Virtualized Cyberspace - Tim Bass
Virtualized Cyberspace - Tim Bass

Programming virtualized cyberspace is a process of virtualizing an abstraction (in this case cyberspace) by projecting something we cannot observe with our naked eyes (cyberspace) to something we can see and observe with our naked eyes (in this case, virtualized cyberspace).

When we program a complex 3D virtualized world we soon notice that the level of detail (LOD) of the virtualization is constrained primarily on (1) our computing resources and (2) our imagination (which I will call applied consciousness for discussion purposes). Hence in essence, it is the mind of the observer and what the observer hopes to communicate which forms the basis of the consciousness of the virtualization. The LOD available is probably directly proportional to the level of consciousness the creator of the virtualization hopes to achieve, which in turn is likely directly proportional to the computing resources available.

Applying this concept to cyberspace situational awareness (and situational awareness in general), we notice a definition of consciousness as follows:

Definition of Consciousness
Definition of Consciousness

The definition of consciousness is nearly the same as the definition of situational awareness.

In other words, we could easily say “cyberspace consciousness” in place of “cyberspace situational awareness”.

Note, review this 2003 paper which introduces the concept of simulation theory which is now a rapidly emerging field: simulation theory and the words of Nick Bostrom — Are you living in a computer simulation?, 2003:

If we continue down this thought path, as many well respected researchers are doing, we find that the virtualization we hope to achieve is directly related to the level of consciousness that the creator hopes to achieve.

Hence, we procedurally create worlds, terrain, trees, branches and leaves, fiber, cells, atoms, the strong and weak nuclear forces, electromagnetism, etc. etc. Indeed, we introduce or constrain the simulation, or if you please “the virtualization”, with parameters and constants which procedurally and mathematically define the instance of the virtualization we are creating.

The LOD is constrained by our (1) computing resources and (2) consciousness.

In other words, the more consciousness we have and the greater our computing resources, the greater the LOD we can procedurally create.

I have keenly noticed this when I create virtualized cyberspace. I am only limited to the LOD of my “project” based primarily on these two factors – consciousness and resources.

There are many people working trying to answer the question “are we currently in a computer simulation?” This is an interesting area of research obviously, and some say this line of research will eventually unify all theories and be the “Theory of Everything”. Well, that’s all well and good research, obviously!

From my perspective, I have been programming virtualized cyberspace, and I can confirm that I seem only limited / constrained by resources and consciousness. If we assume that there are others in the universe with nearly unlimited resources and unlimited consciousness, then it is easy to assume that it would be fairly simple for “others somewhere” (maybe outside of our universe, maybe inside) to create amazing virtualizations of incredible LOD at the subatomic level. We could easily “reside” in such a virtualization.

On the other hand, if assume we (Earthlings) have the greatest resources and are the most advanced emerging consciousness (unlikely), then it is only a matter of time (and survivability) for us to create virtualizations of incredible LOD down to the subatomic level.

I have created some stunning visualizations of virtualizations of cyberspace with a very low level of detail. Consciously, I come up with more and more ideas to add more details. However, I am constrained by resources.

On the other hand, when I am able to move past a resource constraint, I notice I am constrained by consciousness. This implies a direct causal relationship between resources and consciousness. The greater our resources, the greater potential for consciousness; and the greater our consciousness, the greater our potential for resources.

Elon Musk has said he believes the chance is only one in a billion that we are not living in advanced computer simulation. If we are currently in an advanced computer simulation as Elon Musk has said (not “base reality”), then it seems we are severely constrained by resources and constrained by the social economic model which seems to drive this particular simulation. Are we lucky or unlucky to be in this sim?

I’m struggling to close this post on the right note, so I’ll simply close it by saying this:

Perhaps the purpose of the simulation we current are in is to see if we can rise above the petty fighting and selfish social economic model constrained by this simulation. Perhaps the sim creators are watching to see if this simulation will continue to destroy the environment in the sim? Perhaps the sim creators are watching to see if this simulation will continue on a selfish model where resources that provide greater consciousness will cease to be self-limited by selfish, destructive human behavior?

The constraints on the current simulation are interesting. Will it be “simulation over” before we rise to the challenge to defeat the constraints seeded into this simulation?

What do you think?

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