Artificial Intelligence + Natural Wisdom = ARTIFICIAL WISDOM!

Sure, artificial intelligence is here. But it’s NOTHING without natural wisdom!

What you are about to read as an experiment, an experiment in artificial intelligence meant to interpret the nature of artificial intelligence. It’s an annotated transcript of a conversation between me and James Altucher, host of the James Altucher show.

I had our podcast translated and tagged using Otter.AI, a free program that I am not affiliated with. I then had a wise, tech-savvy assistant edit it, and add hyperlinks to important topics that Otter had tagged. The result is fascinating… a synthetic compound of artificial (i.e., Otter) intelligence and natural wisdom (my savvy assistant).

What makes this experiment so deliciously interesting to me is that the subject of the conversation is super intelligence…namely, the ultimate expression of futuristic artificial intelligence, and its connection to the so-called ‘simulation hypothesis’. If you can understand this transcript, without listening to this podcast, please leave a comment below because I’m not sure I can!

Just Keating.

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Major Tags -Simulation hypothesis , Easter Eggs, Rene Descartes, NIck Bostorm, Butterfly Dream, Shirley Maclaine, Sean Carroll, Karl Popper falsification, unmoved mover, Testing simulation Hypothesis, the multiverse, Galileo Galilei, moore’s law, copernican principle

James Altucher

This is the James Altucher show.

So, Brian, one theory that’s a little bit separate from all the physics and scientific theories, and it’s a theory I feel like anyone could engage in the speculation of it is the idea that the universe, the entire universe is really a simulation, some other civilizations virtual reality that we inhabit, as if we’re the characters or the avatars in some giant, universal size game. And from what I understand, and correct me if I’m wrong, the idea is, you know, we’ve only been playing with virtual reality for, what, 40 years, 30 years. And it’s already like when I put on a VR headset, it’s pretty good. It’s not, it’s I could see it’s not the real world, but it’s not bad. So the idea is, imagine if a civilization has been around for a billion years and playing around with VR, their simulations would be perfect. And they would have billions and billions and trillions of simulations around of which the real universe is only one universe, and then all these other simulations, trillions or other universes. So the odds are almost probable that were a simulation, we’re, you know, if you if the real universe is only one out of a trillion, the odds are we’re in a, in a simulation of another much more advanced civilization.

Brain Keating

Well, I love this idea, not necessarily because I think it’s likely to be true, although the question of how one could resolve it relies on me not being able to have a strong opinion in its favor. What Why is that? Well, I think that, you know, that that’s part of the sort of illusion of free will that some say we have some say we have actual free will. And what’s so interesting to me about the simulation hypothesis is that it connects to so many different aspects. First of all, the cosmological one that you just talked about. Secondly, it talks about, it eventually gets into prospects for artificial intelligence, virtual reality, Moore’s Law, scalability, technology. Remember one of the taglines of our namesake, founding namesake of the Arthur C. Clarke center for human imagination, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, where I’m the CO director that run the into the impossible podcast, Arthur Clarke said, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. So you could just replace magic with artificial intelligence. And you could actually increase that according to Moore’s law. And it wouldn’t take very long until there’s a certain amount of computing power, that would be superseded, and we’d get past the bottleneck to any technological objections that could be made.

James

So first off, let me ask you, When was the first time you’ve ever used a virtual reality?

Brian

Ah, the first time I ever used it was probably eight years ago, like Google Cardboard started to come up Come along, augmented reality, maybe it was seven years ago, something like that.

