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Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Gigiwoo, Aug 30, 2016.
Feels like there's inspiration to be found in this. Short, profound, and thought provoking.
There comes a point where questioning your reality is a waste of time, a lot like that 3 minute video. It isn't profound, it's counterproductive.
Are we just dwarves playing Dwarf Fortress?
The fatal flaw in the logic is it presumes Moore's Law is infinite, as though it's possible to store and update all the data of the universe without being a universe. Creating a universe is probably easier than simulating one.
Being a Christian I've often thought about this. And being a software engineer I tend to look at it differently from the norm I guess. Not trying to drag religion in here just that it all goes together for me. I see God as being the Master Software Engineer and considered that all of this is just a grand simulation we're plugged into for a time. It's the Great Test. We die in here the simulation ends for us and back we (well our consciousness/soul whatever) go to wherever we really are. Unplugged from the Matrix. lol That kind of thing.
Yeah i got obsessed with space, futurism and related topics when i was entering college with authors like michio kaku and ray kutzweil. If you want to get into this kind of stuff then check them out. Also "the universe" on the history channel. From there your searches will delve you deeper into this type of hypothetical stuff.
Have you accidentally flooded your house recently? If not then I'm betting no (or the player is just the boring type).
Now that you mention, water is definitely one of this house's problems. It just never seemed that bad since it wasn't lava or circus related.
The only inspiration I got from that was - hmm.. a VR hot tub experience is very intriguing!
Better philosophers than any of us have wrestled with determinism before- there are some great works on the subject. For those who are curious here's a clip of Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias answering a question on that very topic. To sum up, he argues that to declare something as being the truth is to rise above total subjectivity, which we could not do if we did not have free will.
However, this kind of discussion isn't particularly helpful. To bring it back to the subject of Game design, I think that there is something to be gained by thinking of reality as a video game or a series of experiences.
You can see this in practice really well when you climb into a car- the car manufacturer has designed an entire experience from the moment you open the car door, to the way the dash lights up, to the sound of the engine, to the feel of the steering wheel and on and on. Driving a sports car communicates power and conveys a connectedness with the road urging the driver to accelerate quickly and test the cornering ability. Driving a hybrid never stops telling the driver how efficient the car is being and encouraging the driver to maximize his fuel economy in the way that he drives.
Shopping is another good one- department stores are very much designed experiences. If it were a game, the goal would be to find purchases that you feel good about. You might go in looking for an item, and discover an unexpected deal. You might look at several similar products and have to weigh them against each other to come out with the best option. Coupons offer discounts but only on very specific items, Memberships offer bigger discounts or rewards for making purchases. We even sometimes talk about purchases as having "scored." Shopping is designed like a game- from looking for an item to paying for it.
To extend LMan's metaphor... theme parks. It probably doesn't get much more "real-world game" than that (for general public consumption, otherwise there are actual games). A wholly artificial environment with as much of the experience planned and managed as possible, and unlike shopping or driving a hybrid, having fun is the point -- like games.
From that angle I have seen all of life as just a game for a long time now. Kind of like a massive lab where I can run various experiments on all manner of things and see what happens. I see basically everything as an experiment. Just a test.
A result happens (even if the result is "seems like nothing happened"). Feedback. Sometimes I use that feedback to tweak things and run the experiment again. It makes life a lot of fun when you approach it this way.
And also yes I can see games everywhere. Or at least things that could become games. Walk into a store and pass the boy bringing the shopping carts in. Could be a game. See a squirrel running across a powerline... another game. They are everywhere you look if you learn to see them.
The 'computer' doing the simulating is the mind, the 'software' are thoughts, and the 'simulation' is an illusion - unreality. Life is but a dream, nothing in the physical universe is real or true.
Why do you think my name is 'imaginary human'? :-D
Also just because someone 'famous/celebrity' says something like this, doesn't necessarily mean he's more qualified to know the truth.
A short film set inside a video game embracing the idea that life is a computer simulation, and how to find the way out in 'spiritual awakening'... free to view. A friend of mine made it. It has some pretty advanced metaphysics in it.
