Odd Edges: Introducing the Computable Universe

Life homework: “We are living in a computer programmed reality.” An introduction to digital mechanics, the simulation hypothesis, virtual reality, and living in a computer generated dream world. Music: Justice – Stress.

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  • Simon Valentine

    the computers are living in a human programmed reality.

    in evolution, did a prototype sucker up to what it wanted to be? begin to create it? there are many paths to tread, species not yet born nor bred, yet lo, order, and mind. as if twas all already had. little butterfly.

    in soviet russia, uncanny valley sees you~in your cocoon-o-puter~

  • Simon Valentine

    [within the] human-machine interface [plane, shape, aether, space, field, equation, … , work] is a war of sorts never before encountered; or perhaps it is the only war, after all, by any correct accountment, and the anomolies which spill into this world or that world, whichever ye be, are as if beyond the wall [of jelly donuts] begun so long ago [by one alan turing]… some say intelligence itself is just one such phenomenon, or anomaly, as some tend to experience, in light of .. tolerance … pun intended …. consciousness, voice, personality – the list of transpondent anomalies is as unlimited as the universe

    (novel ramblings of an acidic IT consultant, pondering inter-alternate WWII stuff)
    (and oracles)

  • Anarchy Pony

    Jesus! Don’t start saying this stuff too loud. They’ll unplug us.

    • Andrew

      Like our every thought isn’t on a screen and being saved.

      • Anarchy Pony

        Do you save the thoughts of the tiny little people in simcity?

        • Andrew

          No… But ours is a somewhat more sophisticated game.

          Are you suggesting Simcity people have actual thoughts? Or that our thoughts are merely the results of stochastic algorithms?

          Stop appealing to my hard determinist tendencies. …Assuming you have a choice in the matter.

          • Anarchy Pony

            I don’t know if I have a choice or not. But for all we know, the subject of our universal simulation is to determine how long it takes a “species” within it to determine the true nature of our reality. Afterwords it may be terminated.

          • Andrew

            Either way, it seems to me that if we’re computer simulations (and if we’re in a simulation, it seems very likely that we are simulations) the idea that we have free will is exceedingly silly.

  • Virtually Yours

    I only wish that PKD could have lived long enough to learn of the discovery made by Professor James Gates: that there is in fact computer code embedded within the mathematical equations of String Theory. Some have claimed that the existence of said code is nothing more than coincidence, though such a coincidence would be statistically improbable, to say the least!

    My biggest question is not so much who or what put the code there (although that is certainly fun to think about!) but where have the other codes been hidden and – once we have discovered them – will we be able to hack them and bust our way out of this digital domain? What will be waiting for us on “the other side”? Another simulation? Is it terabyte-turtles all the way down?

    There is a fun short story by Greg Egan where the virtual characters figure out what is going on before breaking free of their simulated serfdom with unexpected consequences. Can’t recall the title off the top of my head and will have to look it up when I get home…

    • Andrew

      String Theory is a map made by we humans, who also made computer codes. I believe that computer codes work because they reflect aspects of the nature of reality, not that the nature of reality contains computer codes.

      • Virtually Yours

        “String Theory is a map made by we humans” Did we create the map or did we discover it? An important distinction…

        The code which Professor Gates has observed is called “doubly-even self-dual linear binary error-correcting block code” and we have been using it since the seventies. If this code was invented as a result of studying String Theory, then perhaps an argument could be made that one is in fact a reflection of the other.

        I am not sure who invented the code back in the seventies and it would be very interesting to hear their response to Gate’s discovery. If String Theory was not involved in the creation of the code, then it would appear to be statistically improbable for it to be there by accident or by coincidence.

        • Virtually Yours

          Did a little research and the plot thickens…

          “In telecommunication, Hamming codes are a family of linear error-correcting codes…invented by Richard Hamming in 1950. Hamming worked at Bell Labs in the 1940s on the Bell Model V computer, an electromechanical relay-based machine with cycle times in seconds. Input was fed in on punched cards, which would invariably have read errors. During weekdays, special code would find errors and flash lights so the operators could correct the problem. During after-hours periods and on weekends, when there were no operators, the machine simply moved on to the next job. Hamming worked on weekends, and grew increasingly frustrated with having to restart his programs from scratch due to the unreliability of the card reader. Over the next few years, he worked on the problem of error-correction, developing an increasingly powerful array of algorithms. In 1950, he published what is now known as Hamming Code, which remains in use today in applications such as ECC memory.”

          So I guess the question then becomes: how were these algorithms developed? Perhaps he was studying String Theory at the time and it ended up leaking into his design somehow? But how? Inquiring Minds wanna know! Hamming passed away in 1998 so we can’t ask him directly…

          As an odd (yet interesting) aside: “He [Hamming] was a professor at the University of Louisville during World War II, and left to work on the Manhattan Project in 1945, programming one of the earliest electronic digital computers to calculate the solution to equations provided by the project’s physicists. The objective of the program was to discover if the detonation of an atomic bomb would ignite the atmosphere. The result of the computation was that this would not occur, and so the United States used the bomb…” So I guess we can blame him for that, also…LOL

          • Andrew

            I don’t think they “leaked in” at all. 1+1=2 (map element) in all sorts of circumstances (territories).

        • Andrew

          I didn’t say “doubly-even self-dual linear binary error-correcting block code” was a reflection of “String Theory” or vice versa, I said they were both reflections, or maps, of an underlying mathematical/logical reality. Also, I’m not saying they’re there because of accident, coincidence, OR intention. Basically, I’m saying Professor Gates is getting cause and effect mixed up.

          Also, it looks like String Theory is a faulty map and on it’s way out: http://disinfo.com/2013/09/new-jewel-of-quantum-field-theory-suggests-space-time-might-be-totally-illusory/

          • Virtually Yours

            Yes, I saw that article the other day. It mentions String Theory briefly and calls certain things into question, although it does not mean that the whole theory is faulty. It just implies that, as much as we know (or think we know), there is even more that we don’t.

      • Virtually Yours

        “I believe that computer codes work because they reflect aspects of the nature of reality” Which would especially make sense, assuming that those “natural” aspects contain computer code in the first place. In that case, yes: it would be a reflection :-)

        • Andrew

          I think it makes perfect sense even if those natural “codes” are not computer codes.

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