James

Okay, I’m approximately 1992, where I use a virtual reality we were, we were went to a place like a warehouse, and yet in a booth, and someone else gets in a booth. And you’re suddenly in this virtual reality. And as a shooter, you could run around you shoot the other person. And maybe there aren’t as many points of clarity, I don’t know what you’ve called in a VR. But, you know, suffice to say, 30 years later, virtual reality is, is so much closer to like, a real world. Like if you’re, if you’re walking on a plank, now, in a VR, you feel like afraid of heights, like you feel like you’re gonna fall off the plank, and hurt yourself like it’s so your brain and surface is so real. But the disconnect with reality is that if you do this for 30 minutes, your brain realizes, oh, wait a second, I’ve been tricked. This is not really a reality. I’m going to make this person sick, right? So you start to feel nauseous. Yeah. And I had to give a talk once in a virtual reality. There are hundreds of people from all over the world. And after about a half hour, 45 minutes, I really was feeling ill nauseous. Yeah. But the technological objection is that the complexity would need requires more atoms in the universe than exist. That’s the technical objection. I’ve heard. But Moore’s Law implies that we solve that problem in ways that we don’t yet know, like, for instance, quantum computing would solve that problem,

Brian

Potentially. And actually, those kinds of objections are not the fundamental kind of resistance that I come up with. I actually think there are other objections that make it much more delightful to consider. And for example, let’s say, let’s say you just knew that there is a that you’re part of a virtual there is a full virtual reality simulation occurring on the vana to island off of Easter Island or whatever. And I don’t even know if that’s where it is, but but just I picked the name out. So there’s an island and all the inhabit. There are living in a virtual reality simulation. They’re actually connected. They have feeding tubes, they have implants in their brain

James

Matrix style?

Brian

It’s matrix style, but you’re controlling it you James altucher are controlling it. So so the question then comes up, well, what obligations Do you have to these living individuals? In other words, they’re actually living, they’re not they are not simulations, they’re inhabiting a simulation. And the question is, do you have ethical obligations, moral obligations, to treat the simulation, not unplug them make sure that they don’t feel physical pain? Or maybe they should feel physical pain as part of the of the virtual realities are realism level setting? You know, setting on number 10. So it brings up all sorts of philosophical moral objections potentially, or quandary that could be present, you know, can you turn it off? Do you have to have an uninterruptible power supply? What if they find out about this? What if What if there are clues left in there? How much risk analysis has to go into them avoiding finding out about it because of what would happen to them? So it’s funny because a lot of these things eventually lead to almost an omniscient, omnipotent power in the simulators. And actually gave a talk about this to an atheist organization, called the Sunday assembly. There’s a couple of dozen clubs like this around the world. I call it an atheist church. They meet on Sunday mornings, it’s for secular atheist people. And I gave a I gave a talk about it on Easter, about the very first easter egg, which was in the game called adventure on the Atari 2600. I remember that very well. That was my one of my favorite games of all time, even today. Yeah. And there was an Easter egg. Do you remember this? Did you ever discover the easter egg in it?

James

Probably. I mean, I’m looking back to when I was I was I was 12 years old, or Yeah, probably 12 or 13 years old.

Brian

Yeah, I was in the early 80s. So the thing that’s interesting about that easter egg is that you couldn’t really publicize it, maybe on a bulletin board or something like that. But the people that played console video games weren’t on bulletin boards as much. But anyway, I found out about for my cousin, as most things do. And it was a little pixel, and he dragged it around the screen, and eventually got past the dragons, and you made it inside the castle. And you got it to a secret chamber, which you push the controller, this little vertical joystick up into the upper left corner, whatever. And the pixel got dropped off. And it said, created by Warren, Robin net. And I was thinking like, telling these atheists about this simulation on Easter about the very first easter egg, and how similar that is to the 17th century philosopher, Rene Descartes. So Rene Descartes is very famous for the phrase kognito, ergo soon, which means I think, therefore I am. And that resolution was to the question of whether or not he or any person could potentially distinguish their existence from a mere brain in a jar, he actually talks about the possibility that he is not a living creature with free will, and an organizational abilities and so forth, and that he is actually a brain in a jar fed stimulation, you know, this is back in the 1700 16 1700s, or whatever. And he resolves that by saying, No, I can prove that I am not. Because I think, therefore I exist. That’s the meaning of it. But people forget, you know, it’s like a lot of these quotes, people forget the second half of the sentence like, like, love thy neighbor as thyself, you know, the next sentence is because I am the Lord your God. And the next part of that sentence by Rene Descartes involves God. He basically says, God would not let somebody experience the process of thought, and have it be for naught, so to speak. In other words, God is perfect. He’s not wasteful. So in other words, he resolved it, but only through invoking the invocation of a all powerful omniscient being called God. And so I think it’s very interesting that the simulation hypothesis also kind of posits that we could currently be brains in a jar, an internet jar, and not with fed by liquid nutrients, but fed by electrical currents. And, but But still, the exact same possibility remains that we may not be able to distinguish it, but for the existence of some higher power master simulator, Warren Robinette, or God,

