Virtual Living

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Sciborg_S_Patel

#1
While it's a bit different than what we usually talk about around here, this seemed like it might be useful when considering how spirits/souls - if they exist - could communicate in more malleable realities.

Also, it's just really interesting to think about people growing up in VR environments.

POST-SYMBOLIC COMMUNICATION IN VIRTUAL REALITY

"The first prerequisite for post-symbolic communication is shared virtual reality. The second is an ability to create a world quickly and easily while one is in virtual reality. This ability doesn't exist yet, but I believe it will. This involves having some method that allows a person to programme a virtual world in all aspects of form and behavior as quickly as talking about it. This would yield a situation that might be described as a shared, intentional waking dream in which everything is possible and everything is relatively easy and everything is shared.

This situation has simply never existed before. We have never had this interesting intersection of realities. This is a combination of the objectivity of the physical world with the unlimitedness and the uncensored content normally associated with dreams or imagination with the spontaneous composability of language.

One comment about the objectivity and sharedness of virtual reality. Virtual reality fits into exactly the same niche between people that is normally taken up by the physical world. No more, no less. So, the types of interactions that people have in the physical world are acceptable in virtual reality."
 
#2
Resurrecting an old thread here, I hope to good end...

Interesting article, though I'm not sure that the ability to demonstrate anything and everything at will would, even of itself, ignoring that one could choose instead anyway to use language, preclude symbolic communication. What the author describes is a reality which could be thought of as a medium of artistic expression, and much art, even demonstrative art, is also symbolic.

This morning, just an hour or so ago, I stood on the seashore where the sand and water meet, in the pre-dawn dimness, and as I stood there, looking East out over the ocean to the faint glow on the horizon, a small flock of seagulls materialised out of the dark air above and in front of me. It is hard not to conceive of this in symbolic terms: winged life emerging as though ex nihilo out of a murky potentiality above a briny expanse of water - the scene is one brimming with metaphor.

In a pliant virtual reality, one might similarly demonstrate something which is similarly symbolic, even though it would not use any symbols of a strictly and syntactically-defined language.

This is not to deny the possibility of non-symbolic artistic expression, that the purpose of which is merely to be novel, original, exciting and interesting on a surface level. I am sure that both forms of artistry would/could exist.

In any case, your link reminded me of an hypothesis written by a smart fellow who used to post to another forum at the same time that I was contributing: Human progress as Stratification of Being, OR: In the end, there will be Word....

Human progress can be seen as a series of advances, each advance being a new form of stratifying reality, separating the world into layers of abstraction. Think about this series of steps:

  • Separation of sustenance from the process of production (when enough food excess was produced to sustain specialists, such as craftsmen, soldiers, artists, etc.) -- at some point, actually making food became abstracted away from having food.

  • Separation of force (in the physical sense) from its use. At some point, task-specific force sources, such as horses, sails, and legs, became abstracted away -- when the steam engine was invented. Now you could just take an abstracted source of force, and plug it into your chosen task.

  • Separation of information from its substrate. Thanks to Alan Turing, we know now how to abstract information, and information processes, away from the specific medium which carries them. The medium can be semiconductor or optical or mechanical, silicone or diamond or RNA, etc., but this doesn't materially affect the information process itself.

    And the future...

  • Separation of meaning from information.
 
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#3
While it's a bit different than what we usually talk about around here, this seemed like it might be useful when considering how spirits/souls - if they exist - could communicate in more malleable realities.
To date in my 18 year investigation of these topics, the best description I have found that I believe properly addresses the full physical/psychical/spiritual spectrum can be found here:

https://www.amazon.com/Revelation-Light-Enlightenment-Book-ebook/dp/B0091JJ6EC

Apparently not so popular, as I am the only one who has posted a review... :) but I've learned not to guide my insights by what is popular or by what I wish to be true :)

Cheers,
Bill
 
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#4
I skimmed the introduction, that can be accessed without buying the book, and I am afraid it looked a bit like a self-help manual to me. Perhaps I am just uncomfortable with anyone who describes psychic phenomena in an overly certain manner.

