The Game of Life – Augmented Reality


No kidding, we could all be participating in a game we call life. At least that’s what SpaceEx founder Elon Musk recently told folks at the Code Conference. He thinks it’s possible we are all characters in a virtual reality game created by beings of higher intelligence. The gringa would have appreciated that, if this is so, they could have opted me for a superpower rather than this pesky thing called epilepsy. That was just not nice at all.

Now, Musk is an intelligent guy. What in the world is he talking about? If he really believes in this possibility and he’s not some wacked out fringe science believer, does he have anything of substance to back up this theory? As he began to explain himself in the interview, he took listeners back to the video game era of Pong. The reasoning follows this line of logic:

  • 1st – Pong
  • 40 Years Later – 3D simulations
  • What’s Happening Now – Virtual Reality
  • What’s Next – Augmented reality

He expects that augmented reality will be the era of technology where reality and the game will be indistinguishable. He believes it’s possible that other life, far more advanced than humans, has already reached this stage and Earthlings are part of their augmented reality games. So what the heck is augmented reality?

Definition: augmented reality – technology that super-imposes computer generated images over the player’s real-world view. What the person sees is a composite image of reality and computer generated images.

So, basically, if I wanted to live in an augmented reality, rather than go to the trouble and expense of painting my walls I would pop in my augmented reality contacts at the beginning of every day. They would be programmed with an image of my quaint little apartment featuring walls of my favorite color preferences. I could also eliminate having to look at dust and the icky grime build up in my bathtub. Mona Lisa could grace the place of honor in my living room rather than an inexpensive original by an obscure starving artist. I could live a life of comfort and laziness and never be bothered with the filth accumulating around me as I no longer have any motivation to clean, since my augmented reality apartment is always spic and span and downright lovely.

But how does such a possibility translate into one that puts forth that all of us humans are already part of an extra-terrestrial or advanced earlier human augmented reality game? Does that put us on the same level with our pets? Are we the pets of extra-terrestrials or earlier humans? Am I cleaning house for treats? Am I an augmented reality star?

Is there something positive to the possibility of being little more than an observed lab rat in an ET/advanced human video game? Well, there’s that whole apocalypse thing. If we’re not really “real” then the apocalypse is not really “real”. It’s just all part of the program. The Earth is not going to self-destruct because of human accelerated climate change. Or will it?

What if the ETs/advanced humans are simply seeing if we solve the problem? What if they WANT us to solve the problem and we don’t? What if they get disgusted and hit the reset button and start over? Will I be doomed to repeat this very day all over again once the game advances to the point that my character is, once again, sitting at the same desk pecking away at the same laptop keys composing the same story? Would I know I had been reset or would I just resume in the blink of an eye as if nothing had happened feeling it was my first time to write the story rather than, perhaps, the kazillionth attempt? What if they delete my character altogether because I never reached my full potential the first time around? Holy Cow! What if they re-invented me with supermodel measurements, flawless skin, a genius mind and bottomless pocketbook?!

But what if there are no super-advanced civilizations managing us like puppeteers? How about we continue to progress through science and technology and eventually have supercomputers that can generate augmented reality en masse for the public, as easily available as the Internet is today? What if augmented reality becomes a way of life? What if we are reduced to live our lives lying about on loungers, hooked up to nutritional supplement dispensaries and simply exist in our mind’s created reality? What if we are doing that already? Or perhaps we go about our everyday affairs but we ladies can all have Prince Charming for husbands. Our cranky boss can be converted to look like a hobbit. Instead of passing strangers on the streets, people are all programmed to look like Easter bunnies and unicorns.

Could artificial intelligence evolve through augmented reality to the point that a character could actually be considered to have consciousness and exercise free will? If so, is it possible that you and I originated as artificial intelligence and have advanced to that stage as characters in an advanced ET/advanced human augmented reality game that the simulated civilization is developing the same technology that led to our original existence? It seems greater minds than the gringa have been musing over just such questions and more for quite some time. The idea of humans living a virtual reality existence did not originate with Musk. He simply did a spin with a theory originally proposed by philosopher Nick Bostrom.

Bostrom’s theory proposes:

  • If we are living an augmented reality as pets or game characters of a more intelligent species, humanity will eventually become extinct as part of the game parameters which means…
  • The advanced civilization (or civilizations) within the game must eventually evolve to contain no individuals wealthy enough to have a strong interest in having ancestors and the freedom to pursue that interest.

Bostrom, a philosopher at Oxford University, has published a controversial article in Philosophical Quarterly positing the possibility that we are all characters in a computer simulation. He bases this on the theory that at some point in the future humans will have super-computers capable of running simulations of the civilizations that came before them and let them continue unhindered to see how far they develop. If that is true, consider the possibility that it has already happened and you and I, dear reader, are existing within one of those simulations. How would we know?

We would know once we evolved to the point that we developed technology to create simulated civilizations. That is why the ones in control of the simulation we are cast in have to design the program with an apocalyptical human extinction parameter when the characters get too close to achieving that level of technology. Then it all starts over. The gringa hopes her next character is epilepsy free and has prettier feet.

P.S.  Augmented Reality… there’s an app for that!