James

right, so, so imagine it from the point of view that we as a civilization are not in a simulation, but that we’re going to create one that is so realistic, the inhabitants of it think that they’re in an entire universe that had a big bang, that whatever. So you could imagine, as technology progresses, like you were saying earlier with Moore’s Law, we could eventually make computer worlds kind of like we do now with computer games, but you know, with full VR, realistic capabilities, and people in our civilization, other humans could decide, oh, I want to, I want to be in this VR. And, you know, I don’t want to remember anything, just I’m gonna play this VR, and they can go in it and live a full lifetime and, you know, have telescopes. I could see that, you know, trillions of light years away or whatever, and, and then they die. And then they wake up in the real civilization like, welcome back from the game. Or there’s the flip side, which is so so you could be, we could be now in one of those simulations, as I just described. But the other thing is to, you’re sort of it calls into question of what is human. So you just set a brain in a jar, and you’re still human enough to enter into a simulation, which is this imaginary world created by the simulation civilization that made it. But there’s also the fact that we, you know, assuming there is a singularity, where computers somehow are, eventually become conscious in a similar way to what we regard as humans, we also could just be fake characters, there might be only 10 real people from that simulation civilization in this universe, they’re playing the game, and we’re just characters running around in that simulated universe, that we’re just powered by this billion year civilizations version of AI, which is much more sophisticated than ours.

Brian

Yeah. So, you know, the simulation argument. Again, it’s, it’s, it’s an ancient one, in a certain sense, you know, there’s a, there’s a claim that there’s some sort of a Chinese mythology from the, you know, 500 to 400 bc period, called the butterfly dream, which is, you know, this, this master is dreaming that he was a butterfly. And he didn’t know that he was actually himself. And that’s kind of beautiful artwork and goes along with it, that sort of a notion that how do you know that you’re, that, you know, you know, and in fact, that’s what homosapien means, it means a man that knows that he knows. And it could mean that you know, that your know that you’re going to die, right? Or humans are the only animals that we know, that are conscious of their own existence and their own demise. And that colors, everything we do, according to many psychologists, but the question of is this actually possible for a computer simulation? Of course, there could be other simulations, you don’t need a computer to have the butterfly dream, and certainly they didn’t. And what hallstrom originally came up with was not really to prove that we are living in a simulation. But it would be that the natural consequences of advanced artificial intelligence could make such a thing possible. And so now the question of the likelihood of that of each person, once you get to this level of existing in a perceive reality, but actually existing in simulation, he claims that is extremely high. Now, there’s a lot of

James

right because of this trillion to one, if most of the quote unquote, worlds out there are simulations, the odds are we’re in one.

Brian

Yeah. Right.

James

And the odds are that civilization that created this simulation, they’re also in a simulation.

Brian

And he says, Yeah, unless we are now living in a simulation, our descendants will almost certainly never run an ancestor simulation. In other words, what would be the motivation of a simulation to simulate, you know, fourth century peasant in the northwest outskirts of London or something, but we feel like we’re extremely important, like, you know, I’d wonder, Well, you know, why aren’t there more Kardashians? You know, it’s like, Why? Why would you simulate people that aren’t of No, like everybody who’s, who has been reincarnated, as always, like a noble woman, you know, Shirley MacLaine was like, you know, she was a, she was a noble woman in the 1400s in Paris, but they’re never like, I was a milkmaid, you know, in, in South Africa, and then I died. It’s always like, I was basically the equivalent of a Kardashian. Now, there can’t be that many. It’s like, how many people say they were at Woodstock or remember that they were at Woodstock is 80 times higher than the number of people that are actually at Woodstock. So, I think, you know, the, the simulation hypothesis that is most interesting to me is on cosmological grounds. And this has been brought up by a friend of mine, Sean Carroll, has been on my podcast, he says, effectively that if a civilization is capable of performing a simulation, it will likely perform many simulations, which would then imply that we might be the lowest level of simulation, and then it will be impossible from the lowest level to perceive that such an advanced simulation is is possible to conduct in other words, we wouldn’t have a glimpse of what it’s like to make an advanced simulation, it kind of be like me explaining it to my two year old twins, you know what a simulation is. They don’t know. They don’t know the difference between real reality and virtual reality. So for my part of view, though, can the simulation hypothesis be falsified? That’s actually an interesting question. In other words, if you could falsify it, then that’s a cosmology. That’s a big bang that we can rule out and say, now we can devote our attention to other other arguments.

