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    Default Maximum Chronal Acceleration? (Black Mirror spoilers)

    So, I watched the Black Mirror episode where the dude playtests a brain-uploaded augmented reality game. Besides becoming very unsettled (despite knowing pretty much every story beat from TvTropes), it made me think. At the end where it's revealed that the better part of the whole episode was a dying dream caused by his phone going off during the test and disrupting the hardware, they say that his ~2 day sequence of nightmares was in fact a mere fraction of a second where his brain went into maximum 9002% overclock mode.

    So I wonder, what IS the maximum perceived time that the brain can compress into a small segment of real time, while maintaining a mostly-realistic level of resolution? Is there any data?
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    Default Re: Maximum Chronal Acceleration? (Black Mirror spoilers)

    This is not physically possibly neuroanatomically. For example this 15 year old neuroscience paper talking about how long it takes for the eye and various brain regions to pass information back and forth.



    Now that paper is out of date and we know the information passing speed between brain regions is not constant and you can speed it up and slow it down due to stimuli and getting everything perfect. We now know that in the best of scenarios signals from the eye to the brain sending something to a muscle can happen as fast as 13 milliseconds even though most of the time it is 10x times that and often 20x times that. Especially for a saccade (That jerky eye movement where our eye knows what we need to find is not in focus so it makes an educated guess and does an eye jerk in the direction the brain thinks is appropriate. We also do saccades without stimuli in order to update the content of our eyes for we only have focused vision for 1.5 degrees of a circle and we must use eye movements to create a hallucination type effect aka see the research of Alfred Yarbus in the 1960s and wikipedia.)

    http://news.mit.edu/2014/in-the-blink-of-an-eye-0116

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    But these stories the Black Mirror is trying to emulate is not neuroscience wise but instead philosophy (I have not seen this episode.) It is a reference to Dream Argument in philosophy of what is real. The most famous Dream Argument is from the father of "Modern" Western Philosophy Rene Descartes. Rene Descartes was a man full of doubt and he wanted to be able to rest his knowledge on itself in a self evident cycle where if I know X then I can know X'

    Before I go on Rene Descartes is famous for many other things even though Philosophy is the most important.
    He is why we write our math symbols with X, Y, and Z on the left side for the unknowns and A, B, and C on the right side for the knowns. He is the guy who united algebra and geometry and tried to make a form of Calculus before Newton and Leibniz (Descartes failed.) Descartes is where we get the Cartesian Coordinates with an X and Y axis and the coordinates are named after him for Renatus Cartesius is his name in Latin instead of Italian. He is also the person who pioneered the concept of matrices. And now lets pivot back to Philosophy.

    Rene Descartes was most important in Philosophy for he created a form of grammar argument on how to based your knowledge within itself that was not needing the metaphysics of the church. One of the things that Rene Descartes was unsure of was knowledge obtained via the senses and things like dream arguments. He made an argument in meditations he can't be confident of anything that came from my senses for in theory an Evil Demon could be tricking you all the time. This Evil Demon was then updated to more modern sensibilities by Brain in the Vat thought experiment by Gilbert Harman but the main idea is similar to Descartes Evil Demon thought experiment.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evil_demon
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_in_a_vat

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    But Dream Argument in Philosophy is much older than Rene Descartes (1600s AD) for example Zhungzai has his butterfly dream experiment. Zhungzai (220 BC or earlier) being one of the two founders of Taoism. Zhungzai meaning Master Zhuang with his literal name being "Chuang Chou" or "Zhuang Zhu."



    Once upon a time, I, Chuang Chou, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, a veritable butterfly, enjoying itself to the full of its bent, and not knowing it was Chuang Chou. Suddenly I awoke, and came to myself, the veritable Chuang Chou. Now I do not know whether it was then I dreamt I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man. Between me and the butterfly there must be a difference. This is an instance of transformation.

    https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Zhuangzi
    There are far more examples of Dream Logic in Philosophy besides these two. I am trying to be brief. But yeah the neuroscience of the entire brain communicating via different regions to create a consciousness is not possible for even the front of the brain to the back of the brain takes usually 1/10th of a second (100 milliseconds).

    But now you know why you always see people touching Butterflies when their mind is about to be expanded.



    Of course the original comics also had similar scenes but that is too much work to illustrate my point
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    Default Re: Maximum Chronal Acceleration? (Black Mirror spoilers)

    Interesting...so due to the way the brain works, it is impossible to dream in anything other than a close approximation of real time?
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    Default Re: Maximum Chronal Acceleration? (Black Mirror spoilers)

    Presumably, even if you can't change the rate at which you process distinct moments or think distinct thoughts, in a dream you could fail to notice that you're discontinuously jumping between moments that would normally have fairly long intervals between them in real life, so that a series of distinct stimuli that would normally be stretched across 2 days were perceived in a shorter period. Which is not the same as 'living an accelerated life within your own head', but would be more like 'living a compressed life within your own head'.

