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The Matrix in the Mainstream

The New York Times has published a piece on the possibility that we are living in a computer simulation, talking to philosopher Nick Bostrom about the topic:

My gut feeling is that the odds are better than 20 percent, maybe better than even. I think it’s highly likely that civilization could endure to produce those supercomputers. And if owners of the computers were anything like the millions of people immersed in virtual worlds like Second Life, SimCity and World of Warcraft, they’d be running simulations just to get a chance to control history — or maybe give themselves virtual roles as Cleopatra or Napoleon.

David Chalmers also weighs in with some thoughts on whether such an idea would actually impact on our conception of ‘reality’. It’s an interesting topic, not least because it touches on so many fields – the paranormal jumps from the clutches of materialistic skeptics who say the ‘laws’ of the Universe are fixed, ufologists ask whether such an idea precludes alien civilisations (George Dvorsky has actually touched on this in his latest blog post), and consciousness researchers end up with a list of questions which would be too long to imagine…

Editor
  1. 😉
    Well, MY gut feeling tells me my living simulation is run on a lousy VISTA-like operating system!

    God! Wisen up and get a Mac will ya??

    Wait! Wait! NOOOOOOOoooooooo…………………

    —–
    It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
    It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

    Red Pill Junkie

    1. for the price
      for the price of a good Mac, you can get a cheap little XP machine, and you can also get a decent Linux machine that is faster than the Mac.

      Best of all, you can buy the Linux machine as anything. An old Mac. And old Windows. A new Mac, or a new Windows.

      Then you convert it to Linux, and there you are. You have a perfectly find research tool. It is not that difficult.

      Have some old computer that is too slow, doesn’t work right any more? Install Linux on it. For the amazing price of $0.00.

      —-
      You can observe a lot, just by watching. (Yogi Berra)

      1. Slave of PCs
        Yeah I know Macs are ludicrously expensive fetishistic technojewels, but Man are they cool!

        Plus, less problems with viruses (one drag though: no games AT ALL)

        I would love to have a Mac at home, but because of my work I’m attached o PCs (the software I use is PC-based: Autocad, 3D Max)

        My boss bought me early this year an HP with Vista Home Basic: If there is a Hell, I already know how it looks like.

        I have heard for so long of the wonders of the miraculous Penguin, but When, WHEN I ASK? will it be available in a form fit for us the technically impaired??

        —–
        It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
        It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

        Red Pill Junkie

        1. readinf and riting and rithmatic
          Look Red Pill, you seem to be an intelligent person.

          I am sure you can walk. And also run. You can read and write.

          Also, I am sure you can ride a bicycle, which is more difficult than walking.

          You can probably even drive a car. All of these things, and you didn’t get yourself killed for many years now.

          You have learned [insert here several million things] that you did not know 10 years ago.

          So, to use your form of capital letters, Why, WHY I ASK, do you now want to learn to use Linux? It is not difficult at all, compared to what else you have learned. In fact it is almost trivial.

          You have heard about it, but how many times have you tried?
          I speculate, less than 2.

          —-
          You can observe a lot, just by watching. (Yogi Berra)

          1. good point…
            You’re right, like many things in life, I haven’t really tried.

            But I still think Linux is not mainstream ready you know? There are a lot of complex softwares that are exclusive of windows or mac environments.

            —–
            It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
            It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

            Red Pill Junkie

          2. mainstream ?
            Well now my friend Red Pill, do you want to be mainstream?

            I think I have you on that one 🙂

            Also you can make a “dual boot” system. And also, you can have 2 computers. Many people have 1 computer they use, and 5 or so they don’t know how to get rid of. So if you have some “trash” computer, try it.

            —-
            You can observe a lot, just by watching. (Yogi Berra)

          3. Touché!!!
            This PC I’m using right now (Compaq Presario 6000) is over 2 years old, and really giving me a headache over its limmited disc space. A replacement is not that far ahead i reckon.

            I might actually give it a try.

            Any suggestions on what literature might guide me on that endeavour?

            —–
            It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
            It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

            Red Pill Junkie

          4. many ways
            You can download a CD that will run Linux, without installing anything on your hard disk, from this place
            called knoppix. There is an english page, And French and Russian and Japanese. Why there is no Spanish, I don’t know.

            You can run that without changing anything, it won’t stick to your computer. This will work on x86 machines. You normal PCs.

            You can get back to your “normal” machine by ejecting the CD and rebooting.

            There is also “Ubuntu” which I have not tried. supposed to be real simple and popular.

            I use Redhat Fedora. It costs me $0, equivalent to zero Euros. and pretty much the same in most other currencies.

            Ok, I also have a computer with Windows. But I won’t get Vista.
            —-
            You can observe a lot, just by watching. (Yogi Berra)

          5. Ubuntu FTW
            [quote=earthling]There is also “Ubuntu” which I have not tried. supposed to be real simple and popular.[/quote]

            I’ve heard nothing but good things about Ubuntu…it’s the first Linux distro I’ve heard of which computer newbies can run without a problem.

            The only reason I don’t run some *nix flavour is that I need InDesign (and my Counterstrike Source…).
            😉

            Kind regards,
            Greg
            ——————————————-
            You monkeys only think you’re running things

          6. a simple thing Greg
            Greg do you really say that you only have 1 computer?
            Ok you dont have to admit to that.

