The Simulation Argument – by Nick Bostrom

This paper is talking about a topic that is tangental but also somewhat related to my theme. It poses the possibility of the whole universe being simulated through technology, and the fact that we even might be living in a simulated universe right now.

This paper argues that at least one of the following propositions is true: we all go extinct before we achieve technological maturity, posthumans are not interested in ancestor simulation, Or that we do eventually achieve a level of technological advancement in that we are able to achieve ancestor simulation, and there are people who are interested in using their resources to create this simulated world. Then if the other two possibilities do not apply, then we (or at least most of us) are most likely simulated people living in a simulated world.

It is then possible to argue that, if this were the case, we would be rational to think that we are likely among the simulated minds rather than among the original biological ones. Therefore, if we don’t think that we are currently living in a computer simulation, we are not entitled to believe that we will have descendants who will run lots of such simulations of their forebears.

This is similar to the situation in the movie ‘The Truman Show’. We are made to think that we are not simulations, because we are “programmed” that way. We are made to think that we are our biological selves.

If technology has advanced to a point where simulated people may have consciousness, we can not be sure if we are real or simulated.

“If there were a substantial chance that our civilization will ever get to the posthuman stage and run many ancestor-simulations, then how come you are not living in such a simulation?”

There’s a good chance we will self-destruct before we even get to the post human stage where we a capable of running such simulations.

While the world we see is in some sense ‘real’, it is not located at the fundamental level of reality.” [which we could never perceive]


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