Re: How To Live In A Simulation

From: Durant Schoon (
Date: Wed Mar 14 2001 - 17:18:00 MST


(I'll have to read the webpage when I get home...)

I recently finished Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon about cracking the
Enigma code during WWII. Without giving too much away, I was impressed
by the amount of effort spent on trying to cover up the fact that one
had cracked the other side's codes by providing lots of misinformation
to "noisy-up" the data. If you can suddenly destroy all the
otherside's warships because you know where they are, they'll change
their codes. If you remove all your civilians from a city that's
going to be bombed they'll know too...You get the idea.

So let's frame this competition in the current thread. If I were the
post-singularity hive-mind resimulating everyone who has ever lived
(cf. Tipler), I would want to hide this fact from everyone I was
re-simulating...In fact, I would probably want to hide it from all
levels of the new SI. I would want to add sufficient "noise events" to
keep anyone from figuring it out. In the "original" reality, some
people would have guessed this end result on their own and it would be
false. In all subsequent simulations, they would have guessed this end
result and would be right (that yes, they are being sim'ed).

As the universal ubermind, I would probably spend the rest of my time
(ie. until the end of the universe) re-building this simulation, since
really: What would be more interesting to calculate once I didn't have
to worry about dying or turning enough of the universe into
computronium? Because I'd be the ultimate-paragon mind living at the
far end of time, I'd probably have a pretty good idea how to do
this. Having practiced this final instant throughout the eons, and in
my last few moments (of my own simulation?), I would rerun the
entirety of everything that had taken place in my supposed reality.

That is,

If I were going to go back and re-sim the birth of the singularity, I
would do most of the things the same (ie, get all the important
details right), but I would leave little clues that it had all been
done before. Not enough to make it obvious, but enough to drive most
people (and SI's) mad with wondering ;-) This would have the double
bonus of making reality the most elaborate inside
(ie. recursively-inside) joke ever.

I'd whisper this in the ear of the person building the SI and then let
it nag whomever thinks it...for the rest of time...

Hah! ;-)

PS - What I'm not so sure about in this scenario is if reality would
repeat itself exactly or if clues would be left for subsequent SI's on
how to improve the simulation, the next time around. The most pleasing
answer to me is if the SI would believe ve was making improvements,
but at that last possible existential instant as the SI, master of the
universe, slips into the hands-off simulation of the next reality, ve
realizes that the most perfect form had already been converged upon
and that this was it, that this has always been the only true
solution...all ready to go again...and then doubt verself one last

(I call this the "alpha" theory to go with Tipler's "omega"
theory...which I still haven't read, BTW).



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