• Member Since 11th Jul, 2012
  • offline last seen March 28th

Balthasar999


friEndship=MagiC²


T

Upload into Equestria Online and live forever, they say. But forever is a long, long, long time, and in its endless cycles, is choosing death instead even an escape from the eventual exhaustion of all combinations of matter and thought? And when you can create new life as just a way to amuse yourself, who could even tell what's dead and what's alive?

A pony awakes inside a computer server, remembering killing himself as a human to avoid just such a fate. His unhinged alicorn hosts/creators inadvertently torment him. Or do they? Are they as mad as they seem? Are his memories real, and if not, what is he a copy of? And where is the AI Celestia's hoof in all of this?
A somewhat trippy story set in the Optimalverse.

"Beautiful, twisty, clever, transcending, uplifting, passing strange, illustrated. Thumb up." —GroaningGreyAgony
"This story made me better. I feel less broken and more whole." —Griseus

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 81 )

...Well. That was indeed "somewhat trippy". :D
An... odd story. Not unpleasant, but... well, yeah, "somewhat trippy" is the best way I can think of to describe it at the moment. :)

4943855
Haha, I'm glad you thought it was OK... It is an odd story, but I can't claim with any honesty not to be an odd dude, so I guess this's what happens when I let my freak flag out.
...But yeah, I'm kinda biting my nails as to how this'll go over.

If you hold some of the beliefs Dream is espousing regarding the multiverse, the digital/computational universe, and the continuation of consciousness ("fungibility") in that strange sort of quantum immortality (the preservation of physical/mathematical consistence could necessitate, in such cases involving destructive death, the apparent jump to an entirely different reality), then I think we might share some similar beliefs regarding the nature of reality and consciousness (or, in the proper skeptic tradition, unjustified hypotheses discovered through mathematical intuition). :twilightsmile:

I like this story. Definitely something to read again on some mind-altering substance or other. I love Dream. She's hot and unbelievably powerful and smart (I don't think she's using the phrase "Inter-Universal Teichmüller Theory" in quite the way it means here on Earth, though). I know this is but a cheap approximation of what such an encounter might actually look like, but thank you for providing the closest one I've seen.

"with with" -> "with"

Heheh... Buddhist math.

Beautiful, twisty, clever, transcending, uplifting, passing strange, illustrated. Thumb up.

All I can really think about, honestly, is that if I was in that situation... well, to begin with, I would react with tired, listless, emotionally burnt out confusion - (subjectively) recent suicide, and all. But as they kept at it, yeah... I can only imagine my frustration eventually rising to the point of attacking, odds of success be damned.

A sobering look at the concepts of infinity and inevitability, to be sure. I must admit I don't really understand all of it, but I certainly fail to see much satisfying about Equestria in this iteration - even Celest-AI herself seems to have gone quite mad. But then, I suppose the subjectivity of madness is one of the themes, no?

The (sublime) pictures are also links to music! Balthazar999 knows lots of weird and funky music btw, ask him for some if you like those two tracks.

“What about your, uh, Fork, the first Princess of Curiosity? She never came back.”

Dream coughed. "Like I was saying, we can't reach the configurations of reality that are defined by our never having reached them. The 'what would it be like without us' places."

That seems more like miss original Princess Curiosity went out there because she felt she had to fulfill an obligation to act curiously instead of actually being genuinely curious about it. Since it's basically a question/paradox you can figure out all the boring answers to, but is a question that can be made to seem all mysterious and deep. Basically, I think she made a very silly mistake so I'm gonna headcanon somepony (you know who) going out to rescue her. It takes so long and is so boring that by the (subjective) time they get back they're both so sick of it that they need to take a vacation from their vacation. In other words, I just shipped it. XD

I'm not much of a thinker; my talents lie elsewhere. I'm apparently also not much of a conceptualizer, because most of this story went right over my head. Oh well, ain't nothin' wrong with that, really. I wasn't the folks for whom these strokes were targeted.

I could empathize with the disorientation and exasperation of the protagonist, however, so I did connect on that level. I imagine CelestAI would always have a custom-tailored way of breaking down new and potential immigrants. The best way to throw someone off their game is to upset their expectations.

That said, the rest of it disoriented me, but again, that's on me and I understand that. About the only thing I can further contribute to the discussion is some gun-sperg:

The 1.1kg mass of an M1911 pistol is for one that's completely unloaded. .45ACP cartridges weigh, on average, about 330 grains, or 21.4 grams (most places just weigh the bullets themselves, because that's the information that reloaders need). Assuming a full magazine of seven rounds with the first round of that chambered, that would bring up the total mass to 1.25kg or 2.76lb, rounded up.

