Author Topic: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom  (Read 6485 times)

Offline erin is nice

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #30 on: January 06, 2018, 09:03:01 AM »
A similar example which I think definitely is cheating are braces on one's teeth. They are a fraud on the marriage market. They misrepresent a fundamental indicator of health and breeding.

I know this thread is about virtual reality (my only opinion on that is "no, thanks" after watching Sword Art Online) but is no one going to challenge this? Crooked teeth have nothing to do with health and everything to do with innocuous things like thumb sucking.
 
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Offline Lydia Purpuraria

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #31 on: January 06, 2018, 09:38:41 AM »
A similar example which I think definitely is cheating are braces on one's teeth. They are a fraud on the marriage market. They misrepresent a fundamental indicator of health and breeding.

I know this thread is about virtual reality (my only opinion on that is "no, thanks" after watching Sword Art Online) but is no one going to challenge this? Crooked teeth have nothing to do with health and everything to do with innocuous things like thumb sucking.

Good point about thumb sucking. 
« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 10:50:05 AM by Lydia Purpuraria »
 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #32 on: January 06, 2018, 09:47:45 AM »
We know with absolute certainty we are not living in a VR scenario for this simple reason.  No super intelligence or computer algorithm would come up with book tokens, where you take a perfectly good 20 dollar bill and exchange it for a piece of paper you can only spend in one type of store and then call that a "gift".

Only a really dumb ass human could come up with that and convince other dumb ass humans to buy them as "gifts".

Making the world as stupid as it is would be impossible for an intelligence capable of building VR.

It would be more accurate to say that a benign intelligence capable of building VR wouldn’t create this world.  There is nothing to stop a malevolent one.  Remember, that was the scenario of The Matrix: humans were being harvested for their bioelectricity, and the machines saw no special reason to give them a paradise any more than humans currently see an incentive to ditch the factory farming of animals.  We could almost say that the Matrix intelligence would've been more cruel had it given us a VR of being Egyptian slaves building the pyramids, but as it happened it did nothing more for our benefit than simulate the world of humans living in the modern computer age, with all its annoyances and dumb-assery.  I forget how the particulars worked out, but possibly they needed human consciousness to play out in a computerized world in order to better administrate and police things.
 
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Offline Greg

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #33 on: January 06, 2018, 12:46:44 PM »
But at least the slaves built the pyramids.  Evil aside; the accomplishment is remarkable.

But book tokens?  They are an insult to evil and proof positive that humans are just a bunch of emotionally driven idiots.
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Offline queen.saints

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #34 on: January 06, 2018, 03:56:50 PM »
A similar example which I think definitely is cheating are braces on one's teeth. They are a fraud on the marriage market. They misrepresent a fundamental indicator of health and breeding.

I know this thread is about virtual reality (my only opinion on that is "no, thanks" after watching Sword Art Online) but is no one going to challenge this? Crooked teeth have nothing to do with health and everything to do with innocuous things like thumb sucking.

That's not true. Teeth are actually quite accurate indicators of overall health and nutrition.
 

Offline Lydia Purpuraria

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #35 on: January 06, 2018, 05:29:33 PM »
A similar example which I think definitely is cheating are braces on one's teeth. They are a fraud on the marriage market. They misrepresent a fundamental indicator of health and breeding.

I know this thread is about virtual reality (my only opinion on that is "no, thanks" after watching Sword Art Online) but is no one going to challenge this? Crooked teeth have nothing to do with health and everything to do with innocuous things like thumb sucking.

That's not true. Teeth are actually quite accurate indicators of overall health and nutrition.

But erin was speaking of crooked teeth, which braces are for.  Braces won't do anything to remedy or "mask" tooth decay or some such indicators of poor overall health and nutrition.  Would they?   
« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 05:54:39 PM by Lydia Purpuraria »
 
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Offline queen.saints

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #36 on: January 06, 2018, 07:13:42 PM »
A similar example which I think definitely is cheating are braces on one's teeth. They are a fraud on the marriage market. They misrepresent a fundamental indicator of health and breeding.

I know this thread is about virtual reality (my only opinion on that is "no, thanks" after watching Sword Art Online) but is no one going to challenge this? Crooked teeth have nothing to do with health and everything to do with innocuous things like thumb sucking.

That's not true. Teeth are actually quite accurate indicators of overall health and nutrition.

But erin was speaking of crooked teeth, which braces are for.  Braces won't do anything to remedy or "mask" tooth decay or some such indicators of poor overall health and nutrition.  Would they?

