- File Size: 5193 KB
- Print Length: 332 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Bayview Books (March 31, 2019)
- Publication Date: March 31, 2019
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07M81F1KG
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,656 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Simulation Hypothesis: An MIT Computer Scientist Shows Why AI, Quantum Physics and Eastern Mystics All Agree We Are In a Video Game Kindle Edition
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"In this book, Riz Virk combines the mind of a scientist with the heart of a mystic, using video games to explain the virtual reality that we live in."--Dannion Brinkley, bestselling author of Saved by the Light and At Peace in the Light
"The Simulation Hypothesis presents a radical alternative to current models of reality. Riz Virk's book, relying his unique experience designing digital games, results in a stunning reappraisal of what it means to be human in an infinite universe."--Jacques Vallée, venture capitalist, author of Forbidden Science, former NASA and Stanford Research Institute scientist
"In The Simulation Hypothesis, Riz Virk provides a deft and knowledgeable blend of video game history, hard science speculation, and science fiction references. Whether or not you believe we all exist in a simulation, I found it both fascinating and entertaining."--Noah Falstein, former chair of the IGDA, former Chief Game Designer at Google
"Those looking to expand their brains for a few hours should enjoy this cerebral work. A well-crafted discussion of simulation that is unexpectedly persuasive."
"In this book, Riz Virk combines the mind of a scientist with the heart of a mystic, using video games to explain the virtual reality that we live in."
--Dannion Brinkley, bestselling author of Saved by the Light and At Peace in the Light
"The Simulation Hypothesis presents a radical alternative to current models of reality. Riz Virk's book, relying his unique experience designing digital games, results in a stunning reappraisal of what it means to be human in an infinite universe."
--Jacques Vallée, venture capitalist, author of Forbidden Science, former NASA and Stanford Research Institute scientist
"In The Simulation Hypothesis, Riz Virk provides a deft and knowledgeable blend of video game history, hard science speculation, and science fiction references. Whether or not you believe we all exist in a simulation, I found it both fascinating and entertaining."
--Noah Falstein, former chair of the IGDA, former Chief Game Designer at Google
"The Simulation Hypothesis is one of the few that could convince me that I probably live in a simulated universe. Encompassing the history of religions, philosophy, pop culture, physics and computers, Virk draws connections which show this theory is not only feasible but probably correct. If this sounds mind blowing, it is! I highly recommend this book - it expanded my mind's bandwidth!"
--Diana Walsh Pasulka, Professor of Philosophy and Religion, University of North Carolina Wilmington, author of American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology
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Instead, this is written from the perspective of a video-game creator and enthusiast, asking "What if everything we experience is the inside of some vast simulation - - a la "The Matrix"?
The author then delves into all the mysteries of human experience and tests them against that idea. It's fun .. . a little like a punk "Gödel Escher, Bach" . . . but it isn't physics by a long shot.
The promotion of the author as a "MIT Computer Scientist" is very misleading. He is a video game entrepreneur with an undergraduate degree from MIT in Computer Science. The book is self-published, and the author's other books, also self-published are about entrepreneurship, secret of business success, etc, not science.
Amazon really should be more careful about supporting the author's marketing pose that this is some kind of real science.
Let me start by noting a known law of nature: The quality of thinking done by an MIT graduate is inversely proportional to the number of times they mention that they studied at MIT. The author mentions his MIT past a LOT! What he doesn't mention is that he only did an undergrad degree, which is very deceptive given how often he trots out his MIT past as if it made him an expert on the topic.
Virk (the author) seems to conflate the simulation hypothesis with the old brain-in-a-vat trope. That is, he essentially argues that the life we experience could be an advanced video game that is being fed into our physical brains. This is not what is meant by researchers and thinkers (like Bostrom) when they talk about the simulation hypothesis. In the actual simulation hypothesis, our consciousness is not being fed a lie, rather, our consciousness is part of the simulation. There is no part of us (body or mind) that exists outside the simulation. This actual meaning of the "Simulation Hypothesis" has much larger implications for life, physics, computer science, information theory, philosophy of mind, etc., than the simple brain-in-a-vat video game idea. Those implications, which I personally find profoundly interesting, are what I was hoping to read about when I ordered this book.
