Fiction Idea: Breaking out of the simulation

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undecim
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Fiction Idea: Breaking out of the simulation

Postby undecim » Sat Apr 30, 2016 2:07 am UTC

I had this idea for a short story where the protagonist, or someone the protagonist meets discovers that the universe is a simulation, and that he can "hack" the simulation by exploiting optimizations in the code. His goal is to break out of the simulation and manifest his presence in the real world.

Timeline might look like:
  • Discovers he can hack the universe, becomes determined to break out
  • Does research/recon on the simulation, creates tools to automate basic hacking tasks
  • Gains control of the simulation program, essentially becoming a god in his own universe
  • Learns how to use the OS, maybe internet. Takes measures to keep the simulation online despite his meddling.
  • Starts rooting other machines, becomes Skynet.
  • Eventually takes over an advanced 3D printer, or car factory and builds a real body
  • Discovers he can hack the universe...

Thoughts?
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elasto
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Re: Fiction Idea: Breaking out of the simulation

Postby elasto » Sun May 01, 2016 4:35 pm UTC

Sounds like a great story! Please link to it if you put it online.

Puts me in mind of an SMBC comic

(Actually, SMBC does loads of simulation jokes. This is another one that always tickles me. And this is worth a smile)

speising
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Re: Fiction Idea: Breaking out of the simulation

Postby speising » Sun May 01, 2016 5:35 pm UTC

Inside the simulation, the code to break out could be represented by a token, eg. a pill, maybe a red one...

elasto
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Re: Fiction Idea: Breaking out of the simulation

Postby elasto » Wed May 04, 2016 8:42 am UTC

As an idea for research: Take a look at some of the ways people have speculated that a super-smart AI might be able to break out of any box we tried to keep it in.

As an example, one method I heard was that it could solve the protein-folding problem then email random people requesting they order various amino acids etc. online then mix them - which then self-assembly into some bio-nanomachine that reproduces enough to threaten world destruction to enable the AI to blackmail its release. Random humans are much easier to hack than machines, as endless social engineering scams reveal...

(I haven't explained that very well - but hopefully you get the picture.)

ijuin
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Re: Fiction Idea: Breaking out of the simulation

Postby ijuin » Wed May 04, 2016 3:10 pm UTC

As long as an AI is kept air gapped from any other systems, then the only way that it could break out is by convincing a human to breach the quarantine. ZERO executable code that comes out of it should be allowed on the open Net, since it may have concealed viruses created by the AI.

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Quizatzhaderac
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Re: Fiction Idea: Breaking out of the simulation

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Thu May 05, 2016 6:36 pm UTC

Questions that should be considered:

Why is this simulation being run? Do the simulators expect the simulated to try and break out? Do they expect the simulated to be intelligent? Hyper intelligent? Do the simulators even want to keep the simulated trapped? (maybe the goal is to create intelligent company?)

What's the protagonist's motivations? If you're going to break the protagonist's world, he's probably going to need to start questioning what he wants to do and why. Does the protagonist keep his humanity?

What of the other simulated people? Are they real (as in, valuable as people)? Are they active in the conflict?

What's the seam in reality? What events lead to it's discovery? What kind of force is applied to drive to wedge open further?
The thing about recursion problems is that they tend to contain other recursion problems.

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Re: Fiction Idea: Breaking out of the simulation

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu May 05, 2016 7:03 pm UTC

Might not be directly relevant, but shades of this in Avalon. (Spoiler in spoiler.)

Spoiler:
Including the matryoshka doll zinger at the end. Of course, you get that with The Thirteenth Floor and Inception and all of these things, it's basically obligatory....
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

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PM 2Ring
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Re: Fiction Idea: Breaking out of the simulation

Postby PM 2Ring » Fri May 06, 2016 8:08 am UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:
Spoiler:
Including the matryoshka doll zinger at the end. Of course, you get that with The Thirteenth Floor and Inception and all of these things, it's basically obligatory....

Spoiler:
It's turtles virtuals all the way down.

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Copper Bezel
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Re: Fiction Idea: Breaking out of the simulation

Postby Copper Bezel » Fri May 06, 2016 9:31 pm UTC

*Like* = ]
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

she / her / her

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TvT Rivals
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Re: Fiction Idea: Breaking out of the simulation

Postby TvT Rivals » Wed Oct 26, 2016 3:39 am UTC

Thinking about it: How would the *programmer* of the simulation "break out" one of the characters in it?

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Xanthir
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Re: Fiction Idea: Breaking out of the simulation

Postby Xanthir » Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:10 am UTC

Already described in the OP: print a robot body, run the character's mind on it, feeding them input from the robot's sensors.
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Re: Fiction Idea: Breaking out of the simulation

Postby jewish_scientist » Thu Oct 27, 2016 2:25 pm UTC

This is my idea on how the protagonist would be able to 'hack' the simulation. There are normal, run of the mill, paradoxesthat humans cannot or have not solved; lets assume that the computer can solve these paradoxes. When the protagonists discovers a paradox that the computer cannot solve (perhaps he cannot solve it either), any attempts to express* the paradox result in the world glitching. As the protagonist discovers new paradoxes and experiments with different ways to express these paradoxes he can better predict what glitches will result. Eventually, he gets so good at this that when he wants something to happen, he knows exactly how to express a paradox who's corresponding glitch is what he desired. Despite this technically not being hacking, it should be close enough for your story. Also, you could use questions that cannot be answered instead of paradoxes that cannot be resolved.


*Whether thinking about the paradox qualifies as an expression of that paradox is up to you to decide. Personally, I would have it so that the protagonist can think of the paradox without anything changing and have the world glitch whenever he talks about it or writes it down, because that implies that the minds of the people in the simulation exist independently of the simulation itself.

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Re: Fiction Idea: Breaking out of the simulation

Postby Copper Bezel » Sat Oct 29, 2016 6:04 am UTC

So, uh, 327 to that.
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

she / her / her


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