1. No civilization will reach a level of technological maturity capable of producing simulated realities.
2. No civilization reaching aforementioned technological status will produce a significant number of simulated realities, for any of a number of reasons, such as diversion of computational processing power for other tasks, ethical considerations of holding entities captive in simulated realities, etc.
3. Any entities with our general set of experiences are almost certainly living in a simulation.
Oh man, there was this clique of highly religious students at my university who insisted that perfect reality simulations based on physics and science would never become perfect simulations of reality, because they wouldn't account for the influence of God.
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That's wasn't an accident.
For example, a rock has no observable free will -- everything it does is entirely determined physical law. When you throw life into the equation things start to get complicated. Does a flower choose to unfurl its petals or are inexorable chemical processes driving the whole thing? We're pretty sure it's the latter.
The foregoing kinds of complex dependencies of neural activity on peripheral, extraneural systems must somehow be established for our envatted brain in order to mimic precisely peripheral stimulation as well as the way the embodied brain responds to such stimulation. Given the computational complexity involved, it is hard to imagine how to accomplish this feat simply by stimulating the neuronal terminals with electrical impulses generated by a supercomputer (Dennett 1991). Rather, it seems that we must equip the brain with real sensorimotor systems.
...And if it only behaves in a finite way when it’s being observed, then the question is: Is it being computed? Then there’s a mathematical parallel. If two things are mathematically equivalent, they’re the same. So the universe is mathematically equivalent to the simulation of the universe.
Creating beings (they would after all be real beings) who feel and experience pain, hardship and suffering and then exposing them to a world full of random pain, hardship and suffering is a very questionable way of acting.
East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94: We have no reason to believe that the universe is finitely rather than infinitely complex. If it's infinitely complex it's not computable. So we have no reason to think that the universe is capable of being simulated.
blm: How would simulation creators get around the problem of evil (and good)? Creating beings (they would after all be real beings) who feel and experience pain, hardship and suffering and then exposing them to a world full of random pain, hardship and suffering is a very questionable way of acting.
Greg Egan's short story Dust explores this very question.
ceribus peribus: The problem with economic models is that they presume rational agents.
Kevin Street: Then he looked up. And overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out.
Liquidwolf: Where's Philip K Dick? He's gotta check this out.
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