[FRIAM] Divergent Optimism

Steve Smith sasmyth at swcp.com
Thu Jan 19 16:19:49 EST 2023

Marcus wrote:
> I meant that unrolled recursion is easy to imagine evolving without any dynamical behavior.   Just keep growing and wiring-up neurons, one after another.   Copy/paste.
Glen said:
> Interesting. I've always worried that "observation", the word, gets abused too much. Marcus' response to my suggestion that unrolled recursion is more observable than recursion is a good one, which I read as there are different types and orderings to observation or access. I don't know where Wheeler landed on such a conception. But my framing often lands on the parallelism hypothesis, that space and time are somehow equivalent. They're not ... obviously. Everything we experience is deeply parallel. But everything we think/know is deeply serial. Part of the job of a simulationist is to carve the two apart, decide what needs to happen in parallel and what needs to be serial in order to trick the user into buying the simulation's rhetoric. That may well include ensemble techniques like Gelman's multiverse analysis<http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~gelman/research/published/multiverse_published.pdf>.

"Multiverse Analysis" in the Gelman sense is a new one for me... I'm 
(enjoying) struggling to compare/contrast this Multiverse Analysis 
<https://forrt.org/glossary/multiverse-analysis/> concept (if I 
understand it) with a more philosophical/cosmological superpositional 
Multiverse <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiverse> conception.  They 
seem to not be as distinct as I thought when I first started trying to 
parse your link.

> If Wheeler's conception includes some sorts of "inside" boundaries such that "participatory" and "observation" can be reduced to "this machine observes that machine" ... if that's sufficient for participation and some sort of "objective reduction" or decoherence, then I'm down.
Since we are talking more specifically (I think) about it's implications 
on consciousness and yet more specifically Orchestrated , I offer this 
surprisingly thorough paper written as a Bachelor's Thesis at William 
and Mary college: 
I can't claim to understand Penrose/Hameroff and Orch OR very well 
yet...   it may be a personal block I have.
> This perspective also bubbles out into why I almost believe deep learning algorithms suffer, because I don't think suffering is some woowoo supernatural stuff that needs ambiguously defined things like consciousness.
Fascinating... I'll try to internalize that into my (ambiguously 
defined) conscious awareness and see how it simmers.   I do find 
(subjectively) suffering to have a very ambiguously wonderful dual in 
> So-called interactive simulation is, fundamentally, different from rhetorical simulation. It's participatory. When people ask me about the simulation hypothesis, I rarely have the opportunity to describe this difference.
I am maybe not as open to the popular conceptions of the "Simulation 
Hypothesis" thanks to the corruption injected through the Matrix movies, 
but was fairly moved by Don Hoffman 
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_D._Hoffman>'s Multimodal User 
Interface (MUI) formulation which I think is in some sense 
related/complementary.  I met him in 2006 and while he seemed to be 
trying to be controversial, I slowly grew to feel he was on to something 
> But with the advent of, and boring habituation to, "MMO open world" video games, we have a compressed way to describe it. There are really 2 (or more) games: the one the designers programmed in and the one the players [re]define when they play. A participatory universe is the 2nd.
I think this is a good unrolling/packing of the concept...  I appreciate 
the conception.  I liked James Carse's "Finite and Infinite Games" back 
in the 80s as an attempt to make this distinction clear.
> I think, rather than using words like "deist", "[a]theist", "buddhist", etc. we could classify people in terms of how they play MMO open world games. The old farts and weirdos who don't play video games would provide our leave-N-out test data.

I think I *live* my life as an open-world game... to the chagrin of 
some/many around me, always pushing things toward the ambiguous and up 
to the edge of failure modes.  I'm a lot more likely to run out of gas 
in a vehicle than most other people, though I've got that one fine-tuned 
to the point that I seem to always roll into a station that is open with 
a few fumes still wafting into the carb (injectors) or more likely 
today, a few useable electrons in my lithium battery pack.   It makes me 
(in most ways) an anti-Engineer, pushing tolerances near their limits 
instead of doubling down everywhere I can.

