Re: {Semi-Fluff} Anti-Singularitarianism

From: Jeff Medina (
Date: Sat Dec 18 2004 - 15:14:44 MST

Simon Gordon: "This is illogical. If the world does end because of a
Singularity it will only be the simulated world that has ended, which
doesnt matter right?"
Robin Lee Powell: "It matters a lot to the people who only exist in
the simulation, i.e. you and me.
Simon: "You are telling me you are an NPC? Ok. But speak for yourself ;-)"

For "Robin exists only in the simulation" to imply "Robin is an NPC"
(hence "Robin is a non-conscious, non-volitional 'prop' character
whose actions are decided by a 'Dungeon Master' - or Simulation Master
in this case, I suppose"), you would need the additional premise that
computation (e.g., a simulation) cannot give rise to consciousness.
One would imagine that to be a rather unconventional view among

Simon, do you believe real AI is not possible? Or that, even if it
could appear to be a thinking thing, it would somehow not possess
consciousness? (Or possess a lesser consciousness than humans?)

If not, your allusion is misleading. Robin, me, and you could all be
conscious beings who only exist in a computer simulation, without
being "NPCs".
Simon: "An individual consciousness that was terminated would
presumably return to the world where it began prior to entering the

This again implies that a consciousness in a computer simulation could
not have originated there. Since this is contrary to common
Singularitarian views, it not surprising struck Robin as a bizarre
assumption. I find it strange as well.
Simon: "I suppose it boils down to what you would expect the ethical
standards of our hosts to be. Would they really allow sentient beings
to be born and destroyed for self-interest in the same way that humans
treat cattle? Or is it more likely that we are here for experience or
education or some other perhaps more sophisticated motive?"

Here, I agree; the moral status attributed to sentient Sims (following
Weatherson's reply to Bostrom) by the maintainers of the simulation
(if any have stuck around to watch over us) is critical to whether
Sims should fear for their lives. But, seeing as we have no direct
knowledge of our sim-creators, any assumption about their ethics is
dubious at best, so we can and should take seriously the possibility
that our sim-creators do not care about our well-being.

Further, the argument from evil (*) has a clear analogue in this
situation. Given the amount of suffering in our world, some may find
it implausible our sim-creators could have any concern for our

(*) argues that if there is a God, It is not notably benevolent,
because a benevolent deity would've created a world with less
suffering than ours has. For more details, see &

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