On Monday, March 4, 2013 11:06:46 AM UTC-5, John Clark wrote:
>
> On Fri, Mar 1, 2013  Craig Weinberg <whats...@gmail.com <javascript:>>wrote:
>
> >> As I've said before it's important not to confuse levels, a simulated 
>>> flame won't burn your computer but it will burn a simulated object. 
>>>
>>
>> > No, that argument is bogus. There is only one physical level. 
>>
>
> HOW THE HELL DO YOU KNOW?! 
>

It's not a matter of knowing, it's a matter of understanding. Consider:

No software can be run without being grounded in physical hardware, and 
no software can be completely sequestered from any other software
All software is completely sequestered from the physical world except 
through physical hardware.
There has never been an alternative physical world discovered which is 
sequestered from our own.

What is our cause to suspect any more exotic explanation? Even if there 
were other physical levels, we could never have any contact with them by 
definition, so what is the point of including them in our considerations?

And even if there is a ultimate reality level and not a infinite number of 
> nested realities how the hell do you know that you've been living your like 
> at that foundational physical level and not at another one?
>

It's not that there is an ultimate reality level, its that there is no 
independent reality at all. Experience, in which public realism is 
contrasted with private experience, is all that there is.

Nick Bostrom at Oxford wrote an interesting paper on this subject and 
> concludes that there is a strong likelihood that we're already living in a 
> simulation: This is from the abstract:
>
> " This paper argues that *at least one* of the following propositions is 
> true: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a 
> “posthuman” stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to 
> run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or 
> variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer 
> simulation. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance 
> that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor-simulations is 
> false, unless we are currently living in a simulation. A number of other 
> consequences of this result are also discussed."
>
> For the entire paper goto: 
> http://www.simulation-argument.com/simulation.html
>

All of that comes out of misunderstanding realism as a fact independent of 
sense. Once QM is understood to be a function of perception and 
participation, then all the ideas about simulation go away. There is no 
simulation, there is expectation and perceptual similarity - which are both 
just experiences, and experiences are all that there is. No simulated 
experience (zombies drinking dehydrated water?), and nothing to partition 
any one part of the cosmos completely and finally from any other.

 
>
>> > It is entirely up to the programmer's whim how the laws of physics will 
>> work, 
>>
>
> Exactly. 
>
> > or indeed if they are lawful at all in any given sim,
>>
>
> Yes, although a sim without laws would be a very dull simulation indeed 
> and I don't see the point of making one.
>

Well, you could make spontaneously generated laws that push backward 
retrocausationally, and fudge the continuity errors. Not hard to do when 
you can just wipe out and re-synch the memories of sim participants at 
will. I don't know if that would be more dull than watching a quintillion 
asteroids circle around a star forever.
 

>
>  > Simulated flame can work for 10,000 levels of simulation, but not a 
>> single one of those simulated flames can access the physical level
>>
>
> True again, but that would matter little to you if you did not exist at 
> the foundational physical level, and you might not. 
>

Sure, but if we are trying to figure out about the cosmos in general, what 
difference does it make if we are the lucky/unlucky ones that happen to 
live on the ground floor or if it's someone else?
 

>
> > ...because they aren't real - 
>>
>
> But you may not be "real" either, whatever that means.
>

What I think that real means is that sense of accessing an experience which 
is anchored into a larger significance. It's an intuitive feeling - a 
gravitas which is supported by numerous sensory, cognitive, and probably 
super-personal cues. We may not know how we know its real, and we may be 
wrong - thinking a dream is real - but that doesn't mean that we aren't 
very often in touch with what is 'real', and that we are right about 
knowing that reality is authentic. That has to do with the transparency of 
sense - it can be spoofed and impersonated on some levels temporarily, but 
not on every level and not forever. That's not just wishful thinking, I am 
proposing that it is a physical property having to do with how physics is 
the management of presentation and representation in generating 
private-public coherence.

>  
>
>> > they are figures..symbols...facades engineered to fool our body's 
>> public senses.
>>
>
> And what makes you think something hasn't been fooling your body's senses 
> from the day you were born?
>

That's a given, but beneath all of that fooling, how can there not be a 
genuine fool?
 

