Listen up, people, and simmer down. I’ve just eaten a whole Cinnabon and here’s the 2nd part of the Elon Musk thing from the other day.
The person closest to the right answer said that when Elon Musk enters into the simulation and walks out onto his porch he sees the “night sky.” This is correct. But the second half of the question was “what is his new problem?” This was the part of the question that no one really took a shot at answering seriously, and it is related to the fact that he sees the night sky. So, as a recap, here are the things that I put in the original post that are all direct quotes (or taken from direct interviews) from Elon Musk:
“Elon Musk says (and these are from direct quotes):
1. The universe is probably around 13.8 billion years old.
2. The earth is about 4.5 billion.
3. Sentience evolved about a half billion years ago.
4. In another half billion years, the earth will expand, boil off our oceans and all life on earth will perish.
5. The best argument that we are living in a simulation is that 40 years ago we were playing Pong – two short sticks and a dot. In 40 years we’ve developed entirely realistic games, virtual reality, augmented reality, etc. With ANY improvement percentage at all over the next few years, we will have virtual reality that is indistinguishable from reality.
Here is the setup for the issue at hand:
“In ten years, Megacorp rolls out its huge Indistinguishable VR Universe. It is so real, it is indistinguishable from reality. Elon Musk is the first person to get to try the system. He goes into the system (in my book Futurity, this requires a special breathable gel that you’d have to be immersed in, but whatever.) He finds it literally perfect. You cannot tell that you aren’t in the old reality where he made the prior comments. He walks into a gorgeous house, puts a steak in a pan to fry, takes a drink onto the deck and looks up into the night sky.
What does he see and what is his new problem?”
The really pertinent facts in the example are these:
1. Megacorp has developed this indistinguishable VR Universe in 10 years.
2. It is realistic.
3. He sees the night sky.
Now, Elon would have likely passed any number of clues walking into this gorgeous house that (assuming the simulation has existed for ten years) the simulators have built into the simulation some elements that appear to have age greater than ten years. But Elon can be excused for missing them because it is dark. There were probably tall trees in the yard that have been twisted by wind and age, branches lost in youth that have scarred over. The grass, perhaps, appears that it has been there longer than a decade. In order for it to be “indistinguishable”) which is a very important clue, there would need to be a variety of subtle, sometimes subconscious, clues that ages have passed. We see in every eyeful detritus of death and age that maintains our sanity and keeps us from the uncanny valley. But Elon walks into the house in the dark. He puts a steak on to fry. This is also possible. A cow can be raised and can produce offspring that also reach butchering age in ten years, so this doesn’t throw him off. But Elon is smart. He’s a genius. He walks out onto the deck and he looks up and sees the night sky…One of two things can happen here. 1. There are no stars (since, according to Elon’s own reckoning it has taken 13.8 billion years for the light to travel here and there won’t be stars in the Megacorp sky for 13.8 billion years.) or 2. There are stars.
If there are no stars, then the simulation isn’t indistinguishable. It’s distinguishable.
If there are stars, then the simulators built this reality with the appearance of age.
Elon knows this when he sees the stars. The light he is seeing was created in transit. He also knows that he believes that the previous reality – the one he stepped out of to step into this simulation – is also a simulation. This is a devastating blow to his assumptions. If he continues to believe that his first iteration is a simulation, then he has to conclude that he has NO basis for believing that that universe is 13.8 billion years old. Zero. The simulation he believes he is in (the one in which he is the CEO of Tesla and is planning a colony on mars based on assumptions that are now questionable) is (he must conclude) built with the appearance of age. Light, then, was made in transit. Trees look like they are older than they really are.
Elon has suspended disbelief so that he can maintain a fantasy. He purposely ignores the 99/1 problem (that the 99% of tech advancement is the easy part, and the probably impossible part is the last 1%. Elon is ignoring the uncanny valley reality in humans. He’s a fantasist. (I dealt with this in Pennsylvania – how you get past the inherent disbelief in humans when encountering an artificial reality… drugs.)His reply may be that in order to remain indistinguishable, every subsequent simulation SIMULATES an original universe that really has that age, but now we’re just storytelling. It’s a WAG. A Wild Ass Guess. It is religion and not verifiable fact. The fact is that he is making a lot of assumptions based on other assumptions that he now must realize are not founded in any verifiable reality.
The first 4 parts of the 5 part belief system that Elon has mentioned in many interviews – he knows they are bullshit. That is why you will see he always couches his terms in “maybe”. Maybe. Probably. We think. If he gives up his “we’re in a simulation” opinion, then the first 4 have at least some internal continuity, though they still have other major problems in physics and logic.
This is only a tidbit of an overall video I want to do on logic and the logos, the differences between intelligence, specialized intelligence, and “artificial” intelligence, the real existence of NPCs, mental fragmenting, and the Turing test.
Thank you for coming to my TEDtalk.