Are we living in a simulation?


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/02/03/are-we-living-in-a-simulation.html


#2

Headline contains a question mark.


#3


#4

I feel like it is even worse; the question is not even well posed enough to answered at all. Kind of like “not even wrong” but for questions rather than answers.


#5

The real problem with this ever-popular nerd fantasy is that it’s impossible to falsify. Is there any possible evidence for or against? Might as well argue over the “existence” of God.

Except that believing it’s all just a simulation gets us off the hook for any morality at all. What does it mean to steal or to kill, if we’re just pixels? And why bother making the world a better place?


#6

I guess this means P≠NP due to limitations of the hypervisor. I wonder if there is any legacy devices attached to our world that has a vulnerability we can exploit to get to the main reality.


#7

I don’t know, but – if so – I want my money back.


#8

Some people say yes, there could be evidence in favour of the hypothesis! But, I think they haven’t really thought it through, as a simulation that was fit for purpose would operate identically to its host universe.


#9

For: Magic, miracles, any sort of indication that the laws of physics can be bypassed would be good indications of a simulation.

Against: Not really. Suppose you have a condition, X which can be used to check whether or not you’re in a simulation. All you need to do is rewrite your simulation to ensure that any checks for X return “not in a simulation.” So, any evidence that we’re not in a simulation is really also evidence that if we are in a simulation, they’ve taken that particular test into account. You can only disprove that you’re a poorly-designed simulation; you can never disprove that you’re in a simulation entirely.


#10

If it is a simulation then whoever programmed it is a dick.


#11

Why so narrow?

It is almost inconceivable that there are no aliens. What if an alien race has the ability to imagine in very, very realistic terms. Let’s say, they can use the sensory structures in their brain to creatively produce realistic experiences in their heads. If there were, possibly, ten billion of these aliens on their planet… well, obviously you have mathematical evidence that you are most likely a figment of an alien’s imagination. Right?

With the near-infinite possibilities available in a universe of this size, surely, math could be used to prove we are just about any damn thing that anyone can imagine. Actually, I think odds are good that the body of knowledge still to come is greater than that behind us, so, most likely we are something we haven’t even discovered yet.

Does one assume a future wherein there are no ethics regarding AI? 10,000 years of human suffering and horror among billions of sentient, fully aware and feeling AI? We must assume then that future humanity is that level of sadistic? It takes about as many assumptions to get to us being a future simulation as it does us being an alien daydream, and is no more useful.

Life probably does feel like a game to Elon Musk. That doesn’t say anything about the base nature of reality. It’s just a statement on how the some out-of-touch classes perceive humanity, the world, and all the suffering in it. Sadly, they are also the classes that make decisions about it, more often than not.

P.S.

It occurs to me as well, why history? What percentage of human entertainment as a whole has been recounting a realistic past, compared to fictions? How many historical accounts are accurate?

There’s a bit of egotism in imagining we ever existed at all, even if we are a simulation. Seems to me we would more likely be some imagined fiction.


#12

What does it mean to steal or to kill, if we’re just molecules?

Obligatory SMBC:


#13

If you accept that what we call reality is a simulation, then everybody else is simulated. But the simulation must be real. Which means not everything is a simulation.

It sounds better when you talk about “dreams” or “in your mind” instead of “simulation”, but it’s the same argument, essentially, I reckon.

So, Descartes.

Ergo: you are, this is no fucking simulation, there is no fucking ducking out of our fucking responsibility, for fucks sake.

Let’s deal with this shit.


#14

It just sounds like an argument for a god to me. I wonder how prepared these simulation-surfers are for the author to have no intent, for the whole thing to be constructed for no reason at all.


#15

SMBC is the gift that keeps on giving:


#16

And giving.
And giving.
And giving.
And giving.
And giving.

(You’d think that the writer of SMBC has thought about whether we exist in a simulation once or twice).

Of course, other four-letter comics would never stoop to such pandering.


#17

From the hidden red-button panel on the second of those links:

SMBC: “NOW 90% SIMULATIONISM JOKES”


#18

Simulations tend to repeat themselves. When has that been evident?






#19

It’s too bad if this isn’t a simulation. The best part of SimLife was the Smite button.


#20

Multi love that comment!