Re: Simulation argument in the NY Times

From: Peter Butler (
Date: Tue Aug 14 2007 - 20:55:18 MDT

Rick Smith wrote:
> If we assume simulation, all the while that we know nothing about the simulation's external context we can't make any assumptions about its ultimate purpose or any interfaces with the environment.
> None.
> Any extrapolation is meaningless.

I have to agree. I'm always fascinated at the anthropomorphic arguments
that come out during a discussion like this one. Assumptions about the
motivations, desires or any other characteristics of a "Simulator" are
pure speculation and by definition cannot be tested. I suppose at the
most basic level this is one of the forces driving the religious
impulse, humans have a strong urge to explain an impartial universe in
terms that they can understand.

Stansilaw Lem makes some excellent arguments for the essential
unknowability of alien/artificial intelligence. "His Master's Voice" and
"Solaris" both revolve around the ultimately futile human attempts to
understand alien intelligence. More pertinent to this list, the "Golem"
lectures (collected in "Imaginary Magnitude") are a wonderful imagining
of what happens when we finally do create an artificial intelligence.


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