Friday, April 10, 2009

An Introduction to Simulism and Holodecks

"Simulism," the brain-child of Dr. Nick Bostrom (Oxford University) is the concept that argues that we may be part of a living simulation. At first glance this theory seems about as outlandish as the Loch Ness Monster, (my apologies to any real monster hunters out there reading my blog.) But this theory has some seriously solid points to make. It begins by categorizing kinds of simulation (currently in existence.) Third degree simulations are the kind in which a person is placed into a controlled environment and watched and manipulated (possibly unaware) like the famous TV reality show "Candid Camera" or the film "The Trueman Show." Second degree simulations would be the kind in which a user is aware of the simulation and does not entirely "buy into it," as his or her ultimate reality concept. The "user" or "player" within a second degree simulation would engage the construct of the simulation with a dual mind, half in the game, half aware of the reality around them (like role playing games A.K.A. RPG's) Heavy users of RPG's often admit to temporarily losing their grip on reality and taking on the artificial persona of their choosing. This kind of artificial world can be addictive, relaxing, entertaining, educational or all together mindless. The third kind of simulation is the most spooky, for it involves the manipulation of matter and energy (as in the film The Matrix) to form a full-scale simulation of real life objects and beings. Third degree simulation is only possible with significant amounts of computing power and energy, (currently in excess of that which is available to us now.) One could argue that the life we live now is a highly complex third degree simulation, broadcast by a quantum computer cluster somewhere in the cosmos.* An example of a modified form of third degree simulation could be the concept of a holodeck on the SF series Star Treck TNG. As a holodeck manipulates matter and energy in a matrix to form a 3D computer driven simulation in real-time. It is entirely possible that we may be able to project our own full-scale simulation when we reach a certain level of technology. It is possible that we may understand the ultimate nature of our own creation only when we reach out our own hands and do it ourselves.*

* Third degree simulism should be possible by the manipulation of photons of light into subatomic particles (in the quantum scale) then manipulating the subatomic particles into the larger-scale structures of physical matter. This process could also be possible by manipulation of existing matter and ambient energy via scalar wave technology, however this could destroy the original source of that matter, it would be lost in the translation.

* It should be noted that it might be necessary for a continuous "feed" of the simulation to be generated for the object to exist over time. In other words, if the generative system or device were to be shut off, then the object could vanish, just like on a holodeck.

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