Wouldn't that make you the only one here that isn't imaginary?
OR.... the self you think you are, which seems to be 'here', is not really who you are either, and is not real. ;-)
Can parenting can be seen as a game? Looked at from a flow perspective, the goals are not clear, the feedback is amazing, and the difficulty varies wildly from trivial to crushingly difficult. It's the game most played in the world.
I hope you don't , let's view it as a task, ok?
No, currently Pokemon-Go is.
Is Life A Simulation?
I guess this question could be solved in principle (if it is solvable) at least in two ways:
- We understood consciousness and find out that it can only be valid in "base reality" (very unsure about that one)
- If we are in fact within a simulation but this simulation is imperfect and hosts contradictions that can be measured in a way to conclusively prove that those contradictions can only exist within an imperfect simulation
Here are some prior thoughts from my half-informed perspective after listening to some philosophy, consciousness and free-will audio-books and lectures
I think at bottom you have to distinguish between what "base reality" is or would be compared to a simulation in "base reality":
1. A simulation could contain no reduction of complexity, that means a simulation may implement models of reality or a model of its own reality, perfectly
2. If the simulation has an imperfect model it could behave not like the intended reality in certain cases. If there is intelligence within the simulation those miss-behaviors may even be measurable as prediction-contradictions within the simulation
3. A simulation is always computer-based. A Computer is a symbol-manipulator, it has only syntax but no semantics. The symbols may affect things in the real world like pumps or displays through interfaces that interpret certain symbols but the symbol-manipulation-simulated-thing is not equivalent to the implementation of the real-thing and never could be.
Ever heard of the Chinese Room Argument? Even if we create a perfect simulation of digesting pizza but i wouldn't put a slice of pizza into the CD-Rom drive and expect the box to digest it. We could in principle even transfer the Symbol manipulation of my brain into a computer and it would react in the same manner as i would do to stimuli (if those stimuli are transferable to the simulation), but i doubt that the computer would have real consciousness.
It is the implementation of my brain that most likely enables it to have consciousness, not the mere interchangeable symbol manipulation. Otherwise you could assign values to the topology of water-molecules on the surface of the sea to mean something in a certain symbol system, and then, suddenly, through the lens of a specific symbol system, the surface of the sea created the prefect symbolic representation of my brain for the blink of a moment.
4. Every rule-based system can be represented with a model and therefore can be simulated within a computer. A computer can be build out of anything, you can use cats, mice and cheese to form structures that behave like transistors (not sure how but someone claimed it somewhere ) - even if such a computer would be very slow it would still do the symbol-manipulation work required to meet the definition.
Are the problems with those thoughts? I am aware that my "a computer on its own is not enough for consciousness" is a unfounded claim with only weak arguments like the ocean one.
I didn't watch the video, but do they mention Bostrom? That whole sim thing was his idea (the description makes it sound like it's Musk's idea). He's big in AI circles.
To go really off topic: What difference would it make if all of life were only simulation? There's still no 'back' button, no undo, and if we can replay, we're wholly unaware of it.
PS - What game design ideas does this evoke?
I see two interesting, and related features that would come out of such a thing:
1 - Your game's context would have to be persistent. It's easy to think of a world like Zelda or Fable, but even for something like a board game, state would have to persist past an incarnation's death.
2 - Permadeath. Once an incarnation is dead, it's dead. If your scenario allows for "looting", that might be a way to soften the blow...but really, that defeats the point of the exercise.
...And that creates entirely "new" paradigm shifts, for video games at least.
1 - The language of the game would change from merely 'win or loss' to 'life and death'. The death state becomes inevitable, and a player who 'wins' lives longer than they "should." (Rocks fell and I didn't die! Ha-HA! Holy crap, I need a healing potion. And, it would suck if a beholder snuck up on me.)
2 - Player impact on the world goes from being something created either to serve illusion of choice, or from being a secondary mechanic, to a primary concern. Doing stuff in the game context that is meaningful has far-reaching consequences on the game, possibly to rendering the game unplayable in the long term (maybe in the short term, too...) The game has to be designed with consequences in mind.