James

So the falsification that I’ve heard is related to this idea that to create an entire universe. You will need A computer that has more atoms that then exists in the universe. That’s the only falsification I’ve seen, which which seems to me to be easily combated by saying yeah, we have no

James

Do the physics of the universe. That’s the civilization that’s creating the simulation.

Brian

Right, yeah

James

We also don’t know maybe they’ve been running. Maybe there’s so far advanced. They’ve lived for the each person their lives for a trillion years each. And for them. They’ve been running this simulation, they started off with the Big Bang. And to answer your question, everything is just sort of evolved out of that. So it’s not like they’ve said that let’s make everybody a Kim Kardashian, or Napoleon.

Brian

It’s just the mover that’s the Aristotelian, unmoved mover that created the universe and then disappeared. There’s so what you said is a plausibility argument. It’s implausible to according to some for the advanced technological civilization to create such an advanced supercomputer. But again, if you ask the guy who wrote the butterfly dream poem, and 476 BC, you know, he was painting watercolor on parchment or whatever skins or whatever, if you ask them all like, what do you think about a D wave? 100 milli Kelvin supercomputer based on quantum cubits? What are you talking about? Like the level of comprehension is so far beyond what what someone would be able to, to even envision? So I don’t view that as a fundamental of falsification. That’s a plausibility. And you could say, what was the odds that going from your 1992, virtual reality that we’d have, you know, holograms that can, you know, represent faithfully, a cave and in in the Middle East or something, and so we have these amazing VR, but it’s, it’s sort of, it wouldn’t be impossible for you to envision it the way it would be impossible for the guy who wrote the butterfly dream 2500 years ago to conceive of a quantum computer. But so that’s not a fundamental objection. No, the way to falsify it would be to think about what would be the limitations of any simulation, let’s just say, Moore’s Law continues indefinitely, the future.

Brian

By the way, one of the weaknesses of that argument is that actually, the power of supercomputers is not going up at Moore’s law. I don’t know if you’re aware of this. But even though the ordinary commodity computer chip capability is increasing, you know, doubling roughly every 18 months or so, the actual performance of high throughput computers, aka supercomputers, or high performance computers, at the highest levels is actually slowly saturating, in other words, is getting better, but the increment is far, far below Moore’s law. And the reason for that’s very interesting, because as these things get more capable, more people want to use it. More people think of ways to use this vast power of computing. And so the actual resources get taxed in terms of the overhead for every computation, yes, they can do the calculation in a nanosecond, but it might take the Graduate Student 10 years to program make the code, you know, my graduate students, that would be a short PhD thesis from them, but but they’re screaming at me. But the but the fact is, how do we know that we that the set that this isn’t going to continue, if you plot the rate of use of these supercomputers it’s going to go up to so you’ve got a source of improved computing power, but you have this vast sink, that everyone wants to simulate everything, once you have this powerful computer, you know.

