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If the Universe is a simulation, are humans artificially intelligent beings?
Objective Reality Vs. Virtual Reality The exponential increase in computing power has created more and more realistic games and virtual realities. This technological advancement in the level of realism will blur the lines between objective reality and virtual reality, between real experiences and virtual experiences. What if we are there already? That is, what if the Universe is a virtual reality, a simulation, and objective reality is outside of the Universe?
Who or What Is The Creator? Is God a cosmic computer coder and we humans nothing more than a simulation? Is God real and are humans virtual? Rich Terrell, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, believes this is so: "What are the requirements for God? He's an inter-dimensional being, connected with everything in the Universe, a creator, responsible for everything in the Universe, and in some way can change the law of physics, if he wanted to." This is the same as programmers creating simulations.
Computer Generated Simulations Rich Terrell goes through his argument using Moore's Law and the Turing Test. Terrell wondered, how much computing power would a simulation of the Earth require? Humans are doubling the computing power every 13 months per Terrell and computers already match the human brain in computational speed. At this rate, in 10 years, Terrell believes computers will be able to create a "photo real simulation of all that we see around us" - the Earth. But can a computer populate such a simulation with thinking beings, artificially intelligent simulated beings, like humans? Terrell thinks so and that humans are on the verge of creating worlds inside computers populated by sentient beings.
The Universe As A Simulation Rich Terrell, following that humans will eventually create a virtual reality populated with artificially intelligent (sentient) beings, goes to the next step: that the Universe is a simulation and that humans are artificially intelligent (sentient) beings. God is a programmer and Terrell has found evidence of the simulation in nature. Zoom in and every simulation breaks down into pixels. In our Universe, quantum mechanics is the study of pixels. "Look at the way the Universe behaves, it's quantized, it's made of pixels. Space is quantitized, matter is quantitized, energy is quantitized, everything is made of individual pixels. Which means the Universe has a finite number of components. Which means a finite number of states. Which means it's computer." That infers the Universe could be created by lines of code in a computer.
Is The Universe Being Computed? Is there evidence of computer processing of our "objective reality"? One clue is an experiment in the physics laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. A 1928 experiment (the Thomson experiment plus the Davisson-Germer experiment) provide evidence. Using an electron beam transmitted through a piece of graphite with a screen behind is set up. The background screen records how the electrons ricochet off the graphite. At this subatomic level, the pattern is not random, as might be expected, but is a diffraction pattern. Terrell notes, "The experiment shows something really rather extraordinary, that matter, even though it behaves when you are looking at it, measuring it, as individual particles, when you are not looking at it, matter is diffuse. It spreads out, it doesn't have a finite form in the Universe." When observed they are "dots", when we look away, they lose their physical form. Is this behavior of matter similar, or parallel, to the behavior in a simulation? Terrell says yes. As in a simulation, "The Universe gives you what you are looking at when you look at it." Further, "When you are not looking at it, it's not necessarily there". This results in a Universe that is pixelated and only assumes definite form when observed. This is how computer simulations operate.
What Are The Odds The Universe Is A Simulation? What is the probability the Universe is a simulation, that we live in a simulation, and therefore there is a God? Terrell says, "The question is, how likely is something like that to happen? And how likely is it that this has already happened in our Universe? The Universe is 13.7 billion years old and we are 50 years from being able to manufacture God. What is the probability that I would be so close to that threshold and not be able to cross to the other side? It's one chance in 300 million that I would be that close. It is an extraordinary coincidence and perhaps, more likely than not, maybe we are a simulation on the other side of that threshold and the deities that exist are our future selves."
Ramifications "Our world bears all the hallmarks of one that is simulated. Who would be more likely to simulate humans than humans from the future, our descendants? They would be god-like beings able to create their own universes." Terrell actually finds a spirituality in this scenario. "I take great solace in this. It shows that along the line we have evolved from nothing into self-awareness and that self-awareness has reached the stage now where our future selves have become gods. To me that's a very, very spiritual thing and that's where my spirituality comes from in seeing things like that. To me, that's a religion." Garrett Lisi, a theoretical physicist, disagrees, "We see this constantly in physics, we start out with something that looks complex and as we look at its parts, the parts are simpler. Now if you imagine some sort of creator, that assumes there is something more complicated than the thing that got created. So to me, that's a step backwards in explaining a philosophically satisfying model." Will we, as finite beings, ever understand God?