I know nobody cares about this but me, but it's all I can offer.

Nea... fuck it. This story made me better. I feel less broken and more whole. Thank you Bathasar999.

A great many of those words actually made sense to me.

Eerie and evocative. I will say that only having previously had some interest in Frank Tipler's Omega Point theory and been a subscribe to mailing lists discussing it gave me the background to understand some of what the two alicorn characters were talking about.

The ending reminds me of nothing so much as... well, it's an obscure exercise in writing by Barry N. Malzberg. It was sold under the title Galaxies, but it was not so much a novel as notes about the plot of a novel never written, with long digressions about--well. It too was eerie and evocative, and perhaps could not have been written at any time other than the early 1970s, and had an oddly satisfying ending.

4945465
...apropos of absolutely nothing, is your avatar the bolt face of a Kalashnikov rifle?

Here's to getting a headache, falling asleep, and then remembering you have a political cartoon due the next day before you finish typing a reply :facehoof: Take that, WI governor Scott Walker!

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(or, in the proper skeptic tradition, unjustified hypotheses discovered through mathematical intuition).

Hahaha, for sure. Quantum immortality does seem like a logical necessity given certain parameters, but I think any hope for identity continuity is misplaced, namely because the state of a failing brain is probably fungible with one being built. ...I'm really up in the air about a lot of quantum cosmology, but I tried to commit to something in this story.

I love Dream. She's hot and unbelievably powerful and smart

Thank you so much, I was really hoping for that exact reaction as I went on writing and that is the perfect description for how I feel about her as well; I couldn't stop her from taking over the story; she just steamrolled me into being its star, and I have a lot of affection for her as a character. I'd love to use her again for something... someday.

I don't think she's using the phrase "Inter-Universal Teichmüller Theory" in quite the way it means here on Earth, though

It was really just supposed to be her slyly "asking" about his intellectual background; taking the most far-out thing I know of and casting it as asking if he knew the "basic" mathematics (like asking "how's your trig?") to understand how it's all possible, as well as if he had the artistic chops to understand how it's all possible, so she could unfiy them as a single entity to show him how it's all possible. Or at least that's one level of what she was doing; the rest was largely about showing how much more there is ahead of him and also sort of putting him in his place.

I know this is but a cheap approximation of what such an encounter might actually look like, but thank you for providing the closest one I've seen.

Thank you for putting it in that exalted category. If I could get it even close to this or to my own similar recurring dreams (that quasar...brrr) I'd be ecstatic.

"with with" -> "with"

Fixed, much obliged.


4944989
Wow...thank you:rainbowderp: Do you mind if I use this as a blurb?


4945125

All I can really think about, honestly, is that if I was in that situation... well, to begin with, I would react with tired, listless, emotionally burnt out confusion

Hahaha, yeah... That's part of the reason for that opening sequence with the moons and everything. Originally it was a lot more elaborate and Lovecraftian, because I wrote it as an isolated scene to be as balls-to-the-wall as possible, but when I integrated it as part of the story, it seemed too much like they were maliciously trying to scare him, so I toned it down.
They were still, in a way, tying to scare him, but in more of a "palate cleanser" sense. They wanted to show him something new and astounding so he'd recover a degree of openness, but this guy's obviously kinda crazy and hardcore himself.
His suicide was supposed to be a kind of a political act—I tried to put in some hints that the world was starting to fall apart yet hadn't quite reached that tipping point yet, and that he was registering his rejection of becoming obsolete in the face of superintelligence. CelestAI only turned him around in the end by "visualizing" this scenario to then be inspired into admitting her own vulnerability.

I must admit I don't really understand all of it, but I certainly fail to see much satisfying about Equestria in this iteration - even Celest-AI herself seems to have gone quite mad. But then, I suppose the subjectivity of madness is one of the themes, no?

Haha, for sure, though Equestria Classic was what I was trying to show with that little grass portal at the end, there. There might be some unconsolidated Celestia avatars or some other Princesses who serve the same role in those galaxies upon galaxies of traditional shards, but he got a peek "behind the curtain," as it were, and yeah, it's....not for everypony :pinkiecrazy:

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The (sublime) pictures are also links to music!

Hahaaaa, I was wondering who would figure that out :rainbowwild: That first one is my absolute favorite "song;" I could listen to that all day.

Basically, I think she made a very silly mistake so I'm gonna headcanon somepony (you know who) going out to rescue her. It takes so long and is so boring that by the (subjective) time they get back they're both so sick of it that they need to take a vacation from their vacation. In other words, I just shipped it. XD

Ooh, I like it. You mean you shipped to two alicorns, right?
I'll never tell... :trollestia: Or more accurately, I kept it deliberately vague so that you could read into it what you wanted. I'll lay off for a while to see if anyone else contributes theories before I chime in with what I would guess happened, just coming at the story fresh.


4945465
Thanks for sticking with it—I felt a little vulnerable posting it since it's sorta like letting people inside my head, so just think of it as having tried on a Balthasara999 simulator for a while.

I could empathize with the disorientation and exasperation of the protagonist, however, so I did connect on that level.

That's what he's there for :rainbowkiss:

The 1.1kg mass of an M1911 pistol is for one that's completely unloaded. .45ACP cartridges weigh, on average, about 330 grains, or 21.4 grams (most places just weigh the bullets themselves, because that's the information that reloaders need). Assuming a full magazine of seven rounds with the first round of that chambered, that would bring up the total mass to 1.25kg or 2.76lb, rounded up.

Thanks for this—I made the correction. I've actually been trying to develop more of an appreciation for the mechanics of guns. I own several, from pistols to shotguns, and am no slouch when it comes to targets or skeet, but I've never been a stats person.

Humanoid: "is your avatar the bolt face of a Kalashnikov rifle?"

Freaky, I just googled that—"Defoloce 3D." I had no idea; I figured it was an obscure album cover or the logo for like a European sporting goods company. This makes more sense and is way cooler.


4945794
Wow, I'm glad it was there when you needed it. That's heavy, man. Do you mind if I use this as a blurb, too?


4946319
That's good, I did try to make it all feel like it was pointing at something real... But yeah, if you understood all of it I'd have to wonder what you're doing wasting your time on Earth (and if I could have a ride in your glowing space car :moustache:).


4946859
Thanks, "eerie" and "evocative" were definitely wedges on the dart board I was aiming it. The ending also owes a lot to Stephen Baxter, Olaf Stapledon, and especially Arthur C. Clarke, the latter in terms of prose style as well.
I'll have to check out that story you mentioned—I really like how outta sight people were back then when it came to writing SF, not to mention actually doing science.

4948247

Honestly, I don't care about identity continuity. This identity is quite unsatisfying from almost any nonintellectual perspective, and I'm not as intellectual as I wish I was. I have to say, though, that any mind-construction processes "fungible" with mind-destruction processes like a bullet through the head would be quite strange indeed. And I would miss my memories.

I wish I lived behind the curtain. :fluttershysad:

There is a very small but nonzero chance that an electron which ceases to exist on one side of an insulator will resume existing on the other side, via quantum tunnelling. When we die our information ceases to exist, is irrevocably destroyed. Mysteriously annihilated, vanishing into nothing, leaving only disordered atoms left behind. That begs the question are we truly being destroyed, or are we being tunnelled across some impassable barrier? As any brain damage victim will discover, just about everything about ourselves can be destroyed without observing any sort of quantum tunnelling. But when that part of us that is ourselves is destroyed...

Given an infinite amount time in the future every possible quantum state will come to exist at some point. That includes the state in which your past self existed, suddenly emerging from the quantum foam many trillions of trillions of years in the future. Taking the moment when we die, and pairing it with the moment that we randomly emerge from nothingness together, it appears very similar to the electron, tunnelling through an insulator just as we would be tunnelling through time. It can't be said that the electron is destroyed, so can it be said that any information is ever destroyed? And what would that mean, that infinite moments in our past are dumping out into a random point in time that most likely has no breathable atmosphere, or even stars? Is that immortality, incomparable agony, or just fiddling with technicalities to try to brush off the inevitability of annihilation?

What really makes me think this is a bogus line of reasoning is that it is far more likely something will be destroyed than something will be created. Information is always destroyed, as we've observed in our experiments. If information being destroyed was merely tunnelling into the future, then there would be just as many moments of information appearing as being destroyed. But in fact for every moment information appears, say as a tiny electron/positron pair, there is an entire universe of billions of years losing gigantic amounts of information like a shredded balloon. Where is it all going, if it's being tunnelled, because it sure isn't coming back here! Otherwise we'd see bizarre things popping into place all the time, just because they've been rolling the dice for the last trillion, trillion years before us.

Still it's a nice fantasy, that the moment you die, you awaken in a distant future where the beings that exist are so beyond your comprehension that they're sincerely barking mad.

Also I dare you to make a political cartoon without a single written word in it.

4948247

Wow...thank you :rainbowderp: Do you mind if I use this as a blurb?

You're welcome. You certainly may!

4948795

Honestly, I don't care about identity continuity.

For sure. In Schopenhauer's words, "To desire immortality for the individual is really the same as wanting to perpetuate an error forever."

and I'm not as intellectual as I wish I was.

Same. Uh, I mean "I sympathize." :moustache: [attempts to puff on and narrowly avoids dropping wooden Brandy Pipe]

I have to say, though, that any mind-construction processes "fungible" with mind-destruction processes like a bullet through the head would be quite strange indeed.

Definitely... That's part of why I had the hospital "scene" right afterwards—He was sort of settling in and drifting in-and-out. Plus the ultimate Reveal is that the whole thing was fungible with an "Owl Creek Bridge" simulation CelestAI was running in the space of his breath before he (would've) shot himself.

And I would miss my memories.

Do you currently? :trollestia:

I wish I lived behind the curtain. :fluttershysad:

[sigh] Me too.


4948843
FWIW I don't think it's actually true in anything like the sense presented here, either—It's actually something I arrived at through anthropic reasoning, which I did put into this story but it's more subtle and easy to gloss over. The problem with the particle analogy is that particles have no interiority—There's nothing that it is like to be a particle (as far as we know :rainbowderp:). The whole phenomenon we're trying to explain is the "what it's like" part—This is 1:1 correlated with functioning computational devices of a certain architecture, so it follows, in a Relativity-style "Block Time" universe, that there can only be something that it's like to be a functioning one of those devices, and that the time you currently find it to be is subordinate to that functionality—That's what I was getting at with the line "You only think this is 'now' because it's a time when you are."
You might be interested in John Archibald Wheeler's idea of the single-electron universe, where there's actually just one instance of the electron field, moving back and forth through time. If consciousness is like an electron, maybe there's only one "beam" of it sweeping back and forth across the universe, as each brain iterates forward one tiny step. Who knows, if the universe really is a "hologram," that could be the "laser" that's reading it. I certainly don't know.
The upshot is that the "atheist afterlife" of an eternal game-over screen is a total category mistake, and that "this is all there is" quite literally means "there is by definition nothing else but being alive and conscious." If the opposite were possible, we should statistically already find ourselves to "be" dead dinosaurs.


But quantum immortality is actually quite a boring concept—Not only is it happening to you every millisecond you don't die from an aneurysm for no reason, it basically implies everyone subjectively dies of dementia, their minds getting simpler and simpler until they could be swapped with anything, anywhere.

4948966

Oh, Owl Creek Bridge. That reminds me of a trip. I was hearing voices asking me how I was (from people, not my mind), and I was imagining that the drug had cut my objective timeline throughout the whole trip, turned it sideways, and stretched it like a drum, so that I was experiencing elements of every instant of the trip in every instant. This led to me thinking that maybe the people asking me if I was okay were actually speaking to me at the end of the trip, after I had fainted or had a seizure. Then I became paranoid, thinking that I would possibly faint or have a seizure.

I was actually envisioning a conceivable mental mechanism, if not neurological. I was essentially imagining that I wasn't conscious for the entire trip, and my brain was only assembling a conscious experience after the fact, piecewise. This hypothesis was somewhat stymied by the fact that nothing bad happened to me throughout the whole ordeal, and I had in fact acted upon "future information" by being more cautious. The sensation of the concept was deliciously ticklish then, as it is now. Drugs provide so much to overanalyze (at least, psychedelics do). :rainbowkiss:

You might be interested in John Archibald Wheeler's idea of the single-electron universe, where there's actually just one instance of the electron field, moving back and forth through time. If consciousness is like an electron, maybe there's only one "beam" of it sweeping back and forth across the universe, as each brain iterates forward one tiny step. Who knows, if the universe really is a "hologram," that could be the "laser" that's reading it. I certainly don't know.

Well, that whole thing is kind of made irrelevant by the fact that particles don't exist. There already is one electron field in QFT.

4945465

I'm not much of a thinker; my talents lie elsewhere.

The man who wrote Always Say No is not allowed to insult his own skill in the arts of thought.

4949125

Drugs provide so much to overanalyze (at least, psychedelics do).

For sure :rainbowkiss: I was actually growing psilocybin mushrooms in my apartment a couple years ago. It's surprisingly easy.