David
 
#5
I skimmed the introduction, that can be accessed without buying the book, and I am afraid it looked a bit like a self-help manual to me.
Well, I hear you on that one. But their main purpose of writing is to describe what it takes to achieve spiritual growth, so in that sense yeah, it's "self help" but in my opinion far exceeds anything else I've read on the topic. But that's an aside because that intro is a general into to their entire series. The reason I referenced it was specifically for the description of the astral and mental psychic realms.

Perhaps I am just uncomfortable with anyone who describes psychic phenomena in an overly certain manner
Certain it exists or certain that they know how to use it? I believe that's because the authors themselves are skilled psychics, and spent 37 years fine tuning and developing those skills in an intelligent way. In fact, they actually advocating applying the scientific method to everything they write about. It took me almost 20 years to accept that they’re probably onto something…so I didn’t take it lightly either.

Cheers,
Bill
 
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#6
Certain it exists or certain that they know how to use it? I believe that's because the authors themselves are skilled psychics, and spent 37 years fine tuning and developing those skills in an intelligent way. In fact, they actually advocating applying the scientific method to everything they write about. It took me almost 20 years to accept that they’re probably onto something…so I didn’t take it lightly either.

Cheers,
Bill
Well my impression is that reports of that realm vary a lot, and if someone writes about it in the style of a car repair manual (remember I have only read the intro) I don't feel they are being honest. Part of the problem is that there are so many self help books around.

David
 
#7
Well my impression is that reports of that realm vary a lot, and if someone writes about it in the style of a car repair manual (remember I have only read the intro) I don't feel they are being honest. Part of the problem is that there are so many self help books around.

David
I've had a skim through that intro too. It looked reasonable enough to me. I'd say the suggestion of a lack of honesty is perhaps inappropriate. I'd simply say that the language and style of presentation is what causes the disquiet, rather than the deeper meaning. The presentation - well that is intended to reach a particular audience sector. Clearly you're not within that intended readership. Nor me for that matter, but that's a different topic.

As for self-help books, I'm reminded of a comedy presentation I heard recently, and the book "Ten steps to overcoming your dependence on step-based self-help books"
(credit: Jeremy Hardy Speaks To The Nation - How to Be Better).
 
#9
Well my impression is that reports of that realm vary a lot, and if someone writes about it in the style of a car repair manual (remember I have only read the intro) I don't feel they are being honest. Part of the problem is that there are so many self help books around.

David
I dunno. I kinda liked the innocence of the presentation. The New Age stuff, would of course kill any academic interest or notice.

It is no secret that self-help books and religions share a marketing space. They are focused on "fixing" the inner space of people, just as we look to control and leverage our external spaces. The comment about car repair manual made me flash on on how important humor, relaxed expression and closeness are in communicating with people. A religious/self-help program that captures the "feel" of "Car Talk" could be very successful.
Over the 10 years the brothers did the show locally, on a volunteer basis, they slowly injected more and more humor and off-topic diversions into their discussions of carburetors and wheel bearings—following their natural curiosity and pushing the limits for what was then a typically decorous public radio station. “Since we weren’t making any money, we figured we might as well have fun,” said Tom.

The brothers’ unique combination of hilarious, self-deprecating banter and trustworthy advice was picked up by NPR in 1987, and Car Talk soon became the network’s most popular entertainment program ever, reaching audiences of more than four-million people a week. The program has continued to be a top-rated show on NPR stations in syndication, even after the guys stopped recording new shows in 2012.

Along with the solid car advice he dispensed on the radio show with his brother, Tom often took on the additional roles of philosopher king, life advisor, moral scold, and family counselor.
I think I would be more apt to appreciate and accept Tom and Ray working me over - about changing my bad behavior and understanding moral issues - than some milk-toasty, forgiving do-gooder in a robe.
 
#10
I dunno. I kinda liked the innocence of the presentation. The New Age stuff, would of course kill any academic interest or notice.
Yeah, "New Age Stuff" absolutely makes me cringe, as well as most of the "spiritual" stuff. A casual glance at their material has that turn-off for us scientific types. It was only looking deeper that I was able to see past that.

