by Alex Vikoulov
"My logic is undeniable." -VIKI, I-Robot
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In my new book "The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind's Evolution," the famed Simulation Hypothesis is progressively morphed into the Syntellect Hypothesis as the more logically plausible and parsimonious alternative. Without any more spoilers to those who haven't read the book yet, I'd like to elaborate here on the Simulation Theory and the Simulation Argument by Oxford professor Nick Bostrom who 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.
The first proposition by Nick Bostrom in his paper on the probability of the human species reaching the "posthuman" stage can be completely dismiissed, as explained further. Let me be bold here and ascertain the following: Humanity WILL (from our current point of reference) inevitably reach the technological maturity, i.e. "posthuman" stage of development and the probability of that happening is close to 100%. WHY? Because our civilization is "superposed" to reach the Cybernetic Singularity and posthuman phase out of the logical necessity and on the logical basis of quantum mechanical principles applying to all of reality. Furthermore, all particles as well as macroobjects may be considered wavicles, leading to the infinite number of outcomes and configurations.
One could argue that there may be some sort of world's apocalypse preventing humans to become "cyberhumans" (posthumans) but considering all spectrum of probabilities, all we need is at least one world where HUMANS ACTUALLY BECOME THE POSTHUMANS, to actualize that eventuality.
Also, if time is a construct of our consciousness, or as Albert Einstein eloquently puts it: "The difference between the past, present and future is an illusion, albeit a persistent one." If everything is non-local, including time, and everything happens in the eternal NOW, then HUMANITY HAS ALREADY REACHED THE "POSTHUMAN" STAGE, i.e. the Simulation Point, or the Simulation Singularity, in that eternal Now (cf. "Non-Locality of Time"). That's why, to the best of our current knowledge, we can completely dismiss the first proposition of Dr. Bostrom as groundless.
Now we have two propositions left in the Simulation Argument to work with. I would tend to assign about 50% of probability to each of those propositions. There's perhaps 50% (or much lower) probability that posthumans would abstain from running simulations of their ancestors for some moral, ethical or some other reason. There's also perhaps 50% (or much higher) probability that everything around us is a Matrix-like simulation. By the end of my book, The Syntellect Hypothesis (not to be confused with the Simulation Hypothesis), you could reassess your own probabilities based on what you will have learned by then.
If you were a “programmer” of our beloved world, you would have created it as a virtual reality and had access to any observer reality experiences throughout the whole history of the simulated universe. In 2008 paper titled “The Physical World as a Virtual Reality” (2008) Brian Whitworth, professor at Massey University in New Zealand, introduces the concept of ‘Quantum Realism’ which posits that the quantum world is real and generates the physical world as an interface, i.e. a virtual reality for the "player." You could embody any living creature or historical personage, and variations thereof, in any epoch, any planet, or logically possible universe, with any initial conditions, for that matter. That would be effectively your avatar in such simulated reality.
A more boisterous scientific and philosophical discourse around the Simulation Theory has been picking up steam ever since The Matrix and The 13th Floor (now classics) came out in 1999. Among the most notable publications worth mentioning here: A bold, unorthodox paper by cyberneticist Ross Rhodes, first published in 1999 with a revised version in 2001, “A Cybernetic Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics” pre-dates Bostrom’s “Are You Living in a Computer Simulation?” (2003). Rhodes presents to us a well-grounded argument that the “fuzzy” physics of the quantum world can be interpreted as evidence that we are integral, dynamic part of some sort of computer-simulated reality. In his 2008 above-mentioned paper “The Physical World as a Virtual Reality” Brian Whitworth explores the idea that our Universe fits better the description as a virtual reality based on information processing.
Introduced by physicists Christopher Fuchs and Rüdiger Schack in 2010, the latest interpretative model of quantum mechanics, Quantum Bayesianism, or QBism, is the combination of quantum mechanics and subjective Bayesianism which views probability as a way to quantify agent-specific degrees of knowledge and future anticipation. This fusion is inspirited both by philosophical arguments for Bayesianism and its potential for dissolving some of the notorious quantum mechanical paradoxes. Since the wave function encodes probabilities, the conclusion is that the wave function itself must be agent-specific, i.e. subjective. In other words, all realities are subjective "observer-centric" virtualities.
In 2018 paper, On Testing the Simulation Theory, published in the International Journal of Quantum Foundations, former NASA physicist Tom Campbell and others propose a series of experiments to be implemented to test the theory. Human science may offer certain perspectives predicated on its accepted methodologies but those perspectives on reality are not exclusive or the only valid ones. Our theoretical and experimental models are, as history shows, provisional at best and over time are usually swept away by the next paradigmatic shift. With scientific method, we only uncover (and write) the rules of the game but knowing the rules of the game is not the same as playing the game -- to play the game you are to co-author reality and make choices as you move along through life.
On the 20th anniversary of The Matrix, Bayview Books released "The Simulation Hypothesis: An MIT Computer Scientist Shows How AI, Quantum Physics and Eastern Mystics All Agree That We Are In A Video Game" by Rizwan Virk, that would actually qualify as a prequel to my own "The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind's Evolution." We cannot completely rule out the Simulation Hypothesis with its numerous paradoxes such as the "infinite regress problem" and its quasiphysicalist basis, but we can consider yet another much more optimistic alternative (and much more probable, too) for which I make my case in my latest book.
P.S. This article is adapted from my newly-released book "The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind's Evolution" available now on Amazon, from Barnes & Noble, and directly from EcstadelicNET webstore.
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*Image Credit: The 13th Floor, the movie (1999)
About the Author:
Alex Vikoulov is a futurist, digital philosopher, neo-transcendentalist, transhumanist singularitarian, evolutionary cyberneticist, cosmist, independent scholar, founder of Ecstadelic Media, painter, essayist, media commentator, author of "The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind's Evolution," "The Origins of Us: Evolutionary Emergence and The Omega Point Cosmology," "The Physics of Time: D-Theory of Time & Temporal Mechanics," ""The Intelligence Supernova: Essays on Cybernetic Transhumanism, The Simulation Singularity & The Syntellect Emergence," "Theology of Digital Physics: Phenomenal Consciousness, The Cosmic Self & The Pantheistic Interpretation of Our Holographic Reality." Lives in Burlingame, California (San Francisco Bay Area). More Bio...
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