Thursday, 29 March 2018

You are a Simulation of a Simulation

I've always maintained that human consciousness has evolved as a by-product (or "emergent property") of the way in which the human brain "models" other elements of its social environment in a kind of virtual world inside the head. 

This virtual world contains modelled copies of other people that we know and regularly interact with, and the better we know a person, the more detailed their model is. We use these models to try out social "dry runs" before we interact physically with the actual person. We know this is what happens because we can observe it in ourselves every time we anticipate meeting, or having a conversation with, someone.  Who hasn't run conversations through their head prior to such a meeting?  And how well the conversation goes (or how accurately it mirrors the simulated conversation we've already had) depends on how well we know the other person, and how detailed our model of them is.

The more detailed the model is, the better able we are to interact socially with them.  My contention has always been that the person we know the most about (ourself) is therefore the most detailed model, and in fact it is so detailed that it thinks it is alive.  This is the origin of the human consciousness.

However this means that that simulation of "you" that exists in your brain isn't a copy of the "real" you. It IS the real you.  The simulation is you. In effect making you a simulation of a simulation.

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