【媒库文选】我们生活在模拟世界中吗?

2019-05-15 13:42   参考消息网  

Are We Living in a Simulation? 我们生活在模拟世界中吗

Annie Palmer 安妮·帕尔默

The idea of humans living in a simulated reality controlled by robotic overlords has been much explored by academics, experts and notable figures like tech mogul Elon Musk.

But in MIT researcher Rizwan Virk's new book, “The Simulation Hypothesis,” he probes the idea further, even examining how long it might take before humans could use today's technology to construct their own simulation of reality.

There are several aspects of our world that explain why it's likely we are all living in a simulation, Virk said in an interview with Vox.

He pointed to “quantum indeterminacy,” or “the idea that a particle is in one of multiple states and you don't know that unless you observe the particle,” Virk said.

Virk elaborated on this idea by noting that he thinks it's more likely the world “isn't really physical,” but instead based on information.

And when the world is looked at in that point of view, it's more likely we're living in a simulation, he said.

“Now, it's a much more sophisticated video game than the games we produce, just like today World of Warcraft and Fortnite are way more sophisticated than Pac-Mac or Space Invaders.”

Often, when experts explain the concept of a simulated reality, they point to the popular 1990s sci-fi film The Matrix.

In the Matrix, the main character Neo, played by Keanu Reeves, is given the choice of taking a blue pill or the red pill. If he takes the red pill, Neo will realize he's living in a simulation and begin to exist in a world outside the simulation.

Virk upholds many of theories laid out in Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom's seminal 2003 paper, titled“Are You Living In a Computer Simulation?”

In the paper, Bostrom argues that if we were to reach the “posthuman” stage, wherein humans have harnessed the ability to create simulated realities, we would be capable of creating billions of simulated environments.

As a result, if this is to be true, there would be more simulated humans than biological ones.

He goes onto explain that if we live in a simulated reality,there's two different possibilities that could take shape.

Either we're all AI in a simulation that's running on someone's computer, or we're “player characters,”Virk told Digital Trends.

As a player character, we would be “conscious things that exist outside the simulation and we inhabit characters, just like you might take on the character of an elf or dwarf in a fantasy RPG,” he added.

However, just because we all potentially exist in a massive multiplayer online role playing game, it doesn't mean we don't have individual quests to pursue.

“I don't necessarily think we're in a simulation that has one purpose, such as to see if we can handle climate change,” he told Digital Trends.

“Instead, just like in any multiplayer video game,every character has their own individual set of quests and the freedom of choice to decide what to do next.”

So how long could it take before humans are capable of creating their own simulated realities?

Virk has identified “10 stages of technology development”that we'd need to endure before we reach the simulation point.

“We're at about stage five, which is around virtual reality and augmented reality,” Virk told Vox.

“But the really difficult part — and this is something not a lot of technologists have talked about — is in The Matrix the reason they thought they were fully immersed was they had this cord going into the cerebral cortex, and that's where the signal was beamed.”

“...So my guess is within a few decades to 100 years from now, we will reach the simulation point,” he added.

对于人类生活在一个由机器人最高统治者控制的模拟现实中这一想法,许多学者、专家和名人已经进行了大量探讨,包括技术大亨埃隆·马斯克。

但麻省理工学院研究人员里兹万·弗克在其新书《模拟假说》中进一步探讨了这一想法,甚至还研究了人类需要多久才能利用今天的技术构建出自己的模拟现实。

弗克在接受美国《沃克斯》杂志记者采访时说,我们世界的好些方面可以解释为什么我们很可能全都生活在模拟世界中。

他提到了“量子不确定性”。弗克说,它是指“一个粒子处于多种状态之一,但你只有在观察到该粒子后才知道它处于哪个状态”。

弗克进一步指出,他认为世界很可能“实际上并非有形的实体”,而是基于信息。

他说,从这个角度来看待世界,我们很可能生活在模拟世界中。

他说:“喏,这是一个比我们制作的游戏复杂得多的视频游戏,就像今天的《魔兽世界》和《堡垒之夜》比《吃豆人》和《太空侵略者》复杂得多一样。”

专家们在解释模拟现实的概念时经常会提到20世纪90年代的热门科幻电影《黑客帝国》。

在《黑客帝国》中,由基努·里维斯饰演的主人公尼奥得到了一个机会,可以选择服下蓝色药丸还是红色药丸。如果尼奥服下红色药丸,就会意识到自己生活在一个模拟世界中,并开始进入这个模拟之外的世界。

弗克赞同牛津大学哲学家尼克·博斯特伦在2003年发表研究论文阐述的许多观点。这篇论文题为《你生活在计算机模拟世界中吗?》。

博斯特伦在论文中指出,如果我们达到“后人类”阶段,也就是人类具备了能力创造模拟现实的阶段,那么我们就能构建出无数个模拟环境。

因此,如果这成为现实,模拟人类的数量就会超过生物人类。

他进而解释道,如果我们生活在模拟现实中,就会形成两种不一样的可能性。

弗克告诉数字趋势网站记者,我们要么都是某人电脑上运行的模拟程序中的人工智能,要么就是“玩家角色”。

他还说,作为玩家,我们会是“存在于模拟世界之外的有知觉的事物,我们进入角色,就像你可能在某个幻想类角色扮演游戏中扮演精灵或侏儒一样”。

不过,仅仅因为我们都可能生活在一个大型多玩家在线角色扮演游戏中,也不意味着我们就没有个人追求可寻。

他对数字趋势网站记者表示:“我认为我们未必置身于一个有着单一目标的模拟世界中,比如说看看我们能否应对气候变化。”

他说:“相反,就像在所有多玩家视频游戏中那样,每个角色都有自己的一系列追求,也有选择下一步行动的自由。”

那么,人类要过多久才能创造出自己的模拟现实呢?

弗克认为,我们在达到模拟水平之前必须经历“10个技术发展阶段”。

弗克对《沃克斯》杂志记者说:“我们大概处于第5阶段,即围绕虚拟现实和增强现实的阶段。”

他说:“但真正困难的部分(也是没几个技术专家提起过的部分)是,在《黑客帝国》中,人们认为他们全面沉浸在模拟世界的理由是,他们身上有一根接入大脑皮层的数据线,而那里是发出信号的地方。”

他还说:“……因此我的猜想是,在今后数十年至100年的时间里,我们将达到模拟水平。”(胡广和译自英国《每日邮报》网站4月11日文章)

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