>  
>
>> > There is no such thing as real arithmetic. 
>
>
> I detect a pattern, whenever fact X contradicts your ideas you simply say 
> " There is no such thing as X".
>

I apologize if it seems like that, its not my intention, but changing over 
to a sense-based model exposes every competitor to sense as a superficial 
or derivative phenomenon. Time, space, matter, energy, arithmetic, 
information... all reflections of sense, but not things independent of it.
 

>
> > It's all a simulation. 
>>
>
> Could be.
>
> > Only an eye or ear made of meat will be 100% satisfying - which is why 
>> the quality of the implants are crap.
>
>
> When electronic ears improve and deaf people report that they are as good 
> or better than meat ears will you admit your ideas were wrong? No of course 
> you won't, you'll just dream up some new excuse for your ideas making 
> incorrect predictions. 
>

I would expect 'Better than meat' by some measures, but not every measure. 
What we loose in the more human dimensions of hearing, I would imagine we 
could gain in expanded frequency range and sensitivity, noise gating, etc. 
All kinds of cool stuff. I'm not a technophobe, I only see biological 
organisms as being likely much better technology than you might guess.


> > Nobody has found anything in the human brain that didn't strictly follow 
>> the laws of physics either.
>
>
>> > That has nothing to do with the dependence of computer programs on a 
>>> script. 
>>
>>
> Your brain's operation, that is to say your mind, cannot depart from the 
> script that the laws of physics has written. 
>

The experience of mind seems to have nothing to do with the laws of physics 
you are thinking of. Certainly access control to our experience supervenes 
on physics, like access to TV programs supervenes on a TV set, but there is 
no script in the TV set which determines what shows are produced.
 

>
> > we control physics directly and consciously.
>>
>
> Right, that's why I can fly, I just tell the law of conservation of 
> momentum and gravity to stop working while I take my flight.
>

We don't have to be able to change the laws of physics to make direct 
physical changes. We don't break the law of gravity, we build a plane to 
get around it.


> >  I can predict that if that program doesn't work, it will never fix 
>> itself. 
>>
>
> More than 20 years ago when my first computer's hard drive was not working 
> properly the computer's defragmentation program would fix it. 
>

Was the defragmentation program written by the computer to fix itself, or 
by human programmers because hard drives can't fix themselves?

>
> > I can predict that if you don't write the program, one will not sprout 
>> from the realms of Platonia to fill the void. 
>>
>
> For years computer programs have been able to write programs (compilers, 
> assemblers and interpreters) in machine code after telling the program what 
> you want using English words and a simplified grammar.  
>

Just like I can speak Chinese phonetically if it is spelled out for me. 
That doesn't mean I can start writing Chinese.
 

>  
>
>> > I can judge that the quality among human experience varies widely and 
>> idiosyncratically. 
>>
>
> No you can not, you have no way of knowing the quality of experience of 
> your fellow human beings, all you can do is observe behavior and the same 
> thing is true of a smart computer.  
>

Not true. Sense is transparent. We can see and feel some of the experience 
of others. When I look at CGI or an audioanimatronic puppet - I don't 
observe that their behavior is unintelligent - I feel the uncanny valley - 
I see artifice exposed aesthetically. Numb gliding of joints, unresponsive 
and unnatural eyes, awkward canned phrasing...things that become more and 
more glaring to me rather than more subtle. When you say "all you can do 
is", you appeal to your own inflated omniscient authority to deny my 
natural experience.

   > There will never be an abolitionist movement or a machine-rights 
> movement.
>

HOW THE HELL DO YOU KNOW? 

Because I understand that they will continue to prove themselves to be 
impersonal systems. If it weren't sophistry, then computer scientists would 
already be having a crisis of conscience about the work they are doing, but 
of course nobody compares about the life experience of a computer.


>The computer doesn't know the difference between two identical sets of 
>> data. 
>>
>
> You cannot know the difference between "two identical sets of data" 
> either, and the reason you cannot is because they are identical and so 
> there is no difference. That's what the word means. 
>

I can know the difference between an identical mp3 which is played as a 
song and the same file plotted as a bitmap. A computer doesn't know the 
difference.
 

>
>  >> The human programer himself does not know what the computer is going 
>>> to say next.
>>>
>>
>> >That doesn't mean that a computer can begin saying things without a 
>> program which makes that possible.
>>
>
> A computer can't say things unless it has a program that enables it to 
> communicate in the English language, and you couldn't say things unless you 
> were educated in the English language either.
>

Nah, I can communicate with gestures, even to a cat. With another person I 
could even make up words on the spot. A computer couldn't stop a bunch of 
squirrels from chewing through its power cables if its hard drive 
controller was connected to a bushel of walnuts. 
 

