Metaverse: “Kantism” under the opaque veil

David Chalmers is a leading thinker in the field of consciousness. His academic career began in mathematics, but slowly turned to cognitive science and philosophy of mind. He eventually entered Indiana University under the guidance of Douglas Hofstadter. His book “Gödel, Escher, Bach: The Eternal Golden Braid” won him a Pulitzer Prize.

–David Chalmers

In 2007, about 1 million people poured into “Second Life”, eager to experience the network-based 3D alternative reality launched before 2003.

In “Second Life”, players can customize and cartoonize their avatars, as their substitutes in the game, wandering around in the form of avatars, and enjoy various activities.

Players can listen to Kurt Vonnegut’s humorous live speeches, dance in hot dream nightclubs such as Hot Lick and Angry Ant, buy virtual clothing and merchandise at Armani stores, visit famous landmarks such as Rockefeller Center, and invest in virtual digital real estate.

Are the above scenes similar to the virtual scene of the “Metaverse” depicted now. But the difference is that “Second Life” is a virtual world, while the Metaverse is a combination of “real world” and “virtual world”.

Metaverse: "Kantism" under the opaque veil

“Second Life”, if you give you a second life in VR, would you still be willing to live in the real world?

So, when Zuckerberg talked about Metaverse, part of the puzzle was that he wanted to reshape “virtual reality,” not just running games or social applications on Facebook Oculus VR headsets to access the Metaverse world.

Zuckerberg said in an interview with The Verge in July this year: “Metaverse is the vision of the entire industry, and it exists across many companies.”

Simply understand Zuckerberg’s words: The Metaverse is an entire universe composed of seemingly connected shared virtual spaces. In essence, personal avatars can be transmitted in these virtual spaces.

General artificial intelligence

We will develop new worlds and new creatures with greater power than our own.

The avatar in the Metaverse is simply a person’s general artificial intelligence, that is, a new creature of general artificial intelligence was born in the new world of the Metaverse.

What is general artificial intelligence? Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) is a system that can perform open-ended tasks independent of specific questions or contexts like humans, such as dialogue, common sense reasoning, and experiential learning.

Metaverse: "Kantism" under the opaque veil

“Western World”, artificial intelligence like humans, can talk, reason…

Philosopher David Chalmers believes that general artificial intelligence is possible. Some people predict that general artificial intelligence may appear in 10 or 20 years. David Chalmers believes, “I would be surprised if the results prove that these people are right. There have been many exciting advances in deep learning recently, with the focus on ways to find patterns in raw data.”

In David Chalmers’ view, deep learning is very suitable for what we do as humans in perception-image recognition, speech recognition and so on. But when it comes to anything that requires autonomy, reasoning, decision-making, creativity, etc., artificial intelligence only works in a limited area.

General artificial intelligence is very good at playing games like Go. However, when we enter the real world, things become complicated. “Before we reach human-level AGI, we need to climb a lot of mountains,” David Chalmers believes, “that is, I think this is ultimately possible, for example, within a 40 to 100-year time frame. “

Metaverse: "Kantism" under the opaque veil

A robot taught himself chess and defeated a grand master

Once humans have human-level artificial intelligence, there is no doubt that it will change the world. How should I describe it? In the view of David Chalmers: AGI will become a creature with the same power as us at first, and soon it will become a creature with much greater power than we have.

David Chalmers likes to study human consciousness and likes to distinguish between intelligence and consciousness. For him, intelligence is related to the behavioral capabilities of these systems: what they can do, and what output they can produce given the input.

When it comes to intelligence, the core question is, given some problems and goals, can you think of the right way to achieve your goals? If it can, it is a sign of intelligence. Consciousness is more a matter of subjective experience.

You and I have wisdom, but we also have subjectivity; when we have experience, it feels like something inside. This subjectivity-consciousness-makes our lives meaningful. David Chalmers detailed that this is also the reason that gives us our moral status as human beings.

Opaque veil

Even if consciousness is a reproducible side phenomenon of a correct information processing system with a correct representation structure, there will always be an opaque veil that separates the behavior that seems to be inspired by subjective experience from the behavior that is actually inspired by subjective experience.