  I have enjoyed computer/video games in my life, and am way impressed 
by what is mainstream these days.  My 4 year old grandson has a taste 
for highly stylized participatory games which he is not adept at playing 
himself really, but cajoles his parents to "play for him"... the one I 
remembered most over Thanksgiving involved a shadowy-childlike 
apparitional character navigating a series of shadowy 'scapes which 
ranged from forest to desert to swamp (and more I am sure), effectively 
kinetically problem solving in the process of navigating (there is 
climbing, jumping, balancing, swinging, swimming going on) the landscape 
which is not overtly *threatening* (things aren't jumping out to 
eat/stomp/splatter you at every turn) but mildly frustrating and 
ground-hog-dayish until you figure out the "tricks" to get the cartoon 
physics things to "fall as they may" to aid in crossing abysses, 
barriers, etc.

These are not Multiplayer Online but I can imagine they could be... and 
probably exist, I'm just clueless.

> It's also way easier to explain why Twitter is poison and QAnon was inevitable if they understand the difference between participatory and rhetorical simulation, respectively "do your own reserch" versus "get on board with the expert narrative". Glitching through a wall in a video game *can be* very difficult to get right. But you have to commit and do the work. It's way easier and boring to play the game as the designers intended.

I'm not sure I've parsed this entirely... I had a roomate who was 
proto-Q (probably full up by now) whose phrase "I do my own research" 
turned out to reduce to "I'm going to go watch some Alex Jones podcasts 
and follow any/all the references he offers me". We haven't spoken in a 
few years, and then it was mostly her telling me how dangerous/crazy 
Covid vaccines were and how much Covid was a "hoax" (before that it 
could have been chemtrails and alien DNA spliced into apes to create 

I hope others throw down on the larger topic here...  I suppose in some 
sense, it is all parts of the same "larger topic".


