Re: The Simulation Argument

From: George Levy <>
Date: Sat, 01 Dec 2001 22:54:12 -0800

Nick Bostrom wrote:
> 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.

This sounds pretty obvious, but I would prefer to rephrase it as
Either there will be a posthuman phase or there won't. (If there won't,
the human race will die)
If there is a posthuman race, either they will conduct ancestor
simulation or they won't.
If they do conduct ancestor simulations, then we may be one of them.

This approach is restricted to a "time" point of view and obviously
ignores the fact that in the plenitude there is the certitude that all
these alternatives are satisfied. Hence there are ancestor simulations
and we are one of them! We are also the original! We are all copies that
satisfies consistent extensions (as Bruno says).

Received on Sat Dec 01 2001 - 22:59:38 PST

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