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Simulation Scenarios Barry Dainton. Preliminary (crude) definitions: real v. simulated An experience is simulated if it is produced by non-standard methods.

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Presentation on theme: "Simulation Scenarios Barry Dainton. Preliminary (crude) definitions: real v. simulated An experience is simulated if it is produced by non-standard methods."— Presentation transcript:

1 Simulation Scenarios Barry Dainton

2 Preliminary (crude) definitions: real v. simulated An experience is simulated if it is produced by non-standard methods in a controlled fashion An experience is simulated if it is produced by non-standard methods in a controlled fashion non-standard = NOT by bodies/brains interacting with physical environment non-standard = NOT by bodies/brains interacting with physical environment Eg. Demons, computers Eg. Demons, computers A life (or part of one) is virtual if it is composed of simulated experiences. A life (or part of one) is virtual if it is composed of simulated experiences.

3 Just suppose: That when the universe is considered as a whole, from a Gods eye vantage point, simulated lives greatly outnumber real lives That when the universe is considered as a whole, from a Gods eye vantage point, simulated lives greatly outnumber real lives Call this scenario: simulation dominance Call this scenario: simulation dominance

4 Simulation Dominance virtual real sum total of conscious lives (in entire universe, all times)

5 Simulation Argument (one form) Simulation Dominance is probable Simulation Dominance is probable No reason to think: No reason to think: human lives are less likely to be simulated than other types human lives are less likely to be simulated than other types early C21-type human lives are less likely to be simulated than other types early C21-type human lives are less likely to be simulated than other types So: it is probable that our lives are simulated. So: it is probable that our lives are simulated.

6 The Simulation Argument (Bostrom) Simulation Hypothesis: for every non-virtual early 21 st century human life there are many subjectively indistinguishable (or broadly similar) virtual lives Simulation Hypothesis: for every non-virtual early 21 st century human life there are many subjectively indistinguishable (or broadly similar) virtual lives REAL VIRTUAL

7 Simulation Argument: cont. Your conviction that your life is non-virtual is no better founded than anybody elses. Your conviction that your life is non-virtual is no better founded than anybody elses. So: if the Simulation Hypothesis is true, the odds of your life being non-virtual are low (e.g. 1 in 10) So: if the Simulation Hypothesis is true, the odds of your life being non-virtual are low (e.g. 1 in 10)

8 R Everyone believes their own lives to be real, non-virtual … Im real! Im real! Im real! Im real! Im real! R

9 Simulation Argument: conclusion My life is real High probability Low probability SH is true High probability Low probability Probability assignments (not to scale)

10 Are we living in a simulation? Are we leading virtual lives? The Truman Show The Matrix Vanilla Sky Permutation City The 13 th Floor Tipler Bostrom Chalmers McGinn An old theme with a new twist … and sudden notoriety

11 Logically Possible (merely) Nomologically possible (merely) Nomologically possible (& quite likely!) Threat = idle Threa t = real! Descartes? Standard vat-brains? Most sci-fi? Tipler, Bostrom, posthumanists Could my life be a simulation? Simulation Argument

12 Simulation Argument conclusion: take simulation menace (somewhat) seriously extend range address queries explore ramifications My aims here:

13 Next: Next: Why believe menacing simulations might exist in the required (vast) numbers? 6 billion actual 60 billion? virtual Type-2003 day/life streams 600 billion??

14 Two methods of simulation generation S-simulationsH-simulations Two types of simulation Another distinction:

15 S-simulations: conscious lives generated by running software on computer conscious lives generated by running software on computer (NOT brains!) (NOT brains!)H-simulations: conscious lives produced by directly tampering with neural hardware Matrix-style vat-brain COMPUTER ALONE COMPUTER + BRAIN

16 S-sims: the high-road posthumanism computers of VAST power repositories of most conscious life

17 universal computer many simulations of every possible human stream of consciousness (of finite duration) Planetary-mass computer ops Time required for running of ancestor simulation = seconds (one of many) Tipler Bostrom

18 100 billion humans x 50 years/human x 3 million secs per year x – ops per brain per second Ancestor simulation = simulation of entire mental history of humankind Typical human brain: operations per second = Ops required for 1 ancestor simulation = (assumption: humankind superseded in a few centuries)

19 S-simulations: low road

20 Desktop PC Power: next few years typical human brain Moores Law: computational power per $ doubles every two years computational power time Predictions: Kurzweil, Moravec 100 million ops Supercomputer (circa 2000) = 10 million ops

21 S-simulations: low road Small-scale sims; on small machines (e.g. desktop) Small-scale sims; on small machines (e.g. desktop) In large numbers … In large numbers … entertainment: God-games (The Sims) entertainment: God-games (The Sims) research: historical, political research: historical, political E.g. exploring counterfactual historiesE.g. exploring counterfactual histories Over many years (a few centuries) Over many years (a few centuries) = billions of menacing simulations = billions of menacing simulations

