Re: How To Live In A Simulation

From: Nick Bostrom (
Date: Thu Mar 15 2001 - 14:58:22 MST

Steve Nichols wrote:

> >I show that 4 has negligible probability.
>How can you possibly *show* that probability of this ... which is
>the intuitively obvious possibility, after all there must be original, but
>not necessarily any simulations .... has "negligible probability."

I guess you'll have to read my paper to find out.
( The basic idea is that given
that there are lots of simulated copies of yourself, whose experiences are
subjectively indistinguishable from the originals, then by a very weak form
of the principle of indifference you are overwhelmingly more likely to be
one of the simulated copies.

> I challenge you to give any
>numerical values to "negligible" or "approaching one" and to

I don't see why picking a somewhat arbitrary numerical value would help. I
derive a formula which relates three quantities. If you want to derive a
precise value for one of them, you'll have to plug in precise values for
the other two.

(If it helps you to think of specific numbers, try 1% for "negligible" and
99% for "approaching one".)

Nick Bostrom
Department of Philosophy
Yale University

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