Re: Are we simulated by some massive computer?

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Mon, 26 Apr 2004 00:16:20 +1000

On 25 April 2004 Kory Heath wrote:

Not yet. We know that the bizarre, inconsistent worlds must exist if the
Platonia idea is correct, but we (or at least I) don't currently know how
likely they are. In Platonia, there are X number of possible-next-states
from my current state. (For simplicity's sake, lets even say that X is a
very very large finite number.) If a vast majority of these states show me
sitting in my chair typing, with my computer not turning into a kangaroo,
etc., then no, the fact that my world so far has not been bizarre and
inconsistent does *not* cast doubt on the validity of the Platonia theory.
In fact, if we can show logically, mathematically, or computationally (for
me these are all ultimately the same thing) that a vast majority of my
next-possible-states do in fact show me sitting in my chair typing, with
very few computers turning into kangaroos, this would be an extremely strong
reason to believe that the Platonia theory is correct, because it's survived
a rather stringent falsification test.

This analysis is sound only in the common sense single world situation. You
get into trouble if you try to use conventional probabilities if multiple
histories/worlds/copies are allowed, as I tried to show with the
teleportation example.

Suppose that the overwhelming majority of your next-possible-states are
totally bizarre, according to the theory we are testing. If only one copy of
you can exist at any one time, then the theory predicts that there is a
billion to one probability that in the next second you will find yourself in
a bizarre universe. As a matter of fact, as you read these words, you do not
find that the world around you suddenly becomes bizarre. Therefore, the
theory is most likely wrong.

Consider now a similar theory, but multiple copies of you are allowed. The
theory predicts that there will be one billion branchings of the world in
the next second, with each branch containing a person who shares all your
memories up to that point. The theory also predicts, as above, that all but
one of these worlds will be obviously bizarre. As a matter of fact, as you
read these words, you do not experience the world around you suddenly
becoming bizarre. But unlike the previous example, this is entirely
consistent with the theory, which predicted that one version of you would
continue in the world as per usual.

--Stathis Papaioannou

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Received on Sun Apr 25 2004 - 10:18:55 PDT

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