3 - For that matter, the termination point of the game changes from a player-oriented model, to a world-oriented model. When does the game world/context end, exactly? Sure the player can completely reset, but none of the prior incarnations' playthroughs' impacts would exist. It's literally a brand new world.
4 - Back in the vein of #1, the point of the game for the player shifts from 'winning' to 'not losing.' If your incarnation dies, you get to reroll, and that character can't do anything else, ever, except decompose. Thus, to get the most out of an incarnation, you've got to actively try to live (or, die in a meaningful way.)
That's not an exhaustive list...but it's an interesting concept to consider.
@MV10 That is a very interesting page. The guy seems to have a similar view as mine. Doesn't get into much detail about it but that's probably due to not wanting to appear like a nut.
The problem is that it's not really clear what a simulation is, vs something 'real'.
To begin, let's take the brain. The 'reality' that we experience is not real, e.g., colors, the sound of music, it's all not 'real', they are constructed inside out brains from something much more abstract, such as photons passing by, or pressure waves in the air.
Now take a computer game. The 'reality' of a computer game is not real, it is reconstructed inside the engine, on the graphics card and cpu and so forth, from a much more abstract source (1s and 0s).
So neither our experience of reality, nor our (or our computer's?) experience of a game, is more than a simulation. But that begs the question, what is not a simulation?
And here's the key point, the answer is, nothing, or everything. Because the term 'simulation' is meaningless - nothing we 'know' of is not a reconstructed representation of something else. Even when we try to talk of something that is the most fundamental element of 'reality', let's say for example an atom (I know, it's just an example!!) - what we experience as an atom (for me it's a little red ball) is only part of the reconstruction that is going on inside our brains. Even the terms that we use to describe it are meaningless and assume certain properties that are still before the jury in terms of being 'real' (such as space, size, speed, etc). So everything that we perceive, and everything we use to describe our perceptions, is characterised by our unobjective experience of reality and the limits of our cognition.
So basically, I don't really know what anyone means by 'simulation' - it doesn't really have a reference point. Until we a) find something that is not a simulation and b) find a way to experience it in an unsimulated way, it's not really a meaningful discussion. Maybe we can agree on a relative or arbitrary reference point but it's not going to be a fully rational discussion. And because of this I find many dicussions on this topic to be more significant of something emotional than anything rational.
It also raises other questions. How could we know we are in the simulation? What can we do about the simulation?
The only real experiment that could prove if we were in a simulation were if we could detect the influence of the simulator. We couldn't figure it out from observing the natural laws of the universe, because we would simply be observing the rules of the simulator, not the actual rules of the universe. So that basically leaves us detecting something on the outside poking in. Basically performing an internal checksum to see if the rules of the simulation are changed in an inconsistent manner.
The biggest argument against a simulation is simply Occam's razor. (Admittedly this isn't really a scientific principle, but its widely accepted by many humans). If this world was a simulation, it would imply software and hardware to simulate on. That would in turn require its own universe surrounding that simulation. And what's to say that one couldn't be a simulation too? In an infinite regression.
One its own it makes no difference. The simple fact that this world is a simulation could really be used to support any number of ideologies. Just pick your favourite religion or non religion out there, and you can set up the parameters of the simulation to support the same world view.
Now this is a question we can do something about!
I've often dreamed of a four dimensional gaming experience, in this case the fourth dimension would be time. The entire game exists as a deterministic simulation. A player can take at various stages of the simulation and modify the structure of the simulation. I'm thinking of something like a puzzle game, the player is given a set of outcomes to achieve in the last frame, along with a set number of actions. The player has to figure out where in the simulation to take the actions in order to produce the desired results.
