Micah Redding — faith, technology & the future

In this series:

The Simulation Argument, remixed

The other day I published my Introduction to the Simulation Argument, to some interesting reactions. Although it's a very simple argument, the mental contortions one has to jump through make it difficult for many people to grasp. So let me recap and generalize a little.

  1. If there are intelligent beings
  2. And if they create simulations
  3. Then simulated worlds will outnumber non-simulated worlds.

Fairly simple so far, right? Okay, let's make it personal:

  1. If simulated worlds outnumber non-simulated worlds
  2. And if we can't tell the difference
  3. Then we should assume we're in a simulation

That's the tough step for most people, and leaves you working back through the chain of arguments to see where things went wrong.

For most people, the part where it goes wrong is the idea that we can't tell the difference between a simulated world, and a non-simulated world. But that's our usage of the word "simulation" here. We're assuming that with the right technology and skill, someone could create a simulation so real, the participants wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

You may question whether that would even be possible. In that case, we're back to step 2, "...And if they create simulations".

This step hinges on intelligent entities being able and willing to create the simulations. If they die out before they figure out how to do so, then they're not able. If they have the capability, but somehow choose to never create any simulations, then they're not willing.

But keep in mind what we're saying. Just two simulated worlds would make the Simulation Argument valid. Just two simulations in all of history.

If you're saying that these simulations will never happen, you're saying that for the next trillion years, no intelligent being will ever create a realistic simulated world.

Given how realistic our simulations are getting these days, it seems to me that if no one ever creates a fully realistic simulation, it's because something pretty drastic happens. So...are you feeling lucky?


Next: The Most Powerful Being and the Simulation Argument

Jennifer:

A simulation implies a creator and a player or controller, which means this argument necessitates some kind of "more real" existence outside of life. Therefore this argument, if true, should agree with the enlightened saints’ teachings on the nature and reality of life and our existence both within and outside of life. They’ve mentioned the illusory nature of life, which might make one wonder about the potential truth of the simulation argument. But only if one did not realize the essence of the teaching--to help us distinguish between true and false, long-lasting or eternal, and temporary. This world by nature is false and temporary, in that it is changing. The eternal does not change, it is constant, and therefore, long-lasting. Guiding us to realize the illusion of images was to assist us in realizing where our attachment to this world (or any other worlds we may create) would lead us--towards temporary gains and temporary losses only, not towards eternal, long-lasting, true reality. But the Simulation Argument could have a far more dangerous outcome--if we treat this world even more like a video game than we already do, assuming that, if it is a "simulation", i.e. not "real", then there are no "real" consequences for our actions. If cause and effect is law within this illusory world, it stands to reason that it would also law in a simulated world. This law is outside of human beings’ control, therefore, whether or not human beings created the world, this law would be in effect. It is difficult to believe we should have to bear the effects of killing 100 men daily in our video games, just as it is difficult to believe we should bear the effects of killing a million animals daily—because it seems right now there are no serious consequences. Yet that seeing is really limited to how wide and broad our perspective is, how wide and broad our heart is. Whether attaching to a concept of the world as simulated or attaching to a world one considers "real", one is still lost in illusion if one takes life at face value only, thinking what matters only is what happens from birth until death, thinking whatever we do is fine also long as we like the image we have created, the image we are living in. Whether we believe life is a simulation or real, either way, if we do not know the reason for it and are not in alignment with that reason, we are lost in illusion. And being lost in illusion can cause a temporary negative impact 100,000 years in the making. Sure, it’s temporary according to the eternal, but who wants to bear with a negative result that takes even 1,000 years to diminish? It stands to reason, then, that what we do within our video games or this life, and what we are doing in life if it is a heavenly video game, impacts whether or not we will realize and complete the original intention for human beings.

Oscar villarreal:

If we are within a simulation why should that take out the beauty of it. Realizing that this simulation comprehends the vastness of the universe and all of matter and anti matter and all that is yet unknown to man then i really dont think that the fact that it is a simulation even matters. ita still beyond our reach

micahtredding:

Oscar, I think you're exactly right. I've been intending to write a post on why the fact that we're probably in a simulation shouldn't change our appreciation or confidence in the reality we know.

Clive Hetherington:

If we are simulated copied people living out someone elses life then 'ethics' aside at to whether anyone 'should' simulate self aware, free thinking people there will be deducible behavioural differences/anomalies that cannot be hidden. These deducible differences coincidentally are exactly what we have identified as cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias (this is laid out here: http://www.soul-healer.com/true-nature-of-reality/why-has-no-one-written-in-detail-of-what-it-would-be-like-to-be-a-simulated-copied-person/) Any simulation designer attempting to simulate free thinking people would have to be brain dead to NOT MANAGE their simulated populations awareness, thinking and evaluating capacities. This is laid out here: http://www.soul-healer.com/simulation-argument/ There is an abundance of macro 'easily' observable evidence that we are in a simulation, including that we are being managed to not think of OBVIOUS possibilities: http://www.soul-healer.com/simulation-argument-evidence/