You are absolutely right as far as academic interest, but I suspect that any amount of "academic interest" will contribute zero to what their goal is--personal experience and development, and to date, most academics are still trying to figure out how to prove if this stuff is even real! These guys, I believe for very good reason, have moved beyond that. Yet, they advocate the scientific method if applied the right way--with personal involvement in the experimenting! And under the right conditions, they do this. Here is a brief overview of work done with Normal Shealy:

https://normshealy.com/medical-and-counseling-intuition-2/

Funny, I've hear of Caroline Myss, but don't know anything about her. After reading the above I looked her up and realized that I should dismiss her completely, because Wikipedia notes that she's been debunked by Shermer and Nickell, lol.

Cheers,
Bill
 
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S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#11
Virtual Reality Allows the Most Detailed, Intimate Digital Surveillance Yet

"...as the tech industry continues to build VR’s social future, the very systems that enable immersive experiences are already establishing new forms of shockingly intimate surveillance. Once they are in place, researchers warn, the psychological aspects of digital embodiment — combined with the troves of data that consumer VR products can freely mine from our bodies, like head movements and facial expressions — will give corporations and governments unprecedented insight and power over our emotions and physical behavior..."
 
#12
This would yield a situation that might be described as a shared, intentional waking dream in which everything is possible and everything is relatively easy and everything is shared.
There's a massive logical contradiction with this that makes it impossible. Everything cannot be possible and easy if they are also shared.

Let's say that you have two people and both of them are capable of godlike powers, capable of constructing their own realities in the manner described above. Let's say person A wants to make a particular object a certain way and they want there to be only one of these objects. Now let's say person B doesn't like how person A made that object so they change it to the way they like it.

Who's version of the object becomes THE object? The answer is whomever is able to program the object more effectively. Whoever is more skilled. Whoever can lock the other person out of access to the object. However you want to describe it. The only other alternative is that two objects are made in the respective ways the two people want them to be. Either way it means that they can't share the experience while also having complete control over it.

Personally, I suspect that we all already live in such a reality and that the laws of physics are just a glorified version of data transfer When you think about it physics as we know it is completely arbitrary, much like the rules of even the most nonsensical dreams. There's no inherent reason why any of the patterns we see have to be the way they are instead of any other way. I first thought of this when I noticed that you always get the exact same result when you drop potassium into water. But... you could've just as easily got a reaction like it turning into a rabbit or something. There's absolutely no reason that it has to be the way it is. I realised that it was weird to get the exact same type of result over and over again. Sure someone could quote subatomic reasons for why you get teat result, but then the question repeats. Why are the subatomic reason the way they are? And then you could search and go deeper and find out, then it repeats again, why is that reason the way it is? Eventually the only logical conclusion I've managed to come to is that there isn't a reason for any of it.

I've been trying to work on a mathematical model to explain the whole "everything from nothing" problem and so far have come up with a framework I call the Comparative Stress Model which states that in order for anything to exist it requires an equal and opposite to compare itself to in order to solidify it. This was based off of the observations I've made and read about in physics and some form of equal and opposite reaction always seems to come up. Nature also always seems to take the easiest path, the one that takes the least amount of energy to maintain. It also was the result of the classic philosophical question "if everything was red, is anything red?" because how would you know it's red if you didn't have something "not red" to compare it to? I don't know if the model really works, I haven’t spent enough time on it to know. The basis of the model is that "dimensional subdivisions" occur or have occurred repeatedly as a means to get rid of comparative stress.

The analogy I've come up with so far goes like this. Imagine you have a single dot, that dot splits into two to give itself something to compare itself to. those two dots split again for the same reason. Always in a straight line. However in the middle two dots try to split but both of the resulting new dots are going to end up exactly right on top of each other again, but with only one dimension to travel in there's nowhere else to go. So the dots subdivide into a second dimension to relieve their comparative stress. The same thing repeats now with two dimensions to travel in eventually you get three dots in an equilateral triangle all trying to subdivide. But once again there's no way to resolve the comparative stress. So a third dimension is created to relieve the stress. this pattern repeats infinitely, creating infinite dots across infinite dimensions across infinite space. Creating a paradox of both determinism and freedom where every possibility MUST exist SOMEWHERE or else there'd be comparative stress. But because of that if you only look at a single region of the equation there are static rules unique to that region.

