focus and context, part III: the simulated and the real parallel




The idea of parallel worlds and the tunneling in between is probably as old as mankind, if one looks e.g. at old mythologies (Hades, Olymp, earth and these tunneling guys) and religions. However the multiverse discussion got a major boost in the last century due to the dual nature of quantum mechanics and its various interpretations, including the many-worlds interpretation.

Last not least quantum computers make use of parallelism (which on the other hand doesnt mean that they can solve certain problems much faster then old fashioned digital computers (as was referred to in this randform post)). The trend of parallelism and the question of choice in everyday life was also discussed in focus and context part II .

Likewise the idea that there is a god or many gods or other creatures or noncreatures who created this our – what we perceive – human world as a kind of “simulated environment” is probably also as old as mankind. Whereas there are currently big discussions (IF we assume that there exists an or many outer existences) about the HOW of this “simulated environment” should look like, i.e. e.g. wether we were set into this world as more or less fully developped kind of avatars or not.

At this point it should be noted that the question of when a simulated environment is fake becomes in this context a real high-wire act of the mind.

By the way, the question wether there exists an “outer world”, which can not be accessed by humans — even not with all powers of mathematical abstraction — or the question wether “science progresses towards a sort of utopian ultimate understanding of the world” (citation from here) is again currently strongly debated in the math/physics community (see e.g. here)

Due to the growing capabilities of (sofar mostly digital!) computers a discussion which merges the two concepts of multiverse/parallelism and simulation or real got a boost often related to the term metaverse and likewise there are again modern discussions of the old questions.

Andreas Lange of Computerspielemuseum is currently collecting existing digital computer metaverses mainly in order to investigate their juridicial and social implications. This is his sofar collected list (besides second life and WoW):

http: //www.entropiauniverse.com/
http: //www.eve-online.com/
http: //www.there.com/
http: //www.activeworlds.com/
http: //www.opencroquet.org/

(suggestions for more metaverses are welcome)

And last not least: Spreeblick has a very Berlin based ranking on metaverses, which is understandable under the premise that Berlin has a very active gay life.

And a last silly (?) remark: parallels meet at infinity…at least in a projective geometry math simulation…:)

21 Responses to “focus and context, part III: the simulated and the real parallel”

  1. anonymous Says:

    sorry my german is not so good. what is this spreeblick site about?

  2. nad Says:

    Spreeblick (translate as: sight onto the river Spree) is one of Berlins biggest blogs. In the above link people at Spreeblick compared the number of online participants of the virtual environment “Second Life” (16.OOO worldwide) ) at that day at one instant with the number of online participants at a german community webstite called “gay romeo” (22000 at the same instant in Germany). I am not sure, but on a first glance this website looks to me as a male gay internet community.

    As I understood people at Spreeblick wanted to illustrate with this, that the overall usage of Second Life is not so big as one would expect, i.e. they demonstrated with this that even the community website of what is probably rather a minority (male gay german internet users) has more participants than Second Life. But may be I am wrong. Like concerning Berlin I am even not so sure wether the gay/queer communityis a minority! Like Christopher Street day is a big event in Berlin and the gay/queer community has even their own news magazines, like Siegessaeule etc.

  3. anonymous Says:

    just curious – what is Siegessaeule?

  4. at> Says:

    In that article you linked to it is written that:

    We argue that this diversity in the physics community is more useful than an ontological monoculture, since it motivates physicists to tackle unsolved problems with a wide variety of approaches.

    So are there really people in the math/physics community who try to find a computer code for reality? I mean couldn’t this be eventually dangerous, as one could see at the examples of Vollmer, Hahn and Stiller in the movie World on a wire? What or would you tell politicians and the world if you had found out?

  5. nad Says:

    So are there really people in the math/physics community who try to find a computer code for reality?

    More or less yes.

    I mean couldn’t this be eventually dangerous, as one could see at the examples of Vollmer, Hahn and Stiller in the movie World on a wire?

    Eventually yes, I hope the involved IT/math/physic-ists are well-paid for taking those risks
    :)

  6. Joe Says:

    Bwahahooo. Those guys Galouye and Fassbinder are funny. Yes – there are quite some folks around who act like Minecraft-Creepers, but I would have never assumed that they are impersonated creepers!

