Re: Minds, Machines, and the Multiverse

From: Matt Gingell (
Date: Wed May 03 2000 - 22:59:42 MDT

>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.

Sure - this makes a great deal of sense. The brain discards all but
the last pico-fraction of the data actually presented to it, focusing
instead on the "important bit." It would be great if we could cut out
the middle man and just poke a bit of recognition equipment in the
right way. So far as technologies that actually accomplish this,
natural language does a pretty amazing job. The memory, I think, of
particularly vivid things I've read is about as rich as the
recollection of things that actually happened.


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