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    Default Re: Maximum Chronal Acceleration? (Black Mirror spoilers)

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Presumably, even if you can't change the rate at which you process distinct moments or think distinct thoughts, in a dream you could fail to notice that you're discontinuously jumping between moments that would normally have fairly long intervals between them in real life, so that a series of distinct stimuli that would normally be stretched across 2 days were perceived in a shorter period. Which is not the same as 'living an accelerated life within your own head', but would be more like 'living a compressed life within your own head'.
    That and there is also an important fact that in a dream you do not realy use eyes or muscles, so the lag to see things or make your body move is not there. Since the commnication network does not need to reach as far as usual, the time needed to do things in a dream can indeed be shorter I guess. I am no neuroscientist, so I might be wrong about involvement of different brain parts in dreaming process.
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    Default Re: Maximum Chronal Acceleration? (Black Mirror spoilers)

    You cannot significantly overclock the brain when running on meatware due to physiological limitations in signal propagation. If the brain has been uploaded, and is actually running on a computational substrate where signals may propagate much faster this is no longer true and you can indeed massively increase the speed of thought. This idea has actually been heavily explored in recent transhumanist science fiction. There would still be a maximum speed for perception in such a scenario, because there are physical limits on how rapidly computer circuits can transmit information just as there are for the biological ones in your brain and there would presumably also be limits imposed (likely much more substantial) by whatever software is being utilized to run the emulated brain in the computer, but it's a computer engineering problem at that point, not a biological one.
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    Default Re: Maximum Chronal Acceleration? (Black Mirror spoilers)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    You cannot significantly overclock the brain when running on meatware due to physiological limitations in signal propagation. If the brain has been uploaded, and is actually running on a computational substrate where signals may propagate much faster this is no longer true and you can indeed massively increase the speed of thought. This idea has actually been heavily explored in recent transhumanist science fiction. There would still be a maximum speed for perception in such a scenario, because there are physical limits on how rapidly computer circuits can transmit information just as there are for the biological ones in your brain and there would presumably also be limits imposed (likely much more substantial) by whatever software is being utilized to run the emulated brain in the computer, but it's a computer engineering problem at that point, not a biological one.
    Actually, not so much.

    A theoretical extra universal computing substrate might be capable of any speed you like, particularly if the universe is a simulation which can be clocked down to speed up the relative passage of time for the mind in question.

    However, though computers are very very fast, and they are ridiculously fast, they are not essentially parallel, and brains are. Brains are very quick in comparison to computers in dealing with complex things.

    So speeding up thought by doing it on a computer won't work with current computers.
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    Default Re: Maximum Chronal Acceleration? (Black Mirror spoilers)

    I've definitely had dreams prompted by external stimuli that have long preludes. So I suspect that the brain can at least perceive having perceived a moderately long time in a very small time, probably by a mix of things (perhaps including time skips, creating flashbacks on the fly, focusing on emotion/etc, straight up compression, following it's own predictions).

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    Default Re: Maximum Chronal Acceleration? (Black Mirror spoilers)

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Presumably, even if you can't change the rate at which you process distinct moments or think distinct thoughts, in a dream you could fail to notice that you're discontinuously jumping between moments that would normally have fairly long intervals between them in real life, so that a series of distinct stimuli that would normally be stretched across 2 days were perceived in a shorter period. Which is not the same as 'living an accelerated life within your own head', but would be more like 'living a compressed life within your own head'.
    Nods. In Dreaming certain brain regions are much lower activated / deactivated even if the rest of the brain may be activated.

    In REM sleep these are the brains regions changed.



    Except it is way more complicated than this for besides REM and other forms of sleep. Yadda, Yadda, Yadda Consciousness is different than Minimally Conscious State, different than Coma, different than Vegetative State, different than Locked In Syndrome and so on.



    As the image illustratres Wakefulness is different than Awareness (the point NichG is making) and during a Dream (the first image) the brain areas that are involved with planning and problem solving, the ability to understand the rules of the reality are different than normal, to challenge the story, the ability to create a lie for a beneficial end, those areas are much diminished to the point of being able almosted turn off. Now you can lie in a dream but the lie you make is going to be bull**** for you lack awareness and critical thinking abilities in the dream.
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    Default Re: Maximum Chronal Acceleration? (Black Mirror spoilers)

    Quote Originally Posted by Phhase View Post
    So, I watched the Black Mirror episode where the dude playtests a brain-uploaded augmented reality game. Besides becoming very unsettled (despite knowing pretty much every story beat from TvTropes), it made me think. At the end where it's revealed that the better part of the whole episode was a dying dream caused by his phone going off during the test and disrupting the hardware, they say that his ~2 day sequence of nightmares was in fact a mere fraction of a second where his brain went into maximum 9002% overclock mode.

    So I wonder, what IS the maximum perceived time that the brain can compress into a small segment of real time, while maintaining a mostly-realistic level of resolution? Is there any data?
    It would easily be possible to fit the two days into that timespan via the same mechanism that they are fit into the timeslot of the TV program, ie. long timeskips that aren't really questioned

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    Default Re: Maximum Chronal Acceleration? (Black Mirror spoilers)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    It would easily be possible to fit the two days into that timespan via the same mechanism that they are fit into the timeslot of the TV program, ie. long timeskips that aren't really questioned
    There's a Doctor Who episode which lampshades this, where Donna is trapped inside a simulation. When she experiences the normal TV timeskips and starts questioning it, the program itself just reminds her of the obvious actions that would have happened in the meantime eg:

    "Why am I in this doctor's office? Wasn't I at home just now?"
    "Yes, you were at home. You were worried about your health and made an appointment yesterday to see me. Now, how can I help you?"
    Last edited by Brother Oni; 2019-05-24 at 06:22 PM.

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