How we may soon be able to experience the 4th dimension

Discussions about how to visualize 4D and higher, whether through crosseyedness, dreaming, or connecting one's nerves directly to a computer sci-fi style.

How we may soon be able to experience the 4th dimension

Postby LutherX » Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:47 am

If you keep up with the whole trans-humanist movement, then you know all about the predictions made about how humanity is about to drastically alter itself with technology. Even if you don't buy the more out there claims made by futurists like Ray Kurzweil, it is generally recognized even by skeptics that we will be doing quite a bit of tinkering in the brain and cognition with technology over the course of this century. Check out (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transhumanism or http://humanityplus.org/ or http://www.nickbostrom.com/ethics/values.html).

Compared to the kinds of tinkering to come one hears tell about, a relatively simple idea would be 3D voxel retina. Here voxel stands for volumetric pixel, and pixels are analogous to the photo-receptive cells on our natural, 2D retinas. Whereas with our 2D retinas we experience 2D color data sets and perceive 3rd dimensional relationships, such that we feel immersed in a 3D world rather than a 2D world, likewise, with a 3D volumetric retina we would experience 3D color information sets and perceive 4th dimensional relationships, such that we would, in time, become as accustomed to the 4th dimension as we are to the 3rd dimension.

Of course there would be no real way of gathering 3D data from the real world, since light must hit a surface, not a volume. But software designed to stimulate virtual nerves arranged in the form of a cube or sphere rather than a square or circle, could expose users first to basic hyper-dimensional shapes, like the 4D analogies of the platonics, allowing users to slowly come to terms with what they are seeing, like a 2D being experiencing 3 dimensions of color information for the first time.

This would be a very useful technology, as it could probably improve intelligence. As users are trained in understanding what they see in their 4D perceptions, they will gain skills in reasoning in 3 and even 4 dimensions, rather than the 1 or two that we do. For instance, if you are planning a complex algorithm, you can only visualize it or think about through 2D diagrams, otherwise there is a lot of crossover that makes things confusing.

Even though you would not be able to perceive real-world data, after plenty of practice understanding 4d geometry and 4d functions, the brain would adapt to this data and you would develop or experience immediately an entirely unique color experience, which you could continue to experience with or without the implant, as your brain would have adapted to handle and process 4 dimensional data.
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Re: How we may soon be able to experience the 4th dimension

Postby gonegahgah » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:47 pm

Just as an aside first: you used the term volume which I understand as our volume. I would like to convey that a 4D's volume is different to our volume. The definition of volume from http://dictionary.reference.com is: "5. the amount of space, measured in cubic units, that an object or substance occupies." It should more correctly say: "the amount of space, WE measure in cubic units, that an object or substance occupies". There is an assumption - not necessarily wrong - that ours is the only possible space. A 4Der measures "the amount of space" for them in 4th power units "that an object or substance occupies". Hmmm, what should we call that. Maybe: if a cube was 3cubed we could say our tesseract were 3tessed.

Back to the OP topic.
As discussed elsewhere here, it could be possible (not at the present time) to fool out brain to think it were living in a 4D world.
Our eyes already have a maximum resolution so to speak so you could probably simulate resolution in the third direction.
You might have to drop the resolution a bit to allow our brain to deal with all the extra information.
Visual input couldn't be through our normal eyes. It would have to be direct stimulation.
Also, I believe physical feedback is an important part of the development of spatial awareness.
A baby connects its sensation of movement to the position of objects in the world.
So feelings of movement and touch would need to be simulated as well within a simulated 4D world.

As discussed elsewhere there is evidence to suggest the brain is adaptable to what it sees and experiences.
If, with the aid of special glasses, our world is turned upside down the brain soon adapts and sees things right way up again.
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Re: How we may soon be able to experience the 4th dimension

Postby LutherX » Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:51 pm

By volumetric I do mean our 3d concept of volume. If you can recieve stimulation based on the color values of a finite, 2-d grid of cells, then it is possible to 1) percieve entire 2-D forms at once without overlap and 2) recognize and become naturally familiar with the third dimension. If instead of a flat retina, you had a volumetric retina, simply to say a 3-D grid (a subdivided box basically) that you recieve stimulation from, you could then percieve entire 3-D forms at once, without overlap, and recognize and become naturally familiar with the fourth dimension. Thus this would allow you to think, instead of in pictures, in volumes, which I think might greatly enhance our logical and other cognitive capacities. Also, this way there need not be any trickery of the brain, rather a natural adaptation to a novel data stream causing perceptive experiences unimaginable to us because are brains currently posses no structures for processing such data streams.

As for the physical aspects involved in learning, that may actually pose a problem in the individuals ability to ever actually comprehend what they are seeing. It takes are three possible modes of direction to overlay the 3d info ontop of our 2d retinal data, thus to do the same seems like it would require four modes of direction to do the same for a 3d retina.

But one solution is to allow the 3d retina to keep in tune to what are physical state is, so that, say, leaning left moves left, right moves right, etc. stretching upward goes up, the opposite goes down, and then, for fourth dimensional travel, tensing moves forward in the fourth dimension and relaxing moves backward in the fourth dimension.
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