Re: Why just simulation?

From: Mark Walker (
Date: Sat Mar 17 2001 - 10:27:14 MST

The matter option might be realized by populating the universe with a number
of human colonies.

Nick wrote:
"Yes, but there are very strong reasons for thinking that the vast majority
would be created the "energy option". It's trillions of trillions of times
Obviously. We all know from day one in transhumanism 101 that you can get
more simulating angels dancing on the head of a pin for less energy than
real angels. I was simply pointing out that the logic of your argument does
not require simulation. The argument should turn on the ease of creating
lots of us and then point out simulation as one alternative. (See below).
Again, the tendency of some people to get hung up on this premise it might
be strategically advantageous to note alternate routes to your conclusion.
(Obviously there is a whole nest of philosophical problems lurking. I don't
have a problem with simulations but who wants to get caught in the quagmire
of arguing that we could not be just a bunch of "Chinese symbols" (Searle)
or externalists' theories of meaning and belief individuation (Putnam et

 Nick also wrote:
"(And as Robin points out, it doesn't require building a large screen around
our solar system.)"
Actually I am not sure that this is necessary at this stage. If a Jupiter
size planet went missing around Alpha Centuri then sure we would miss it.
But, if the posthumans gobbled up said planet 200 years ago, would we be
able to tell today? So long as they confine their activities to a safe
distance away we wouldn't be able to tell what they were up to. Perhaps the
posthumans have set aside a thousand galaxies as protected parkland. I know
I will.

" I should say something about this in the next version though."
Indeed, one way to do it would be to mention the matter version first. And
then point out that this is a very conservative approach. For the situation
may be trillions of times worse since for the same energy expenditure the
posthumans could make many more of us employing simulations.

"When I said there might be ethical prohibitions to running simulations of
human lives, what I had in mind was the fact that human life contains so
much misery."
Yes, I see that now. I guess I just hadn't noticed that human life contains
misery. Actually, I was just thinking of how the Jews in Auschwitz put God
on trial--demanding that He appear and account for Himself. I guess we might
imagine that they were putting the programmer on trial. It's pretty clear
that if there is a Programmer for our universe, he's a real f---ing bastard.

" I don't think there is anything immoral about creating simulations per
Neither do I. Nor probably do many of the other "Tom Swift" types of this
list. But I imagine many do. Other things being equal, I hope this is a
material world and I am a material boy. So, in a sense I suppose our
creators could be held accountable for not creating for us the best of all
possible worlds. Also, there may be something immoral about running a
simulation where the programmer doesn't announce to the subjects that it is
only a simulation. If this is a simulation do you think we have grounds to

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