Just finished reading Todd’s most recent post, and found that it related strongly to some reading I was doing last night on futuristic technologies that are in development. One of them, and perhaps the most fascinating, is the “omnidirectional treadmill” [omnidirectional = all directions]. You’re probably thinking “Why would you want to run around in all directions just for excercise?” Well this is not your typical excercise machine. In fact, it’s not even meant for excercise, really. It could have many applications, most of which are in conjunction with a virtual reality machine [hence, relation to Todd’s post]. Here is a photo of the most recently developed prototype, called The Cyberwalk.
Obviously, virtual reality technology has improved vastly since Nintendo’s efforts, i.e. military virtual training devices; there are still limitations on it, but imagine wearing a virtual reality suit/helmet and being able to just run around in a virtual world with the help of the Cyberwalk. If you’ve ever watched Star Trek, picture the holodeck. That is pretty much what this could be.
As technology and processing power improve, the near future could present possibilities for what is called “simulated reality”. This is quite different from virtual reality in that virtual reality is, by definition, very distinguishable from actual reality. In an ideal simulated reality scenario, it would be very difficult to distinguish between the simulation and the real world (see The Matrix trilogy [actually, just the first one – the other two are very lame]).
This all inevitably leads to the concept known as “simulation hypothesis”, which suggests that it is possible that we are actually living in some sort of simulated reality at this very moment (again, if you’ve seen The Matrix, you know all about this). It is, of course, highly unlikely that this is the case, but it’s an interesting thought.
Simulated hypothesis relies on the technology of some civilization to apply simulated reality to others, but some argue that technology is not required to create simulated reality. All you need is a brain. Think about the last time you had a realistic dream that you could have sworn was real. Imagine if that dream had never ended. You were probably thinking real thoughts in the dream, and if it had continued, you might have never known it was a dream and accepted it as your life. You have to admit, your own brain is capable of creating a simulated reality within your mind that you yourself believe and trust. Your unconscious deceives you in this instance; so how, may I ask, could you fully trust your mind to distinguish between reality and non-reality outside of dreaming? Heavy stuff, right? The Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi writes:
“Once Zhuangzi dreamt he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting and fluttering around, happy with himself and doing as he pleased. He didn’t know he was Zhuangzi. Suddenly he woke up and there he was, solid and unmistakable Zhuangzi. But he didn’t know if he was Zhuangzi who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was Zhuangzi.”
So, are you a person sitting at your computer reading a Philmont blog? Or are you a butterfly dreaming that you are a person sitting at your computer reading a Philmont blog? (If so, you have some lame dreams…)
Obviously, this is all just theories and mumbo-jumbo created by scientific minds who do not put their faith in a powerful, personal God like we do. I often get wrapped up and enthralled by metaphysical concepts like these, simply because they spark thought and wonder. But I will never believe that I live in a simulated reality, because I trust in my Creator and have seen Him work in my life continuously. So take that, simulated hypothesis! Hope you all have a great weekend. If you want to read more on any of these concepts, just use Wikipedia. Three songs for you. Sincerely, Josiah.
Three Songs to Buy on iTunes This Week:
1. “Forget and Not Slow Down” by Relient K
2. “Annie Use Your Telescope” by Jack’s Mannequin
3. “As He Climbed The Dark Mountain” by Thursday