Virtual Worlds: The Hard Problem of Consciousness and David Chalmers, PHD

Is it likely that we are living in a simulation today? Virtual worlds are they real?

This first episode in the 2nd series explores the topic of virtual reality and the possibility that our entire universe could be a simulation. Since ancient times, some mystical traditions believed that the physical universe and our separate’selves are illusions.’ Now, with the advent of computer simulations, scientists and philosophers are assessing the statistical probability that our shared reality is in fact a representation and not a physical location.
As we open ourselves up to these possibilities, new questions begin to emerge. How can we develop a language that is able to bridge the simulating and simulated worlds? Who could have made such a simulation? Could it have been an artificial intelligence instead of a conscious or biological being? Do we have any ethical obligations towards the virtual beings that we interact with within our virtual worlds? And to what extent are these beings or worlds \”real\”? This list is endless and mind-bending.

David Chalmers, one of the most well-known philosophers in the world of mind-bending, has written a book on the topic, titled ‘Reality+ : virtual worlds, problems of philosophy and their solutions’. Dr. Chalmers, an Australian philosopher and cognitivist who specialises in philosophy of mind and language, is a cognitive scientist. He is Professor of Philosophy and Neuroscience and co-director of NYU’s Center for Mind, Brain and Consciousness. He is the founder of a conference called Towards a Science of Consciousness. In 1994, he coined The Hard Problem of Consciousness. This sparked a renaissance of consciousness studies that has seen a steady increase in research output and popularity.

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What we talk about in this episode
Short Intro.
06:00 Synesthesia.
The science behind knowing the nature and reality.
The Simulation Hypothesis is explained in 11:02.
The statistical probabilities evaluation.
Science cannot tell us for certain.
19:00 The part that you are interacting with would be the only thing to render.
20:00 Clues derived from physics.
John Wheeler — \”It’s from bit\”
23:32 Eugene Wigner : measurement as conscious observation
27:00 Information Theory as a useful, but risky tool for language learning.
Virtual reality is real, and virtual interactions have meaning.
37:00 Ethics of non-player characters (NPCs) and the rights they have.
38:45 Will advanced AI have consciousness?
42:45 Does god hack the universe? The Simulation Theology.
The argument for God’s existence from design is met with the simulation theory at 44:30.
51:00 The Hard Problem of Consciousness also applies to AI
55:00 Turing test to test AI consciousness
The ethical value of immoral behavior in virtual worlds.

Hans Moravec — Pigs in cyber space 1992
Eugene Wigner, \”Remarks on mind and body\” 1961…emarks.pdf.
David Chalmers and Kelvin McCQueen, ‘Consciousness & the Collapse of the Wavefunction’
NPC becomes aware in the movie \”Free Guy\” dir. Shawn Levy and Ryan Reynolds.
NPC torture on Black Mirrors Episode 1, \”USS Callister\”
The Turing Test for subjective consciousness
Robert Nozic’s thought experiment, ‘The experience machine’.
Future of Life: Max Tegmark’s Organisation reduces existential risks from new technologies.