May 2008

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« Delicious Conspiracy Theories | Main | The Power of Choice »

Comments

Kevin

This exact thing happens to me all the time. I am convinced that either A) there really is nothing new under the sun (unlikely), or B) a top-secret world government has orbiting brain lasers that steal my ideas as they are hatched and gives them to other less-fortunate souls as a type of intellectual welfare system (far more probable).

But seriously, about the reuse of code . . . there really are only a few hundred templates with minor variations from which we are all made. DNA is simply a biological computer program written in a base 4 language (T, G, A, and C) instead of binary. Since the program is only a few gigs in size (and as far as we can tell, much of it is Microsoft-style code bloat), it's natural that there would be a limited number of "avatar templates" from which we could all derive. It's why there are so many look-alikes in the world, and the whole reason why men have nipples.

Christopher Lusk

I have also had this conversation. Idea I have had in the past seem the manifest themselves as actual products or inventions other people think up. For example, have you seen the new table Bill Gates came out with? 6 years ago I had a great idea about a table that was touch screen, you could order from, play games on (with people at your table, or in the restaurant), watch TV on and even pay your bill on. It would eliminate waiters to an extent. It would speed up the whole food process, and give people something to do while waiting for their food.

Yet somehow Bill Gates comes on the news about a month ago and shows his new invention, the exact damn thing I was thinking about.

Then I started thinking about this. I had a few ideas. One I had heard. Lets start with that one first. The atmosphere. Our brain waves bounce off it. Not my favorite reason.

Society and evolution; a more possible explanation. As the society gets exposed to new ideas and new ways of thinking, people tend to start moving along the same thought process. For example, if Thomas Edison had not come up with the light bulb, then someone else would have a bit later. The same goes for way back in the day with movable type (a form of printing press). As we merge our ideas and thoughts, we start thinking differently and gain new ideas and thoughts of our own.

Another idea might be dreams. Could be all be connected some way in our sleep? A sort of consciousness that picks up on other peoples thoughts or ideas, or is it a form of programming? Maybe we are control by a higher power that wants us to evolve at a certain pace, and we are programmed to do just that. (There is a lot that could happen in our sleep that we have no clue about).

Lastly, maybe again back to a form of evolution, we might be gaining the ability to pick up and read other peoples thoughts, but it is on such a low level we don't even realize it at this point.

Well whatever the case, you are not alone in your thinking... literally.

Clarence

Watch the film, The 13th Floor - released in 1999

dedhed52

I remember watching Sesame Street when my oldest son was little (20 years ago?). There was an opera singer character named Placebo Flamingo in one schtick.

Jeff M

Scott, you should definitely read David Brin's short story "Reality Check". It's only a few pages, and available for free directly from Brin's website: http://www.davidbrin.com/realitycheck1.html

Sasha

Someone else already mentioned it, but I'll say it again... go rent "the 13th floor".

Whatever

Fun read along these lines:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_Game_(novel)

Ben

This is pretty crazy because sometime last year I saw a show on the history channel about this.

waste

i was thinking about having a sanwich when one of my colleagues came in eating one...

admittedly it was lunchtime
...seriously why did i waste my time posting that.

Dave Oblad

One more visit to this blog topic:

Thank you 'Steven McDaniel'. You are most gracious. I started out agnostic, found faith, born again christian, asked too many questions, lost my faith, searched for an ultimate truth, found it, restored my faith, but in a very different God than described by the Bible.

The truth I found was by accident. I found the game of LIFE written by John Conway. Here is a link to check it out for yourself.

http://www.bitstorm.org/gameoflife/

Basically, it's an equation that demonstrates cell grouth patterns on a 2 dimensional grid. Like a big checker board. Only this grid is really big. Each square of the grid is Binary.. it does.. or doesn't.. have a checker on it. These are set in place by random or by hand. Then allow the equation to run. The patterns go absolutely crazy.

Then I started playing with the rules. All new patterns followed, some dumb, some amazing. That's when I asked a friend to get the program and hand load it with a preset simple pattern I found. Then run it for.. say.. 12,345 replays (iterations). Then go to a specific coordinate and watch this one beautiful pattern. My friend did so and described back to me what he saw.. same as I had witnessed of course.

A blinding Epiphany ensued... (I saw the light!)

How could my friend find the same thing I had found, unless it 'Existed'?

Example: I find a wierd plant in the desert and I tell many friends where it is. They go look and report back that they also found and observed it. It must have really existed, I conclude.

Next, I asked myself, when did this folding pattern first start to exist?
Ok.. If I gave a caveman some stone tools & rocks, and he had lots of spare time, and he followed some simple rules, without making a mistake.. He too, would observe the pattern I had found, exactly where I found it. So, the logical conclusion is: It must have always existed. I simply discovered a means to witness it. (caveman with rocks, me with a computer)
This is key element number one!