   - Steve

> On 1/19/23 10:12, Steve Smith wrote:
>> I've a friend who describes this as:   "The laws of the universe might be pre-determined but the outcomes are not pre-stateable" another way of stating the "halting problem" in a cosmic rather than just CS/Algorithmic context?
>> I am just now (this past month or so) returning to my own maunderings that come and go on the implications of Quantum Theory and in particular according to variations on Wheeler's Participatory Anthropic Principle<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Archibald_Wheeler>.    It *feels* like this implies both "open" AND "closed", based on *framing*.
>>      "All things are possible, only some are more *interesting* than others?"
>> Ensemble members of such an ensemble multiverse include many where "causal" logics do not hold, but in those, what *we* know of as consciousness would have not meaning/traction, so *we* (being apparently conscious by some definition?) or anything recognizable to us as conscious would not exist therein?
>> This, of course, is sweetly confounded by your ideation "/That's why logic(s) that tolerate inconsistency are so cool (to me)." /(or maybe I'm trying to be too consistent in my thinking about what qualifies for consistence?)
>>      /"The universe is flux, life is opinion"/ - Marcus Aurelius
>> Stumble,
>>     - Steve
>> On 1/19/23 10:05 AM, Steve Smith wrote:
>>> I coined a new subject to relieve DaveW from having to see his name over and over...
>>> I'm sympathetic with *all* the points of view expressed here, though not always simultaneously ;)
>>> As /homo faber/ and /homo sapiens/, it is natural that we have instincts and cultural habits around "making" and "thinking" our way out of our predicaments and it might not be too surprising if there were a (collective) Dunning-Kruger effect in our society helping to drive us forward from being the early hominids whose ability with broken stones and sharpened sticks to the mutual-assured-destruction/climate-collapse collective creatures that we have become.
>>> It is deep in my nature to want to fiddle with things (make) and ideas (think) whether experience tells me that it turns out well or not.   I am probably more likely to "muck" with things than many here, so I am (therefore) sympathetic with ideas which in the extreme become things like "geoengineering" and "post/trans humanism" and it is hard for me NOT to cheer every SpaceX launch and the science-fiction trope of humanity spreading to fill the solar system (Moon, Mars, Main/Kuiper/Trojan Asteroids,  ice/gas giant moons, cum-Dyson Sphere) and the Galaxy(ies)!
>>> Yet, I cringe a little every time we throw over some "evil we (think we) know" for some mirage of a bit of "pie in the sky" (pie in your eye?).    This makes me *such* a wet-blanket neo-luddite on virtually every topic, whilst being a bit of a split personality at the same time, cheering/hurrying toward the inevitable moment when "the next cool thing" becomes "WTF, didn't anyone think before they did that?" answered by "it seemed like a good idea at the time"!
>>> But I also have a fondness for ideating on what it would mean for humans to "slow our roll" and "look inward" (both personally and collectively) long enough for the earth-systems we are running over/overdriving to catch up.  But it might be  deep in our "survival instincts" to optimize and leverage at every opportunity even if sometimes it looks like we are nothing but techno-utopian lemmings diving off a cliff of complexity of our own making.  "Be fecund, multiply, and innovate like crazy!"
>>> It can be hard (or weirding) to live across this spectrum and therefore tend to time-multiplex between those extremes, trying to remember enough of one while I'm experiencing the other for some of the "tempering" DaveW references.
>>> We talk here often of predictive vs explanatory models, of epistimology and ontologies.  And in this thread "what would change your mind?" which is similar to "how do you know what you know?".   My own answer to the first question is roughly "I won't know until it happens" and the second is "I don't know, but I am always interested in finding out (more)"
>>> Mumble,
>>>   - Steve
>>> On 1/19/23 8:52 AM, Prof David West wrote:
>>>> My optimism is tempered, and less than Pieters.
>>>> /"When we contemplate the shocking derangement of human affairs which now prevails in most civilized countries, including our own, even the best minds are puzzled and uncertain in their attempts to grasp the situation.The world seems to demand a moral and economic regeneration which it is dangerous to postpone, but as yet impossible to imagine, let alone direct./
>>>> /We have unprecedented conditions to deal with and novel adjustments to make—there can be no doubt of that. We also have a great stock of scientific knowledge unknown to our grandfathers with which to operate. So novel are the conditions, so copious the knowledge, that we must undertake the arduous task of reconsidering a great part of the opinions about man and his relations to his fellow-men which have been handed down to us by previous generations who lived in far other conditions and who possessed far less information about the world and themselves./
>>>> */We have, however, first to create an unprecedented attitude of mind to cope with unprecedented conditions, and to utilize unprecedented knowledge. This is the preliminary. and most difficult, step to be taken—far more difficult that one would suspect who fails to realize that in order to take it we must overcome inveterate natural tendencies and artificial habits of long standing. How are we to put ourselves in a position to think of thiigs that we not only never though of before, but are most reluctant to question? In short, how are we to rid ourselves of our fond prejudices and _open our minds_?/*"