Virk frequently refers to spiritual interpretations as if religion deserved equal time with science. At one point he even says, "We don't know which, the spiritual or the material, is closer to 'reality'." Umm, yes, we do. It was at this point that I packed it in and dropped the book in my trash can.
If you actually want to learn about the simulation hypothesis, study Nick Bostrom's original paper on the topic. You can find it online. Second, read a few of the articles on the topic by the well-known popular science/tech sites. You'll learn a lot more about it than you will from this book.
I congratulate Rizwan Virk for getting the attention of NPR, FOX, and dozens of websites to promote his book. I am glad he is passion and sincerity about the topic.
However, it reads like a college freshman's term paper. He spends too much time previewing and summarizing, and basically every topic is broken up with headers (probably to dumb things down for readers, but it was insulting to me- I have seen this trend recently).
The ideas feel like it's from a college buddy who stayed up past his bedtime: no evidence, all speculation. An A for enthusiasm, but a C- for the grade. Quantum woo. A misunderstanding of karma (it's not a point system). Very shallow, elementary views of all religions in general. Summaries of quantum mechanics, philosophy, and technology which we have already heard from blogs, magazines, podcasts, documentaries, and other books. Yes, it's the same old anecdotes we've already heard about Einstein, Plato, Dick, Bohr, Hawking, Newton, Wolfgang, and Schrodinger's cat. Nor is there any new interpretation of The Matrix.
The book was building and building, but once we get to the last chapter, it turns out it's just a summary of everything else. Ultimately, Virk is unintentionally making a case that in 2019 we can see that a video game is a good analogy of reality. In the past, people thought pottery or watches were good analogies of reality. Now it's video games. It still misses the secret of the universe though. I'll let you discover that one on your own. :-)
I'd recommend this book for newbies. If you want to go to the NEXT level of speculative world-shattering views, try Robert Lanza's "Biocentrism". Check out Clifford Pickover's "Sex, Drugs, Einstein, and Elves" if you want a grown up version of The Simulation Hypothesis.
Top international reviews
It is clearly written by a computer game enthusiast rather than a serious scientist or philosopher. Much of the book is spent talking about computer games and the sections on mysticism and science are so shallow that they fail in any way to support the overarching thesis.
Philosophically the Simulation Hypothesis is flawed for several reasons:
Firstly, if reality is a simulation, and all of its contents (physical and mental) are within the simulation, and therefore unreal, then the very thought of the simulation hypothesis is also within the simulation and therefore also unreal.
Secondly, all unreal simulations are based on real phenomena. Therefore if our physical and mental universe is a simulation, it must be based upon some alternative and real physical and mental universe (which in itself is an arbitrary division). However, for the beings of that reality, who have created an unreal simulation, there is now no reason to believe that their universe is real, so perhaps they are also in a simulation. This leads to an infinite regress of simulations. As any serious student of logic or philosophy will know, an infinite regress is a sign that something has gone wrong.
Thirdly, the very premise that consciousness is a simulation is based on the materialistic view that consciousness arises from electro-chemical reactions and can therefore be programmed in a computer. It is important to know that despite this widely held belief, there is literally no evidence that consciousness is created in this manner. Putting that aside, the thesis of the Simulation Hypothesis is that consciousness has a real and material cause, and yet this real cause is used to explain why everything is in fact unreal, in the form of a simulation. This is an entirely unnecessary step - why bother imagining some real cause, only to use it to prove that something is unreal!
In summary, Simulation Theory is nothing but a confused dualism between an unreal but unimagined simulation and a real but imagined external existence. Only for computer geeks.
