Tag Archives | The Matrix

Virtual Reality: It’s Easy to Say That Nothing Would Ever Beat the Real World When We’ve Never Had a Decent Contender

A thought-provoking little video from the team at THUNK, a video podcast series devoted to science and philosophy.

I wasn’t that crazy about The Matrix, honestly, but I freely admit that I probably wasn’t who the Wachowski siblings had in mind when they made the movie: I was in my mid-twenties when it came out and was already familiar with the philosophical conundrums with which Neo and gang were wrestling. When I heard Morpheus say “Free your mind” it probably didn’t help that all I could think in response was “…and your ass will follow!” – Thanks, Funkadelic. I do think that the movie was a fantastic way to get a lot of kids to start questioning things, thought, and you look at it that way, The Matrix itself was a major Red Pill.

Regardless of my feelings about the film as a whole, I’ve often considered Cypher’s choice, myself: For all he or anyone else knows, the war being waged by Neo and friends is another illusion, and not a very enjoyable one at that.… Read the rest

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Do We Live in the Matrix?

The.Matrix.glmatrix.2Zeeya Merali says that “tests could reveal whether we are part of a giant computer simulation — but the real question is if we want to know,” writing for Discover:

In the 1999 sci-fi film classic The Matrix, the protagonist, Neo, is stunned to see people defying the laws of physics, running up walls and vanishing suddenly. These superhuman violations of the rules of the universe are possible because, unbeknownst to him, Neo’s consciousness is embedded in the Matrix, a virtual-reality simulation created by sentient machines.

The action really begins when Neo is given a fateful choice: Take the blue pill and return to his oblivious, virtual existence, or take the red pill to learn the truth about the Matrix and find out “how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

Physicists can now offer us the same choice, the ability to test whether we live in our own virtual Matrix, by studying radiation from space.

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Physicist Discovers Computer Code Embedded Within the Equations of String Theory

In an interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson, physicist James Gates describes a digitally-encoded error checking algorithm embedded within the fundamental equations of String Theory:

Gates’s ideas are laid out in more depth in a 2010 article for Physics World. He believes that these theoretical findings, if validated, may be evidence that we live in a simulation. However, if there are algorithms encoded in the fabric of reality, is it not also possible that they might have emerged as a result of some natural selective process–a kind of cosmic DNA, if you will?

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The Matrix: What Is Bullet Time?

[disinfo ed.’s note: this original essay was first published by disinformation on February 12, 2001. Some links may have changed.]

Neo: Right now, we’re inside a computer program?

Morpheus: Wild, isn’t it?

What if reality was false and your nightmares were true? Is the present the past and the future happening now?

Thomas Anderson begins examining these questions. Anderson begins having doubts about reality. He has lived in the year 1999 until he is contacted by the enigmatic Morpheus, who leads him into an alternative dimension. Now it is 200 years later, and the World has been laid waste and taken over by advanced artificial intelligence machines. Anderson questions whether he is actually in a present day city, or wired up with millions of others, blissfully unaware into a massive virtual framework (“Matrix”) in the future. The computers have apparently created a false version of 20th Century life to keep humans enslaved, while AI machines draw power from their bodies.… Read the rest

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Physicists Devise Way to Test Whether We’re Really Living in a Hologram

Hologram Universe?Interesting post from Sara Reardon in Symmetry (A joint Fermilab/SLAC publication):

In 2008, Fermilab particle astrophysicist Craig Hogan made waves with a mind-boggling proposition: The 3D universe in which we appear to live is no more than a hologram. Now he is building the most precise clock of all time to directly measure whether our reality is an illusion.

The idea that spacetime may not be entirely smooth — like a digital image that becomes increasingly pixelated as you zoom in – had been previously proposed by Stephen Hawking and others. Possible evidence for this model appeared last year in the unaccountable “noise” plaguing the GEO600 experiment in Germany, which searches for gravitational waves from black holes. To Hogan, the jitteriness suggested that the experiment had stumbled upon the lower limit of the spacetime pixels’ resolution.

Black hole physics, in which space and time become compressed, provides a basis for math showing that the third dimension may not exist at all.

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Future Shock: Intel Wants Brain Implants in Its Customers’ Heads by 2020

MatrixNeoJeremy Hsu writes on Popular Science:

If the idea of turning consumers into true cyborgs sounds creepy, don’t tell Intel researchers. Intel’s Pittsburgh lab aims to develop brain implants that can control all sorts of gadgets directly via brain waves by 2020.

The scientists anticipate that consumers will adapt quickly to the idea, and indeed crave the freedom of not requiring a keyboard, mouse, or remote control for surfing the Web or changing channels. They also predict that people will tire of multi-touch devices such as our precious iPhones, Android smart phones and even Microsoft’s wacky Surface Table.

Turning brain waves into real-world tech action still requires some heavy decoding of brain activity. The Intel team has already made use of fMRI brain scans to match brain patterns with similar thoughts across many test subjects.

Plenty of other researchers have also tinkered in this area. Toyota recently demoed a wheelchair controlled with brainwaves, and University of Utah researchers have created a wireless brain transmitter that allows monkeys to control robotic arms.

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‘Matrix’ Bullet Time Scene Re-Created … in Legos

A great find from the Wrap:
From the famous green digital falling numbers to Keanu Reeves' bending over backwards to dodge bullets, "Trinity Help" is a frame-accurate stop-frame animation of the famous bullet-dodge scene from 1999's "The Matrix" -- entirely in Lego. If you're wondering how they did it, check out the website. If you're wondering WHY they did it, you're on your own. Also at the website, you can explore the behind-the-scenes machinations that went on during 440 hours of creating the Lego scene, and watch it side by side with the original scene from the movie. Enjoy the video:
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Why our brains will never live in the Matrix

In “Ghost in the Shell,” professor Athena Andreadis answers the question, “Why Our Brains Will Never Live in the Matrix,” contrasting “mind uploading” predictions with “the major stumbling block to personal immortality” — namely, that our biological software is inseparable from our hardware.

There’s practical problems. (“After electrochemical activity ceases in the brain, neuronal integrity deteriorates in a matter of seconds.”) But what we call “the mind” is also an artifact of a specific brain, and copying it “is an excellent way to leave a detailed memorial or a clone-like descendant, but not to become immortal.”

And besides, the professor argues, people visualizing an unending virtual life “invariably think of it in connection with themselves and those whom they like — choosing to ignore that others will also be around forever, from genocidal maniacs to cult followers, to say nothing of annoying in-laws or predatory bosses!”

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