>>>> Those words are from someone few have heard of: James Harvey Robinson, from his book /The Mind in the Making/ published, originally, in 1921. (republished in 2017 by Vigeo Press)
>>>> The optimism of Altman you quoted is, in my opinion, possible only if we can "open our minds" and shed antiquated minds and counter-productive modes of thinking.
>>>> Robinson, by the way does not propose an alternative, per se, but does an excellent job of baring the various kinds of thinking and their origins fro the "savage mind" to the scientific revolution.
>>>> davew
>>>> On Thu, Jan 19, 2023, at 4:17 AM, Pieter Steenekamp wrote:
>>>>> *Sadly, there are some hidden elements to all that techno-optimism.*
>>>>> Yes, sadly the world is unequal and those at the bottom of the economic ladder just don't get a good deal.
>>>>> On the positive side, looking back at the history of mankind there is evidence that it is now better to live than ever in the past for the large majority of humankind. This is true even though it is the sad truth that it's very far from perfect; human suffering is a reality, Glen's comment is sad but true.
>>>>> The question of course is whether it will continue to go better?
>>>>> It's just impossible to know the future. One person can believe it'll go better in the future, another that it'll be worse, each with tons of  good arguments.
>>>>> I for one, embrace the optimism of Sam Altman, just for completeness I repeat his quote and give the reference again.
>>>>> "Intelligence and energy have been the fundamental limiters towards most things we want. A future where these are not the limiting reagents will be radically different, and can be amazingly better."
>>>>> Taken fromhttps://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/startups/intelligence-energy-sam-altmans-technology-predictions-for-2020s/articleshow/86088731.cms   :
>>>>> In conclusion, yes I agree with Glen that there are sadly hidden elements to all the techno-optimism. but this does not dampen my enthusiasm for the future triggered by abundant intelligence and energy.
>>>>> On Wed, 18 Jan 2023 at 21:08, glen<gepropella at gmail.com>  wrote:
>>>>>      Sadly, there are some hidden elements to all that techno-optimism. E.g.
>>>>>      https://nitter.cz/billyperrigo/status/1615682180201447425#m
>>>>>      On 1/18/23 00:40, Pieter Steenekamp wrote:
>>>>>      > I totally agree that realizable behavior is what matters.
>>>>>      >
>>>>>      > The elephant in the room is whether AI (and robotics of course) will (not to replace but to) be able to do better than humans in all respects, including come up with creative solutions to not only the world's most pressing problems but also small creative things like writing poems, and then to do the mental and physical tasks required to provide goods and services to all in the world,
>>>>>      >
>>>>>      > Sam Altman said there are two things that will shape our future; intelligence and energy. If we have real abundant intelligence and energy, the world will be very different indeed.
>>>>>      >
>>>>>      > To quote Sam Altmen athttps://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/startups/intelligence-energy-sam-altmans-technology-predictions-for-2020s/articleshow/86088731.cms  <https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/startups/intelligence-energy-sam-altmans-technology-predictions-for-2020s/articleshow/86088731.cms>   :
>>>>>      >
>>>>>      > "intelligence and energy have been the fundamental limiters towards most things we want. A future where these are not the limiting reagents will be radically different, and can be amazingly better."
>>>>>      >
>>>>>      >
>>>>>      >
>>>>>      > On Wed, 18 Jan 2023 at 03:06, Marcus Daniels <marcus at snoutfarm.com  <mailto:marcus at snoutfarm.com>> wrote:
>>>>>      >
>>>>>      >     Definitions are all fine and good, but realizable behavior is what matters.   Analog computers will have imperfect behavior, and there will be leakage between components.   A large network of transistors or neurons are sufficiently similar for my purposes.   The unrolling would be inside a skull, so somewhat isolated from interference.
>>>>>      >
>>>>>      >     -----Original Message-----
>>>>>      >     From: Friam <friam-bounces at redfish.com  <mailto:friam-bounces at redfish.com>> On Behalf Of glen
>>>>>      >     Sent: Tuesday, January 17, 2023 2:11 PM
>>>>>      >     To:friam at redfish.com  <mailto:friam at redfish.com>
>>>>>      >     Subject: Re: [FRIAM] NickC channels DaveW
>>>>>      >
>>>>>      >     I don't quite grok that. A crisp definition of recursion implies no interaction with the outside world, right? If you can tolerate the ambiguity in that statement, the artifacts laying about from an unrolled recursion might be seen and used by outsiders. That's not to say a trespasser can't have some sophisticated intrusion technique. But unrolled seems more "open" to family, friends, and the occasional acquaintance.
>>>>>      >
>>>>>      >     On 1/17/23 13:37, Marcus Daniels wrote:
>>>>>      >      > I probably didn't pay enough attention to the thread some time ago on serialization, but to me recursion is hard to distinguish from an unrolling of recursion.
>>>>>      >
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