You (and I mean our whole society) are either doomed, jaded, or simulated. So goes the following argument...

Today on the philosophy bites podcast, they discussed the "Simulation Hypothesis." It proposes that if we don't wipe ourselves out, and don't get bored of video games, then we'll eventually start simulating our ancestors with fidelity sufficient to prevent their apprehending the matrix is there at all. Their world (ours?) will be seamlessly believable, with perfect CGI & so forth.

I'm perpetually intrigued by consciousness. While they were discussing the simulation hypothesis, I was in the car yelling, "but what if simulation can't create consciousness?" To my pleased surprise, they did raise that point, dismissing it almost immediately: "pretty much everyone agrees consciousness is an emergent side effect of the neural activity, substrate independent."

I'm not sure *I* agree with that but it's a cool thought. Do I HAVE to agree, else believe in my soul? I do want to think there's something special about me. I DON'T want to believe I'm a simulaion, but rather want to believe that's impossible!

Do you like it? more post to follow.

Ok, here's the end of it.

If you buy into the arguments, then, since simulations will outnumber reality, the probability that you're a simulation is overwhelming, and thus there's a bored guy somewhere watching our Sim with ctl-alt-del power over your life and in fact our whole universe. So behave, and maybe you'll get invisibility or wings or something.

Gina offered a solution to this, saying it's all just as unfalsifiable as any number of other fantastic hypotheses, so why bother, when there's nothing to choose between them. The unsatisfying part of that, for me, is that philosophy gets again reduced to irrelevancy. That's happening to me more and more.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting topic. Frank Tipler's "Physics of Immortality" (1994) goes into a lot of detail on resurrecting our ancestors (and ourselves) as computer simulations. He describes how the computers can be powered as the universe ends, and how they can be designed so that, subjectively, time never ends for the beings inside the simulation. It's a mind-bending read that also explores some intriguing threads of intellectual history, like Nikolai Fyodorov, Teilhard de Chardin, and "The World, the Flesh and the Devil" by J.D. Bernal.

    Gina's remark calls to mind Leibniz's principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles. That is, if the simulation is completely indiscernible from the reality, then the simulation ontologically *is* the reality.