Re: New website: The Simulation Argument

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Mon Dec 03 2001 - 17:20:18 MST

Nick Bostrom wrote:
> Emlyn wrote:
> >
> >This seems to take it for granted that an entity living in the "real world"
> >(at the root) and an entity living inside any level of sim are equivalent in
> >terms of what I might call "being", for wont of a better term. ie: there is
> >no significant difference between a simulated being and an actual being.
> >
> >While this may be the case, it does assume a strong materialist view of
> >consciousness. This must be the case for the principle of indifference to
> >apply. That's probably ok, but maybe it needs to be stated explicitly?
> Yes, I call it substrate-independence. I don't argue for this assumption in
> the paper but I note that it enjoys fairly wide support (among those doing
> the philosophy of mind) and it is generally assumed in transhumanist
> discussions about uploading etc.

Actually, one doesn't need to assume substrate independence - simply that
our own level of reality is one that can be simulated by our enclosing
universe. We may lose out on all kinds of unimaginable ontological
characteristics by virtue of our mere simulationness; we just don't know
what they are, of course, being mere simulations.

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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