A Point Slightly Left of Reality

Transcript

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Bitter Taste – a 100 word story

The brown liquid goes down his throat leaving a bitter taste. Coffee, his wake up call. He puts on his gray suit, his matching gray tie. He arrives at the bus station. He can’t decide if the bus is half empty or half full. He thinks about his job as the gray bus rushes up dark gray streets. His job involves spreadsheets and a good measure of copy paste. He doesn’t get off at his station. He is not thinking about work anymore, not thinking about anything. He just sits there and stares at a point slightly left of reality.

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Hi there and thanks for stopping by. I’m Guy, and you’re listening to my surreal sketchbook of reality.

Episode 2, A Point Slightly Left of Reality

There is a theory we are most likely living in a simulation, or a virtual reality. This episode Is a semi-philosophical look at that simulation hypothesis. I’m not a professional philosopher by any means and my approach can be quite absurd, illogical and not at all that serious, so – you’ve been warned. Do not take this podcast too seriously. If you tend to take things too seriously, this might not be the podcast for you. Seriously. I mean it. Find another podcast to listen to.

You’re still here? Good. Let’s talk about the idea that we are living in a simulation. I’m a gamer, so I tend to spend a lot of my time interacting with virtual worlds on my computer screen. Games today can be like micro world simulations. We interact with them using avatars we control, representing us. The game worlds themselves and the various beings inhabiting them are made out of pixels, and the world’s inhabitants are scripted in a deterministic way, devoid of sentience with a limited set of interaction responses. Computing power is evolving, making those words more and more photorealistic, while artificial intelligence evolve in an attempt to make those worlds more surprising, thus making them more interesting for us. At some point, some of the entities populating those worlds might become sentient. How do we distinguish a sentient being from a non sentient one? When do we know when a virtual non playing character is answering a question in a certain way because he is scripted that way or actually thinking? I think those questions would have to be asked in a future episode. For now, let us assume that there are self aware beings living in some sort of a future virtual world. Let me take a short break while I check if there are any of those around here too.

Random Reboot, Custom Made – a 100 word story

I changed, reinvented myself. It was easy once custom made bodies became common commodities. First, I set all the choices to random, letting the computer make the decisions. As it happened, it chose a body of the opposite gender, which was fine by me. I like challenges. Then it went to the printer. The new body was ready in no time. I also randomized the location, so I didn’t know where I was going to wake up once the upload was complete. Now I’m ready for a new life in this new avatar, the puppet master of a new me.

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Welcome back. We have been talking about games being virtual worlds and about the beings inhabiting those worlds gaining sentience, or self awareness as it’s sometimes called. Let’s face it, once those beings achieve awareness, they probably wouldn’t know they live in a virtual world, at least if the game is well built and doesn’t have too many bugs and we are probably not going to be the ones to tell them. Now, gaming companies creates many games a year. It’s financially lucrative for them since gaming has become one of the biggest entertainment markets. If those beings living in those games become sentient, they might start developing games of their own for their own amusement. Those would also be virtual worlds where beings live who don’t know they are living in a virtual world. That can go on indefinitely in an infinite loop.

If you look at this from a statistical point of view, it is likely that there are a lot more virtual worlds then real worlds. In fact, there might be close to an infinite number of virtual worlds but just a few real ones. Remember, the people living in those virtual worlds don’t know they are living in a virtual world. This means it is more than likely we ourselves are actually living in a virtual world and not in a real one. Hope this game we live in is successful enough since I don’t know what would happen if they decide to close down the game servers. This concludes episode 2 of this podcast. Close the door on your way out and don’t forget – I’m just a figment of your imagination.

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