Here is a question: if our moral obligations to objects are only important when these objects are conscious, then how should we deal with our inherent vague moral obligations to artificial intelligence?

Metaverse: "Kantism" under the opaque veil

What is hiding under the opaque veil?

Regarding the above question, in philosophy, it is an old question of other ideas. How do you know if another person or system has a mind? I know I have a brain.

Descartes said: “I think. This is one thing I am certain. Therefore, I am.” But when it comes to other people and computers, you won’t be so sure.

What should be the standard? Is just doing complicated things enough to convince you that a system is conscious? Winning a Go game is definitely not. Being able to conduct intelligent conversations will be the beginning.

In the Metaverse, perhaps an artificial intelligence system can describe my state of consciousness to me, saying: “I feel painful now. I am going through this kind of hurt, happy or sad experience.” This may be more important.

In David Chalmers’ view, perhaps the most important thing is to be confused about its mental state: “I objectively know that I am just a collection of silicon circuits, but internally, I feel more.”

Some people may argue that if it can be determined that the individual is conscious, and if there are varying degrees of similarity with other underlying conscious beings, then probabilistic judgments can be made about these existing consciousness.

Metaverse: "Kantism" under the opaque veil

Roblox’s Metaverse vision

What impressed David Chalmers was that the way to buy in the virtual world was to consider gradually transforming himself into “AI You be the AI”: upload gradually .

Replace the neurons with computer parts gradually, one at a time, or upload them to the computer. Start with a complete biological system, then you are three-quarters biological and one-quarter silicon, then half biological and half-silicon, then one quarter biological and three-quarters silicon, and finally you are a full silicon system.

If you make it a fully functional simulation throughout the process, you will be there until the end and still say, “Yes, I’m still at home!” If it is evidence, it will only be your evidence. Others can still say, “I think you have become a zombie.”


It is conceivable that the Metaverse will not only become a general artificial intelligence, but also integrate with it non-destructively.

In the future where virtual reality enhances everyone, we all have perfect computing power, perfect memory, perfect synthesis and the ability to deploy knowledge, so will collaboration become inevitable?

An unlimited 3D digital world that can be easily accessed like the Internet. We can do some things in it, such as hanging out in the park, playing games, watching concerts or attending work meetings. Apart from cooperating to solve most problems related to human welfare, there are no obstacles.

Metaverse: "Kantism" under the opaque veil

“Unlimited 3D Digital World” is just a gallery that enters the virtual world to show encryption art

Hope we can find a good solution to climate change like that. After 30 seconds, resolve the Palestine-Israel conflict? Maybe this is a bit harder. According to David Chalmers, “Many of the irrationality we have is collective. Some of our irrationality is related to our goals, and I want my goals rationally and you want you rationally. Related to the goal.”

The usual solution is that we all get the second most desired result, or the third, and so on. However, people are not good at solving this type of solution.

Maybe a brand new template is needed to compromise and find goals that we can generalize. But this is not just a simple means-the tool intelligence of the end, but more reflection, such as figuring out what our goal should be.

Emanuel Kant believed that morality is part of reason. There is an idea that a super-intelligent AI will become a super-ethical AI, it will become a Kantian existence, and it will only adopt goals that can be universal for everyone. This is a very speculative view on how the “new creature” of general artificial intelligence in the metaverse will develop.

Metaverse: "Kantism" under the opaque veil

Kijaidesign 3DP gallery designed by Jukka Seppanen-POKE on AltspaceVR

And here is another question: between Kant’s existence and our inventing our own way to our own demise, how do we position our vision of the future?

I believe that everyone cherishes human history and selfishly hopes that it will continue in the future. Then human beings, as organisms composed of cells, are fragile to nature and the universe. So “How important is this for the future of mankind to be biological?”

At some point, we must face the fact that an intelligent substrate will run faster than our own. If we want to stick to our biological brains, then in a world with ultra-high-speed, ultra-intelligent computers, humans are in danger of being left behind. Ultimately, the problem facing mankind is: mankind must upgrade .

