What’s on my mind, Facebook? I was thinking about how if I get free ketchup, I will eat it with chicken nuggets, but I have to douse it in Tabasco first. Or I might use it on a hot dog, although bratwurst and sauerkraut with spicy mustard is the German way to go. And I’m mostly German in ancestry. But I do have a Cherokee ancestor, who I don’t know much about, and I’m relying on other people’s online family trees to verify our connection. I’m still waiting on the results of a DNA test for a detailed analysis of my genetic heritage. Which reminds me, I’m often binge watching SciShow and other educational science and physics and mathematics channels on YouTube, and free information is a pretty wonderful thing.
It’s interesting that a large portion of our daily life now is comprised of information…we invest time and energy into video games, social media, videos, music. We sell pictures on computer screens and buy them with money that we don’t physically have. So much of our lives comes down to zeros and ones on the hard drive and RAM of a server, computer, or gaming console.
And then I started to wonder if I have logical reasons for asserting that my reality is any more real than virtual reality in a computer. What property of my existence can I use as evidence that I’m not a simulation in the computer of another technologically advanced species? Take the coming video game No Man’s Sky, for instance. They are creating a universe with a computer. You could explore it for billions of real years and still there would be more. So if you have a computer that’s far more advanced than ours, perhaps it could create networks of virtual neurons…virtual life. What would make my existence any more real than theirs?
And if virtual life is possible, that will make the robot apocalypse really interesting. Some scientists recently created artificial muscle fibers using, of all things, fishing line. The particular type of materials used in fishing line apparently coil in a very interesting way when twisted many times, and then expand and contract when heated or cooled. This could be done on a microscopic scale, using electricity for rapid heating and cooling, to create realistic synthetic muscle. So what if we make a physical body for an artificial intelligence…create a technological life form in our image. If it worked, if it could learn and talk and act like a human, would it be real?
Well, Facebook, I think maybe I should cut back on the Tabasco-infused ketchup.