Endless moment simulation

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An endless moment simulation is a hypothetical virtual reality environment representing one of its user's ideal settings or situations, that they would experience in an unchanging way for an indefinite time. It would be a simulated location where they could conceivably stay forever. The concept mostly appears in science fiction stories and in various futurist speculations.

Meaning

It might start as the setting of someone's virtual memory palace, which could be a part of their mind extension project. This could be the environment where they would function best. The setting would never change, but form a stable platform to store and organize their knowledge, and to interact with outside reality.

In a more advanced version, the inhabitant might become a human mind simulation, perhaps the reconstructed result of a mind backup project, but confined to a single setting and time. This could make it easier to simulate for several reasons.

Purpose

A future simulated reality might use an endless moment simulation if there's not enough information to fully reconstruct a human mind. Mind backup enthusiasts like the Terasem Movement speculate that even incomplete mind records could be used to create partial mind copies.[1] The copies might have real consciousness, but they would be limited in the scope of their actions and thoughts. They wouldn't really notice these limitations, however, and could still have a meaningful existence.[2]

Alternatively, the simulation could be limited to a single setting because of computational constraints in generating a simulated environment,[3] or they might be confined as part of a recurring effort to improve the accuracy of the simulation.[4]

Perception

The user might be aware of many things, but little or nothing about their condition would change. There would be no more need for change, and there might be no real sense of time passing. The simulation could take the form of a closed time-like curve, where the mind's timeline loops back to re-experience the same events, but keeps forgetting them at a steady rate. This concept was explored in a scene of the novel Permutation City by Greg Egan, where the protagonist spends an eternity climbing an endless skyscraper (in the novel, the recurring part was simulated only once for the loop to take effect). The induced amnesia would prevent the simulated mind from getting bored, which has been described as a possible problem affecting simulated minds.[5]

In various media

Aspects of the subjective experience of an endless moment setting have been described in science fiction works like the Castalia House novel "City Beyond Time" (2014) by John C. Wright, and many other works.[6] Several songs and compositions refer to the concept of a dream that lasts forever.[7]

References

  1. registration required (retrieved Aug 2, 2017) http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/virtual-reality-heaven-how-technology-redefining-afterlife-1532429
  2. a VR description of what such a simulation may look like (Aug 24, 2016) https://theringer.com/gabriel-barcia-colombo-lacma-internet-death-abb4f215fb3f
  3. in the philosophical SF novel "The Heaven Virus" by Clifford Pickover simulated minds are confined to one permanent location for this reason (2011) http://sprott.physics.wisc.edu/pickover/heaven-virus-book.html
  4. short SF by Shari L. Klase "A Little Piece of Heaven" (2014) http://dailysciencefiction.com/science-fiction/virtual-reality/shari-l-klase/a-little-piece-of-heaven
  5. John Messerly (Dec 12, 2014) https://www.nextnature.net/2014/12/what-will-life-be-like-inside-a-computer/
  6. also in fantasy fiction (retrieved Aug 2, 2017) http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ArcadianInterlude | http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PlaceBeyondTime
  7. by: T.Rextasy Unplugged, Todd Rundgren, Harsh Notes, etc.