Archive for March, 2013


Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Tim has written and put together some code for a wireless USB midi/OSC connection.

critter under the couch

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

A sort of brief follow-up to the last two posts about simulations. Here a link to Tim’s simulation of a critter under the couch.

sim sin correctional possibilities

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

artwork: “Berlin citysimbim” by glocki

This post is a kind of follow-up post to the last one, which dealt amongst others with simulations of political/economic scenarios in multiplayer online games. In a couple of days a new SimCity game will come out and as Wikipedia puts it:

This version of SimCity will be the first to feature full online play since Maxis’s SimCity 2000 Network Edition,[1] allowing for regions to house multiple cities from different players. Regions can alternatively be set to private for solo play.[31] SimCity will require players to be logged into EA’s Origin service to play the game, including when playing single player.

or as puts it:

SimCity has truly connected cities within larger regions for the first time. Cities do not exist in a bubble – they are living, breathing systems that make up a region – and now you can trade and share resources among cities and regions in real time.

Unfortunately the above mentioned Origin seems to have sofar stirred up a lot of controversy about privacy issues. In Europe there are currently new data protection regulations underway, which by the way seem to be heavily “informed” by lobbyists. (The website Lobbyplag (unfortunately sofar only in german) gives an overview, which law drafts have been directly pasted in from which lobbyists brochures.) In view of this ungoing process it is thus however sofar not clear wether any of the discussed privacy issues of Origin will have any or what juridicial consequences.
SimCity2013 seems to allow for no modding at least right after launch. That is in an interview with gameinformer SimCity lead producer Kip Katsarelis replied to the question:
Is there an element of user-created content and sharing in city customization?

We’re not committing to any of that at this time, but we know that is part of Maxis. In SimCity 4, a lot of those tools were released pretty much a year after launch. So, definitely on our minds, but I can’t promise that we’re delivering on any of that right now.

If modding would have been possible then -apart from eventual privacy/data protection problems- the people from the project of the last post could have eventually thought about wether it would make sense to use SimCity2013Mods for their purpose. However it should also pointed out, that even if modding would be possible then too political game mods could pose problems.

One should also think about the economic consequences of computer simulations/games etc. (you may eventually also want to read my comment on the blog Backreaction in this context.)

addition 13.12.17: For the readers convenience, here a copy of the comment on the blog Backreaction:

nad0815 said…

What you seem to be somewhat discussing is to some extend wether there exist some god(s).

That is if I replace “simulation” with “creation by god” and if I replace “computer” with “human mind accessible universe” then your discussion looks very similar to that discussion.

Finally wether something feels “simulated” or “real” is quite a question of perception. You may eventually want to read:

And since there are quite some humans who claim that they already saw/perceived/DISCOVERED the “simulator(s)” your “coincidence problem” seems to be spread over all centuries.

you wrote:

“To begin with, unless you want to populate the simulation by hand, you need a process in which self-awareness is created out of simpler bits. And to prevent self-aware beings from noting the simulation’s limits, you then need a monitoring program that identifies when the self-aware parts attempt to make an observation and exactly which observation.”

Why should self-awareness (of limitations) be necessary to simulate self-aware entities? In fact a simulation of (aware) entities could happen by un-self-awarely mimicking a construction process and/or by chance. In that case your simulation would neither be a “creation of an aware god” nor be it “fully self-organized by some abstract laws and/or random outer conditions”. And thus there seems to be in particular no reason why simulated entities need to be kept from noticing that they are simulated like in order “to save on computational power” – that is they could awarely simulate without knowing that they are simulated themselves or they could even simulate whatever while being completely unaware of whatever. Both would need calculational power.

In fact I do think that nowadays “simulations” in computer games (and related computer environments) use up a lot of power, labour, time etc. and that this seems to have already quite an economic impact:

So you’d never observe any effects of finite lattice spacing because whenever you look all symmetries are restored. Wicked. It also creates other scientific problems.

(short side remark: There exist of course also fractals)

Considering the alien question: The reason that we have sofar not detected any “aliens” could of course be also for the reason that mankind has sofar been regarded as a kind of “baby civilization” and has thus sofar been protected from any shocks which could result from meeting the aliens…

5:24 AM, March 03, 2013