The Simulation Argument

From: Nick Bostrom <>
Date: Sat, 01 Dec 2001 22:43:47 -0500
I have just finished a paper (which had been existing in a half-baked form for much too long) that might be of interest to the list members. It has its own website at (which also contains a few related resources).

Are You Living In a Computer Simulation? Nick Bostrom (2001)

ABSTRACT. This paper argues that at least one of the following propositions is true: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a "posthuman" stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows that the transhumanist dogma that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor-simulations is false, unless we are currently living in a simulation. A number of other consequences of this result are also discussed.

Nick Bostrom
Department of Philosophy, Yale University
New Haven, CT 06520 | Phone: (203) 432-1663 | Fax: (203) 432-7950
Homepage: Received on Sat Dec 01 2001 - 19:47:48 PST

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