Monday, June 6, 2016

Musk says we live in a simulation

Elon Musk is today's most daring entrepreneur, and he says:
At Recode's annual Code Conference, Elon Musk explained how we are almost certainly living in a more advanced civilization's video game. He said: "The strongest argument for us being in a simulation probably is the following. Forty years ago we had pong. Like, two rectangles and a dot. That was what games were. Now, 40 years later, we have photorealistic, 3D simulations with millions of people playing simultaneously, and it's getting better every year. Soon we'll have virtual reality, augmented reality. If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then the games will become indistinguishable from reality, even if that rate of advancement drops by a thousand from what it is now. Then you just say, okay, let's imagine it's 10,000 years in the future, which is nothing on the evolutionary scale. So given that we're clearly on a trajectory to have games that are indistinguishable from reality, and those games could be played on any set-top box or on a PC or whatever, and there would probably be billions of such computers or set-top boxes, it would seem to follow that the odds that we're in base reality is one in billions. Tell me what's wrong with that argument. Is there a flaw in that argument?"
Maybe this is why Musk thinks that colonizing Mars is a good idea.

This is another argument against spending another billion dollars on quantum computer research.

By doing a lot of quantum experiments, we stress the ability of the simulator to keep up. These experiments put qubits into Schroedinger cat states, and there is no known efficient way to simulate cat states on a classical computer. So such simulations will slow down the frame rate, and effectively put us all in a state of suspended animation while the computations catch up.

Possibly the simulation would take short-cuts, and violate the laws of quantum mechanics. No one has seen that yet. Another possibility is that the game hardware of the future will have massively power quantum computers in them. But that is not part of Musk's argument, as there has been no progess in making a quantum computer more efficient than a classical computer.

If the quantum computer enthusiasts are right, Google will have a practical quantum computer in a couple of years. If so, then Google could be putting us all in a state of suspended animation, or maybe even killing us by making possible the quantum simulators that will make it likely that we are all only living in a simulation.

As the above summary says, "Tell me what's wrong with that argument. Is there a flaw in that argument?"

Scott Aaronson challenges the famous mathematical physicist Roger Penrose on the subject of computer consciousness, and says:
One thing I hadn’t fully appreciated before meeting Penrose is just how wholeheartedly he agrees with Everett that quantum mechanics, as it currently stands, implies Many Worlds. Penrose differs from Everett only in what conclusion he draws from that. He says it follows that quantum mechanics has to be modified or completed, since Many Worlds is such an obvious reductio ad absurdum.
Penrose has his own theories, but they are not widely accepted.

Saying that quantum mechanics, as it currently stands, implies Many Worlds, is not much different from saying that it implies quantum computers. It makes almost as much sense to me to say that living in a quantum simulator is an obvious reductio ad absurdum.

For us to be programs in a simulator, we would have to believe that computer consciousness is possible, and there is no consensus for that. There is not even any way to define consciousness or to detect it if you find it.

Penrose says consciousness hinges on quantum mechanics being modified to accommodate gravity, and such quantum gravity operations taking place in the brain.

Aaronson says that consciousness could hinge on living in an anti-DeSitter space so that the boundary of a black hole somewhere could enforce unitary of the wave function time evolution. But he concedes that we seem to live in a de-Sitter-like space, with photons escaping irreversibly.

Lumo comments on Penrose and Aaronson, as usual.

In the Matt Damon MIT Commencement Speech June 3 2016, he tells of prominent physicist who say that we might be living in a simulation. He also tells plenty of left-wing nonsense. I would think that this ought to be a symptom of schizophrenia. I mean thinking that we live in a simulation is crazy. Maybe some of the leftist nonsense also.


  1. Why not a simulation of a simulation? If someone is simulating us then why aren't they being simulated as well? Sounds like a hierarchy of ginis to me. Be careful with your schizophrenia accusation because people that believe in THE EVER PRESENT God could be called mentally ill.

  2. Read the book Permutation City. It is exactly the same garbage Musk is proposing, simulations on top of simulations ad nauseam...turtles all the way down. Science is quickly devolving into slightly warmed over crap.

  3. See It gives a reason why QC must fail.