            —-
            You can observe a lot, just by watching. (Yogi Berra)

          7. know what you mean!
            As I told earthling earlier, I need a PC to run AutoCAD and 3D Max, and the occasional Photohop retouching, so I understand your point Greg.

            My home PC is getting a little obsolete for my work (by obsolete I meaan tha sometimes it takes me 1 week to run a single architectural rendering! that’s 168 hrs praying the lights don’t go out folks). So tha’s why I’m thinking of a new computer.

            In my line of business, no matter how fast are the new top-of-the-line processors and graphic cards, it will NEVER be enough.

            But right now if I were to buy a new machine (that is, IF I HAD THE MONEY!!) it would have to be either a Mac or wait 6 more months. Why? Because of Vista.

            People: avoid Vista like THE PLAGUE. Most software companies are way behind schedule with updates of their programs to run smoothly on Vista. And If you have a 4 year-old printer/scanner/dig. camera? FORGET IT. Most companies won’t bother to make updates for their old products, the’ll force you to buy new ones.

            Earthling, Ubuntu sounds like a good choice for my old PC, but I still have a question. What can you actually DO with it once you have it installed? I mean, besides the usual Net browsing and e-mail and all that?

            —–
            It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
            It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

            Red Pill Junkie

          8. do with it?
            You can do pretty much anything you want with Linux systems. What is it you want to do?

            There is even a Solitair version.

            —-
            You can observe a lot, just by watching. (Yogi Berra)

          9. not sure what it is
            You want to make nice pictures ? I have a camera for that. And my eyes 🙂

            For photo manipulation, there is GIMP. Not as good as Photoshop I hear. But if you start with a decent picture…
            Or maybe that is the business incentive – you don’t need a decent picture. That’s fair.

            I should send you some “decent pictures” sometime.

            I believe the ILM people and their ilk use *nix, someone correct me if I’m wrong?

            —-
            You can observe a lot, just by watching. (Yogi Berra)

          10. Dude!
            That’s like… not real!
            It’s a synthetic image, made with some 3D rendering software.

            I dunno what ILM uses, but it sure is not an over-the-shelf software.

            —–
            It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
            It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

            Red Pill Junkie

          11. right
            It looks synthetic too, as in fake. But people like that these days. And they think it is “art”.

            Ask the companies who make the software that does this, what platforms they support.

            If you want to make your own software for special purposes, *nix is the best way to go. The best tools.

            If you just want to be a good little consumer, and pay lots of money — go with Micro$oft and Apple.

            —-
            You can observe a lot, just by watching. (Yogi Berra)

          12. It’s not art
            But its work. It’s what you do if you are in the business right now. Before you build the house, the client wants to know how is it going to look like. And you have to present it as close to reality as technically possible. If you show them a painting they might not understand it.

            Personally I really would like to obtain a render as convincing as that one. But it is VERY difficult.

            That’s the business. First you design the building. You make a 3d model of it that helps you in the design process. Then you use the model to make photorrealistic images of it. And before you actually BUILD it you show the images to potential customers. Then they give you the money and you are ready to build the damn thing.

            It’s not that I want to be sucked dry of my money by Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. It’s just that you need to be as productive as possible and try to stay in schedule. That’s why instead of experimenting with freeware software, you go and pay for the software that everybody else is using. After all, you also have to share your dwg files to other offices, and you are more relieved if you have the certainty the’yll be able to open the files and use them. That’s the secret of Microsoft: you buy Office because everybody else has it (even if it is a piece of crap!)
            —–
            It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
            It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

            Red Pill Junkie

          13. indeed
            I know what you are saying, and it is true.

            One of the problems is that it won’t really look like that.

            Oh well.

            —-
            You can observe a lot, just by watching. (Yogi Berra)

          14. ray tracing stuff
            Red Pill, you seem to have professional knowledge about this.
            Is this tool any good ?

            I’m not promoting it or anything like that, it’s just the first one I found.

            —-
            You can observe a lot, just by watching. (Yogi Berra)

          15. GUI’s tend to frighten people,
            Linux is great and so is MAC but I stayed with PC’s because that was where the money was in breakdowns. The latest MAC’s can have a dual boot system and run windows because Apple are now Intel based. Running any program from a CD ROM will result in a very slow experience. Data transferr from ATAPI is more then 300 times slower then your HD is.
            All I have heard over the years of problems with XP pro has always amused me. I have a 1999 pre-release that I am still using and has only SP1 installed. Never had any problems in 8 years. Mind you, this was the bullet proof version sent to techs to write drivers for the, yet to be released, Windows XP.
            If you have a MAC and a PC and wish to share info between them, a simple cross-over cable between NIC’s does the job.

            “Life can be whatever you want it to be, as long as you do what your told.”
            LRF.

          16. “live” CDs
            yes running off a CD is slow. It’s just to see if you like the system.

            Funny thing – many Microsoft techs use Knoppix, running from the CD with nothing installed. They do that to fix their crashed Windows systems.

            —-
            You can observe a lot, just by watching. (Yogi Berra)

          17. Go for it
            Hi Kat,

            Sure there is and there is plenty of support, Ubuntu even sends you the cd for free if downloading and burning poses a problem. “Ubuntu is an African word meaning ‘Humanity to others’, or ‘I am what I am because of who we all are’. The Ubuntu distribution brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the software world”

            Ubuntu

            check the Linuxnews
            Latest Desktop Linux News

            A matter of choice;
            Intimidation, corruption and lies, or serenity, sharing and sincerity.

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