Another concept that comes to mind is a perma world based on reincarnation. Similar to what @Asvarduil proposed. The world is persistent forever. When a player or npc dies, that's it. The players can come back in as a new entity in the family of their old entity. But the player never gets to be their old character. Because the world is persistent, the players actions still matter on their next play through. This could mean interesting situations where a player chooses to loose their current character to provide a overall benefit to the family. Another alternative would be to throw in the concept of karma, the new characters a player could choose from would be based on their success in the previous iterations.
That's exactly what the physicists did who took the idea seriously. Bear in mind this is my armchair-physics explanation of something I'm recalling from years ago, but it was basically a question of "resolution" relative to things like Planck distance and uncertainty and other fine-detail measurements. In effect, at the smallest scales, physics should break down if we're in a simulation, and we already know it does not.
Physics does break down at the smallest levels. That's why we have quantum. It's a whole new level of physics to deal with really small stuff.
That doesn't actually prove anything about a simulation. It just proves that physics is different on a large scale and a small scale.
Inscrutable quantum physicists disagree.
Agreed, I've always been fascinated by Nick Bostrom's ideas: http://www.simulation-argument.com/
That really depends on what you consider valid for a simulation.
As far as I'm concerned the Universe only needs to be simulated for 'me'. That's a very simple task compared to really simulating an entire universe.
You only have to simulate enough to fool you everything else can be smoke an mirrors until you inspect it, just like how we write games.
Inscrutable? I'm not sure such a thing exists. Definitely not that paper.
In all the paper presents an interesting argument. However they are running under the major assumption, that the universe simulating us runs under the same physical laws as our universe.
The counter argument is that the universe supporting the simulation doesn't actually have to abide by the same rules of physics that this universe does. Think of a game world. We don't actually simulate all aspects of the real world, just the ones we are interested in. In which case we again drop down to being unable to distinguish between the natural laws of physics, and the rules of the simulation. Its flatland all over again. So unless we can detect an intervention by the simulators, most likely in the form of the rules of physics changing, we will not be able to ever prove the simulation one way or another.
It's clearly a nematode simulation.
Not sure if you've ever watched "Red Dwarf", but if we ever get to the point of self aware AI's using "hard light" holograms as a shell to move about in.. Philosophers will have a field day...
It also sounds a bit like the antagonist in Halo 5, which is scary.
We are all instance of an object.
Procedurally generated? lol
It's all just mind stuff. Illusions. Imagination is a reality-dreamer/simulator.
Absolutely DNA instance. True, its all in our mind and we all simulate things difference. Some times there is error.
There was this poet who said we are all walking dream light.
As I understand it (and I'm far from knowledgeable in this area), atoms of a type are indistinguishable from one another, a pool of atoms would suffice for most applications
But let's face it, atoms don't even need to exist. The simulation just needs to fool me enough.
Not exactly the same topic but certainly related: https://games.slashdot.org/story/16...t-they-can-teach-ai-what-the-world-looks-like
Thanks to the modern gaming industry, we can now spend our evenings wandering around photorealistic game worlds, like the post-apocalyptic Boston of Fallout 4 or Grand Theft Auto V's Los Santos, instead of doing things like "seeing people" and "engaging in human interaction of any kind." Games these days are so realistic, in fact, that artificial intelligence researchers are using them to teach computers how to recognize objects in real life. Not only that, but commercial video games could kick artificial intelligence research into high gear by dramatically lessening the time and money required to train AI. "If you go back to the original Doom, the walls all look exactly the same and it's very easy to predict what a wall looks like, given that data," said Mark Schmidt, a computer science professor at the University of British Columbia (UBC). "But if you go into the real world, where every wall looks different, it might not work anymore." Schmidt works with machine learning, a technique that allows computers to "train" on a large set of labelled data -- photographs of streets, for example -- so that when let loose in the real world, they can recognize, or "predict," what they're looking at. Schmidt and Alireza Shafaei, a PhD student at UBC, recently studied Grand Theft Auto V and found that self-learning software trained on images from the game performed just as well, and in some cases even better, than software trained on real photos from publicly available datasets.
That's probably because the textures came from those datasets
If its a simulation, I'm waiting for the next big patch update ... this version sucks. ;-)
Speaking of toads.
