Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Simulation - A steady state perspective

I have a confession to make. When I was a teenager I strongly supported the Steady state Theory. This is an account a a pseudo sateady state approach to the world of simulation. Do we live in a simulation and if so what is the nature of that simulation.

Simulation general

Simulation can be of two types, there is a direct simulation of every interaction which takes place and there is a "mental" simulation where all that is in fact simulated is the information which is available in our minds. Simulation of the first kind is clearly extremely expensive in terms of resources, particularly when we start simulating things like high energy physics. The necessity to simulate high energy physics to me rules out simulation of the first kind as any sort of description of reality.

Let us look at simulation of the second kind. Here when we look at high energy physics, to take an example, the sole reality is our recollection of the event and the record as it is recoded in our heads or in computer files. Philosophers have asked the question as to whether a tree exists if no one is looking at it. The simulation answer is of course that it does not. Trees exist only in the minds of the people who see them.

Noteworthy here is a DVD I once saw of "Merlin" where Merlin found out that the way to break the magic spell of a certain quen was for everybody to forget about her and then she would not exist!

If we present reality in this way it is clear that we must present a computation as being the result of a computation on the main computer, and a computer, remember a computer like anything else is only real when it is being looked at and its computations are a direct simulation.

This leads us to an interesting conclusion. If we were to attempt a simulation of our own, you can see what would happen. As all our computation would be doing is drawing on the pool of the deeper level computer our final simulation would simply mean that we had transferred everything to the main computer. What would have happened? We would be where we were before. Thus our simulation takes on, very much, a steady state character.

It is important to realize this. We can ask the question :- Are the laws of Physics in the simulation the true laws of Physics? Yes they are, simply because anything else would contradict the steady state principle. Of course as the simulation proceeds the central computer is going to adjust the simulation conditions to the present conditions of the Universe.

Do we go round a star or a black hole. A black hole, according to the latest research is far more efficient (about 30 times) at producing energy than is a star with thermonuclear fusion.

The energy efficiency is 20% of the rest mass

Rotational energy up to 39%.
Suppose we start extracting energy from a black hole, or indeed any other high energy source. We will of course at this point be a long way from any direct involvement in the process. However if we are extracting energy from a new source we still require accurate knowledge of the laws of physics.

Our Psychological Arrow of Time
We see one event preceding another, and it is indeed supposed that this sequence of events and their continuity is what gives us the feeling of consciousness. If a copy were made of ourselves and we then lived in two different places, could these memories ever be brought together? They could in principle provided they did not interfere with one and other.

We would back ourselves up before doing anything dangerous like an interstellar trip. If our other self simply lay dormant until we were back from an interstellar trip, could we recover consciousness. In certain circumstances we could. The memories of Alpha Centuri would be superimposed on our return, and what we were doing in the meantime would not in any way be dependent on that.

This is a reply to points made in a thread on interstellar travel