Don’t let cognitive dissonance take over your mind either here, causing you to disregarding his work. What V presents is not only plausible but already being put into action by some groups around the world; not only in digital delivery, but a fully immersive analog one as well that all people can partake in. Books like V’s are very timely as society itself enters into a decaying entropy, a historical pattern that has played out over and over throughout our known time line. Within the context of each civilization’s rise and fall comes a disintegration of what was and then a new Epoch, a Genesis moment for the next civilization. During the decay and epoch of these rare times, the ‘technology’ of that time is used to help begin a new Genesis for the next civilization model, to help tell a new Narrative for the people of Earth. As many civilizations rise and fall over our linear timeline, there are very few super rare convergent points that surpass their incubation stages and that’s where V’s book becomes a very important piece of our larger co-creative puzzle. During this super rare incubation period, if the civilization can come together and unite, they will go on to infinity and beyond. Fail and well, the past will outline those details for you.
What V knows ( I can tell from his terminology and passages like relating to Plato’s Republic and many other ancient parts) but doesn’t go deep into explaining is something as simple as this: Patterns throughout history, the rise and fall of civilizations have come and gone through what something like the Simulation Hypothesis is bringing to people’s attention. The convergence of science, our current dogmatic container, the mythos of our current time-space and all past myths are happening now; there is no escaping it. People like V and many others waiting in the shadows for the right incipient moment are at the forefront bringing about the uncomfortable intellectual, physical and systematic changes to the global population of earth to help transmute all the multi-extinction level events we now face as a collective away from our current destructive ends.
To any and all that discredit or do not believe in what V wrote, I throw this gauntlet down: You’ll have your chance soon enough to prove or disprove his words in the only fully immersive global experiment that will challenge-embrace-put into action V’s words along with many other genius minds that have passed on their knowledge through similar narratives over the billions of years of our human existence.
If we consider that the simulation hypothesis is a new paradigm from the perspective proposed by Thomas Kuhn in "The structure of scientific revolutions", we realize that indeed this new paradigm does not share the commitments of the scientific community. With the passage of time, we will realize if it is just a crazy idea that ends up being discarded, or effectively inaugurates a new set of concepts that finally bring together science, religion and reality.
However, realizing that finally it is only a model, and that as such it is only able to analyze and explain some aspects of reality and not (nor ever) the whole of it, in this sense, this proposal is very valuable, because finally the effort to generate alternative models to explain our reality, end up being all valuable, so that in a progressive way, our understanding of reality grows.
Regardless of the style in which the book is written, which sometimes looks like an academic article, sometimes as an essay, and that in several parts is repetitive, it does not cease to be interesting the argument, where the main technique of argumentation, is the "analogy", or even the "homology", between science, religion and video game technology. In this case, Virk's argument is a set of “analogy arguments” as an induction that always goes from the particular to the particular and cannot go from being a probable argument.
This is evidenced in each of the examples presented by the author comparing: the various video games technologies, the concepts of quantum mechanics and the concepts of oriental religions. In this way he gets to establish analogies like the following:
Reincarnation: Multiple Lives - Multiple lives in video games - Multiple possibilities in Quantum Mechanics that collapse when observed.
Rizwan Virk expressly states his objective in this book: “Have you ever seen a metaphor that bind together videogames, quantum physics and eastern mystical traditions?, this book does”
And yes, this book is at the end a metaphor, which provides an alternative explanation, which is not completed, and perhaps not yet fully started. But the benefit of this book is just that: to enjoy a good sort of ideas, arguments, analogies, homologies, metaphors, without even reaching a conclusion. It is just a beginning. If you are open to read provocative, interesting and controversial ideas, even if they are not conclusive, this book is it
Hatte mir deutlich mehr von dem Buch versprochen.
Am besten liest man gleich das Original und nur das Original von Nick Bostrom (Are you living in a computer simulation), und das auch noch kostenlos. Damit ist eigentlich alles gesagt.
From beginning to end, I found ‘The Simulation Hypothesis’ easy to follow and understand, though obviously if I had a scientific background my understanding would have been deeper.
In this book Rizwan has successfully combined the scientific, the religious and the mystical in a way that would interest readers of all persuasions.
I highly recommend this book.