Re: How To Live In A Simulation

From: Brent Allsop (
Date: Tue Mar 13 2001 - 21:39:58 MST

Nick's paper contained:

> One can speculate that advanced civilization all develop along a
> course that leads to the recognition of an ethical prohibition on
> running ancestor-simulation because of the suffering that causes for
> the inhabitants of the simulation. However, from our present point
> of view, it is not clear that creating a human race is immoral - on
> the contrary, we tend to view the existence of our race as
> constituting a great ethical value. Moreover, convergence on an
> ethical view of the immorality of running ancestor-simulations is
> not enough: it must be combined with a convergence on a social
> structure that allows activities considered immoral to be
> effectively banned

        If a qualia theory is true, "zombie" or pure abstract
simulations would be possible. In a "zombie" simulation everything is
represented by some cause and effect mechanics, there would just be no
actual phenomenal consciousness and hence no suffering or joy. Just
as there is no joy of the experience of color in the representation of
color inside a paint detecting machine.

        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. Or at
least an argument as to why we should hope for such. It's to easy to
imagine ways to gain whatever it is we might provide to them without
all the mysery, death, and suffering. If you insist there is God,
powerful ET, or that we are in some future simulation, then you are
always left with attempting to justify why they would even want all
this kind of mysery and suffering with various absurd "theodicies" as
to why an all powerful God, yet still so much mysery. It's infinitely
easer to imagine ways to get whatever it is they might want without
the suffering, than to try to justify their existence and them causing
or bringing to pass all the evil we know.

        I may not know for absolute certainty that there are no Gods,
no powerful ET's hiding from us, or that we are not being run in some
posthuman's simulation, whether it's their history or not. I just
hope that such is not the case. How terrible to think we must
eternally create such mysery and suffering for so many, simply in
order to relive a moment in history, a variation of such, or whatever.
I hope we will be able to find some way to perfectly remember it or
whatever without actually really reproducing all the hell and
suffering involved.

        All I want to do is eternally remove all real mysery,
suffering, isolation, death... and and make all such mysery and evil
no longer necessary. Perhaps this isn't possible in a universe with
our physical laws you might imagine? If so, then just create a
simulation in in which it is possible to exist without evils like
death and true suffering. If such evil and suffering really is
necessary for such advanced beings, then we must give up all hope of
ever achieving anything better. We must then abandon all hope.

        I see no compelling reason to do this. Hence, I remain an
ahteist and continue to hope there is not yet Gods and that all evil
like death and suffering will be eliminated long before anything close
to this ever exists.

                Brent Allsop

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