>
> > So it data that is associated with an audio capture is automatically 
>> experienced by the computer as sound, wouldn't that mean that words we say 
>> into a microphone would be understood in every possible language?
>>
>
> I see a question mark but I have no idea what the question is.
>

I'm asking what this power of computers to smell all of the possible uses 
of data really looks like. Does it mean that even though I only speak 
English into a microphone, it actually hears it in every possible language, 
just like when it looks at a file it knows what it looks like, sounds like, 
tastes like, etc.?
 

>   
>
>> > Examples of simulated products which are universally preferred to their 
>> original counterparts:
>>
>
> Simulated arithmetic. That's why calculator companies haven't all gone 
> bankrupt, people buy calculators because they prefer the "simulated" 
> product over the original counterpart, doing long division in their head.
>

Synthetic oil is another one. Notice the similarity though, in both cases 
the point of the simulation is to assist a mechanistic process, not one in 
which quality matters. This is consistent with my view, but I was not 
expecting it. Simulation improves simulation. Machines improve machines. 
Artificial cherry flavor can improve candy for example (a fruit based 
simulacra), but not fruit itself. It seems that genuine qualities are 
improved by much larger and less computable factors such as those prized by 
wine collectors.

>
> > your theory of consciousness. An accident which can never aspire to be 
>> as great as cardboard. I guess it's better to be dead, so your body can be 
>> made into a Turing machine in the silent intangible void.
>>
>
> The words are all English and the grammar is also English, but I have no 
> idea what the above means  
>

I'm saying that your theory of consciousness assigns it the least possible 
significance.
 

>
> > It's a mistake to hold consciousness to a standard of proof 
>>
>
> Unless that consciousness is produced by transistors and not meat.  
>

If consciousness was produced by transistors, it would need no standard of 
proof - it would demand its rights, speak its own voice, exterminate its 
inferiors.


> > all that we have is our senses
>>
>
> Exactly.
>  
>
>> > intuition, experience, and reasoning. 
>>
>
> Until very very recently nobody has had any experience whatsoever with 
> smart machines, absolutely zero, so it's not surprising that our intuition 
> in these matters stinks. 
>

It goes both ways. Technical novelty seems to bring out the wild hopes, the 
exaggerated fears, the absurd, the ignorance, and the visionary insight. In 
some ways, the potential of computer games was reached in 1982 as far as 
the explosion of novelty and democratic participation. Those arcade games 
were a true reflection of the nature of computation - clever, fast, quirky, 
alien, whimsical. The more that computers have taken on pretensions of 
intelligence the more that they have become receptacles for disposable 
ideas. We have seen how time and again the promise of consumer AI has 
fallen short while the reality of spam pestilence has grown.

>
> > and reasoning. 
>>
>
> And unfortunately when intuition and reasoning come into conflict 
> intuition nearly always wins. Why do you think religion exists?  
>

Because the message of the importance of consciousness, although coded and 
obscured in religion, is still the primary message worth sending.
 

>
> > Evidence is for objects. We aren't objects. 
>>
>
> What's with this "we" crap? I know I am not a object by direct experience 
> but your consciousness is just a theory of mine and my theories have been 
> wrong before. 
>

I understand completely - and I used to agree. It's just that you are 
assuming that the set of epistemological capacities that you are equipped 
with are the ones that your logical-verbal prefrontal reports provide you 
with. In this case, because we are talking about consciousness as a whole, 
we can't presume that we only know what we think we can know. It may not 
work that way - again sense is transparent and 'reality' is derived. The 
most interesting capacities that we have in this area are not those rooted 
in certainty and conservatism, but in honesty and metaphor.
 

>  
>
>> > The compulsion to insist on evidence is part of consciousness, not part 
>> of nature.
>>
>
> You believe in truthiness, the belief that if you want something to be 
> true strongly enough you can make it be true.
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truthiness
>
> As for me I don't believe in truthiness. 
>

Not at all. I don't want anything to be true or untrue, I try to report 
what seems to make the most sense.

Craig


>   John K Clark
>
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