Re: MW QT AI please phone home; fart-induced cosmic cataclysms

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Sun Apr 21 2002 - 10:04:42 MDT

Ben Goertzel wrote:
> After all, this universe we all think we're living COULD just be a highly
> advanced virtual reality simulation, right? The six-eyed alien running the
> simulation could turn it off at any moment, or change the channel....
> When a posited hypothesis strikes me as LESS LIKELY than the "we're all
> brains in a vat being neurally stimulated with a VR reality" hypothesis, I
> tend to turn my attention elsewhere ;>

Actually, this is Existential Risk #3 in Nick Bostrom's ordering, because of
what Bostrom regards as a strong Bayesian argument for the simulation
hypothesis. (Of course I have a different ordering of the existential
risks, but this is to be expected.) And of course nobody buys the literal
form of the vat hypothesis these days; it seems pretty obvious that if it's
a simulation it's a computational simulation and we don't actually have
brains somewhere.

However, Bostrom does agree with you that, as a risk, Existential Risk #3 is
pretty hard to minimize.

Further reading:

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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