You Are Simply A Very Advanced Simulation Morgan Freeman takes us Through The Wormhole
How many American workers are being replaced by robots, by automation?
Technological Unemployment Although there is disagreement as to the true impact of automation in the workforce, American workers are losing jobs to automation and robots. This is in addition to American workers losing jobs to countries with cheaper labor, especially in Asia. USA productivity has steadily been growing and is reflected in the increase in overall corporate profits. Yet there are fewer jobs and the unemployment and underemployment rates remain high in the lackluster recovery from the Great Recession. Further, corporate payrolls are mostly flat while spending on technology is up +26% since the recession ended in June 2009. Erik Brynjolfsson, an Economist and Director of the M.I.T. Center for Digital Business, and Andrew P. McAfee, Associate Director and Principal Research Scientist at the Center, say, "“Many workers, in short, are losing the race against the machine." It is not just robots and automation taking over mechanical tasks, knowledge-based jobs are the next level and will be taken over by software. At this higher level, no robot is necessary, just software inside a computer.
More Jobs Predicted for Machines, Not People Are jobs in danger of being phased out due to advances in technology? Insight with Jeff Burnstein, Robotic Industries Association and Martin Ford, "The Lights in the Tunnel" author.
More Jobs Predicted for Machines, Not People (CNBC)
A faltering economy explains much of the job shortage in America, but advancing technology has sharply magnified the effect, more so than is generally understood, according to two researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The automation of more and more work once done by humans is the central theme of “Race Against the Machine,” an e-book to be published on Monday.
“Many workers, in short, are losing the race against the machine,” the authors write.
Erik Brynjolfsson, an economist and director of the M.I.T. Center for Digital Business, and Andrew P. McAfee, associate director and principal research scientist at the center, are two of the nation’s leading experts on technology and productivity. The tone of alarm in their book is a departure for the pair, whose previous research has focused mainly on the benefits of advancing technology.
Indeed, they were originally going to write a book titled, “The Digital Frontier,” about the “cornucopia of innovation that is going on,” Mr. McAfee said. Yet as the employment picture failed to brighten in the last two years, the two changed course to examine technology’s role in the jobless recovery. The authors are not the only ones recently to point to the job fallout from technology. In the current issue of the McKinsey Quarterly, W. Brian Arthur, an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute, warns that technology is quickly taking over service jobs, following the waves of automation of farm and factory work. “This last repository of jobs is shrinking — fewer of us in the future may have white-collar business process jobs — and we have a problem,” Mr. Arthur writes.
The M.I.T. authors’ claim that automation is accelerating is not shared by some economists. Prominent among them are Robert J. Gordon of Northwestern and Tyler Cowen of George Mason University, who contend that productivity improvement owing to technological innovation rose from 1995 to 2004, but has trailed off since. Mr. Cowen emphasized that point in an e-book, “The Great Stagnation,” published this year.
Technology has always displaced some work and jobs. Over the years, many experts have warned — mistakenly — that machines were gaining the upper hand. In 1930, the economist John Maynard Keynes warned of a “new disease” that he termed “technological unemployment,” the inability of the economy to create new jobs faster than jobs were lost to automation.
But Mr. Brynjolfsson and Mr. McAfee argue that the pace of automation has picked up in recent years because of a combination of technologies including robotics, numerically controlled machines, computerized inventory control, voice recognition and online commerce.
Faster, cheaper computers and increasingly clever software, the authors say, are giving machines capabilities that were once thought to be distinctively human, like understanding speech, translating from one language to another and recognizing patterns. So automation is rapidly moving beyond factories to jobs in call centers, marketing and sales - parts of the services sector, which provides most jobs in the economy.
During the last recession, the authors write, one in 12 people in sales lost their jobs, for example. And the downturn prompted many businesses to look harder at substituting technology for people, if possible. Since the end of the recession in June 2009, they note, corporate spending on equipment and software has increased by 26 percent, while payrolls have been flat.
Corporations are doing fine. The companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index are expected to report record profits this year, a total $927 billion, estimates FactSet Research. And the authors point out that corporate profit as a share of the economy is at a 50-year high.