Brian

like I always joke, when I’m sitting with one of my students, they’ll be I’ll ask him to do some calculation or whatever, like, but just like arithmetic, and then they’ll take out a calculator. I’m like, you’re sitting in front of like, the most powerful device ever invented for computation? Why don’t you make use of the like, this spreadsheet or, you know, run a Python code to calculate the tangent of some angle, you know, but they’ll take other calculate whatever. So the point is that as they get more powerful, they get more utilized. And that decreases the net number of computation. So it’s not the number of computations. It’s the number of floating point operations that can be done or instructions that can be run. That’s item number one. But every instruction at some level is discretized. In other words, even a quantum computer eventually has to produce a classical result, which can be translated into like, what’s running these quantum computers, they’re not being run by quantum computers. They’re attached to a computer station just like we’re talking on. And so eventually, it has to be translated into discrete zeros and ones that can then be transmitted and decoded. So that means there’s a fundamental resolution, right, there’s a fundamental discretization of information that we perceive and might be 4k resolution 8k resolution, but it’s not going to be infinite resolution. In other words, there’ll be stars that will send light out at certain angles, but for an a simulation could could potentially produce 10 to the 10 to 120 different trajectories, but it can’t make an infinite number of them. In other words, there are certain things that are fundamentally analog and are very difficult to reproduce in our analog to digital conversion problem.

Brian

There are certain things that are fundamentally analog and are very difficult to reproduce.Do is in our analog to digital conversion problem, right.

James

But as you’ve mentioned in a prior podcast, there’s actually nothing in the universe that’s infinite.

Brian

Yes, yeah. So nothing in terms of a physical property like density, temperature, pressure, etc. But what I’m saying is that you could look at the angle of the star Sirius over there. And then you can move, you know, 1,000,000,000th of a radian over, and then measure that position and should move by 1,000,000,000th of a radian. But actually, you’ll see it, it’ll like chunk, like, it’ll be like a pixelization, like a staircase pattern of it, because they have to simulate the trajectory. And it has some fundamental resolution element that, by the way, has to be propagated throughout the entirety of the universe. So in other words, we’re looking at, you know, light from a moon of Jupiter that we’ve been to, and that that light has to progress to us along certain trajectories as the Earth moves around. That means that whoever is responsible program, this light beam so that it reaches Brian Keatings telescope on this day, at this time, they would have to know that with infinite precision where I’m going to be, in other words, have to forecast all the different properties in order to produce the observations without revealing that it has this jagged staircase discrimination and the analog to digital converter.

James

But that’s doable?

Brian

Well, at some level, the computational cost will exceed the number of particles in the universe, right?

James

That’s the problem. But we don’t really know, for instance, if they’re, if they’re using, hypothetically, you know, quantum computing seems to be just a theory, like, we don’t even know if such a thing exists. But let’s say hypothetically, it’s it exists now, you really are using computational power drawn from an infinite number of universes. So no computation is beyond, you know, possible.

Brian

Yeah. So there are predictions is actually a paper that kind of looks at this is a test of the simulation theory, it’s called on testing the simulation theory, they instead of using a light from the moons of Jupiter, he’s talking about the there be actual patterns that we could observe in the arrival of very high energy particles called called ultra high energy cosmic rays, and that they would be discretized. In a way, there’s another work that’s been done on how much resolution would you have on the opposite end of the scale. In other words, the properties of the proton and the neutron depend on the properties of quarks to simulate those so that that large hadron collider will produce the exact data that we think it should produce based on the models of this type of theory called lattice gauge theory. That is, you know, basically, it could be infinite amount of computing power that’s required for each collision, let alone to reproduce every collision that’s ever occurred. Now, these aren’t falsifications yet, but I think, you know, the combination of these things could be used, in some sense to the discretization of space time events and propagation of light for our purposes in the Big Bang Theory. It’s something that currently has less weight, because of its difficulty and falsifying it. In other words, as you said, like they could just make a more powerful computer or it could be, it could be a multiverse where, you know, they simulate the laws of gravity and Quantum chromodynamics in our universe, but then another universe is totally different. Because the simulation started off with a different initial seed, I guess, you know, for me, what’s the motivation? And this actually couples into the religious like, why did God create the universe? If you believe in God, again, I don’t care. I usually say I don’t know if I believe in God, but I believe in religion.

