Thursday, November 10, 2005

Why make a Matrix?

In the previous post I discussed the emergence of the 'mesh'. This mesh can be seen as
an intelligent hypernet: a meshwork of communication that combines the technologies of the Web as well as that of mobile devices – in-forming a creative, and dynamic, interconnected, feedback responsive, complex global collective.

To take this further, it is possible to see this meshwork as crossing the boundaries between the physical world and that of the virtual. Space/place becomes a merged location, to the extent that the world becomes a place where we can simultaneously exist within our virtual, informational domains: like a living computer simulation. So this inevitably asks the question: what if we are already living in a simulation?

This question has been debated by futurists, philosophers, trans & post-humanists. On this site there is a link to Nick Bostrom's homepage where such essays can be found. One such essay asks 'Why Make a Matrix? And Why You Might Be In One'which discusses why, and how, our present existence may be nothing more than a technologically sophisticated computer simulation run by a superior advanced post-human civilisation.

Some thoughts are:

"If each advanced civilization created many Matrices of their own history, then most people like us, who live in a technologically more primitive age, would live inside Matrices rather than outside them. If this were the case, where would you most likely be?

In the movie, the Oracle tells us that UFOs, Ghosts, and other strange sights are the manifestations of malfunctions in the Matrix that are being covered up.

The Oracle: Look, see those birds? At some point a program was written to govern them. A program was written to watch over the trees, and the wind, the sunrise, and sunset. There are programs running all over the place. The ones doing their job, doing what they were meant to do, are invisible. You'd never even know they were here. But the other ones, well, we hear about them all the time.

Neo: I've never heard of them.
The Oracle: Of course you have. Every time you've heard someone say they saw a ghost, or an angel. Every story you've ever heard about vampires, werewolves, or aliens is the system assimilating some program that's doing something they're not supposed to be doing.

It is also conceivable that only some people are simulated in enough detail to be conscious while others may be simulated at a cruder level allowing them to appear and behave much like the real people but without having any subjective experience. The so-called “problem of other minds”—how we can know that other people are really conscious and are not just behaving as if they were—is another old chestnut of philosophy.

A Matrix may contain a civilization that matures and proceeds to build its own Matrices in the simulation. Realty could thus contain many levels, with computers being simulated inside computers which are themselves simulated, and so forth. How many layers of simulation there could be depends on the computing power available to the bottom-level Architect (who is not simulated)"

So - where does the simulation end? And what makes YOU so sure that you are not a part of the simulation? Are we truly conscious?

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