Simulation aware

From: Gordon Worley (
Date: Mon Dec 03 2001 - 12:56:27 MST

On Saturday, December 1, 2001, at 10:39 PM, Nick Bostrom wrote:

> Are You Living In a Computer Simulation? Nick Bostrom (2001)

One thing I forgot to point out before was that it should be possible to
write simulants who cannot think about the possibility that we live in a
Simulation. Sort of like the whole thing in /The Matrix/, which is
poorly explained, but it's clear that no one can be told what the Matrix
is because it is impossible inside the Matrix, or at least for someone
still plugged into the Matrix to think about. True, in /The Matrix/
it's less plausible given the specifics, but it's still an okay allusion
to make.

The counter argument is that simulants won't work if they are prevented
from thinking about something (either they won't be accurate or they'll
fall apart). Well, as /The Matrix/ looked at, this does sometimes
happen, but most people never bother to even think about their meta
state more than casually, if at all. Thus, assuming there were problems
with this proposal, only a few would be lost who went crazy upon being
sucked into the hole in their minds.

The conclusion we get from this is that it is not likely than simulants
can think about the possibility that they live in a simulation because,
if they realize that they live in a simulation, it has shown to cause
problems. It is very possible that there have been no problems with
this, as Nick suggests, thus this conclusion means nothing, but
presuming that there *is* a problem with letting people know that, in
fact, they live in a simulation run by some Powers in a post Singularity
world, then that means we would have to conclude that we do not
currently live in a simulation, else we wouldn't be able to have this

One final counter argument is that if the simulants cannot think about
living in a simulation, the simulation will not be accurate because the
original world contained such discussions. There's no getting around
this one. If the simulation is to see what happens when simulants find
out the truth about their reality, we're all pretty much screwed
already, so we might as well enjoy the rest of the ride until society
falls apart or the simulators decide that nothing bad happens and turn
us off.

In short, if people know they live in a simulation causes problems, this
is not a simulation because we wouldn't be able to think about it,
because thinking about it would ruin the simulation.

Gordon Worley                     `When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty            said, `it means just what I choose                it to mean--neither more nor less.'
PGP:  0xBBD3B003                                  --Lewis Carroll

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