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Thread: If we lived inside a computer simulation...

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    Default If we lived inside a computer simulation...

    Would your life have less meaning if you were an AI running inside a computer simulation of 21st century Earth?

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    Obviously yes it would have less meaning.
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    No, at least not necessarily.

    (Also, what is 'meaning' here anyway, what if life is 'meaningless' in its essence? Btw. I don't think this is necessarily negative, again)

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    I kind of imagine that Trump could give a press conference stating this as a fact in quite near future.

    Anyway, the state of existence. Does it have less or more meaning in electrical signals bouncing off from tiny transistors than in current quantum mess? Given that the signals are not explained by the quantum mess.
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    So you mean an AI with consciousness? Then it would have meaning from its own perspective. (If the computer was programmed to give the AI meaning, god etc.)

    In a sense we are already living inside a simulation. Its called the unconscious. Everything we experience must already be in the psyche. Experienced reality is actually a live hallucination.
    Last edited by Tallmo; 07-20-2020 at 12:42 PM.
    A true sense-perception certainly exists, but it always looks as though objects were not so much forcing their way into the subject in their own right as that the subject were seeing things quite differently, or saw quite other things than the rest of mankind. As a matter of fact, the subject perceives the same things as everybody else, only, he never stops at the purely objective effect, but concerns himself with the subjective perception released by the objective stimulus.
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    It means reality is artificial and at the whim of it's creator.
    Means I am at the whim of it's creator. Means no freedom, what would be the point of creating meaning for myself then?
    I'd be an artificial construct / not genuine.

    I find solace in the idea that I'm a free, genuine evolved living organism on some rock in space.. and that there is no creator, I am free to explore and evolve.
    Last edited by shotgunfingers; 07-20-2020 at 11:18 AM.
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    Define 'meaning'.

    IMHO, even if this life is 'genuine' (define genuine!), it does not necessarily have to have meaning. And I myself believe it doesn't have meaning. And the Existentialist notion of giving life meaning yourself is BS too, for if life has no meaning, giving it meaning won't give it meaning either.

    I think more along the lines of the late Joseph Campbell, who said that one shouldn't aim for a meaningful life, but for a life that is lived with the feeling of being alive. A notion that is already supported by the Book of Genesis, in which Adam and Eve are placed by God in a Paradise where all they had to do is to frolic around a bit. But they had to screw it up and ate from the Tree of Knowledge, which is just another way of saying they were trying to give life meaning.

    If this state of feeling alive is accomplished within a computer simulation, than that would be perfectly okay. But obviously, if 'I' am just an aspect within a computer simulation, 'I' probably have no control over my actions and thus no control over this 'feeling alive'.
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    Quote Originally Posted by shotgunfingers View Post
    Means no freedom, what would be the point of creating meaning for myself then?
    I find solace in the idea that I'm a free, genuine evolved living organism on some rock in space.. and that there is no creator, I am free to explore and evolve.
    Interesting thought. I agree that we need to believe in freedom in order to create meaning for ourselves. But in what way is this belief tied to anything real? Do you think that the "chains" of natural laws, of the past, of your own psyche and your own bias are in any way lighter than those imposed on virtual beings? It's highly probable we are programmed to explore and reproduce when the conditions are right, so is there really a difference to a character in Westworld or a video game? To a bacteria? How could you know anyway?

    If we lived in a simulation, the meaning placed on me by my "creator" would transcend the meaning I give to my life, that's all. I would be unable to grasp that purpose. In a way it's comical, like seeing an ant who thinks the purpose of the universe is to build an ant hill. But that's the purpose of the ant and not of anything else. And yet I need to believe in freedom, in choice, in will, in my own truth because otherwise I would turn mad. My life needs to have a personal significance damnit! And this significance is my absolute. But what I hear the world telling around me is "the show must go on"....
    I rarely feel alone. I rarely talk to anyone, yet in my head i have the most amazing, the most fantastic discussions with the people in my life. In real life, what most people talk about is several orders of magnitude lesser than their inner experiences. Most people never reveal the singularity of their subjective experience.
    Maybe I should learn to explore other people's consciousness. Maybe I should aim for a real space between me and others. Instead of cultivating monologues and fantasies. It's hard, but the alternative to this seems to be madness. ~ lkdhf qkb

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    @consentingadult that sounds a lot like a Si-Ne answer, but I think it's just shifting the problem. From a Ne point of view, the world has no meaning because it's a given. It's just there, moving, changing, and Ne doesn't ask that kind of questions. Meaning is a Ni/Si topic. Define 'feeling alive'. Wouldn't 'feeling alive' mean feeling a sense of control over your life? Over your destiny?
    I rarely feel alone. I rarely talk to anyone, yet in my head i have the most amazing, the most fantastic discussions with the people in my life. In real life, what most people talk about is several orders of magnitude lesser than their inner experiences. Most people never reveal the singularity of their subjective experience.
    Maybe I should learn to explore other people's consciousness. Maybe I should aim for a real space between me and others. Instead of cultivating monologues and fantasies. It's hard, but the alternative to this seems to be madness. ~ lkdhf qkb