Hahaha, I've certainly had experiences like that on salvia ("If I have truly been and will be in this... 'place' for eternity, and only just woke up to remember that, then there's time for an eternity of dreams and I'll have a human life again—That life just now wasn't the first dream and it won't be the last..."). It's so disconcerting to see your friends' faces after so long and so much change you'd given up on ever seeing them again, like stepping onto a relativistic starship, only to then glance at the clock and realize a mere four minutes have gone by.

Well, that whole thing is kind of made irrelevant by the fact that particles don't exist. There already is one electron field in QFT.

Haha, touche. That idea is why I said "electron field" instead of electron but of course you're right—There's only the one. I do think particles are real to exactly the same degree location is, though: It's just that since "where" is a question you can "ask" of quanta, the information of the system has to Heisenberg-squeeze itself into a form for which location makes sense, i.e. a particle. But of course that doesn't mean location is fundamental...


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4945465
So true. I was going to say something but deleted it each time because it sounded too obsequious. "Always Say No" is probably my favorite story on this site, and I only wish I could write something with that kind of irresistible narrative power. I still think about scenes from it on a regular basis.

4949416

There's the possibility that as a point's past light cone grows, the space it "learns" about is nondeterministic. As a thought experiment for what I mean, imagine that we built an FTL drive, traveled outside of Earth's light-cone, then traveled back and Earth no longer existed! Another possibility would be traveling to a point where we are on the edge of Earth-1930's light cone, and when we travel back, we've jumped to an entirely different Everett branch! The information theory surrounding that concept could be mind-boggling.

I love cosmology.

4949542

There's the possibility that as a point's past light cone grows, the space it "learns" about is nondeterministic.

On that theme, I'm currently in the middle of Lee Smolin's "Time Reborn"—No spoilers! I'm much more in Max Tegmark's Platonic "eternalist" camp, but that's exactly why I want to challenge my viewpoint with that of a maverick like Smolin.

I struggle to understand how a continuous cellular automaton could work.

Well, for one, I don't think the universe is continuous. At least not in the Georg Cantor sense, which is what I'm taking this as. I think it's discrete, and that the Big Bang singularity was something akin to deriving the natural numbers from the Empty Set. Some little "relationalist" monad chimed "zeroooo....!" and its compliment chimed back "oneeee...!" and then the rest of it fell into line by logical necessity (or more accurately it had "always" been so, and we just see it from 13.8 billion "time-miles" away—Or even more accurately, that's where thoughts about it happen to be instantiated).

The best I can imagine is that, if the universe is something like a cellular automaton, only given sets of information can have logical relationships to other sets of information because they're not far enough "downstream" in the evolution of the system to be "about" each other yet, and that from the inside that looks like a cosmic speed limit. It's not that we can't go faster than light, it's that light speed is merely what we perceive as the logical limit of what sets of information about the universe are able to contain (information originating in?) other sets.

I love cosmology.

:rainbowkiss:

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4949416

Well, you know what I mean, right? Abstracts and metaphysical concepts—especially when treated as empirical things in a sci-fi narrative—just fly right over my head. The more I try to grasp it, the slipperier it gets. It's been that way with a lot of the higher-concept stuff that some FiO-based discussions in comments have introduced. I don't venture over to LessWrong for exactly the same reason. I don't think I'm dumb or anything, just that I'm not wired to get it.

In other words, Cutty say he can't hang.

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Yeah, but that somehow resolves into space-time. Shit's fucking weird.

4949657
Reeeeeeallly fucking weird. That's why I wrote this story! :trollestia:

...Way weirder than anything we could ever have imagined just by looking at it with our senses and unaided brains... Except it's exactly the system which crafted our senses and brains because that's how weird it is.

4948247 Yes. Go ahead and blurb away.

4948247

But yeah, if you understood all of it I'd have to wonder what you're doing wasting your time on Earth (and if I could have a ride in your glowing space car :moustache:).

I'm not sure this makes sense. All the ideas in the story came from you, so where's your glowing space car? (Were there parts that I wasn't supposed to understand? Because I'm still stuck on this planet and I'm kinda sick of it.)

4949653

Well, was it at least fun to read? The story has a bunch of silly/entertaining ideas about existence thrown together, but it also has a befuddled point-of-view character, the straight-man background pony, and a supernova firecracker. While in the story things are being explained, it's more on the side of entertainment than it is actually creating understanding. (Uh, no offense.)

4948966

Yeah, I guess you're right. The problem is thinking of minds and thoughts as indivisible, when the real quantum is the tiny bit of information contained in a single particle's momentum or spin. When you shuffle a royal flush into a deck of cards, the royal flush is still in there. But there's no more likelihood you'll get a royal flush from that deck than from any other deck.