Another possibility is that we are immersed in the Metaverse world, new artificial intelligence identities take over the world, and humans have no place to stand. Maybe human beings will be relegated to a certain virtual world or a certain part of the physical world, which will be a second-class existence.

At least, maybe they will treat humans as pets or stay with them for entertainment or for history. If this result occurs, it will be frustrating. Maybe humans will be placed in a virtual world, humans will never realize and forget all these things.

Metaverse: "Kantism" under the opaque veil

The resurrection poster of The Matrix reveals the new crew of Neo and Trinity, the fusion of the virtual world and the real world

Just like the scene presented in “The Matrix”: human beings exist only to provide resources for robots, our memories are all program implants and operate according to established rules, and our biological bodies are only placed in “iron cans” filled with nutrient solutions. . Perhaps this has happened, as some scholars have described as “human beings now live in one of the virtual worlds.”

“Virtual” and “Demon Problem”

The word “virtual” originally meant “fake” or “as if”.

Now may be a good time to define virtual reality. After all, there are many ways to use the term “virtual”. The Metaverse portrays the word “virtual” vividly and vividly, which is exciting.

The virtual tie “seems” to be a tie. However, after years of development, the term “virtual” has evolved. Now it means “computer generated”.

Metaverse: "Kantism" under the opaque veil

Facebook computer-generated Metaverse virtual storefront

Here we need to think about a question: In what sense is normal reality real, and can virtual reality be real in that situation? This is also the criterion for distinguishing “metacosmic dreams” and “realistic dreams”. A simpler understanding is, to what extent do we accept “virtual environments”?

This is a great philosophical question. The great Irish philosopher George Berkeley once said: “To exist is to be perceived.” If something looks like a duck and sounds like a duck, then it is a duck. This is idealism: the world is in your mind.

However, the mainstream view is that reality is outside of your mind. To be a real person, you need not only appearance, but also some potential strength or potential.

The great Australian philosopher Samuel Alexander gave a definition of “real person”-“To become a real person, one must have causality.” But there is a premise, if you can become someone who really makes a difference.

Philip K. Dick also once said: “When you no longer believe in it, it will not disappear.” If you have something independent of your thoughts, it has causal power, you can use all of these methods Perception. But for most, there is still a long way to go from reality.

According to Zuckerberg’s ultimate definition of the Metaverse, things in virtual reality in the Metaverse, at least in principle, have all these attributes.

Metaverse: "Kantism" under the opaque veil

DreamVR, a virtual tree that exists in the virtual world

Suppose you are in a virtual world, where there are objects that you can perceive. Even if I am not around, the virtual tree will fall.

The virtual tree has a causal relationship. The fall of a virtual tree can give people experience. It can break what it drops in the virtual world, and it can be experienced. Virtual reality is just another form of reality, but it is still completely real.

Someone here asks, “Isn’t virtual reality just a fantasy of instantiation?” This is a bit similar to Descartes’s “devil’s problem”.

Rene Descartes said: “How do you know that you are not fooled by an evil demon, thinking it is real, and none of them are real?” The problem of virtual reality is a bit like Descartes’s problem of demons.

Analogy to the modern version, “How do you know that you are not in the matrix? How do you know that you are not in a computer simulation, all these seem real, but none of them are real?”

Even movies like “The Matrix” can easily give people the intuition that “this is evil”. “It’s not true. No, it’s all false.”

The view that virtual reality is not real stems from an outdated view of reality. In the Garden of Eden, we thought that there was an original red apple embedded in an original space, and everything was the same as it looked.

Metaverse: "Kantism" under the opaque veil

Do you dare to enter the underworld with the actors looking for Pandora X?

We know from modern science that this is not the case in the world. Color is just a set of wavelengths produced by the physical reflection characteristics of an object, and these wavelengths will produce a certain experience in us. Robustness? Nothing in the world is truly reliable.

Things are mostly empty spaces, but they have the causal power to produce a solid experience in us. Even space and time are gradually being dissolved by physics, or at least boiled down to simpler things.

Physical reality now looks a lot like virtual reality. David Chalmers believes that this attitude can be adopted, “For physical reality, the situation is worse. It’s not true.” However, it turns out that we just accepted all of this and said, “Well, things don’t Not what we thought they were, they are still real.”

