Re: Minds, Machines, and the Multiverse

From: Doug Jones (
Date: Wed May 03 2000 - 22:36:33 MDT

Matt Gingell wrote:
> There's an analogy here to data compression: There exists no algorithm
> which can be guaranteed to shave a bit off any arbitrary bit string. If
> there were, applying the algorithm enough times would compress
> anything down to zero. All you can do is map frequently occurring
> patterns down to short encodings at the expense of making less
> frequent patterns more expensive to express.

Agreed, but I wonder about the possibility of bypassing the rendering
step of virtual reality, much as Vinge described in True Names lo these
many years ago. Consider: a fairly compact description of a scene is
fed to a rendering program, which produces a richly detailed high
resolution wide angle image. A human views this scene, and his retinas
and optic nerve do a lot of preprocessing- edge detection, motion
detection, hue- chroma- saturation separation... resulting in a fairly
compact description of the scene evoked in the viewer's mind. This
seems like complexly formatting a document in a whysiwyg word processer,
faxing an image of the page, then running OCR on it at the far end.
(Don't laugh, I saw this method advertised as a Good Thing a few years
ago- that company is defunct, though.)

Vinge's vision, if workable, would be a sweet solution.

Doug Jones
Rocket Plumber, XCOR Aerospace

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