RE: Real vs. Simulated Ecologies [was: Moravec article available]

From: Billy Brown (
Date: Thu May 04 2000 - 08:49:20 MDT

Anders Sandberg wrote:
> What you can do is swap the bit, so that the bit is replaced with a
> zero from a big pool of zero bits you happen to have in the
> simulation. This pool would correspond to a heat sink, and is of
> course not something that can be renewed without dissipation. But the
> time and space distance between the virtual and real bit erasures can
> be arbitrarily long.

Well, yes. There is no end of clever things you can do to optimize your
physical-layer computers. But none of this requires that you have a VR
anywhere, or works better with a VR than without.

> One could also imagine the "erased" but stored
> bits being used as the results of random number generators elsewhere
> in the simulation, putting them into circulation again.

I'd be wary of doing that, since the numbers wouldn't actually be random.
Though it does lead me to wonder what kinds of subtle defects might evolve
in a simulation that used its own data as a pseudorandom number generator.

> "Captain, we are running out of ones, sir!"
> "Damn! We should have refuelled at the latest Dyson. Now we have to
> scavenge some silence and negate it."

"Captain, ontological engineering reports a new level of hidden meaning has
emerged in computation node 4. They project that virtual life forms will
emerge any second now, and sentience may evolve in as little as six hours!"

"Damn! We should have taken time to randomize at that last galaxy. Now we
have to revert to backups and reinitialize the bit store."

Billy Brown

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