Bostrom’s Simulation argument can be summarised as follows:

(1) If highly advanced civilisations can construct computer simulations of reality populated with simulated but fully conscious inhabitants; and

(2) If a significant fraction of civilisations will actually get to the level of technological advancement required by (1) before they become extinct; then

(3) The probability that we are, in fact, simulated conscious beings inhabiting a computer simulation of reality run by highly advanced superbeings will approach 1.

There seem to be a number of unspoken assumptions in this argument.

(1.a) A significant fraction of highly advanced superbeings will devote their time and computational resources to behaving like the bad guys in a Keanu Reeves movie.

(1.b) It is technically feasible to expect a computer simulation of physical reality to have fault-free uptimes on the order of billions of (subjective) years.

It should also be possible to search for empirical evidence of (3) in the form of programmer comments. There are rumours that the pattern of quark-antiquark jets in early LHC results spell out the following message

/* Grrr, have to set FSC to 1/137 so that this
   will work on UniverseOS releases earlier than 1.9.
   What a fucking mess. Backward compatibility yay!

3 responses to “Simulations

  1. With the kind of storage, partitioning, and availability requirements on a simulation of the entire subjective reality, you’ d have to assume it was only an “eventually consistent” system.

    As for uptime, does it really matter? When a fault occurs couldn’t they just bounce the universe from the last known good configuration after fixing whatever the bug was? It’s not like Keanu would know the difference on the inside.

  2. Yeah, opinions vary about how long the simulation needs to be run prior to the inhabitants acheiving consciousness. Starting at the proplyd stage of the solar system is seen as being obnoxiously pedantic, but you’re not meant to cobble something together by cut-and-pasting a few dozen sophont state pickles into an off-the-shelf sensorium kit – it’s unsporting, if nothing else, and twenty or so generations later you’ll have some really pissed-off physicists trying to run DoS-attacks from inside your simulacrum.

    Although if your subject is actually Keanu, you can just have him wake up in a white room holding a piece of paper which says “You’re Keanu, dude” and he’ll roll with it.

  3. I reckon the other inherent assumption is that it’s even possible to create fully conscious simulations. It may be that all civilisations are interested in doing it, but can’t quite pull it off.

    Meaning we’re probably in a simulation, not fully conscious, and programmed to think we are.

    Which explains Keanu.

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