Friday, May 25, 2018

We're someone's computer game, they say

Suppose I notice that in the morning after a good night’s sleep, I often successfully pass a level in Candy Crush that I had spent hours the day before unsuccessfully trying to complete. Suppose I wonder if sleep somehow has helped me decipher the pattern needed to complete the level. Suppose to test this theory I do an experiment with subjects in a lab where sleep is monitored and with researchers not knowing which test subjects have ‘slept on’ the problem and which one’s haven’t. Suppose that experiment shows that who have slept have a competitive advantage over those who have not—all else being equal.

I therefore decide that sleep does indeed help with learning.

What if I was I was later to find out that those who wrote the Candy Crush game programmed in an algorithm that stipulates if a gamer does not actively play the game for eight or more hours, the game will be made easier once the gamer returns to action and that morning abilities are not dependent on sleep?

What if nothing is as it seems, even when scientifically tested? What if I were to find out the entire cosmos runs on algorithms and that my sense of self-determination is an illusion and that my ability to make choices, plan my life, pursue success rests more on programmed abilities and limitations than on what I perceive as my personal choice and work ethic?

There is a new theory floating around the physics’ world that suggests such might be the case, the Simulation Theory.

Of course we know that much of our physical identity is programmed by our genes--the colour of our eyes, our gender, our propensity for cancer--but what if our mental and spiritual identities are also programmed in a similar way? In fact, what if the entire cosmos is?

Suppose a bi-racial American woman’s life is programmed so if she does everything correctly, she will marry a British prince?

Or, say a woman’s life is programmed so that if she writes a single book about a Mr. Grey, she will become a popular author, no matter how well or not-so-well that book is written. Whereas another woman is programmed so that no matter how many books she writes, well-written or not, she never will achieve fame or fortune?

The role of chance and choice raises havoc with our understanding of the universe, prompting even Einstein to once declare that certain scientific understandings of the universe could not be true because “God does not play dice with the universe.” (Scientists like to be very rational.)

Take statistics on car accidents, for example. With each accident happening supposedly independently of all others, in an unplanned way, miles apart, how is that the number of accidents forecast to happen over a long weekend, is inevitably close to the number that actually occurs?

Is it because of an algorithm?

Why is it that we can predict that over the long haul, when flipping a coin, 50% of the time it will be heads, and the other 50% it will be tails? Does each flip know what happened before so it can work to even things out? Can each flip see the future and know what it has to be?

Or, is it because some superior being has written an algorithm dictating that with two equally possible outcomes of a repetitive action, half the time the outcome must be one and half the time the other?

Are people who feel content with life, who have found their ‘calling’, simply those who are tuned into the algorithm that is their life?

Are those with difficult lives, who find success hard, who end up homeless, addicted perhaps and on the street, simply those who are programmed to do so? Or are they people who have not yet done what the cosmos has algorithmically determined they must do to attain happiness and/or success?

Do we as people and we as civilizations repeat our past mistakes because that’s what we’re programmed to do? Are those who keep repeating an action hoping for a different result doing so because that’s how they’re designed?

Many physicists, mathematicians and computer programmers think we might be more virtual than we believe.

Exactly how that truth would make a difference in our daily lives or in our understanding of ourselves and our universe, or in our culpability or heroism, is up for discussion.

If we could learn to decipher our personal algorithm as we have deciphered our DNA, could we lead more successful lives? Could we be happier because we’d be doing what we were designed to do, just as we as children may give up efforts and dreams to play in the MBA if we were to discover by DNA analysis that we'll be under 6' tall as adults?

If we knew that according to our programming, we had to first become an actress and move to Toronto, Canada before meeting and marrying our prince, we could do that—or not do it because the alternative is more to our liking. Or, is there an alternative, or are we just destined to be where we are doing what we're doing, moving through what appears to be time toward an inevitable fate?

What we all want to know, though, is exactly who is it that’s doing the programming? And are/were these algorithmic creator/s, programmed by someone else?

Or is it just that today's computer programmers are super self-centered and egotistical along with the physicists they’ve dragged into their Simulation circle? i.e. “We created the Cosmos!!! It was us!!!”

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"We're someone's computer game" is brought to you by DISPASSIONATE LIES, my scifi novella wherein Ladesque is set to unleash a quantum computer on the world. And she will control the power!