reality as simulation?

Michael Wiik (
Sun, 18 Jul 1999 11:36:26 -0400

Hash life is like the game of life except that you use lookup tables to determine the future n state of an area, the area being described losing one unit in height and width each generation, which is like the
'lightcone' outside of which it cannot, by definition, be affected from
outside. It's described with more eloquence and much more detail in Hans Moravec's _Mind Children_.

So, you start out with regular life, start building lookup tables, then as it evolves you can rely on the lookup tables more and more. I'm not sure what would ensue if you allow the looked-up configurations to merge into the main screen prior to their scheduled time. I've thought for a while (agreeing with Hans Moravec) that we're much more likely to be in a simulation of life rather than real life itself. It's an exciting time, on the cusp of the singularity, and possibly worthy of study by already transcended beings. If so, rather than SETI, we might be able to find existance of such intelligence in scientific and mathematical laws that look like code optimizations and compression techniques.

If I were designing such a system, I'd provide the ability to add to the compression techniques whenever the beings within the simulation discovered a new law. So once Benfords Law becomes noticed, for example, I might start using it in the simulation (in lieu of the still-compressible but not as efficient variant I had been using), in which case it would be found in more and more areas in the simulation. Applying this idea to all reality, I'd rely on the sim-beings to design a good part of the simulation. I would just jostle virtual molecules around, for example (maybe even using a version of pre-scheduled merging hash life to speed things up), till they formed a replicating form. They'd be too primitive to notice the apparently faster than light and action at a distance effects.

Or maybe just start out with 4 elements, maybe earth, water, fire, air for example, and progressively extract elements out of this as they are
'discovered' by the sim-beings, which allows for more compressibility
(thus allowing the simulation system to model higher complexity states), instead of adding more 'humours' to these as I had been doing.


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Michael Wiik
Messagenet Communications Research
Washington DC Area Internet and WWW Consultants