Brian

So the difference in perspective is, what is the motivation for doing it? There’s only a finite amount of energy in the universe that we can observe. And you have to wonder what is the benefit of this, but the thing that tickles me is that some of the most, you know, secular atheistic people in the world, you know, will posit things like the simulation hypothesis, I’m hoping to have Nick Bostrom on my podcast to discuss that very fact. And whether or not there are these theological overtones in this in this model of origin.

James

Yeah, but you know, if, again, thinking we invented, our species has invented computers, what, 80 years ago, roughly, and it was built on some science that existed another 100 or so years before that, but if a civilization is a trillion years old, and some other universe pre existing universe, they’re going to be so far advanced in computational power in, in things that we have no concept of, it’s like explaining things to a baby for them to explain how it works, we just had, they might, you know, they might not be using computational power, they might be using something we have no concept of, and for them, it does just like how we can create huge almost infinitely sized world computer games, you know, within the world and those for them. trivial is creating a 13 billion year universe It started with a big bang and with with gluons and corks and all these things, and you know,

James

I, I’ve seen this as the theory falsifying it, but that assumes a civilization kind of slightly more advanced than ours instead of a trillion years or quadrillion years more advanced than ours.

Brian

Yeah, that’s the problem. It’s like we we don’t have, we don’t have any concept of what it would be like to go that far in advance. But the problem is that if you assume the simulation hypothesis is true, you know, then then that would have to be something that would be implanted into our branch of the simulation. And in that branch, we would be forced to think, well, we’re not going to have this capability, but it seems likely or we don’t have this capability, but it seems likely just apply some time. And, you know, look, if even if you look at something which is much simpler than creating the entire universe, creating life, let’s just say, you know, creating life, we have no idea how life actually originated there. In other words, how protons formed into helium and hydrogen is much more well understood, then how helium hydrogen eventually form a star, which forms byproducts that forms phosphorus, a nitrogen, carbon, etc, that then forms amino acids that you know, in other words, we can also say that’s a type of computing also, it’s based on genetic code, just apply time, and it will develop with Moore’s law. But that’s not the way biology it’s like we have a doubling of number of species on Earth every every year, that doesn’t happen. In fact, the opposite happens.

James

Okay, but let’s let’s look at it like, take a game like Grand Theft Auto, how do we know that we’re not just a character in a quadrillion year upgrade of Grand Theft Auto?

Brian

Yeah, well, that’s the basic problem of falsification. So Descartes got out of it by saying, you know, that even if God was malicious, it would still not invalidate the aspect of free choice. In other words, he’s choosing to torture me. But I am choosing how I react to being tortured in that way, or I’m choosing how you know, the existence of God. And the existence of me means that I exist at least, even if God is malicious.

James

So but by the character of Grand Theft Auto, again, with the add an extra trillion years to making Grand Theft Auto, that character from our perspective is not real. But he or she might think he is real and thinking and has protons and atoms, he might be convinced, I think, therefore I am. And in fact, he might actually exist, like that might be a real being just happens to be in a computer code.

Brian

All right. Let’s get back to simple things like the Big Bang, James, I,

James

you know, now that we’re talking, I’m kind of thinking that’s probably, why wouldn’t we be in a simulation? Like, like, like other than the, you know, we’ll never have the computational power to make it. Let’s just assume some other civilization can make it. Why is it everything a simulation? or How can instead of trying to falsify it, is there any way to prove it?

Brian

Yes. So that that is an interesting concept. And that we could definitely take up but it also will be allied with some of the discussion that we’re going to have about the multiverse, etc. Because a lot of these would rely on kind of a larger kind of landscape on which the different ways that the laws of physics could play out, which are much simpler than constructing a sociological construct, I guess part of it would also be, well, how did the simulation simulators get started? Like who started them? Are you going to say that it’s been going on for all time? What are the energy constraints on such a on such a simulation? Those could be no go theorems. Again, what we do mostly a scientist is not proved things, we look for ways to disprove all other alternatives. And what we’re left with is essentially outcomes, razors, best guess at the truth. And I would say there are many other you know, the while this cannot be falsified, necessarily, I am less sanguine than it’s actually provable or even true.