From my perspective reality as we know it is just a dreamscape. Sure it's an incredibly solid and refined one with very static rules, but it's still just a dreamscape and can be affected like one. No idea if I'm right on any of this but it's my two cents.
 
#13
Personally, I suspect that we all already live in such a reality and that the laws of physics are just a glorified version of data transfer When you think about it physics as we know it is completely arbitrary, much like the rules of even the most nonsensical dreams. There's no inherent reason why any of the patterns we see have to be the way they are instead of any other way. I first thought of this when I noticed that you always get the exact same result when you drop potassium into water.
You should check out this thread:

http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threads/consciousness-and-the-interface-theory-of-perception.624/

Donald Hoffman claims to have worked out such a theory. He and his students have written a book, which is interesting up to a point where it becomes impossibly mathematical (possibly unnecessarily so). He claims the mathematics proves that the laws of physics arise out of the interactions of many observers.

David
 
#14
There's a massive logical contradiction with this that makes it impossible. Everything cannot be possible and easy if they are also shared.

Let's say that you have two people and both of them are capable of godlike powers, capable of constructing their own realities in the manner described above. Let's say person A wants to make a particular object a certain way and they want there to be only one of these objects. Now let's say person B doesn't like how person A made that object so they change it to the way they like it.

Who's version of the object becomes THE object? The answer is whomever is able to program the object more effectively. Whoever is more skilled. Whoever can lock the other person out of access to the object. However you want to describe it. The only other alternative is that two objects are made in the respective ways the two people want them to be. Either way it means that they can't share the experience while also having complete control over it.

Personally, I suspect that we all already live in such a reality and that the laws of physics are just a glorified version of data transfer When you think about it physics as we know it is completely arbitrary, much like the rules of even the most nonsensical dreams. There's no inherent reason why any of the patterns we see have to be the way they are instead of any other way. I first thought of this when I noticed that you always get the exact same result when you drop potassium into water. But... you could've just as easily got a reaction like it turning into a rabbit or something. There's absolutely no reason that it has to be the way it is. I realised that it was weird to get the exact same type of result over and over again. Sure someone could quote subatomic reasons for why you get teat result, but then the question repeats. Why are the subatomic reason the way they are? And then you could search and go deeper and find out, then it repeats again, why is that reason the way it is? Eventually the only logical conclusion I've managed to come to is that there isn't a reason for any of it.

I've been trying to work on a mathematical model to explain the whole "everything from nothing" problem and so far have come up with a framework I call the Comparative Stress Model which states that in order for anything to exist it requires an equal and opposite to compare itself to in order to solidify it. This was based off of the observations I've made and read about in physics and some form of equal and opposite reaction always seems to come up. Nature also always seems to take the easiest path, the one that takes the least amount of energy to maintain. It also was the result of the classic philosophical question "if everything was red, is anything red?" because how would you know it's red if you didn't have something "not red" to compare it to? I don't know if the model really works, I haven’t spent enough time on it to know. The basis of the model is that "dimensional subdivisions" occur or have occurred repeatedly as a means to get rid of comparative stress.

The analogy I've come up with so far goes like this. Imagine you have a single dot, that dot splits into two to give itself something to compare itself to. those two dots split again for the same reason. Always in a straight line. However in the middle two dots try to split but both of the resulting new dots are going to end up exactly right on top of each other again, but with only one dimension to travel in there's nowhere else to go. So the dots subdivide into a second dimension to relieve their comparative stress. The same thing repeats now with two dimensions to travel in eventually you get three dots in an equilateral triangle all trying to subdivide. But once again there's no way to resolve the comparative stress. So a third dimension is created to relieve the stress. this pattern repeats infinitely, creating infinite dots across infinite dimensions across infinite space. Creating a paradox of both determinism and freedom where every possibility MUST exist SOMEWHERE or else there'd be comparative stress. But because of that if you only look at a single region of the equation there are static rules unique to that region.

From my perspective reality as we know it is just a dreamscape. Sure it's an incredibly solid and refined one with very static rules, but it's still just a dreamscape and can be affected like one. No idea if I'm right on any of this but it's my two cents.
I'm OK with some of that, although I'd add that although the results could be anything, they ain't in reality, because they are probibalistic... or better yet it's easier to think about observations being additive... so there is an architecture behind the process IMO.... otherwise things would be a total mess... and sharing this experience would be impossible.
 