I was referring to crooked teeth as well. They're indicators of poor bone development, which is both a problem for its own sake and a symptom of other health issues.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 07:25:34 PM by queen.saints »
 
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Offline Chestertonian

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #37 on: January 06, 2018, 08:02:43 PM »
why look at teeth when soon you'll be able to weed out spouses by getting a genetic profile.  It is getting cheaper and easier to do that sort of thing. 
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Offline queen.saints

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #38 on: January 06, 2018, 09:04:35 PM »
why look at teeth when soon you'll be able to weed out spouses by getting a genetic profile.  It is getting cheaper and easier to do that sort of thing.

It's cheaper and easier to look at their teeth.
 

Offline Non Nobis

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #39 on: January 06, 2018, 11:02:54 PM »
But at least the slaves built the pyramids.  Evil aside; the accomplishment is remarkable.

But book tokens?  They are an insult to evil and proof positive that humans are just a bunch of emotionally driven idiots.

Are book tokens only used in the UK? It seems they could be a good incentive/excuse to get BOOKS, e.g. for a bibliophile, or to encourage young people to read; plus a little convenience. But of course you know more about them than I do.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 11:15:28 PM by Non Nobis »
[Matthew 8:26]  And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm.

[Job  38:1-5]  Then the Lord answered Job out of a whirlwind, and said: [2] Who is this that wrappeth up sentences in unskillful words? [3] Gird up thy loins like a man: I will ask thee, and answer thou me. [4] Where wast thou when I laid up the foundations of the earth? tell me if thou hast understanding. [5] Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
 
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Offline Kaesekopf

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #40 on: January 07, 2018, 02:31:58 AM »
I voted no.

Man is a creature meant to live in reality.  I think fantasy, etc are OK in the mind, and to an extent in man-made worlds (theatre, etc), but immersing oneself in some concocted land is folly.
Wie dein Sonntag, so dein Sterbetag.

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Offline Lydia Purpuraria

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #41 on: January 07, 2018, 09:14:27 AM »
My response to the following is probably quite a bit of a derail from the OP; so, PdR, would you prefer that I make my reply to this in a new thread?


Would you consider something like an artificial pancreas (or, heck, even just the administering of insulin in general) for someone with type 1 diabetes to be a different category from glasses or braces because it's a true life and death medical necessity? 

There are a number of issues that have to be considered:
1. Extraordinary means vs ordinary means
2. Artificial organs vs ordinary methods like an injection
3. Life-or-death decisions vs vanity projects.
4. Cost-benefit analysis

It's not always easy to disentangle all of these and other issues.


Or would that be something where, in your opinion, their body wouldn't be able to live long without the insulin, so they really shouldn't cheat their situation by giving themselves the insulin that is no longer naturally occurring in their body?

In general I think that we have to learn how to embrace death. Life inescapably involves death, like two sides of the same coin. We want to have only the heads without accepting the tails.

All of us will die, sooner or later. We should be meditating on this reality every day. But when one lives in a society where death is virtually ignored, even by those taking their last breaths in a hospital bed, then not only that final fateful episode is deprived of all its truth and vitality, but when death is never acknowledged, every moment of the prior years is likewise lacking in the profundity that makes life worth living.

Having spent so many decades living a shallow two-dimensional life without the depth that death provides, then when our final moments approach, rather than repent of wasted time, and spending even a few hours in contemplation of our final end, we call for artificial sustenance. "No, I don't want to die, bring me the air hose and the blood circulator and the heart pacer. Give me the organs of some young person. Bring me goggles that show a reality where I am young and healthy again."

And if people get their way, soon they will be able to replace all of their defective organs with artificial substitutes. Never will they face their mortality.


(And full disclosure: I have a son with t1d, but I'm still genuinely interested in your take on it.)

I appreciate your ability to be objective despite the existence of personal circumstances.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2018, 09:19:36 AM by Lydia Purpuraria »
 
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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #42 on: January 07, 2018, 10:54:43 AM »
My response to the following is probably quite a bit of a derail from the OP; so, PdR, would you prefer that I make my reply to this in a new thread?

Well, the bit about crooked teeth and organ donation and medical care are a separate issue to VR.  (VR would resolve any physical issue by allowing the user to create a new physicality).  The slightly Mary Baker Eddy-ish opinions being offered by Max and queen.saints are interesting, but they probably deserve a new thread.  Prosthetics, however, must remain here, as any true VR would be, in essence, a prosthetic worn by the brain (a "prosthetic nervous system," so to speak).
 
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Offline Chestertonian

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #43 on: January 07, 2018, 11:03:22 AM »
My response to the following is probably quite a bit of a derail from the OP; so, PdR, would you prefer that I make my reply to this in a new thread?

Well, the bit about crooked teeth and organ donation and medical care are a separate issue to VR.  (VR would resolve any physical issue by allowing the user to create a new physicality).  The slightly Mary Baker Eddy-ish opinions being offered by Max and queen.saints are interesting, but they probably deserve a new thread.  Prosthetics, however, must remain here, as any true VR would be, in essence, a prosthetic worn by the brain (a "prosthetic nervous system," so to speak).

I'll take the VR....  Embodiment sucks!!!!!!
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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Jannah, virtual reality, eternity, and boredom
« Reply #44 on: January 07, 2018, 11:04:22 AM »
I voted no.

Man is a creature meant to live in reality.  I think fantasy, etc are OK in the mind, and to an extent in man-made worlds (theatre, etc), but immersing oneself in some concocted land is folly.

Thank you for answering, Der Kopf, and thank you for giving the explanation for your “no” answer.  Nine people have voted “no,” but not all have explained why.  Maximilian and erin are belligerent in refusing the hypothetical.  When I say, “it will be whatever you want,” erin says, “no thanks, it’ll be like Sword Art Online.”  When I say, “assume it will be voluntary,” Max says, “no, it will be compulsory.”  If I had them over and offered them tea they’d probably say, “no thanks, because you’ll give us coffee.”  As Tom Cruise says with resignation in Rain Man, “that’s the end of that conversation.”

But to your own point, it has to be offered that the internet on which we have this discussion is, itself, a “man-made world.”  As are movies and video games.  They are virtual realities; simply primitive in form.  A video game is a virtual reality, it’s just not one hundred percent realistic.  My nephew plays an interactive video game online with his friends.  All the players see the same field, but through uniquely first-person perspectives on their screens.  So that’s the visual sense engaged.  They can also speak to each other using headsets (aural), and there’s even a bit of the tactile because a player’s controller jerks if he gets struck by an arrow, or rumbles if the earth shakes from the stomping of a dragon.

So what is meant by “living in reality?”  My nephew is still a living, breathing, corporeal human primate on the planet earth when he plays his video game.  That his senses are being engaged by something different than what mine are is no different from an Inuit having a different range of experience in going about his daily life as a native of North Sentinel Island does.  And if we accept the notion of free will, then we each create a new reality for ourselves every time we make a choice.  Free will allows for a butterfly effect in creating different possible realities.  If Marty McFly hadn’t stopped Biff from using the sports almanac, then he would’ve lived in a Biffian dystopia—a completely different reality.  Admittedly that’s a time travel scenario, but you get the idea.

I take your meaning, though, about “immersing oneself,” this being a worry about people going off into their own utopia, just as a heroin user who “nods off” is dead to the world, nearly comatose, and unable to interact or respond to people.  I think Carleen has raised the best objection along these lines, saying she requires “family, friends, and faith” in order to be truly happy.  I can meet her objection on the first two counts, though, as there would be nothing in a true VR to prohibit interaction.  You wouldn’t have to live in your own private fantasy.  There could certainly be portals from one person’s created world to another’s.  Besides, we already have interactive video games, so there would naturally be interactive VR: a family or a group of friends could all go into the same world, and have adventures and campaigns and whole lives together.

It wouldn’t be any different from someone packing up their family in Albany and moving to a Sufi commune in Indonesia or something.  It would still be all the same people, but having a radically different experience.  (Given how people tend to like using make-up and braces and plastic surgery to enhance their looks, however, with VR there might be a problem of recognition if people are allowed use avatars and create whole new looks for themselves.  People might need to have their avatars wear name tags, just as when my nephew sees some bearded dwarf with a Viking helmet in his video game, he knows it’s his friend Tim because there’s a little box floating above that character that says “timmythedragonslayer99”).

Professor Harari who I mentioned earlier has an essay that I won’t link to because he’s critical of religion in it, but he does wonder what humans might be doing all day if enough of us are pushed out of work due to the increased automation of things with artificial intelligence.  He does almost agree a bit with Maximilian, as one wonders what “the powers that be” might do with whole swaths of humanity that are unemployable (what Harari calls “the useless class”).  It could happen that the elite might make VR compulsory, as people who opted out would be materially poor with little to do all day, and the portion of humans that can content themselves with library cards, cats, and tea is a distinct minority, and many people with nothing to do are often prone to some kind of mischief.  Idle hands being the devil’s workshop, they might fall into barbarism, or wallow in resentment and stoke the flames of revolution.  Here’s the essay with a few paragraphs redacted.  It still flows, though it may be “TL;DR” for some:

Quote
Most jobs that exist today might disappear within decades. As artificial intelligence outperforms humans in more and more tasks, it will replace humans in more and more jobs. Many new professions are likely to appear: virtual-world designers, for example. But such professions will probably require more creativity and flexibility, and it is unclear whether 40-year-old unemployed taxi drivers or insurance agents will be able to reinvent themselves as virtual-world designers (try to imagine a virtual world created by an insurance agent!). And even if the ex-insurance agent somehow makes the transition into a virtual-world designer, the pace of progress is such that within another decade he might have to reinvent himself yet again.

