Re: How To Live In A Simulation

From: Eugene Leitl (
Date: Fri Mar 16 2001 - 02:21:54 MST

On Fri, 16 Mar 2001 wrote:

> Several people have suggested that our world is indistinguishable from a
> simulation. I disagree. One universal characteristics of simulations is
> that they simplify. If you look at any aspect in enough detail (usually not

Correction: that's an universal characteristics of simulations you're
familiar with. Given that you have no idea of the shape of the physical
reality the simulation layer is embedded in, that's a rather weak

Oh, and I can write you a very CA code which produces as much complexity
and detail as you please. If you give me enough bits, I can literally
build an infinitely complex universe.

> closely at all) it's simple. This is stunningly different from the real
> world, in which the closer you look the more complex it gets. The proposal

If the only real world you even knew is a simulation? What will you
compare your experiences with?

> that the simulation "makes up" detail when required is implausible. As
> anyone who's ever GM'd knows, that always leaves you stuck with
> contradictions. The necessary work to recalculate the past everytime the


> simulation gets "caught" would be as bad as doing it right the first time.


> Finally, the real world is just phenomenally wasteful on calculations. I'm

Do you think that's air you're breathing?

> walking to the laundry this morning and see the light ripples on the pool.
> The quantum calculations to model the pool would make an SI quake - yet there

This assumes that calculations which are expensive in the simulation are
also expensive in the physical layer embedding the simulation. Not a safe

> it is. Just to look nice to me. Please. In the Dysonian universes we're

It just is. The "looking nice" is a property of the observer, which
coevolved with the phenomenon.

> currently forecasting, resources are limited and precious.
> If the universe is a "simulation" in any sense, it's in a universe much more
> sophisticated than ours (one that can afford to simulate our universe down to
> quantum foam - something like 10^200 ops). The point is much more than our
> own existence, or else they wouldn't have bothered with the rest of the
> universe.

I fail to see the point of distinguishing between a, say, cellular
automaton TOE, and assuming that anything is actually tweaking these bits,
Somewhere Deep Down. If you can't get at the hardware layer, the
distinction is purely philosophical.

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