Sources:

http://www.popsci.com/elon-musk-says-we-could-be-simulation?src=SOC&dom=fb

http://www.vox.com/2016/6/2/11837608/elon-musk-simulation-argument

http://www.recode.net/code-conference-2016

http://www.simulation-argument.com/simulation.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulation_hypothesis

http://www.simulation-argument.com/

Image Credit: sby.dnet.net.id

 

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How Climate Change Affects Vacation Priorities


So, when the climate change poop hits the fan, who is going to be in for the worst ride? What parts of the world should I vacation at now because they will be uninhabitable in the future? Exactly where will be the safest place for the gringa and the caveman to diddle away their golden years?

Well, we better get busy and visit all the beach hotspots that are alive and kicking right now. With sea levels rising, the coastal cabanas of today will be reef material tomorrow. And, considering that climate change creates erratic and extreme weather patterns such as: heavy rain here, drought there, devastating tornadoes everywhere; well, there is no uniform model of what’s going to change where or when. The only concrete expectation right now is what models predict about low elevation islands and coastal beachlands. They are pretty much going to be history, some maybe within my lifetime.

Other areas scientists expect to change dramatically are regions that have a delicate ecosystem balance and are already experiencing hyper-sensitivity to environmental stressors. These areas include:

  • Arctic, specifically the tundra region
  • Boreal forest belt – This is the conifer forest that stretches across North America, particularly dense in the Pacific Northwest
  • Tropical Rainforest
  • Alpine regions
  • Steppes of Asia and the Americas
  • Prairies of Asia and the Americas
  • Deciduous forests of South America and Australia

The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the Earth. The permafrost layer is melting. Glaciers are getting smaller and sea ice is disintegrating. The wildlife of the Arctic will probably be a loss to the world. They depend on a habitat that is going to grow too warm to support their needs. The indigenous people of this region will experience a loss of their culture that is strongly dependent on the wildlife and natural geography. The humans will have the adaptation advantage that the wildlife and fauna do not have. But the loss of their culture is still something to mourn over.

The boreal forests of North America are important carbon sponges for the earth. What will a degree or two warmer mean? As temperatures warm the center of the United States, the boreal forest will shift northward. Predictive models sees the United States losing its boreal forest as it relocates to Canada and Alaska. So, we won’t lose them, they will relocate. That’s good news in the aspect that at least the Earth will retain a critical carbon filter.

Researchers in tropical rainforests mark trees and track them for years, measuring them to see how they are responding to climate change. A group in the Bolivian Andes are studying a swath of diverse trees and plants that thrive in a limited temperature range. As temperatures rise, so do the trees. New, baby trees are growing uphill. Just as the North American model predicted a forest migration, the same is expected of the tropical rainforests. They will abandon the lowland jungle regions and migrate up the mountainsides, seeking cooler temperatures.

Alpine regions are going to experience the same forest creeping phenomena. As glaciers continue to recede, alpine plants will continue to move upwards looking for cooler temperatures and water. However, eventually, when all the glacier water has melted and run off or evaporated, this critical component of the annual water budget will be gone forever. Plants and trees dependent upon it will eventually be extinct. So Alpine ecosystems will not only migrate, they will migrate to a slow death.

The upside of forest migration is that the Earth is trying to compensate and save herself. The downside is that the migration process is slower than the warming process. This means there will still be catastrophic loss of tropical rainforest and alpine habitat. This will affect the wildlife dependent on these ecosystems as well as their indigenous people.

Experts predict the possibility of losing over half of the steppe habitats due to the effects of climate change. They are not modeling a migration of fauna, but a loss. Steppes are critical grazing areas. As the steppes experience habitat loss, growing smaller, overgrazing occurs on the remaining areas. The effects then are coupled: climate change related drought and overgrazing. Things look dire for the future of the steppes and the animals and shepherds and ranchers who depend on them. The steppes could become the Earth’s future Sahara’s.

Unlike a conifer boreal forest or tropical rainforest that are green year round, a deciduous forest becomes barren in the winter season as the trees lose their leaves. Deciduous forests exist in tropical and temperate climates. Climate change models predict warmer winters affecting deciduous forests. This could lead to tree loss from pests and disease. In regions where devastating drought occurs, there will be higher tree loss. When a tree dies in the forest it also becomes fuel. In regions experiencing drought related tree loss, the dry conditions and increased fuel of more dead trees makes conditions ripe for voracious wildfires. So, if the drought or the bugs don’t wipe out the deciduous forests, the wildfires probably will.

The gringa thinks the list of vacation priorities should go something like this:

  • Arctic expedition
  • Steppe pack-mule trip
  • Deciduous and Alpine forest camp outs
  • Beach parties around the world
  • Tropical rainforest excursion
  • Bigfoot safari in the boreal forests of the Pacific Northwest

I don’t think climate change is going to sound the death knell for planet Earth and mankind. The gringa does believe it will be the end of many species of animals and plants that are with us today. It is also highly likely that entire cultures will be wiped out when they lose the habitats they rely upon. And usually species loss does not mean a gaping hole is left behind. Usually, another species fills the gap or a species evolves and adapts. So, the key word to focus on is “change”. It’s climate “change” not climate “loss”. But the change is as significant as the past disappearances of entire civilizations such as the Maya or entire animal classes like the dinosaurs.

At this point, I believe the consensus among scientists is that we have passed the tipping point. There is no going back and “fixing” things. We simply have to ride the lightning and deal with it. So, if a person is able and so inclined, they need to enjoy the world as we know it today and document it for the children of the future.

 

Source:  www.nasa.gov

Image Credit: http://www.notenoughgood.com