22 God games: The Sims, Civilization, etc. Currently, their inhabitants are not conscious Currently, their inhabitants are not conscious In future: that could change In future: that could change more processing power/memory more processing power/memory more autonomous characters -> more entertaining spectacles more autonomous characters -> more entertaining spectacles

23 An ordinary (virtual) family: The Sims

24

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26 Sample numbers: 20 million simulated T(2003) day-streams per year 20 million simulated T(2003) day-streams per year assume: very large future population assume: very large future population For 100,000 years For 100,000 years assume: quite long future assume: quite long future Total of: 2000 billion menacing d-streams Total of: 2000 billion menacing d-streams So: significant simulation menace (50%) So: significant simulation menace (50%) approx 2000 billion actual 2003 d-streams approx 2000 billion actual 2003 d-streams

27 S-simulations: how great a menace? presupposes very controversial theory of mind BUT! computational power programming know-how virtual lives in VAST numbers time inclination

28 Q: How worrying is the computational simulation menace? classical functionalism non-reductive functionalism materialism classical dualism Very! Its not! Shoemaker Lycan Loar Chalmers Descartes Smart/Place Searle Strawson McGinn

29 Broadening appeal of Sim. Arg. Other sources of menacing simulations H-SIMS sims run on brains

30 Neural interface technology

31

32 H-SIMS: high road brain-computer interface gene manipulation nano- engineered fully immersive VR psychologyperception

33 H-SIMS: low road controlled hallucinations fully immersive VR exploit known brain potential implant assisted drug assisted

34 One scenario: VR in education Imagine: a typical 23 rd century history lesson Imagine: a typical 23 rd century history lesson Topic: life as an ordinary 21 st century person Topic: life as an ordinary 21 st century person Method: fully immersive virtual reality trip to the past Method: fully immersive virtual reality trip to the past Spend a few hours AS an ordinary 21 st century person Spend a few hours AS an ordinary 21 st century person

35 H-sims: will the technologies ever be developed? It is hard for us to envisage how (say) brain- machine interfaces of the kind required could be designed & implemented. It is hard for us to envisage how (say) brain- machine interfaces of the kind required could be designed & implemented. But: remember Arthur C. Clarkes Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic But: remember Arthur C. Clarkes Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic Think: what would a 19 th century person have made of modern computers, atomic weapons, genetic manipulation, etc. Think: what would a 19 th century person have made of modern computers, atomic weapons, genetic manipulation, etc.

36 H-sims technology: further reasons for optimism Neuroscience: we still have much to learn Neuroscience: we still have much to learn Research in nano-technology, programmable matter continues apace Research in nano-technology, programmable matter continues apace Money no problem: entertainment industry Money no problem: entertainment industry computer games bigger than movies computer games bigger than movies MMOG phenomenon: indicator of whats to come? MMOG phenomenon: indicator of whats to come?

37 MMOG massive multiplayer online gaming Ultima Online Everquest Anarchy Online ……. MMPORG massive, multiplayer, online role-playing game persistent world games participants = 120,000 (simul) notoriously addictive

38 MMOG: screenshots

39

40 MMOG MMPORG Big money in sim technology!

41 H-sims: relevant prediction VR trips to the past if possible …VERY numerous

42 VR-vacations: sample numbers Actual 2003 d-streams: 2 x Actual 2003 d-streams: 2 x Assume: Assume: every sim-age person takes 1 trip to early 21 st century every sim-age person takes 1 trip to early 21 st century 10,000 sim-age generations 10,000 sim-age generations average sim-age population = 10 billion average sim-age population = 10 billion Yields: 1.0 x virtual streams Yields: 1.0 x virtual streams So: 1/50 chance of your life being real So: 1/50 chance of your life being real

43 Menacing Simulations: further possible source MODAL REALISM menacing S-sims = infinite menacing H-sims = infinite Lewis, Tegmark

44 MODAL REALISM real lives virtual lives 50% chance of virtuality MANY WORLDS?

45 Where do we stand? A. Humankind will have a long and successful future. B. Technology will make realistic sims possible, and these will be created frequently, in varied forms. C. You and I exist in the early 21 st century D. Modal Realism is true. tension

46 A &B true High probability Low probability These experiences occur in 2003 C true More confident Less confident

47 Sim Arg: implications Epistemology Ethics Metaphysics Theology Pragmatic

48 Scepticism: traditional response COMBAT! Of course this life is real! establish that concern is unwarranted

49 Sim Era Scepticism: menace of the virtual = very real Assume: reality is largely as our experience suggests (physical law, history, etc.) significant probability that your life = virtual Take a few VR-trips: threat will feel real …

50 Objection: Sim-scepticism = self-undermining Sim threat = not real

51 Recall the basic line of reasoning And see how it defeats itself …

52 My life is non-virtual Simulation Argument High odds that I am living in a simulation My world has properties F, G..

53 My life is non-virtual Simulation Argument High odds that I am living in a simulation My world has properties F, G ?

54 1. Certain beliefs about the character of the world lead you to believe that it is likely that you are living in a simulation. 2. But: the latter belief undermines the former beliefs If you believe you inhabit a sim, why believe your experience is a reliable guide to how things really are? If you believe you inhabit a sim, why believe your experience is a reliable guide to how things really are? Your grounds for assigning a high probability to the sim hypothesis are no more Your grounds for assigning a high probability to the sim hypothesis are no more Steps to a vicious, epistemically unstable, loop:

55 3. So you no longer have reason to believe you are living in a simulation. 4. You conclude: things are much as they seem. 5. But: if things are much as they seem, there is a good chance that you are living in a simulation …. 6. And the loop repeats …. Loop concluded and relaunched …

56 One response: entrenchment Anyone who initially assigns high probability to sim hypothesis is always returned to their initial state So: rejecting the Sim Arg and returning to reality is is not a stable option

57 A problematic (& puzzling) symmetry Rejecting Sim Arg = not a stable option Accepting Sim Arg = not a stable option

58 Rejecting Sim Arg = not a stable option Accepting Sim Arg = not a stable option Can the Sim Arg leave one in an epistemically stable situation? Question: Maybe…

59 Simulation Misrepresentation A suspect equation…. Traditional demon hypothesis Naturalistic simulation hypotheses

60 Simulation Realism: variants Full: simulation is perfect duplication of actual world Full: simulation is perfect duplication of actual world Partial: simulation is accurate in some respects Partial: simulation is accurate in some respects physics physics biology biology history history personalities personalities

61 S-realism: Simulations with high S-realism resemble the actual world in ways relevant to the assessment of the Simulation Hypothesis (i.e. that there are high odds that your life is virtual) Simulations with high S-realism resemble the actual world in ways relevant to the assessment of the Simulation Hypothesis (i.e. that there are high odds that your life is virtual) laws of nature, technological possibilities, social trends, etc. laws of nature, technological possibilities, social trends, etc. Modest claim: at least 75% of current fictions (films, novels, computer games) have high S- realism Modest claim: at least 75% of current fictions (films, novels, computer games) have high S- realism Modest prediction: at least 50% of future fictions will have high S-realism Modest prediction: at least 50% of future fictions will have high S-realism

62 80% chance I am living in a simulation My world is broadly as it seems + low odds that my life is virtual Simulations with high S-realism= 50% 40% chance I am living in a simulation Steps to an epistemically stable situation My world is broadly as it seems + good chance that my life is a simulation Sim Arg

63 (a) the world is broadly as I believe it to be (physical laws, history, technological trends) (b) the probability that I am living in a simulation is quite high Claim: These two beliefs are consistent, provided that under (a) you believe that most future simulations are likely to supply a broadly accurate picture of reality

64 Moving swiftly on …

65 Theology: Problem of Evil real distribution of pointless suffering virtual worlds / lives most evil = directly due to humankind

66 Metaphysics: varieties of VR H-sims v S-sims Original v Replacement Psychology Active v Passive Communal v. Individual Autonomous v. Programmed actions Others are real (active) or merely apparent. Your own psychology, or another one

67 Active – Individual – Original Psy Active – Individual – Replacement Psy Active – Communal – Original Psy Active – Communal – Replacement Psy Passive – Communal – Original Psy Passive – Communal – Replacement Psy Passive – Individual – Original Psy Passive – Individual – Replacement Psy H or S 16 modes The Matrix = active, communal, original ?

68 Simulation Scenarios as Metaphysical Hypotheses, not Sceptical Hypotheses (Chalmers) If we were simulants, most of our beliefs about our world would still be true If we were simulants, most of our beliefs about our world would still be true But: our world would have a different nature than we commonly believe But: our world would have a different nature than we commonly believe e.g. physical things are constituted by computational processes e.g. physical things are constituted by computational processes Some plausibility for COMMUNAL sims Some plausibility for COMMUNAL sims

69 Pragmatic Issues: Should I act differently? Should I be depressed? My life is boring: does this reduce the odds? My life is unusually interesting: does this increase the odds?

70 The price of fame: high sim odds

71 But my life is too dull …

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73 No life is too dull! The Sims = bestselling computer game for the past three years

74 Simulation Ethics Creation IssuesMaintenance Issues Question: might ethical scruples diminish the menace posed by the Simulation Argument?

75 Sim subjects are being deceived about their real condition. Its wrong to deceive in this way. Deception Objection Does the wrong outweigh the gift of existence? H-sims, VR-vacations: deception = temporary & self-imposed!

76 Self-Interest Objection Future generations will restrict sims to secure their own reality Cant guarantee policy will be continued Opposing forces: escapism, entertainment industry Realization: innocence cannot be recaptured implications for us …

77 Sim innocence: cant be regained, but can be simulated 2003 sim age innocence transition 100,000 AD popularity (no. of simulations/ visits)

78 sum total of intelligent conscious beings us take sim threat seriously dont Concluding speculations: Might We Be In a Minority?

79 A further (final?) Copernican shift virtual real sum total of conscious lives


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