Re: How To Live In A Simulation

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Mon Mar 19 2001 - 03:06:41 MST

On Sun, 18 Mar 2001, Lee Corbin wrote:

Quoting several of us...

I think we need more of this on the list meta-synthesis from
several viewpoints! When I'm hurling plague infected dog meat
over the wall, sometimes it isn't easy to step back and
integrate the data points. [5 Extro-points if you can name
the movie; 10 Extro-points if name the babe in the movie.]

> The flaw here is that running someone is not an either/or
> proposition. There is always a question of, for example,
> the speed at which the simulation is run.

Yes, this is true. This is the Dyson-ian "slow down the clock" and
you get an infinite amount of computing approach.

Now, this raises a separate issue -- if, as it looks to be the case,
protons decay (I'm not sure about this but I get the feeling that
physicists generally lean in this direction), then all bets are off
in the long run anyway. In the *VERY* long run we are all toast unless
there is a way out of this universe. Now that would imply that there
is only so much "living" that can be done before you run out of matter
in which to "live". That being the case, slowing down the clock rate
(or putting it on hold entirely) rates right up their with the midievil
practice of bloodletting. E.g. I am not become death, the destroyer
of worlds -- I am become Dracula the sucker of life.

[3 Extro-points if you can explain why "midievil" (or its variants) are
 *not* in "The New Lexicon Webster's Dictionary of the English Language (1987)
 {This is the 4-inch thick ultimate "throw weight" book}.]

Soooo, Samantha, Eliezer and others -- here are some questions:
- "If in your godly SI or sub-SI incarnation, you choose to evolve
   forward by creating simulated copies with variations on your
   theme (presumably re-incorporating the positive results back
   into yourself) are those copies entitled to equal clock cycles?"
- Are your copies granted "reproductive rights"? (Or are they sterile)?
- Are your copies granted "simulation rights"? (i.e. they too can
  create evolving-forward copies that inherit the rights granted
  to their parents).

Note the consequences of "granting rights" would seem to be an ever
decreasing share of the available clock cycles. In this case
"death" takes on a new meaning -- you relinquish your clock
cycles to your ancestors. [So death is actually quite a noble
goal because you would have fullfilled your "purpose" in life
which is to ascertain the viability of a "mind-set mutation".
In this case you don't forward-propagate your fitness to
your offspring -- you back-propagate it to your ancestors.]

> If a certain simulation that you've created is no longer suitable
> for your purposes, you might merely assign resources such that
> they get a second of run time every thousand years, then
> every two thousand years, then every three thousand years,
> etc., a series which does not converge, i.e., it still
> bestows on your creations unlimited run time.

But not if the longevity of the computronium is limited(!).

> Ethically, there is nothing wrong with making a simulation
> containing emulations of conscious beings, and then running
> it at whatever speed you want. Or shutting it down. The
> only moral prohibition is, simply put, "Don't ever be cruel".

I think I've set the boundaries on this. They cannot ever
"realize" that they may be getting an ever decreasing slice
of the computronium "pie" as their ancestors or offspring create
their own ancestors or offspring because they must at some point
suffer the consequences of running in much slower than real
time (and therefore experience less total "life" before the end).
You may be able to arrange the hierarchy of realities such
that they never *do* realize this but then you have either
handicapped them or lied to them. [In particular you have to
make sure they never read the Extro archives...]

[Yes you can "and then magic happens" your way out of this, but lets
not do that -- lets assume the Universe really *is* constrained and
attempt to determine how you make the best choices with regard to
resource allocation and/or consciousness preservation.]

Finally, I'll simply note that if "infinite" information storage
is not possible, then at some time you have to resolve the question
of whether to erase old copies to allow the creation of new copies.

If you take the position that "No, old conscious entities that
only get 1 clock tick per trillion years may *never* be erased",
then you clearly sets a limit on your own forward self-evolution".
Caring for the "elderly" and potentially "irrelevant" in a society
has associated costs.

The question comes back to a (paraphrased) quote that I cannot
attribute at this late hour (though it reverberates as Nietzschian")
  "I must give up whatever I am for what I may become".

Which raises an associated question of who is following the
"Andromeda" series where the Nietzschians have an important role?


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