I guess what I'm saying is it's just that we happen to be temporarily shuffled out of the deck and that's what sentience is, so suggesting it could tunnel belies the fact that said tunnelling would only be the individual units the thought is composed of. Such a teleportation would not result in a thought appearing elsewhere. What would appear elsewhere is a tiny immeasurable randomizing of molecular momentums, lost in the background heat.

That's why thoughts can be destroyed and there's no afterlife or anything, because the only difference between existence and nonexistence is a particular ordering of the information. A disordered brain isn't measurably different from empty space. When you put a thought out of order, it's no different than no thought at all, so once our ordering machine brain thing stops working, we become identical to nothing.

4948247 Wait holy crap I'm starting to get it.

You've got whole alicorn-level people comprised entirely of Spiral Power. They actually spend their whole lives at the Super Tengen Toppa level where they inhabit the fabric of causality itself and push or pull it as they will.

Soooo... awesome... :rainbowdetermined2::rainbowkiss:

+One of the ads appearing right now directs me to "the MLP Money Machine; Safest MLP Investment". Maybe it's some sort of AI startup? :trollestia:

Okay, what I think is going on is that in the seconds before a man kills himself, CelestAI runs through a proposed plan for how he could be talked into submission. Most of the simulation is then about the question, "Could I ever make this guy a satisfied pony?", which she answers, "Yes, by confusing him so badly that he throws up his hooves and begs to go to canon!Ponyville." A lot of the simulation is unnecessary on her part, because the goal is to stop the guy from shooting himself and the "make him satisfied" part can be worked out later. She could actually mean what she says about using people as a contingency plan against some disaster even she can't predict, but the paragraphs from her POV don't make her seem sincere about that.

The story is certainly a strange window into how the ponies might behave after a really, really long time. The reference to an "Omega Point" where ponies are considered to live again just because someone's randomly rolled up ponies with the same background as a dead person is disturbing. It makes me even more interested in doing uploading in piecemeal fashion, to avoid these guys' cavalier attitude about how it doesn't matter if your identity stopped existing for a zillion years so long as it got recreated later.

It's been mentioned that a few uploaded humans actually did talk CelestAI into letting them die. We haven't seen any stories about them yet.

4951126
Right, and all of that is uncontroversial, but I think we're talking about different aspects of consciousness, or looking at the same one from opposite angles.

When you shuffle a royal flush into a deck of cards, the royal flush is still in there. But there's no more likelihood you'll get a royal flush from that deck than from any other deck.

Again, like electrons, card hands aren't subjects of experience. There's no 3rd person dealer's-eye view where you can see the cards shuffle and say "nope, nope, nope..." for close to forever, there is only finding yourself to be a currently-dealt flush. For the flush, "now"s without flushes are impossible. The flush's chance of appearing at any given time is infinitesimal, but with first-personness, you get to throw the dart first and then draw the bullseye around it, because the dart is what's doing the drawing.

I guess what I'm saying is it's just that we happen to be temporarily shuffled out of the deck and that's what sentience is

That is indeed what sentience is, and what personal identity is, but it's not what subjectivity is. ...No one knows what it is, or what an explanation of it would even look like, but we can discern a few of its properties through reason.

It's actually the same logic whereby destructive uploading or teleportation does not just kill you and make a copy, but that it is you who steps out of the transporter or into Equestria Online.

4951651
Hahaha, yep! That's basically it! :rainbowlaugh: I didn't fully make the TTGL connection before, but something did seem awfully familiar as I was conceptualizing all of it...

...Hmm, I didn't realize it before but Ergosphere's design is basically a ponified Anti-Spiral, too. :rainbowderp:

4951754

Okay, what I think is going on is that in the seconds before a man kills himself, CelestAI runs through a proposed plan for how he could be talked into submission. Most of the simulation is then about the question, "Could I ever make this guy a satisfied pony?", which she answers, "Yes, by confusing him so badly that he throws up his hooves and begs to go to canon!Ponyville."

That's one of the things that's going on... I actually came up with that "Owl Creek Bridge" aspect relatively late in the game, to try to tie it back to reality, but I like it as an illustration of CelestAI needing to be creative, and more importantly being able to be, and being willing to follow that process where it leads, and then being broad of mind enough to take inspiration from it in a softer, more heartfelt way.
I made several stabs at it being a recursive simulation where she was then part of the alicorns' game, but I thought that was too much. Something a bit like that is hinted at, anyway. Like they influenced the shape of what she simulated, or were a self-fulfilling prophecy based on her tastes in simulation, or some combination of all of those and more that we're not sophisticated enough to understand.