The crucial problem isn’t creating new jobs. The crucial problem is creating new jobs that humans perform better than algorithms. Consequently, by 2050 a new class of people might emerge—the useless class. People who are not just unemployed, but unemployable.

The same technology that renders humans useless might also make it feasible to feed and support the unemployable masses through some scheme of universal basic income. The real problem will then be to keep the masses occupied and content. People must engage in purposeful activities, or they go crazy. So what will the useless class do all day?

One answer might be computer games. Economically redundant people might spend increasing amounts of time within 3D virtual reality worlds, which would provide them with far more excitement and emotional engagement than the “real world” outside.

Some time ago I went with my six-year-old nephew Matan to hunt for Pokémon. As we walked down the street, Matan kept looking at his smartphone, which enabled him to spot Pokémon all around us. I didn’t see any Pokémon at all, because I didn’t carry a smartphone. Then we saw two other kids on the street who were hunting the same Pokémon, and we almost got into a fight with them. It struck me how similar the situation was to the conflict between Jews and Muslims about the holy city of Jerusalem. When you look at the objective reality of Jerusalem, all you see are stones and buildings. There is no holiness anywhere. But when you look through the medium of smartbooks (such as the Bible and the Qur’an), you see holy places and angels everywhere.

The idea of finding meaning in life by playing virtual reality games is of course common not just to religions, but also to secular ideologies and lifestyles. Consumerism too is a virtual reality game. You gain points by acquiring new cars, buying expensive brands and taking vacations abroad, and if you have more points than everybody else, you tell yourself you won the game.

You might object that people really enjoy their cars and vacations. That’s certainly true. But the religious really enjoy praying and performing ceremonies, and my nephew really enjoys hunting Pokémon. In the end, the real action always takes place inside the human brain. Does it matter whether the neurons are stimulated by observing pixels on a computer screen, by looking outside the windows of a Caribbean resort, or by seeing heaven in our mind’s eyes? In all cases, the meaning we ascribe to what we see is generated by our own minds. It is not really “out there”.

In his groundbreaking essay, Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight (1973), the anthropologist Clifford Geertz describes how on the island of Bali, people spent much time and money betting on cockfights. The betting and the fights involved elaborate rituals, and the outcomes had substantial impact on the social, economic and political standing of both players and spectators.

The cockfights were so important to the Balinese that when the Indonesian government declared the practice illegal, people ignored the law and risked arrest and hefty fines. For the Balinese, cockfights were “deep play”—a made-up game that is invested with so much meaning that it becomes reality. A Balinese anthropologist could arguably have written similar essays on football in Argentina or Judaism in Israel.

Indeed, one particularly interesting section of Israeli society provides a unique laboratory for how to live a contented life in a post-work world. In Israel, a significant percentage of ultra-orthodox Jewish men never work. They spend their entire lives studying holy scriptures and performing religion rituals. They and their families don’t starve to death partly because the wives often work, and partly because the government provides them with generous subsidies. Though they usually live in poverty, government support means that they never lack for the basic necessities of life.

That’s universal basic income in action. Though they are poor and never work, in survey after survey these ultra-orthodox Jewish men report higher levels of life-satisfaction than any other section of Israeli society. In global surveys of life satisfaction, Israel is almost always at the very top, thanks in part to the contribution of these unemployed deep players.

You don’t need to go all the way to Israel to see the world of post-work. If you have at home a teenage son who likes computer games, you can conduct your own experiment. Provide him with a minimum subsidy of Coke and pizza, and then remove all demands for work and all parental supervision. The likely outcome is that he will remain in his room for days, glued to the screen. He won’t do any homework or housework, will skip school, skip meals and even skip showers and sleep. Yet he is unlikely to suffer from boredom or a sense of purposelessness. At least not in the short term.

Hence virtual realities are likely to be key to providing meaning to the useless class of the post-work world. Maybe these virtual realities will be generated inside computers. Maybe they will be generated outside computers, in the shape of new religions and ideologies. Maybe it will be a combination of the two. The possibilities are endless, and nobody knows for sure what kind of deep plays will engage us in 2050.

In any case, the end of work will not necessarily mean the end of meaning, because meaning is generated by imagining rather than by working. Work is essential for meaning only according to some ideologies and lifestyles. Eighteenth-century English country squires, present-day ultra-orthodox Jews, and children in all cultures and eras have found a lot of interest and meaning in life even without working. People in 2050 will probably be able to play deeper games and to construct more complex virtual worlds than in any previous time in history.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2018, 04:03:44 PM by Pon de Replay »
 
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