Re: Are we simulated by some massive computer?

From: Stephen Paul King <>
Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 22:45:16 -0400

Dear George,

    My take of Russell's post is:

    Unless the creature had some experience that was not dismissible as a hallucination (1st person) and/or was witness by others (a proxy of 3rd person?) that lead him to the conclusion that it existed within a virtual reality then it would have no ability to make such a deduction.

    Another possibility is to consider the upper bound on the computational recourses required to generate the totality of the experience of such a creature and ask if that creature could have a 1st person experience an event that required more than that upper bound.

    IMHO, this latter situation seem to be what D. Deutsch proposes as a test for his MWI. If we can create a physical implementation of a quantum computation that has greater computational power than that allowed by the classical (as per the Copenhagen Interpretation or other interpretations) case, then it would verify MWI. A failure of such would be a falsification.

Kindest regards,

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: George Levy
  To: Everything List
  Sent: Tuesday, May 11, 2004 7:57 PM
  Subject: Re: Are we simulated by some massive computer?


  OK. You are suffering from 3rd person thinking which leads you to these conclusions:
      1) As a scientist experimenting with this simulated creature, you have absolutely no evidence that this creature is conscious.
       2) You believe that the creature (conscious or unconscious) is stuck in your simulation.
      3) You believe that your simulator is the world of the creature.

  First person thinking leads to other conclusions:
      1) You perceives this creature as a different instantation of your own "I." Therefore you believe that the creature has some form of consciousness, maybe not identical to your own, but nevertheless, consciousness.
      2) The world this creature exists in is to some extent indeterminate. It may be your own simulator that you purchased with some government grant, or it could be another almost identical simulator that *&%$-AT_SYMBOL-! run on Alpha Centauri 1,000,000 years ago. Or it could be yet another one. Only the creature itself can perform experiments to refine its perception of its world. Should you pull the plug on your simulator, the creature would continue to exist somewhere or somewhen else in the plenitude.
      3) The indeterminacy and the experiment that the creature can conduct are limited by its own perception of itself, of its mind, of its body and of its world. Its own mind will shape its own world.


  Russell Standish wrote:

Sorry, but I fail to see it as self evident. Imagine being a creature
immersed in a virtual reality setup its entire life, a virtual reality
that does not include a representation (ie a body) of the creature itself.

Would that creature deduce that it is in a virtual reality, and that
it has a body in another (unobservable to it) reality?

Or would it even be conscious?


On Tue, May 11, 2004 at 04:10:15PM -0700, George Levy wrote:
  Russell wrote

    However, the mind-body problem doesn't completely disappear - rather
it is transformed into "Why the Anthropic Principle?".

      Once you have accepted that "I" exist and that "I" am capable of logical
thinking and capable of following a logical chain, then the Anthropic
principle becomes trivial. What "I" am and what "I" observe becomes the
initial boundary condition for a logical chain leading to the proof of
the existence of the world: "I am therefore the world is." This is the
Anthropic Principle.

Received on Tue May 11 2004 - 23:14:01 PDT

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