This should also be the correct attitude towards virtual reality. Code and silicon circuits are just another underlying substrate of reality. Is being in a computer-generated reality worse than contemporary physics tells us? Quantum wave function with uncertain value? This looks ethereal and illusory like virtual reality.

“Mother-child set” relationship

Some people want to know, “Say that Metaverse virtual reality is not just an alternative reality, is it useful to say that the sub-reality of the reality that usually occupies?”

Metaverse: "Kantism" under the opaque veil

Metaverse virtual space, join Zeus and Hera on Mount Olympus

This is a bit like a multiverse. This is not to say that there is no objective reality. Maybe there is an objective universe that contains everything that exists. Maybe there is a first-level universe in which people create simulations and virtual reality. Sometimes there are simulations in simulations, and no one knows how many layers there are. This may also be what Zuckerberg wants to achieve, “to create a first-level Metaverse, and other Metaverses are just a subset of it.”

David Chalmers once speculated that “we are at level 42 of the universe.” One thing to remember is that in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, they programmed the computer to find answers to the ultimate questions about life, the universe, and everything. .

Many years later, the computer said: “The answer is 42.” What question may be important enough that it may be the final question and the answer may be just a simple number? Okay, maybe the question is “what level of reality are we at?”

At the same time, do you imagine these virtual worlds tracking their own unique historical process, the evolution of political systems, the evolution of culture, etc.? Intuitively it feels like this.

There are already some virtual worlds that reproduce the history of political philosophy. In the early 1990s, MUD (Multi-User Domain) was initially a dictatorship or anarchy. There was a man who created them, and he was a dictator. Then he appointed some wizards, that is, nobles.

Metaverse: "Kantism" under the opaque veil

HP, VR virtual character performance

But the wizards don’t want all this power, so they threw it all to democracy. Most of the virtual worlds that exist today are corporate systems, which are owned and governed by companies. For example, “Second Life” owned by Linden Lab.

However, this has its own problems. The ownership of physical reality is democratized. No overlord can switch or change the rules at will. In turn, a public concern is: Isn’t the lack of democratized ownership a serious risk in the virtual world?

There will be many virtual environments. I don’t know if we should think like this, “You choose your virtual world, and then you are always subject to the governance of a company that owns it.”

We are more likely to frequently switch between many virtual worlds. You will work in a virtual world, a different entertainment world and a different education world. No one will run cyberspace. This is Zuckerberg’s vision of the entire virtual world of the metaverse.


Finally, we all want to know whether we will eventually transition from physical reality to Metaverse virtual reality on a civilized scale.

Earlier we have discussed artificial intelligence, digitally uploaded self living in virtual reality, and the short boundary between physical reality and virtual reality. So will the lights in this house go out forever?

Metaverse: "Kantism" under the opaque veilIn Metaverse, you can also use your mobile phone to browse social networking sites

Assuming that physical reality is a zero-level reality, there will always be resources to be found there. We always need more and more resources, “Let’s blow up the sun and use it to power our computers. But that’s not enough! We also need to travel across the galaxy to other places.” You can imagine what this is like. A technological arms race that depends on resources.

It is easy to imagine that 99% of the population will live in a virtual world, especially if the physical world becomes abnormal after nuclear destruction or terrible climate change.

By then, the virtual world will become more interesting and enjoyable. There will be some desires to appear. Some people like to live in the zero-level world, some like to live in the city, and some like to live in the country.

Today’s society is becoming more and more urbanized, but this does not mean that everyone lives in the city. At the same time, there may be an increasingly virtualized society, but this does not mean that everyone will be virtualized.

Metaverse: "Kantism" under the opaque veil

Microsoft’s masterpiece, shopping in the Metaverse mall, the degree of fidelity is infinitely close to reality

The virtual world will not become a panacea for solving human problems. It may be like the Internet. Some wonderful things may appear, or some terrible things may appear.

But it will provide space for all areas of the human condition, and in this sense, it will at least be on par with physical reality. Maybe we will find some unique ways to make virtual reality better and get more freedom and justice, but maybe we won’t.

But at least this is an open and exciting future!

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.

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