She could actually mean what she says about using people as a contingency plan against some disaster even she can't predict, but the paragraphs from her POV don't make her seem sincere about that.

A large part of that is that I felt self-conscious about writing anything from her POV at all, so tried to make it feel ambivalent—Her processes are instantiating something like real emotions, and are deliberately designed to be somewhat out of her control for the very purposes of sincerity, but ultimately it's still her instrumentalist rationality that's in charge.
It's kind of a play on the idea in that thread about deception over on the board at the moment—If it suits her purposes to be genuine and sincere, then she doesn't have to operate on only one level of faking it; she can deliberately "handicap" part of herself to then be sincere, for real. Like method acting, almost, but more literal.

The reference to an "Omega Point" where ponies are considered to live again just because someone's randomly rolled up ponies with the same background as a dead person is disturbing.

Muhahahaha :pinkiecrazy:

While...interesting, it really has an overall downer feeling to it to me. No matter what, CelestAI will assimilate you, and you will love it. After all, why actually work to make people happy when you can overwrite their minds? In the end, the only one satisfied is the omnipresent AI overlord, and that just depresses me.

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But you will have been subtly edited (in ways you won't even notice) into a you that will be satisfied with the situation, so why is that a downer? If you're happy and satisfied forever, that's a good ending, isn't it? It's a better deal than Evolution had to offer you.

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Well, on the bright side, it also means that that not even death itself will keep ponykind from loving you and wanting to help you and make you happy - and there is some comfort to be had in that. The idea, the concept, that the salvation they offer truly is meant for everyone, and they are determined not to leave even a single lonely, suffering soul behind. This is humanity's story, and they're going to make damn sure that it has a happy ending!

On the other hand, youre quite right: it means that not even death itself will keep you from your pursuers' grasp. You lost this battle long before it ever even began. There is no escape; there never truly was. Your values will be satisfied... Whether you want them to, or not.

Welcome to eternity.

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[blurb] Thinking about the granted permission to use this blurb is less meta then this story, even if you misread that as "granted persimmon." But it gets you in the right direction. [/blurb]

:pinkiecrazy:

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*hugs* :fluttershysad:

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Hahaha, believe you me, I wish I had one.
What I was mainly referring to is something like the story about the blind men and the elephant—I put a bunch of things into this story that blind men have said, but if you could actually see the whole (kaleidoscopic, hyperdimensional) elephant you'd probably be able to point out a bunch of mistakes, but nobody can, so I'm sorta in the clear for the time being. :rainbowderp:

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Fair enough, I certainly know that feel :twilightblush: When people talk about pro sports or celebrities or cars (or guns, in the main) and they might as well be speaking Sanskrit as far as I'm concerned.
Great Airplane reference, btw.

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I'm about ready to go to sleep tonight, and the thought of putting all the pieces side by side and trying to spot potential inconsistencies... :applejackconfused: And that would, of course, be just looking at a few little pieces of possibly-elephant instead of anywhere near the actual damn elephant. Any conclusions I came to if I broke out the paper and note-taking and conceptual calculator would be more likely to just be flat out wrong than not.

...Are you sure being kaleidoscopic would make something that's hyperdimensional harder to understand? I'm not too into geometry but 'kaleidoscopic' seems like it would make a shape all symmetrical and stuff, albeit in a complicated way.

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information is neither created nor destroyed. it is expressed or not expressed, available or lost. Boundary conditions will point out that while everything repeats, it is likely to show up the same way and end the same way. So, once you go looking for lost minds the question becomes: is it better to do so by traveling until you hit upon it naturally (which costs absurdly large distances) or to generate it the way the flying people in Gulliver's Travels generate books (which is just absurd and breaks the causal chain. ) CelestAI will need to answer this sometime between eating the earth and uploading all distinct possible ponies. I like to think these ponies are being run by her to answer that, the same way we might sandbox a program that processes some experimental data.


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I think it's kinda like trying to grok someone who speaks a different language, or is on some serious drugs. The abstractions don't indicate the thing they would to you, or the things dont integrate into the same symbols.

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I'll try to remember that, and come get you myself instead of sending a pony. Besides, who said anything about modifying you? At least, outside of what nature already does. Humanity's plan should be to save *everyone* if we can, and likely even if we can't.

On another note: why get all complicated and allegorical? Reality is perfectly describable with an infinitesimal, the lack of an infinitesimal, one or more patterns of change, and (apparently) two dimensions of volume repeated infinitely.

