Re: How To Live In A Simulation

From: Nick Bostrom (
Date: Wed Mar 14 2001 - 12:55:55 MST

Brent Allsop wrote:

> In other words, you could gain any desired value, without the
>suffering. There would be no reason for anyone to create such a
>system full of such actual mysery death and suffering, and hence no
>need to have any kind of law to force people not to do so in any kind
>of full of progress future.
> To me, it's the same argument for why there is no Gods, or why
>there are not powerful ET's hiding from us, yet watching us.

How do you know that there is suffering? If you are unhappy right now, I
grant that you know it. But if not, then your memories of suffering could
be fake. If a best possible world is one where all possible positive
experiences occur and no negative experiences occur, then if you are now
happy it seems that your current evidence is perfectly compatible with
best-possible-worlds hypothesis. You can poke your finger with a needle,
and for a while you'll know that the hypothesis is false, but the
refutation doesn't stick. As soon as you are happy again, you can't be sure.

(A bizarre thought, admittedly, but I was thinking of including it in a
footnote in the next version.)

Nick Bostrom
Department of Philosophy
Yale University

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