#15
Donald Hoffman claims to have worked out such a theory. He and his students have written a book, which is interesting up to a point where it becomes impossibly mathematical (possibly unnecessarily so). He claims the mathematics proves that the laws of physics arise out of the interactions of many observers.
I checked it out and started running into the problem of him appearing to presuppose consciousness. It was still interesting other than that. My model is probably more similar to the Theory of Implicate Order.
 
#16
so there is an architecture behind the process IMO.... otherwise things would be a total mess... and sharing this experience would be impossible.
Yeah that's the problem I had and why I started making my model to try to account for both sides of the problem. I reject the notion of observer created reality because reality would have had to create the observers in the first place. However if everything is based on nothing like I suspect then it becomes similar to a computer. At the very low level it's all just 1's and 0's but you can take those and make an assembler to make the instructions easier to work with. then you can take that assembler and make a compiler so you can write things in more human looking terms. then you can take that compiler and make an interpreter to make things even more natural. You can also make specialised tools like a graphics engine to do most of the work for you automatically. Eventually you could come out with this highly detailed, complex game. The game appears to have strict rules but if you understand that those rules are ultimately based on nothing you can mod the game, inputting different code that causes different interactions than the default. You can also learn to make your own game once you realise that many different games with many different rules all run on the same logical nothingness. But if you want something you created to run alongside the pre existing game, such as on a multiplayer server, then it needs to follow the strict rules of that server so that everyone can experience the mod and not crash or whatever. If the server itself is too restrictive to allow your changes to exist without conflict, you could just mod the server to make that not so.

That's more or less my view of how reality probably works, it's not conscious itself but it can be affected consciously. Granted I don't even know if consciousness really exists of if it too is just a highly complex set of mutagenic code. That is, code that can recode itself to better suit it's goals. It ends up being the same thing in the end though no matter how I think of it so maybe it doesn't matter.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#17
Virtual Reality Poses the Same Riddles as the Cosmic Multiverse

Game developers have opened up massive, explorable universes and populated them with computer-generated characters based on advanced A.I. The experiences still lack some key components of reality, but a precise simulacrum of our world and its denizens may just be a matter of time. Someday soon, you could spend your waking hours wandering through alternative worlds where most of the people you meet aren’t really people. Indeed, how will you know whether you’re a person? When virtual humans come to outnumber real ones, then as the Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom argued in an influential 2003 paper, any given person should rationally conclude he or she is made of ones and zeros rather than flesh and blood.

In effect, we will have created parallel universes nested within our own universe rather than existing in distinct spacetime bubbles or branches of the quantum wavefunction. “Some of the conceptional problems that are raised by them are similar,” says Caltech cosmologist Sean Carroll. “You would like to know: What is the probability that I end up in one universe versus another? Can I make predictions for the kinds of thing that I would see if the scenario was true?” The basic problem is simple and deeply worrying: The observations you make in a multiverse, whether in space or in silico, need not bear any relation to the way things really are.
The argument for living in a simulation is based on the laws of physics and logic. But if we are living a simulation, we can’t trust those laws, so we have no basis to conclude we are living in a simulation. A scenario “where the belief that you’re in a sim reasonably causes you to doubt the trustworthiness of the very evidence that convinced you that you were likely to be in a sim,” Schwitzgebel says, “could be self-negating.”

A similar paradox comes up in cosmology: the Boltzmann brain. Physical theory suggests we are statistically more likely to arise from an ephemeral agglomeration of randomly moving atoms than from millions of years of evolution. Even our memories are more likely to be implanted than true. So, our theory has led us to conclude that our theory is illusory, like the man who proclaims, “I am a liar.”

This paradox suggests our theories are flawed. There could be a fundamental problem with creating lifelike simulations, for example. Bostrom says, “At the moment, our understanding of what consciousness is and in particular what the necessary and sufficient conditions are for some computational process to implement consciousness is not really clear.”