    And where is Mr. Herobrine in our real world?

  7. Blender Says:

    Wikipedia says

    In the South Park episode, gruff character Corey Lanskin explained the Minecraft game by noting, “You punch the trees to get the wood, you get the wood to build a cabin. … Minecraft, it don’t got no winner. It don’t got no objective. You just fuckin’ build an’ shit. And seein’ if other things can come and knock it down.” [204]

  8. Joe Says:

    Likewise the idea that there is a god or many gods or other creatures or noncreatures who created this our – what we perceive – human world as a kind of “simulated environment” is probably also as old as mankind. Whereas there are currently big discussions (IF we assume that there exists an or many outer existences) about the HOW of this “simulated environment” should look like, i.e. e.g. wether we were set into this world as more or less fully developped kind of avatars or not.

    Sure that is because Da-da-da duh da-da CHARGE IT!! Wilma Flintstone booted her new bronto bedrock tablet with the help of the great Yazoo!!!!
    Come on – ancient civilzations didn’t have a computer. How at all should they’ve thought about avatars? You seem to want to get into a hassle with the churches!

  9. Stevie Says:

    I find that episode about Hahn, Vollmer and Stiller in “World on wire” a bit exagerated. I mean if you run a simulation with zillions of users, then how would you possibly pick those three?

  10. Kater Karlo Says:

    I agree with Stevie, in particular the real Einstein had said: “God is subtle, but he is not malicious”. So if this would be a real setting and not such a strange film, then that would also hold for Hahn and Vollmer.

  11. nad Says:

    Joe said:

    Come on – ancient civilzations didn’t have a computer. How at all should they’ve thought about avatars? You seem to want to get into a hassle with the churches!

    Well our brain is a computer (leaving out for a moment the question wether it is a digital computer or not) and so the process of imagination or dreaming is rather similar to a simulation within a machine. I think it is not such an intellectual endevour to imagine that you yourself might be a person in a dream just as are the persons you dream of. Apart from that even things like doll play, puppet play and some forms of theatre are going into the simulation direction.

    Kater Carlo said:

    I agree with Stevie, in particular the real Einstein had said: “God is subtle, but he is not malicious”. So if this would be a real setting and not such a strange film, then that would also hold for Hahn and Vollmer.

    Well if I understood the film correctly then Einstein was sort of installed by the Institute for Cybernetics and Future Science, while Vollmer’s and Lause’s (and later Stiller’s) knowledge was rather not intended by the simulators and thus eventually harmful to their simulation, that explained (at least for me) already the different treatment of the “simulation aware subjects” in the film World on a wire. Apart from that there could of course a priori also be different treatments in the different simulation levels. But in general I could also imagine a setting where the simulators influence could be more diffuse, like in lucid dreams. (Warning: the Lucid dream Wikipedia article contains quite some bullshit. I can tell since I have been myself a lucid dreamer since I can think.)

  12. nad Says:

    Stevie wrote:

    I find that episode about Hahn, Vollmer and Stiller in “World on wire” a bit exagerated. I mean if you run a simulation with zillions of users, then how would you possibly pick those three?

    I could imagine that first the Institute of Cybernetics would have gained the attention of the simulators and then it would not be too hard to trace out Vollmer, Lause and Stiller. I mean if you run a simulation and parts of your simulation start to run their own simulation then alone for computational reasons it might be important to detect that fact and assert questions like how much the “subsimulations” affect the computational power of the simulation itself, how much the subsimulations are in accordance with the original purpose of the simulation etc. The film didn’t clarify wether the “real world”-simulation was for scientific reasons, like for studying interesting patterns in swarm behaviour or for entertainment or whatever. In the film it was just made clear that it was apparently considered not so good if uninformed “real world”-simulation participants started to investigate their simulation environment a bit more directly and thoroughly.

  13. Jimmyboy Says:

    I could imagine that first the Institute of Cybernetics would have gained the attention of the simulators and then it would not be too hard to trace out Vollmer, Lause and Stiller.

    It seems that they had Eva as a contact unit. I never understood though why Eva. I mean she acts as if she is an aloof chicken.

  14. nad Says:

    It seems that they had Eva as a contact unit. I never understood though why Eva. I mean she acts as if she is an aloof chicken.

    I wouldn’t say she acts as an aloof chicken, but yes her acting might eventually appear unexpected.
    I always wanted to check wether Eva appeared in the Story “Simulacron 3″ on which “Welt am Draht” is based on. It may be that Eva is the invention of Fassbinder.

    There is a sequence in the new (and by the way very recommendable) documentary “Eine deutsche Jugend” by Jean-Gabriel Périot (The documentary was briefly freely available on Spiegel Online but it seems the film may be currently only rented for 48 hours or seen in a cinema, it may be in available in french or german only) in which Fassbinder asks a woman something like what her preferred governance system would be and she answers smiling with something like “a kingdom with a friendly and caring king”. I currently don’t want to rent the film for checking back and I saw the film only once -so my memory may betray me, but I think the woman in the film might eventually have been Irm Herrmann. If this is so then this scene would have probably been staged and it would then display rather blatantly how Fassbinder wanted to interrogate and discuss in which kind of “system” people prefer to live. I could imagine that Eva’s role was a bit going into that direction.

  15. nad Says:

    I just noticed – that at least in a finish show the documentary has english subtitles.

  16. science observer Says:

    The film didn’t clarify wether the “real world”-simulation was for scientific reasons, like for studying interesting patterns in swarm behaviour or for entertainment or whatever.

    About the film you linked to:
    Scientifical findings about warm raids of the army ant Eciton burchelli are described in this article:
    The blind leading the blind in army ant raid patterns: Testing a model of self-organization (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    But of course humans display usually way more complicated behaviour, so self-organisation is a bit more difficult to model.

  17. nad Says:

    But of course humans display usually way more complicated behaviour, so self-organisation is a bit more difficult to model.

    Yes but even humans may go in a circle once in a while:


    Me a couple days ago on ice at the Tower of London.

  18. bibi Says:

    @science observer

    thanks for the scientific reference. Unfortunately nad doesn’t always provide the necessary background information and links to scientific literature, although I had told her that this is what one would expect from a blog about math and physics.

    @nad

    I am sorry but the ice foto shouldn’t be that grainy. Did you do it with a handy ? I guess any other camera would do a better job and alone the contrasts would even be better visible on a seventies polarroid.

  19. Victor Says:

    nad said:
    “The film didn’t clarify wether the “real world”-simulation was for scientific reasons, like for studying interesting patterns in swarm behaviour or for entertainment or whatever. ”

    Might be if Vollmer and Stiller wanted to appease people in “real world simulation” then this would be too boring for big simulators. Think game of thrones without fights.

  20. nad Says:

    @Victoir

    Think game of thrones without fights.

    I have watched only a few parts of Games of Thrones. The rest of the family watched it usually without me. In particular it is not so easy to follow all the storylines if you miss some parts, since they have a rather rapid change of personata and one may miss crucial reasons, why some people are mad about other people and so on. Moreover I am not so fond of battle fields and combats. For my taste Game of thrones could go with less marches and military deployments. So eventually I gave up. But I remember that the costumes were quite remarkable. So may be I’ll try to watch another time.

    Might be if Vollmer and Stiller wanted to appease people in “real world simulation” then this would be too boring for big simulators

    Well as described above not everybody is automatically fond of marches, deployments and battles, so a “big simulator” could eventually also be weary of too much of that. Apart from that it should be said that appeasement is not unequivocally seen as an action which automatically secures peace.

  21. Kater Carlo Says:

    Kater Carlo said:
    I wrote:

    I agree with Stevie, in particular the real Einstein had said: “God is subtle, but he is not malicious”. So if this would be a real setting and not such a strange film, then that would also hold for Hahn and Vollmer.

    nad wrote:

    Well if I understood the film correctly then Einstein was sort of installed by the Institute for Cybernetics and Future Science, while Vollmer’s and Lause’s (and later Stiller’s) knowledge was rather not intended by the simulators and thus eventually harmful to their simulation, that explained (at least for me) already the different treatment of the “simulation aware subjects” in the film World on a wire.

    It may also be that there are different parties with strongly diverging views in the Level above Vollmer and the other deads. Those superpowers may have very different opinions about how to treat people who (get to) know about the simulation and maybe Eva had special protection by one party, while Vollmer had not, or at least not fast enough, so he was killed by the party who opposes “simulation aware subjects.”

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