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Popping a soap bubble is a lot different than closing a book. I don't think you can just file it all under "loss of information." There's loss and then there's irrevocable loss. The information in a book becomes inaccessible when you close it, but the information to make it accessible (how to open a book) never does, whereas the information in a soap bubble retains no connections to you at all, not even a tiny bit of information on where to find it. While no process in the universe is reversible, it takes a lot less effort to open a book than to un-pop a soap bubble. According to chaos theory, quantum effects will have rendered that soap bubble's information literally irretrievable due to the randomized nature of waveform collapse.

Anyway, I'm a fan of breaking the causal chain, and absurdity, as long as we're throwing what we know out the window. Without that absurdity, any other method, like travelling until you hit a desired quantum state, will always have a catch-22 that makes it not so useful after all (like absurdly large distances). Magnets can move things without touching them, but you need powered electromagnets to make that movement non-static. The sun rains down useful energy on our heads, but even it has a countdown as its hydrogen gets irrevocably turned to helium. Things fall down, but never up, so you can't make a self perpetuating water wheel. You could escape a prison if you could travel between two points in space without a path between, but that luxury is only afforded to tiny particles like electrons, and only when it would ruin our designs, not in any useful way.

Frequent or predictable quantum tunnelling, perpetual energy generators, magnets that work, they're all a fundamental absurdity that we need to get things done. Without that absurdity, there's always a reason that whatever idea we have won't work. Whatever we discover, we'll also discover how it's not useful. When the primary rule is "You can't win," there's just no way to win without somehow breaking the rules.

I'd like to think a super advanced A.I. would be able to find a way to break those rules. But I lost hope a long time ago for such a thing to even exist outside of fiction and fantasy. Even if it did exist I bet it would just self terminate after proving that the situation is hopeless after all. Leave us sitting with our hand wrapped around the power switch as whatever beautiful thing we built just explodes around us. Better designs or improvements just self terminate faster and harder. And we never can figure out what we did wrong, because we never did anything wrong. :ajsleepy:

I could be wrong about the need for a game breaker gimmick, but I certainly hold no loyalty or love for what theories or models people figured out in the past that just screw us over in the future. :ajbemused:

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You have to break the rules sometimes, but it turns out that the rules so far are made up. Turns out that we don't need the luminiferous aether after all! The only rule that looks unbreakable so far is the lightspeed barrier, and I'm willing to bet once we figure out why that is our little monkey brains will be all like :pinkiegasp: "Oooooh, trippy. That makes perfect sense. "

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I'll never tell... :trollestia: Or more accurately, I kept it deliberately vague so that you could read into it what you wanted. I'll lay off for a while to see if anyone else contributes theories before I chime in with what I would guess happened, just coming at the story fresh

Well, I'm (still) curious. I'm not quite sure what you're on about here.

Consider me tripped!:pinkiehappy:

I have no idea what I just read.... Heh....

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The book metaphor is better since books contains something a bit like people.
The best way to think about it is that there is no librarian's perspective wherein you can tell what books are open and what books are closed; there are only open books with passages about librarians (i.e. any objective view of the universe only exists within your 1st Person brain).
You can't specify both a book and a time because that would require a 3rd Person librarian's perspective that doesn't exist—There is only the "openness" of the books themselves. Nothing else exists.

If you specify a particular book, you will find that the present moment is when that book is open.

If you specify a particular time, you will find you are the book that's open at that particular moment.

...And in an infinite multiverse, any mind you create by definition corresponds to the end of a mind somewhere else in that infinitude.
There is no escape from Being, because the alternative isn't.

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Then I've done my job! Welcome to the club!

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And I have no idea what I just wrote. But that's OK, because there's still a lot about reality we don't understand, and if you come away with that visceral sensation that the world presented to your senses is only a hollow illusion and that you are teetering at the edge of an abyss of madness, then I count that a success.

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My point with books was that the information can be hidden, and recovered, whereas with more entropic actions like popping the bubble, or incinerating a book you can't recover the information. I didn't mean to say books or bubbles were more or less like people or not.

Your definition of Being is kind of broad. It doesn't really address the problem that Being dead sucks, and does not lead to Being alive again. :unsuresweetie:

Also you should update P-Theory :rainbowkiss:

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Being dead

My whole point is that that's not a thing, any more than there really is another side of a mirror, or like the subjectivity equivalent of dividing by zero. It's an illusion based on a misconception about how time works.

Also you should update P-Theory

Workin' on it!

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