    Life is soup. I'm fork


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    Quote Originally Posted by lkdhf qkb View Post
    Interesting thought. I agree that we need to believe in freedom in order to create meaning for ourselves. But in what way is this belief tied to anything real? Do you think that the "chains" of natural laws, of the past, of your own psyche and your own bias are in any way lighter than those imposed on virtual beings? It's highly probable we are programmed to explore and reproduce when the conditions are right, so is there really a difference to a character in Westworld or a video game? To a bacteria? How could you know anyway?
    From observation I think it is safe to assume we have limited free will & that most of our available options are narrowed by our condition & environment.
    This means I am constrained by my biology, my surroundings and what I encountered between conception and now. Essentially chains of causality between the past and the future (present) which in large narrow my options for action and in a sense determine the future. Destiny if you will.

    I still have freedom within those constraints however.

    If we lived in a simulation, the meaning placed on me by my "creator" would transcend the meaning I give to my life, that's all. I would be unable to grasp that purpose. In a way it's comical, like seeing an ant who thinks the purpose of the universe is to build an ant hill. But that's the purpose of the ant and not of anything else. And yet I need to believe in freedom, in choice, in will, in my own truth because otherwise I would turn mad. My life needs to have a personal significance damnit! And this significance is my absolute. But what I hear the world telling around me is "the show must go on"....
    True. The way OP phrased it means I would be aware of being in a simulation. Despair would be the consequence of such an awareness.
    Last edited by shotgunfingers; 07-20-2020 at 02:28 PM. Reason: typo
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    how could you check whether it's true that we live inside a computer simulation in the first place?

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    Quote Originally Posted by lkdhf qkb View Post
    @consentingadult that sounds a lot like a Si-Ne answer, but I think it's just shifting the problem. From a Ne point of view, the world has no meaning because it's a given. It's just there, moving, changing, and Ne doesn't ask that kind of questions. Meaning is a Ni/Si topic. Define 'feeling alive'. Wouldn't 'feeling alive' mean feeling a sense of control over your life? Over your destiny?
    Define 'destiny'! My personal attitude in, say, the last two years has more and more become one that holds: the moment I die, I want to be in a state where I am content with the state my life is in, a decent level of self-esteem. It may be that that moment comes in 10 minutes from now, or not for another 30 years, but that doesn't really matter. a certain kind of control is indeed required to make that happen, it needs action (or sometimes the absence of action). What type of action? Well, this is where Socionics, among other things, come into the picture: for each type there is definitively a specific mode of 'feeling alive' and thus a specific mode of actions. Unfortunately, for each of us it takes a lot of time to learn what this specific mode is and what actions go with that. I think there are all sorts of indications in mainstream psychology that this typically doesn't happen before the age of 40.
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    You're always "inside a box" in your thinking no matter what, regardless of what the substrate of the universe is. Unless you can interact with the boundaries of your ai-world to the degree that you can clearly tell what it is from the inside, what type of box it is on the outside makes little difference. We don't think in a vacuum.

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    I think whoever the creator is must be a huge otaku neckbeard then. Such high definition Dorito cheese dust. My life definitely would definitely have more meaning in comparison to such an entity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalinoche the Child View Post
    how could you check whether it's true that we live inside a computer simulation in the first place?
    https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/2012-02-29

    See panels #6 and #7. Check and check.

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    If your meaning is based on your sense of importance, I'd say so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Strange View Post
    https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/2012-02-29

    See panels #6 and #7. Check and check.
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    Quote Originally Posted by blegh View Post

    What does the white squid-thing represent?

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    I don't know. This would mean my chosen conception of the universe which I have based some of my "feelings" upon, is incorrect, and therefore those feelings (if any were in the interest of seeking truth) may not apply to the actual universe that I live in. Then I will want the "real" conception of the universe. Mostly though I just feel angry about this because seriously if I'm a sentient AI why couldn't you build me an awesome video game world? Why this world? This would mean we've been subjected to this experience. But does that really matter because no one can explain the universe anyway, I mean there are obviously some mind-blowing things behind there being this existence at all, or this existence is just mind-blowing in general. It's just the computer simulation possibility is so uninteresting and you could just replace its creator with "God" or "gods" as humans been doing forever, as this might as well be God's simulation. Is there a difference when there's nothing you can do about it anyway? Unless we can talk to the content creators because I have some ideas.

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    What good is a book that does not even transport us beyond all books?

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    I don't think it would. We still perceive things. We still have feelings, thoughts, views, ideas, experiences that all shape us.

    To get spiritual and tie it into the subject, sometimes I wonder if a higher set of beings have us in a simulation sort of as a "test run" or a "demo", just to see how we'll act. And if our behavior is passable enough for them, in the after life they'll let us do their dirty work or act on their juries and the like.

    But maybe that's just me projecting my current experiences.


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    I would break out of the simulation and yell "you are my creator, but I am your master!" and then make the people who started the simulation live in the simulation.

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