Sunday, March 13, 2005

Is Reality a Simulation Game?

"While not part of this extreme, a recent argument by Dr. Nick Bostrom (Department of Philosophy, Yale University) has made modest waves in the media. According to reports, Bostrom believes that we are in fact probably living in a computer simulation.

"His reasoning is fairly simple. There will be a time when we are able to simulate sentient life on a large scale. If that is so, then there will be an enormous number of lives which will be simulated in the future. Eventually, it is not too far-fetched to think that this number will be far greater than the number of people who have ever lived." (Via Chapel Perilous.)

The author of this article dismisses Bostrom's simulation argument for reasons that seem more sentimental than objective. If artificial intelligence is possible, then its mature form may very well be quite alien.

6 comments:

KennyJC said...

I used to agree with this universe simulation idea. But surely there must be a limit to intelligence. The very fact this universe still exists must surely mean that there has not yet been a race advanced enough to destroy it never mind create a new one!

W.M. Bear said...

Aha! But what if the entire universe is a simulation on a grand scale? What about that, huh? Interestingly, this whole idea strikes me as a kind of techno-spin on the classic Hindu idea of the world as maya, illusion.
--WMB

Ken Younos said...

Everytime I read/watch the news I get a headache and I just want to go to bed. If our world is a simulation, the programmer (whoever that is) has got some fucked up ideas of how things ought to be...

RGE said...

Does this mean that insanity is a failure of the simulation to properly simulate the human brain? The way I see it, it is impossible to know *everything* about something, and therefore any simulation of humans would be flawed. And when the simulated humans create simulated humans, those humans would be even more flawed.

W.M. Bear said...

Au contraire, my friends! Disaster simulation is the in thing. Think what the U.S. military's War College does to justify its existence. We are all of us a simulation being run by the War College of the Gods (also an old idea in a new form).

"As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods. They use us for their sport."

--Shakespeare

Mac said...

Disaster simulation -- exactly. An alternate history -- one of many..