Friday, January 21, 2011

[Yasmin_discussions] Around Simulation II - Simulated Senses and the Un-Simulatable - Past Memory

"If we were to name the most powerful assumption of all, which leads
one on and on in an attempt to understand life, it is that all things
are made of atoms, and that everything that living things do can be
understood in terms of the jigglings and wigglings of atoms." (Richard
Feynman) <>

Is the past, including our memories, simulatable? It seems to me that
this depends on what we mean by simulation and the respective material
used for building simulations. If a simulation means simply
"imitating" the behavior of life's situation or processes, then this
is just one interpretation of simulation. A different interpretation
of simulation is that of a replica or a clone of certain behaviors
that are as real as real can seemingly get. A simulation can, over
time, develop its own histories, separate and apart from the original.
Therefore, in this instance, a true simulation is a copy or a clone
of a life's situations or processes that can be substituted for "true"
life experiences in a "duplicative world" concept, at least until the
simulation takes on its own behaviors.


If the objective past is comprised of molecules that form new moments
in time as time continues forward, then those molecules do regenerate
and form and are never done and gone. They are simply reconfigured.
The issue here is how to reconfigure molecules to replicate or clone
the past.

If the subjective past is one's memory, this past is comprised of
neuron that form synapses. Aspects of simulation as sensory memory
include ionic memory (visual perceptions) and echoic memory (auditory
perceptions). Explicit memory is important for awareness of the past
and implicit memory is important for the past that occurred, but your
thinking-mind was elsewhere. All these aspects are produced through
neuron activities that form patterns that are interpreted as memory.

A simulation constructed in material, non-physical world would be
developed by molecular substrates as essential building blocks for
replication. Likewise, if a simulation is construction in the
bio-physical world then neuronal, chemical and electrical substrates
are essential building blocks for replication.

The question is whether or not this can be accomplished. (Is the
past, including our memories, simulatable?)

The bigger issue here is whether we look at this as a constructivist
world or a scientific realist world, but that would take us off on a
tangent, however necessary. To simplify, I just skip over this
(Jennifer and I have discussed this at length privately) and we have
unique perspectives. It will be easier then to select an issue of
memory and whether or not a person's memory can be simulated. To do
this, it would require a brain's matter to be transferred or copied
onto a computational system, and then the mind, and its memories,
would be located this system. This is probably more likely to copy
future memories, but not the past because the past's neuronal patterns
are already done and gone. But, since the brain keeps all of its old
files and unless the brain is not forming too many "white spots" (the
signs of aging), then the patterns would be replicated. This, as you
know if uploading (whole brain emulation). Usually the simulated mind
is thought of as being part of a simulated virtual world with
modeling, etc. That is not what I am talking about.

I don't know if the past or mind and its memory can be simulated as
either an "imitation" or as a "replica". It seems likely that it will
be though.

What I find relevant is the possibility of all our perceptions – all
the matter or illusion inside and around us being simulated. The
element of "time" is a finicky but crucial aspect of this – the past.
What is here is now gone and done (including death), only to possibly
be once again here and coming.


Natasha Vita-More

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