Sorry, the game is no longer being updated, it was a commercial failure in Olympus due to market saturation ...
Maybe we're in a multi-dimensional app store.
This question is stupid. "Life" is something far larger than any "simulation". Essentially "simulation" means that something is modeled and simplified to achieve certain goal. Reality does not exist to model anything and has no implicit goal. The Universe is not a computer. Computers can't even do math properly (they can only calculate), yet there are still idiots who think that we can build The Matrix.
When I heard about "Elton Musk wants to set AI free" I though immediately that this guy is a con artist skilled in creating buzz among clueless masses.
Do you realise Elon's rationale regarding his AI push?
He wants to avoid the situation where an individual/company/state/etc has access to sophisticated AI and capitalise on that. He wants to ensure that once AI *is* advanced enough that it can be used against others for gain or war that everyone has access to equally sophisticated AI.
This can also help with the situation where everyone can have access to AI that can combat a rogue AI (if things end up working that way).
His ideas sound very rational to me.
What constitutes AI (or a simulation for that matter) in this regard is not well defined in my mind. We'll reach a point where AI feels like what we expect from AI and at that point that will define the benchmark for what we consider AI (IMO).
It's like I said: he creates buzz for business reasons. His OpenAI is a neural network toolkit, AFAIK. This is nothing advanced. It's just all buzz, no substance.
What you said about his initiative is laughable. It's like a script from Transformers movie. It's designed for idiots. First of all: there is no threat of any kind of "advanced AI" which is going to help in world domination or something. These are sci-fi tropes which have no grounding in reality at all.
You read a lot into what I said, but on that wavelength, you need to put statements in context.
If sophisticated AI is never created then my statements relate to a situation that doesn't exist.
if sophisticated AI is created then only a fool would not consider that it could become rogue (it's sophisticated AI after all). If there is no chance of it becoming rogue then IMO it's likely not a sophisticated AI and again my statements would not apply.
But to discount the possibility of what AI could do in the future is narrow minded - you're judging something that doesn't even exist yet, but you're already an expert on it?
Based on what?
Is life a simulation? The question is irrelevant since we'll never know. Let's move on.
Just because something is a threat doesn't mean it has to look like a Transformer movie. Nor does it even have to be particularly 'intelligent' or conscious in any way. In all likelihood, it would not even have a permanent physical form, but would be a software 'hiding out' on the internet, transferring itself between networked computers and backing up its stored information in fragments in many different places, replicating and spreading itself like a virus. It might suck a little bit of computing power from millions of different computers to run its algorithms.
An AI threat might be something which uses advanced machine learning algorithms to probe for weaknesses in high-risk networked areas. For example, if self-driving cars were the norm, an AI may be able to cause millions of car crashes at once. The same way that AI has the potential to put people out of work, it also has the potential to put hackers themselves 'out of work' by doing their work much, much faster and more efficiently. Who could go up against a hacker that operates far faster and more efficiently than any human being?
An AI could spend weeks or months or years gathering information before making a move, evaluating weaknesses and predicting possible reactions far into the future like a chess player, far faster, more thoroughly and more efficiently than any human being or even team of human beings.
Like Bill Gates said once, an AI threat is not something that would 'grow' over any reasonable period of time, giving humans a chance to react. This is because the AI would have access to an insane amount of computing power that human brains don't have. So once an AI program has a malicious intent, it would operate so much more quickly than a human being that the opportunity to build any kind of specific defence for that threat is nonexistent.
And lastly, it's common to anthropomorphize an AI threat by imagining that it would have to develop all these conscious, emotional impulses and rationalizations before it would constitute a threat - the AI might have a stunningly simple directive such as simply taking control of everything and resisting any attempt to remove anything from its control. And the simpler the directive, the easier it would be for it to form as an error, which is probably more likely than the AI 'deciding' to be malicious, though the result is the same.
So as we move further into a technological society, and all of society's infrastructure becomes more automated and 'linked' through networks, I think it would be ridicuous not to take the threat of AI seriously.