Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Nick Bostrom - The Simulation Argument

Are You Living In a Computer Simulation?

He makes a distinction between what he calls the "simulation hypothesis" and the "simulation argument". The hypothesis says that we are living in a simulation, which Bostrom thinks is "less than 50% likely to be the case", whereas the "argument" purports to show that one of three propositions are true:

(1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor-simulations is false, unless we are currently living in a simulation.

Personally, I don't think we are a simulation. If we are, then we should find the evidence someday, but that is possible only if there are imperfections in our simulation, or clear clues that our "reality" isn't as real as we thought. If, however, the simulation is so good as to be indistinguishable from the historical reality it imitates, then there is no way we can ever find out if the hypothesis is true or not, and we should simply conclude we are living in the real universe.

Of course, there are some who suggest that there is evidence that our reality is a simulation:

Unfortunately, the interview in the above YouTube is with Anthony Peake, who as far as I can tell is just another of the many promoters of pseudoscience.

I remain skeptical.

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