James

But but the outcome is razor they make it people who believe in the theory for them outcomes razor is that we’re in a simulation, because trillions of simulations that reflect worlds as real as ours have been created. If one has been created, then trillions have been created. And the real universe again, there’s only one of those trillions of real seeming universes. And so the odds are We are the outcomes raiser is that we are in a simulation, the odds would be enormous that we’re not in a simulation.

Brian

Right? So the question comes, how do we, because in science, what we’re going to try to do is falsify and show that this theory has defects in it. So there are two ways that people have proposed, as I said, looking at the very smallest things in the universe, and then looking for properties in the universe in larger scales. So the question is, if you really took this too far, you could say, well, let’s say it is falsified, but maybe that’s just what the simulation that’s how they cover their tracks. They show us that the universe is is not a simulation, and then we find evidence

Brian

For that, then we can say, well, that’s exactly what they would want us to know, so that we don’t Discover the Truth or reality. So these problems for me are not super satisfying, because, yes, you can’t falsify them. But just in the same way, I feel like we can’t falsify that the world got started by, you know, a belching unicorn on the planet, Neptune. They’re interesting ways. For me, mostly, as an experimental physicist, look for ways you can prove it wrong. If there are no such ways think harder about it. And Galileo said, Make measurable measure what is measurable and make measurable what is not so I kind of alter them, I say, you know, falsify what is falsifiable and make falsifiable what is not. And so for me, I’m interested in these kinds of aspects of could you prove it wrong more than I am of like, really fretting if it’s if it’s, you know, not real I, I, again, I think it would effectively be tantamount to some omniscient, omnipotent deity. And actually, what interests me on a personal level is more kind of like, the ethics of the simulators themselves. And, and and even forget about the future. And this will be the last thing, before I run to a group meeting of cosmologists. Even if it’s not true, what if we can make just human beings? You know, James’s and Brian’s? What if we can make a really advanced simulation, where people like the Grand Theft Auto, but then they’re actually like, cynsations? Maybe like, when a character gets shot, you know, you blow up a capacitor, you know, inside the computer or something. So it feels pain or like, has some sensation? What are the ethics that we have of this? Can you turn it off? Can you turn off the simulator like you’ve lovingly crafted it not not, not talking about, you know, like, how much money it would cost or whatever. But like, do human beings, will we ever get to a level where we have ethical obligations to Silicon or to quantum cubits? I think it’s really interesting to think about,

James

let me have one minute of one. One idea, and this is based on conversations we’ve had before is that the general trend of physics is to show more and more with each new level of theories how insignificant man is, you know, at first, it’s like, oh, god probably doesn’t look like a man, then it’s the sun probably doesn’t off circle the earth, then the solar system is not the only thing in the universe. There’s other stars, and they don’t orbit us. And then there’s other galaxies that don’t orbit us and online in the final version, that would be that, hey, even our universe is just some other civilizations programs, and they don’t even the people that don’t even know we exist, we’re just like, a bit in some, you know, huge simulation they’re doing they don’t even care about us.

Brian

Exactly, exactly. Yeah. So for us to think about that. That’s an extension of what we call the Copernican principle. You know, are we the center? Is our biology central? That’s another issue, like, do we need carbon based life in order to have life or do we need all life to be carbon based? That’s another anthropocentric kind of argument in terms of the chemistry space instead of physical space. And there are all sorts of these things, as you know. And so I think those are, yeah, and silicon, you know, silicon in terms of computers. Is it only like squishy, wet things that can have intelligence? Or can we really have, you know, human level artificial intelligence? And I think those are really fascinating things to consider.

James

All right, well, right. Enjoy your meeting with the cosmologists on a Friday evening, as we all have these cosmologists getting trashed and smoking crack on. Now the week is over, and hopefully one of us will figure out how to do it….Scott Adams always talks about once you realize you’re in a simulation, you can manipulate it more easily. That’s a whole other function of this. But let’s do another episode of how the universe began.

Brian

Yeah, I’m looking forward to it.

Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor at UC San Diego. Author of Losing the Nobel Prize. https://BrianKeating.com

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