Re: How To Live In A Simulation

From: Nick Bostrom (
Date: Wed Mar 14 2001 - 17:27:09 MST

Eliezer wrote:

>Nick Bostrom wrote:
> >
> > Steve Nichols wrote:
> >
> > >But logically I feel Nick is *wrong* ... since he fails to omit 4.
> That we
> > >could be the ancestors leading the original lives on which any future
> > >simulations are based!
> >
> > I show that 4 has negligible probability.
>Ah, yes, but it doesn't have negligible moral weight. Suppose that
>there's one original Eliezer and a billion imitators. The chance that I'm
>the original is only one-billionth; however, the actions of that original
>would carry a billion times as much weight.

Why do you think that the basement-level Eliezer's actions carry a billion
times more weight?

Note, anyway, that ancestor-simulations need not be exact replications of
the original history. Posthumans may run many alternative versions of
history to see what would have happened if something had been a little
different. Eliezer may not exist in the original history.

Indeed, in some respects Eliezer seems more like one of those slightly
implausible characters that might have been added for dramatic effect ;-)

Nick Bostrom
Department of Philosophy
Yale University

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