Ape Reality #7
Metaphysics, Deja Vu and Compressing the Same
Transcribed by Jason Howard.
May 9th, 2006
This is a transcript of a podcast by Tom Barbalet.
Earlier in the year I was at a large computer company that wasn't Apple or Microsoft or even Nintendo or possibly even Sony. I was asked by one of the engineers there what numerical epistemology actually meant. Funnily enough, there is a somewhat cult following of Noble Ape among a small series of computer engineers in a wide variety of companies which I thoroughly recommend and I hope they're tuning into this podcast.
In the history of Noble Ape, the idea of cognitive simulation, cognitive modeling, and the kind of deeper philosophy behind that has been represented in mathematical forms and what I call numerical epistemology. Epistemology is the theory of knowledge. It's a philosophical discipline. The idea of not necessarily quantifying that, but looking at mathematical modeling methods that could represent that, is what numerical epistemology is all about. A large component of it is in the cognitive simulation. There is also a greater degree of meta-theory which I will call here metaphysics.
I am a student of clandestine metaphysics in some regard. My interest in metaphysics as it relates to Noble Ape is really about taking abstract concepts that occur to me and looking at mathematical modeling techniques for these abstract concepts. For example, two things which are slightly related are the idea of deja vu and the idea of not recalling or needing to recall regularly occurring experiences. These are both cognitive and could possibly be attached to numerical epistemology. I think it is a greater property of metaphysics that I'm interested in exploring with the simulation.
If you read the original manuals -- which can now only be purchased, primarily because I wanted to give them a greater sense of value, and they do translate very well to paper form -- you will see a great deal of discussion about the collective unconscious and various ideas of thought. How we kind of take information in and process that information into an identity -- a sense of self, a sense of self's position in the world. A wide variety of philosophical and psychological concepts.
From this generation, one of the themes that comes through the original manuals is, ''What is deja vu?'' What is the sense of being in a situation which is completely removed from another situation but in fact gives you a sense of familiarity that you've experienced this exact same situation before. This to me is a relatively abstract concept to simulate, and it was something that I really looked to when I created Noble Ape. If I could get to this position where I could create an entity that experiences some degree of deja vu in slightly related but mainly unrelated situations, I'd feel some degree of success.
So what is deja vu in a Noble Ape simulation sense? This in itself is an interesting question. My only experience of deja vu comes in part through the fact that I have moved a lot since the start of Noble Ape -- in terms of the number of continents, but also the number of locales in continents I've lived in over the past ten years. Also from the fact that I regularly have experiences that remind me of other experiences in a very direct setting. Not a setting where I reflect on it and then think, ''Oh, gee whiz, this is something I've felt similar to in the past.'' It's always with regards to a physical set of constructs, as well. It's always with regards to a location or to a set of experiences that exist in spaces rather than an emotional level of experience. This is one of the things that fascinates me about deja vu.
The ability for a Noble Ape to experience deja vu and how one actually measures that is a very interesting question. I'd like to divert here, in some regard, to ApeScript as a means of the user actually creating their own cognitive simulation interactions in order to answer these kinds of questions. I don't want to go through an a = b + c = d set of equations about how one actually creates deja vu, bar to say that the mechanics are in the cognitive simulation in Noble Ape. I will expand on this more in a later podcast if necessary.
Something in reflection, when I was thinking, what I do at lunch time is I write the topics for these podcasts on my receipt for lunch, and then as I'm walking home from work, I reflect on these topics in order to create the podcasts. A little background.
One of the things that came into my mind with regards to the idea of deja vu was the idea of Newton's construction of classical Newtonian physics from pure dimensionality perspectives. You can basically construct a majority, if not all, of classical physics purely through an analysis of dimensions. Ideally this is what calculus gives you in some kind of abstract sense, but in a practical sense, you could probably teach a six year old a large amount of Newtonian physics primarily by describing the fact that, when you have certain interactions, they have certain dimensions associated with them. To mover from one dimension to another dimension, be it space-time, concepts of weight -- you just basically move through these dimensional constraints.
My thinking with regards to deja vu is very similar in a kind of abstracted fashion. The deja vu in the Noble Ape simulation is something which is implicit to the treatment rather than something which is explicit to be discovered or tested against. The secondary topic that I wanted to discuss with regards to the simulation is the ability to model what I would call abstract reflective thought processes, which are things like, for example, spatial modeling. A sense of not needing to remember certain experiences.
Aside from deja vu, another experience which I have considerably more frequently is not being able to remember specific events that I do on a routine basis, and the way that my experiences are compressed by not having to remember the specific events associated, for example, with my walk into work or my walk home. These experiences I could not tell one day from another, and moreover, once they have completed, it's like a door shuts -- I have just arrived at home or at work -- and there's nothing more in this experience chain that would make it any different. It's very reproducible. It occurs at specific times each day. This reproducibility produces a sense of compression.
An interesting phenomena which I discuss in the original manuals is the sense that, when you move through a familiar space, the space you are moving through appears to compress in your own analysis of it. This seems to be independent of time, as well. This is a relatively abstract set of concepts, but I just wanted to put in the podcast that these were fundamental ideas in the creation of the cognitive simulation of Noble Ape. I found this particularly with reference to the Gerald de Jong talk on Fluidiom which was done by another academic. Not Gerald himself. My thinking that they talk very run-of-the-mill, let's abstract animals into base classes, and these kinds of ideas. Let's work on movement from these base classes and these kinds of things. The interaction -- and this is something else that I've thought about in reflection of what Noble Ape is about -- is fundamentally Judeo-Christian in its analysis of Noble Apes versus other entities in the simulation. Whilst it could be easy to abstract other entities in the simulation from Noble Apes, the central theme in these Noble Ape simulation is the cognitive and movement interactions of the Noble Apes. Everything else in the simulation, in some regard, is purely a facade.
I'm in an ongoing argument with my wife about whether it means false or whether it just means a cover. I'm kind of conceding that there is no link between fallacy and facade. Really it just means a face, but I do feel that there is something false about a facade, which may be implicit in the meaning.
In any case, the Noble Apes in the simulation exist in a kind of Judeo-Christian reality -- very dichotomous kind of body and soul as well -- with the view that they are the higher entities that have a different level of cognition. I would love to cognitively simulate down to mosquitoes in the simulation but the early principles are really with regards to the Noble Apes' cognitive processes.
So, in this podcast, I hope I've given some kind of reflective philosophical analysis of some of the fundamentals in the Noble Ape metaphysics and Noble Ape numerical epistemology. I will talk more, if people would like, about the actual numerical simulation methods used in Noble Ape, if people feel that is a topic they would like me to discuss.