One theory of consciousness, Integrated Information Theory, holds that a computer brain simulation is not conscious, even if it reproduces everything the brain thinks and says. Neuroscientist Christof Koch of the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle compares this to simulations in other branches of science. “You can simulate a black hole, but you don’t have the causal power of gravity to actually bend space time,” Koch says. “You have to have mass. Unless you have that causal power, you won’t be able to affect spacetime around you.” By similar logic, if we feel ourselves to be conscious, we cannot be in a simulation. This is not a completely accepted theory by any means, though.

Almost any resolution of the paradox would entail that there can be no true computational multiverse, merely a single real world and multiple flawed copies. Many physicists argue that the cosmological multiverse, likewise, is too paradoxical to be real. People may long for alternative realities, but romanticizing lifelike simulations and an infinite number of “yous” may not be in our best interest.
 
#18

Of course we aren’t living in a computer simulation, with ourselves a part of this simulation:

We begin with this question: What is computation? Computation is a mapping of an input to an output according to a set of rules (an algorithm). The output is a function of the input, calculated for each independent variable in the input. For example, as I type this post, the electrical signal evoked by each keystroke is mapped to a pattern of electrons on my computer screen, according to the rules of the algorithm in my Microsoft Word program.

Note that the mapping is independent of the meaning of the input and the output signals. Microsoft Word pays no heed to the meanings conveyed by my keystrokes. The program doesn’t “care” whether I am typing an essay or a poem or a novel. It doesn’t even really care that I am typing anything at all. It merely maps the electrical signal generated by my keystrokes to electrical signals on my computer screen. It is an electro-mechanical process, not any kind of comprehension. Computation is mapping of signals, and pays no heed to the meaning of the signals it maps. Computation pays no heed to the meaning of anything.

Now, the next question. What is the mind? What is the human ability by which we ask the question “Am I living in a computer simulation?” What is it about a thought that distinguishes a thought from other things, like physical objects? Nineteenth-century German philosopher Franz Brentano gave an answer that seems decisive: Thoughts are always about something, whereas physical objects are never (intrinsically) about anything. He called this aboutness of thoughts “intentionality,” using a word derived from the scholastic philosophers’ theory of mind that dates back to Aristotle.

Thoughts are intentional, in the sense that they always point to something — to a concept, to an object, to a person, etc. Our thoughts always have an object (conceptual or physical) to which they are intrinsically directed. Our thoughts always mean something.

So are we living in a computer simulation? As I noted above, meaning is precisely what computation lacks. The most fundamental human power — the power of thought to have meaning — is just what a computer simulation cannot do.

Computation is syntax, whereas thought is semantics. If we were living in a computer simulation, and our mind were computation, the one thing we couldn’t do is think.

We couldn’t ask the question “Are we living in a computer simulation?” if we were living in a computer simulation. The irony here is that, of all the possible fundamental truths of reality, the notion that we are living in such a simulation is the one we can rule out simply because it’s self-refuting.

If we are living in a computer simulation, we couldn’t think to ask the question.
The "hard problem" of consciousness is basically why we could not ourselves be part of such a virtual reality simulation. But perhaps we could be conscious entities inhabiting an independent virtual simulated reality programmed to interact with us by a separate Being, or Beings, of incalculable power.

Here is an interesting argument for the reality-is-a-computer-generated-simulation idea, based on quantum mechanics:

This paper surveys evidence and arguments for the proposition that the universe as we know it is
not a physical, material world but a computer-generated simulation -- a kind of virtual reality. The
evidence is drawn from the observations of natural phenomena in the realm of quantum mechanics.
The arguments are drawn from philosophy and from the results of experiment. While the
experiments discussed are not conclusive in this regard, they are found to be consistent with a
computer model of the universe. Six categories of quantum puzzles are examined: quantum waves,
the measurement effect (including the uncertainty principle), the equivalence of quantum units,
discontinuity, non-locality, and the overall relationship of natural phenomena to the mathematical
formalism. Many of the phenomena observed in the laboratory are puzzling because they are
difficult to conceptualize as physical phenomena, yet they can be modeled exactly by mathematical
manipulations. When we analogize to the operations of a digital computer, these same phenomena
can be understood as logical and, in some cases, necessary features of computer programming
designed to produce a virtual reality simulation for the benefit of the user.
 
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