Next, I started playing with the program to try other complexities. It was easy to add another dimension, like a 3D rubics cube, a big one, many joining cubes, rather than squares! Played with various rules and was blown away by the wonderful new hyperactive patterns. Then... using the same technique, added some more dimensions. SON-OF-A-GUN!!!! I was looking at patterns I had only seen described in physics. Particals, interactions, blendings, reactions! I saw how a partical had to spin twice, to present the same face.. I understood the planck constant..(10x-43). How small is small, how time cannot be subdivided below a certain value (one universal iteration), speed of propagation limits (like speed of light).

But I was viewing a reality on the smallest scale! What could I have witnessed in the 3D space the size of an atom? Or Molecule? Or even larger? Unfortunately, this investigation far exceeds the memory capacity of my computer, and the time I have to wait to see, say... past the first few moments of a big bang, or big splash as I prefer. What wonders can exist in this marvelous discovery?
This was key element number two.

How complex could I make it? What limits are there? What if I really got carried away with the rules with some strange twists.. Ie: Partical 'A' must exist for partical 'B' to exist. If 'A' is destroyed, 'B' is also destroyed, regardless of distance between them.. Oh Crap!

An infinite number of variations exist, with an almost equal number of initiators (seeders). Then I pondered, what if I used other forms of math, besides cell grouth. Boolean operators or even analog math.. Damn! All these techniques have solutions that Exist. I was overwhelmed!

There is no natural limit to the equation types, nor the complexity of them.

Thus: A virtually infinite number of solutions exist, many are far complex enough to present patterns relating to chemistry, gravity, energy.. Life..!! Intelligence..!! Anything! Even a God.

That's when I came full circle and quit knocking peoples Gods. I now saw how a God could exist, without being created himself. How God could be timeless and always existed. Or.. even how a universe could exist without a Creator or something to jump-start it. I had finally found all my answers, or at least enough of them, to see how solid the foundation is. To discover what reality is. How life can exist without a Creator or a Computer (or even with.. them).

Also.. this hypothesis has a double edge. If you understand it, then you must agree with it. If you don't agree with it, then you don't fully understand it.

(that last statement may sound a bit overly dramatic, but it's true...lol)

This will be the last time that I'll push this concept on this Blog. Thank you Scott, very much, for allowing me a voice with your audience.

Best wishes to one and all...
From Dave :^)

Aaron

Brilliant! Given the simplicity with which this theory solves some of the greatest problems in science today, Occam's razor suggests that it very probably true.

We can now look at the quantum observer effect in a whole new light. If we are all just part of a great simulation then, until you open the box, schrodinger's cat doesn't exist. It's been optimised away to save resources!

If a tree falls in a forest and nobody is there to hear, it not only does not make a sound - it doesn't even exist!

Alternate timelines are just other simulations of the same thing. Subsequent dimensions are just simulations of other things. (If this bit makes no sense, look here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2u4CFTZtcXE)

Thanks, Scott - you've answered all the big questions for me! ;-)

louiswu

The Game of life comment above reminds of the computer model LIFE from the 80s. William Poundstone wrote a good book about it back then.Poundstone also wrote a book title "The Labyrinth of Reason" about 89 or 90.. Very good article about Brains in vats and what was real or not. Not a funny as this, but interesting
Peace.

Amol

The Truman Show

Long before the movie was released, since my childhood I had a feeling I was under some sort of simulation. These thoughts started occuring to me since I was about 13-14 years old. It's hard to tell when this exactly occurred. It was mostly when I had weird experiences. I kept thinking as to why these things are happening to me. They must have some purpose. That lead me to thinking that I'm inside some sort of pseudo world that is teaching me something.

Around 7-8 years later on, when I watched "The Truman Show", I was stunned. I felt as if I was like Truman all along. But, I could not discuss it with anybody around for the fear of being ridiculed or that noone would understand what I'm talking about.

adora

Sounds like an interesting movie.
A bit like one of those Osamu Tezuka's stories in Phoenix. There was one about this guy who was in love with a robot and asked to be download into a robot's body. Then the robot he loves was integrated to his robot body. This robot model was later mass reproduced for generations.

BIll

scott, I can tell you that deja vu (as well as synchronichity situations ) stuff happens more as you get older..
Well, at least you notice them more

I see it so frequently anymore that I am just amused..Makes you wonder about pre-destination.

I am leaning towards it these days..

Primarily based on long term studies of identical twins... Many of these twins have lives that are incredibly exact duplicates.. Very hard to dismiss.

But a belief in pre-destination is such a destructive belief that I always dismiss it.. It justifies anything you do. So you are not guilty of anything, since it was pre-ordained... Just cannot believe that is true.

It is a very defeatist view-point. At least short term (our life time.)

Steven McDaniel

"A clarification for 'Steven McDaniel'.." Dave Oblad.

Sorry, dude! It seems, that I was just arguing against one selected phrase from your postulations, (Where did God come from? - a little teaser that atheists are wearing out these days). On revisiting your post I can see clearly that I can't make head nor tail of it. But that doesn't invalidate anything you said. I can never understand what those scientists on the 'The Far Side' have up on their blackboards either! I wish you good luck with your thoughts - and thanks for the explanation. (However you lost me after 'A clarification for 'Steven McDaniel'..)

CDriK

Woow, so cute !

Evil Mike

Speaking of life being a computer program, have you ever glanced at Uncyclopedia's take on it?

http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/The_Game_Of_Life

The section labeled The Admin is well worth a quick glance.

Dave Oblad

A clarification for 'Steven McDaniel': Again, like so many others before you, you missed my point completely. You landed on my statement regarding the question "What/Where did God come from" which triggered you to shoot off with the usual rhetoric about God being beyond the concepts and confines of space and time.

There is one blogger named 'Ferran' that comes close to my hypothesis regarding how a simple program/equation can make a PC screen display every possible image within it's natural limits. Bravo 'Ferran'!

My statement was quite clear I thought: "An equation DOES NOT have to be computed, for it's solution/answer/results, to exist."

A computed equation merely allows an observer to witness the pre-existing answer. You might be surprised how simple an equation might be, to produce a universe. The actual number of universes defined by equations is infinite. All the realities embedded in those answers are just as real as this one we live in.

They are pure math just like this one. All possible equations, and all their respective solutions, have ALWAYS existed and weren't "Created". These would EXIST whether a God existed or not. Go back and read my comment again please.. this time without a mental bias, and try to understand it. You will find that NO argument can be mounted against it. It really is true and I thought rather obvious!

Now... if you want to include the God of your choice, simply make this argument: That in all possible equations, many would define a neural matrix that could be many times denser than this universe (at the string level) and many times larger than this universe. This giant mind (God) could, perhaps, figure out all possible things. Then perhaps He dreams of a unique reality, of which You and I (everyone), are characters in His super dream. Thus, we owe our existence to God..! And everything you believe is completely true!

I can't win that debate, and it probably is true for many universes, and this just might be one of them. This still doesn't negate the simple fact that all possible universes defined by all possible equations would still exist..! And none of them (an infinite number) require a Creator or a Computer to allow sentient beings to exist embedded within their solutions.

A truly great blog Scott! Real mind opener!
Best to you all.. from Dave :^)

Some Guy

Everyone who talks about this Oxford article describes it as "The Matrix"... which is not the case... "The 13th floor" is _exactly_ what the Oxford article is describing... Humans build a computer to simulate a world, only to discover that we are in a computer simulation.

As far as weird coincidence goes, I have a Tuxedo cat... who I've had since he was a kitten. When his kitten teeth came out, I collected the three of them I found as a curiosity. I still have them. Within the first few dates with my current girlfriend, who has a Tuxedo cat, she wanted to show me something... and gets out her collection of kitten teeth from her cat. Not only did she also keep the teeth, she also only found three of them. I was stunned... _That_ is a helluva coincidence.

Does it mean something about our relationship being meant to be? I don't know... only time will tell.

Dawn

Kurt Vonnegut had a reoccuring character, a science fiction Author, in many of his books, named Kilgore Trout.

This "author" had many books, with this same theme in them, as did Kurt. The premise was - everyone in the world was a robot except the main character.

Dick Kusleika

You have to have an evil government that won't believe the theory. The gov't proceeds with the downloading of humanity plan, which causes a stack overflow. In the nick of time, our hero redims a variable from a Single to a Double.

If you actually use the words 'stack overflow', 'redim', 'Single', and 'Double', you will guarantee yourself a cult following of geeks.

Denilson

Coincidence is obviously a factor, but I think physics can explain the fact that someone's idea suddenly occurs to other people.

I wrote an essay on the subject about nine months ago, called The Hive Mind: gravity, magnetic fields and electricity (http://rtpscrolls.blogspot.com/2006/11/hive-mind-gravity-magnetic-fields-and.html).

An excerpt...

"Our brains generate an elaborate wave pattern while working through any technical challenge; it is somewhat expected that the average human brain activates the same regions of the brain while solving similar problems. Now, those brain waves are formed by massive (for our body masses anyway) electrical currents traveling over thin conduits, which is bound to produce a coaxial magnetic field around these conduits. Magnetism, electricity and gravity are all related forces according to the Unified Theory for Electricity, Magnetism, and Gravity, which offers a more complete model for the physics underlying the "Hive Mind" hypothesis.

Magnetic and gravimetric fields travel unimaginable distances through a mechanism that has eluded the most brilliant scientific minds of all times and will demonstrably reach people across the globe. I could even entertain the idea of other kinds of unknown fields beyond these two but would do so at the peril of a weaker hypothesis. The effect on the people reached by these fields would largely depend on the magnitude of the field and the susceptibility of the receptor to the field. Newtonian physics show that the effect of the field diminishes significantly with distance (to the tune of distance3) but do not account for the repeating effects of intermediary brains resonating and amplifying the waves along the way.
..."

Dramenbnejs

I met a few people thinking the way I think.
So if they see or hear similar informations, then they form similar jokes or ideas to my ideas.

Yes, the world needs good debug.

Don

I see someone else already beat me to it: I was going to mention 'synchronicity', the underlying MEANING that connects what otherwise would be considered coincidental events.

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