact that it CAN simulate the cubic
> > meter for one second, irrespective of the time it takes to do so, means
> > that the computationalist hypothesis is true.
I believe that we can all agree on this usage of terms.
> > But, as you point out, this isn't a ''bona fide'' simulation because it's
> > not in "real time."
> > My problem is that if it's not bona fide then it's imaginary - a Harry
> > Potter universe - and I don't understand how this imaginary happening
> > can be a proof of the computationalist hypothesis, or of anything else
> > in the real universe.
Proof? No; Maybe I don't understand all that has been said,
but it seems to me that this very slow emulation simply
*qualifies* as an example, and helps us to understand what
the computationalist hypothesis is.
> The observer living in the simulated universe perceives his universe in the
> same way as we perceive our universe. He experiences the simulated time, not
> our time. Because we are simulating our laws of physics, the simulated
> observer won't be able to detect any deviations in the laws of physics in
> any experiment. Only some boundary conditions, such as the size of the
> observable part of his universe could be different because of the
> fundamental limitations on simulations.
I agree. But I think that it's important to rescue all this kind of
talk from either meaninglessness or indifference by "putting some
money on it" so to speak. I mean, how does this affect a choice
one could make? It's still important to claim, it seems to me,
that philosophy to not be useless must be prescriptive.
So the challenge that emerges from this is: how valuable would it be
to you to live out your life irrespective of the time it takes to do
so? (As for me, if I were given that this is a simulated life on
some distant computer long after intelligence has colonized the
universe, then it doesn't matter to me how long it takes, until
someone convinces me it should.)
Now if Hal Finney is right---a longer cccooommmpppuuutttaaatttiiiooonnn
iiisss wwweeeiiiggghhhtttiiieeerrr---then a slower one is even better.
See the importance making this into a real choice? What if after the
world is blown up and I'm the only human left, the aliens ask me what
kind of computer I want to be run on? I better get my answer ready
now, when there are lots of smart people who can help.
P.S. Apologies to John. I made a bad decision when my
spell-checker suggested a replacement for a word in his post.