Re: How To Live In A Simulation

From: Mark Walker (
Date: Wed Mar 14 2001 - 19:47:00 MST

----- Original Message -----
From: Robin Hanson <>

>>We have good evidence that if we are in a
> >simulation then our descendents want the simulation to be at least single
> >blind. >
>I thought of this but rejected it.
Well, what did you think the chances are that I--a mere simulation--would
have an original thought! The simulation, after all, is in a loop--the
eternal reoccurence of the same event.

  If the actual history of our descendants
> included many people who believed that they were living in a simulation,
> then it could be all right if a similar number of people in a simulated
> believe this. It might in fact be a problem if too few people so
I agree. But your argument needs more than the possibility that this is
correct. It all depends on the motivations of the experimenters. If the
experimenters want to see what happens in worlds where the "victims" are not
aware of the simulation then, we ought to act as if we are not in a
simulation. (Given that we believe that they snuff out simulations that
become self-conscious of their plight). On the other hand, if the
experimenters want to look at what happens when creatures become aware of
the fact that they are mere simulations then, perhaps your advice is
correct. I am not sure the evidence at this point can adjudicate between
these hypotheses. We can imagine evidence that might make your proposed
course of action more rational, e.g., suppose the stars in the night sky
were rearranged in a pattern that said 'this world is only a simulation'. I
think in this case I might be more inclined to take your advice about how to
live in a simulation.

> If if our nearer descendants are not complete fools, many of them will
> seriously entertain this idea. Nick is right that "the naive
> dogma that we or our descendants will become posthumans who'll run
> simulations is false."
Again, it depends on the motivations of the experimenters. If the point of
the simulation is to see what happens if you create a world in which all
probability assignments are screwed up because everyone in the simulation
has a screwed up sense of probabilty, then Nick might be wrong. (Because of
course he is one of the victims). Or worse, suppose the point of the
simulation is to see what the world looks like if all the participants are
given a faulty logic as part of their reasoning processes. They might
operate in the world of the dialethics who believe there are true
contradictions. They slap their knees (and don't slap their knees) everytime
someone invokes the principle of contradiction. If our world is a simulation
then I am not sure there is anything that we can be sure about with respect
to our beliefs or actions. Virtually yours, Mark.

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