Re: Observing and the Observer Effect (was Mindless Thought Experiments)

From: Krekoski Ross (
Date: Tue Mar 04 2008 - 01:08:01 MST

> But he said it was right in front of him and that he did not
> understand its architecture.

He also said no I/O, which was confusing since even the sight of it is some
sort of output. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt however and assume
that the aliens gave it some sort of input when they made it, enough to kick
start the simulation, and then left it, happy to have it simulating an apple
for all of eternity.

> > However we still have to deal with Heisenberg. By tinkering with
> > or observing its insides are we disturbing the natural flow of its
> > simulation of an apple?
> That would be a real danger, all right. It could be so delicate that
> as you say, it cannot be observed without changing it.

haha, not quite where I Was going with it...

> > If by observing its internal processes we cause different consequences
> > for the simulated apple than we would with the real apple, I wonder if
> > it can still be said to be simulating an apple.
> The question would be, "how different are those consequences"?
> They could be sufficiently great so as to violate its "apple nature", i.e
> .,
> it would no longer be in the "space" of all apples. Under such
> change, the device could no longer be said to be simulating an apple.

Well, if its a simulation, since part of what an apple is is the way it
interacts causally with the rest of the universe, any difference at all
invalidates the simulation.

I can poke an apple, I can't poke this simulated apple. If I can devise some
means of poking this simulated apple, perhaps through applying current at
nodes x and y, then again, its not an inputless system.

As well, even without poking, the device itself is actually accepting input
and giving output all the time. It is irrelevant whether we pay attention to
the output or not. It is no longer self contained. It may simulate an apple
through a logical mapping of all properties of a real-world apple to its
machine language, but the fact that we can observe such means we are
accepting some type of output from the system. If it possible to accept
output from the system, we are able to input into the system.

Its no longer a 'self-contained inputless system'.

I would argue that there is no actual members of the class 'inputless
self-contained virtual environments' since, by being inputless, they can't
interact with the universe. And any other alternative allows an isomorphic
mapping of signals to simulate any arbitrary real universe action in the
natural language of the virtual environment.



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