Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Ask HN: Occult Coding?
5 points by person_of_color 3 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 9 comments
Have there been any serious attempts to tap into unseen forces through code?

For example, I loved the idea of TempleOS accessing the word of God through a random number generator. A similar idea from a different age is the use of the I Ching to predict the future.




Charles Stross has a few ideas in his books about it. There were Usenet "electronic prayer wheel" .sig blocks, which I always thought was a nice gesture.

Expect that anything serious along these lines will be quiet and kept within the faith; the technical details of oracles aren't often bragged about.

Now ask: How many people are using code as an oracle of the divine? Whatever the garbage output buy a computer is, some people will treat it as holy. Stock trading algorithms, pandemic modelling, even bad spreadsheet statistics ... PowerPoint exists for no reason other than to brush bullshit with the magic touch of computed veracity.


You can't tap into something which doesn't exist. I suggest you read about chaos theory, statistics, probability, quantum mechanics etc. Something which is random is by definition unpredictable, so, no, you can't predict whatever through randomness. Even if you picked a pattern from a True Random Number Generator (TRNG) and somehow you successfully predicted something using that pattern it wouldn't mean anything insightful or deep, it'd mean you were very VERY lucky.

In sum, we as beings were shaped by the forces of evolution and that made us biased on all sorts of dimensions (visual, cognition, etc). Our perception of reality is completely different from that of another creature, for example. Humans are not "perfect." (Whatever that means.)

There's also a fine line between what seems to be correlated patterns and schizophrenia. Pareidolia phenomenon among others also come to mind.

Please read about those subjects - I assure you there's a lot of interesting stuff about them and there's equally a lot of gaps about it as well - but that doesn't mean that "occult" or "magick" or whatever is real. It just means not enough resources were spent trying to understand these phenomena. Because most of the time these things do not return something useful to people at large and science is - in principle - meant to benefit humans in general.


How about an sufficiently advanced algorithm that can predict the future from movement of the planets?


  It just means not enough resources were spent trying to understand these phenomena. Because most of the time these things do not return something useful to people at large and science is - in principle - meant to benefit humans in general.
I'd like to clear up the following:

These phenomena are understood indirectly through other physical laws, psychology, etc. In other words: "magick" or the occult (in general) being real is very unlikely. There haven't been many studies about it because this is considered taboo and because - like I said earlier - of fundamental physical laws etc would make it highly unlikely.

Another data point about this subject would be The Amazing Randi (who, unfortunately, recently passed away). A gentleman whose life work IMHO is unmatched. There's a lot of videos of and about him on YouTube. Check him out.


It's a model. But does it mean you can do something useful out of it? I doubt it. It may seem you can, but it won't generalise well.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_models_are_wrong


You might like http://unsongbook.com/, a novel based on this premise.


I had an idea for a story along these lines. A young programmer doing late-nighters, getting deeply into code written by a deceased master, getting the feeling of connection by reading the comments, debugging and so on.

Very small pool of potential readers, but it would be quite cool if done right. Nothing overtly supernatural.

Based on personal experience ;)


Not that I'm aware of but it would be a fascinating (albeit fictional) deep dive if I ever came across some anecdotes of that.

By "similar idea from a different age" I'm assuming you're speaking of Terence McKenna's Timewave Zero?

Never heard of TempleOS before, but God speaking through the machine isn't quite a novel theme I guess (referencing Ghost in the Machine[0]). I reckon at some point Machine Learning will resemble the fabled Artificial General Intelligence, and that subsequent emergent property could in turn be conflated with God by some stretch of the imagination or context — if it uses a TRNG vs a PRNG well then we'll have something on our hands :)

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_in_the_machine


Seems isomorphic with artificial general intelligence ideology.




Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: