Re: How To Live In A Simulation

From: Steve Nichols (
Date: Wed Mar 14 2001 - 08:05:16 MST

Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2001 21:43:25 -0500
From: Nick Bostrom <>
Subject: Re: How To Live In A Simulation

>Robin wrote:

>"So the more we want our descendants to be rich, the more we should hope
>that we are in fact living in a simulation :-)."

Pessimistic but possibly true .... except that different commodities
have different value depending on history and circumstance. Ancient
Incas might have had plenty gold, but we might call them "poor."

>I show in my paper that at least one of the following is true:

>1. The probability that we will never become posthuman is approximately

This builds in too many assumptions. I for one think we already
*are* posthuman, but not all of us realise it.

Nick seems to follow the "posthuman must be entirely alien" school
of thought ....

>2. The fraction of posthuman civilizations that contain individuals who run
>plenty of ancestor-simulations is very close to zero.
>3. The probability that we are in a simulation is close to one.

Our perception is 'virtual' rather than 'real' in that our brains
signals (light image hitting our retina is upside-down, we invert the
image psychologically to see the world right side up). So we "are in a
simulation"in this sense ..... but I suspect Nick means something like we
are characters in a computer game or similar.

>So we should hope for either 2 or 3. Since there seems a good likelihood
>that simulators will often terminate simulations when they become expensive
>(i.e. when they become posthuman), the best scenario would be 2. This
>entails a strong convergence hypothesis, where practically all posthuman
>civilizations lose a typical human motivation.

But logically I feel Nick is *wrong* ... since he fails to omit 4. That we
could be the ancestors leading the original lives on which any future
simulations are based!!!!!

>One conclusion that I draw is that the naive transhumanist dogma that we or
>our descendants will become posthumans who'll run ancestor-simulations is
>false. This hypothesis has a negligible probability, unfortunately.

Not necessarily ... see point 4.

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