Productivity growth in the last decade, at more than 2.5 percent, they observe, is higher than the 1970s, 1980s and even edges out the 1990s. Still the economy, they write, did not add to its total job count, the first time that has happened over a decade since the Depression.
The skills of machines, the authors write, will only improve. In 2004, two leading economists, Frank Levy and Richard J. Murnane, published “The New Division of Labor,”which analyzed the capabilities of computers and human workers. Truck driving was cited as an example of the kind of work computers could not handle, recognizing and reacting to moving objects in real time.
But last fall, Google announced that its robot-driven cars had logged thousands of miles on American roads with only an occasional assist from human back-seat drivers. The Google cars, Mr. Brynjolfsson said, are but one sign of the times.
As others have, he pointed to I.B.M.’s “Jeopardy”-playing computer, Watson, which in February beat a pair of human “Jeopardy” champions; and Apple's new personal assistant software, Siri, which responds to voice commands.
“This technology can do things now that only a few years ago were thought to be beyond the reach of computers,” Mr. Brynjolfsson said.
Yet computers, the authors say, tend to be narrow and literal-minded, good at assigned tasks but at a loss when a solution requires intuition and creativity — human traits. A partnership, they assert, is the path to job creation in the future.
“In medicine, law, finance, retailing, manufacturing and even scientific discovery,” they write, “the key to winning the race is not to compete against machines but to compete with machines.”
This story originally appeared in The New York Times.
Ray Kurzweil: The Six Epochs of Technology Evolution Ray Kurzweil has postulated, and views evolution as, six epochs of technology. Each epoch defines how information is stored and processed and are stages in the evolution of information. These epochs are: ● Epoch 1Physics and Chemistry: Information in atomic structures ● Epoch 2Biology: Information in DNA ● Epoch 3Brains: Information in neural patterns ● Epoch 4Technology: Information in hardware and software designs ● Epoch 5Merger of Technology and Human Intelligence: The methods of biology (including human intelligence) are integrated into the (exponentially expanding) human technology base ● Epoch 6The Universe Wakes Up: Patterns of matter and energy in the Universe become saturated with intelligent processes and knowledge
Ray Kurzweil We are now in late Epoch 4. Ray Kurzweil states, "This is the advanced state of Epoch 4, where humans are creating technology and putting our knowledge base in that technology. Epoch 5 is when we are going to merge with that non-biological intelligence that we are creating. To do that, we need to create intelligence that is equal to us and we need to create the nanotechnology to put it inside our bodies and brains. That's where we're headed, that will be Epoch 5. Then Epoch 6 is when we go out into the rest of the Universe." In Epoch 5 the Law of Accelerating Returns, that information technology grows exponentially, is utilized to maximum advantage and the Technological Singularity occurs.
The Near Future Ray Kurzweil predicts that computers will be able to simulate the human brain by 2020. By 2029 the human brain will have been reverse-engineered and computers will be able to simulate all of the brain's capabilities, including emotional intelligence. Machines will then be more intelligent than humans.
The Six Epochs from The Singularity is Near The Singularity is real. By virtue of second law of thermodynamics it is inevitable. In the absence of Truth it creates fear. In thermodynamics it emerged as heat death of the universe. In General Relativity it emerged as the point to which all the matter collapses in time to take new birth [Big bang]. In modern world it is the black hole into which all the information collapses. From the point of biology and evolutionist it becomes the point where machines grow to beat the potentiality of Human mind and makes him slave. All this potentially fearful evolution emerges, from our basic vision and assumption that universe is material. These fears vanish and hope emerges the moment you switch your fundamental assumption that universe is material and think it as living conscious and intelligent being. Then all the conceptual thinking of singularity becomes valid as Living Science, centered on one Super Soul and Mind that Creates and controls everything. Our present Evolution of the universe becomes a journey of the Creator in time to awaken human consciousness and intelligence to meet the Mind of God or the Creator, such that we humans beat death and gain life. We are approaching the gate of singularity and Truth is the Key to open the door to Golden Age or Kingdom of God. We are in the edge of death and destruction, the more we delay comprehending the Truth greater will be the destruction. Universe needs to be understood as Consciousness and intelligence [Information] unfolding and enfolding eternally sustaining the universe in time.