2 Preliminary (crude) definitions: real v. simulated An experience is simulated if it is produced by non-standard methods in a controlled fashionnon-standard = NOT by bodies/brains interacting with physical environmentEg. Demons, computersA 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 God’s eye vantage point, simulated lives greatly outnumber real livesCall this scenario: ‘simulation dominance’
4 Simulation Dominance virtual realsum total of conscious lives (in entire universe, all times)
5 Simulation Argument (one form) Simulation Dominance is probableNo reason to think:human lives are less likely to be simulated than other typesearly C21-type human lives are less likely to be simulated than other typesSo: it is probable that our lives are simulated.
6 The Simulation Argument (Bostrom) Simulation Hypothesis: for every non-virtual early 21st century human life there are many subjectively indistinguishable (or broadly similar) virtual livesREALVIRTUAL
7 Simulation Argument: cont. Your conviction that your life is non-virtual is no better founded than anybody else’s.So: if the Simulation Hypothesis is true, the odds of your life being non-virtual are low (e.g. 1 in 10)
8 Everyone believes their own lives to be real, non-virtual … I’mreal!I’mreal!I’m real!I’m real!I’m real!RRI’m real!I’m real!I’m real!I’m real!
9 Simulation Argument: conclusion High probabilityLow probability‘SH istrue’‘My lifeis real’Low probabilityHigh probabilityProbability assignments (not to scale)
10 An old theme with a new twist The MatrixTiplerThe TrumanShowAre we leadingvirtual lives?BostromVanilla SkyAre we living ina simulation?ChalmersPermutationCityMcGinn… and sudden notorietyThe 13th Floor
11 ‘Could my life be a simulation?’ Logically Threat = idle Possible (merely)Descartes?Nomologicallypossible(merely)Standard vat-brains?Most sci-fi?Threat= real!SimulationArgumentNomologicallypossible(& quite likely!)Tipler, Bostrom, posthumanists
13 Next: Why believe menacing simulations might exist in the required (vast) numbers? 6 billionactual60 billion?virtualType-2003 day/life streams600 billion??
14 Another distinction: S-simulations H-simulations Two methods of simulationgenerationS-simulationsH-simulationsTwo types ofsimulation
15 S-simulations: H-simulations: COMPUTER ALONE COMPUTER + BRAIN conscious lives generated by running software on computer(NOT brains!)H-simulations:conscious lives produced by directly tampering with neural hardwareMatrix-stylevat-brainCOMPUTERALONECOMPUTER+ BRAIN
16 S-sims: the high-road ‘posthumanism’ computers of VAST power repositories ofmost conscious life
17 Tipler Bostrom (one of many) Planetary-mass computer many simulations ‘universal computer’many simulationsof every possible humanstream of consciousness(of finite duration)BostromPlanetary-masscomputer1042 opsTime required for running of ‘ancestor simulation’ = 10-7 seconds(one of many)
18 ‘Ancestor simulation’ = simulation of entire mental history of humankind Typical human brain: operations per second =Ops required for 1 ancestor simulation =100 billion humans x 50 years/human x 3 million secs per year x 1014 – 1017 ops per brain per second(assumption: humankind superseded in a few centuries)
20 Desktop PC Power: next few years computational powertimePredictions: Kurzweil, Moravec100 million opsSupercomputer (circa 2000) = 10 million opstypical human brain‘Moore’s Law’: computational power per $ doubles every two years
21 S-simulations: low road Small-scale sims; on small machines (e.g. desktop)In large numbers …entertainment: God-games (‘The Sims’)research: historical, politicalE.g. exploring counterfactual historiesOver many years (a few centuries)= billions of menacing simulations
22 God games: ‘The Sims’, ‘Civilization’, etc. Currently, their ‘inhabitants’ are not consciousIn future: that could changemore processing power/memorymore autonomous characters -> more entertaining spectacles
26 Sample numbers: 20 million simulated T(2003) day-streams per year assume: very large future populationFor 100,000 yearsassume: quite long futureTotal of: 2000 billion menacing d-streamsSo: significant simulation menace (50%)approx 2000 billion actual 2003 d-streams
27 BUT! S-simulations: how great a menace? programming time know-how virtual livesinVAST numberscomputationalpowerinclinationBUT!presupposes verycontroversial theory ofmind
28 Q: How worrying is the computational simulation menace? It’s not! Very!classicalfunctionalismmaterialismnon-reductivefunctionalismclassicaldualismShoemakerLycanLoarChalmersDescartesSmart/PlaceSearleStrawsonMcGinn
29 Broadening ‘appeal’ of Sim. Arg. Other sourcesof menacingsimulationsH-SIMSsims run onbrains
34 One scenario: VR in education Imagine: a typical 23rd century history lessonTopic: life as an ordinary 21st century personMethod: fully immersive virtual reality ‘trip’ to the pastSpend a few hours AS an ordinary 21st 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.But: remember Arthur C. Clarke’s ‘Third Law’: ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’Think: what would a 19th 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 learnResearch in nano-technology, programmable matter continues apaceMoney no problem: entertainment industrycomputer games bigger than moviesMMOG phenomenon: indicator of what’s to come?
37 ‘massive, multiplayer, online MMOG‘massive multiplayeronline gaming’‘persistent world games’Ultima OnlineEverquestAnarchy Online…….participants = 120,000 (simul)notoriously addictiveMMPORG‘massive, multiplayer, onlinerole-playing game
41 H-sims: relevant prediction ‘VR trips to thepast’if possible …VERY numerous
42 VR-vacations: sample numbers Actual 2003 d-streams: 2 x 1012Assume:every sim-age person takes 1 trip to early 21st century10,000 sim-age generationsaverage sim-age population = 10 billionYields: 1.0 x 1014 virtual streamsSo: 1/50 chance of your life being real
43 Menacing Simulations: further possible source MODAL REALISMmenacing S-sims= infinitemenacing H-sims= infiniteLewis, Tegmark
44 ∞ ∞ real lives virtual lives 50% chance of virtuality MODAL REALISM 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.tensionC. You and I exist in the early 21st centurytensionD. Modal Realism is true.
46 ‘A &B ‘C true’ true’ High probability More confident ‘These experiencesoccur in 2003’‘A &Btrue’‘Ctrue’Less confidentLow probability
48 Scepticism: traditional response ‘Of coursethis life isreal!’COMBAT!establish thatconcern isunwarranted
49 Sim Era Scepticism: menace of the virtual = very real Assume: reality is largely asour experience suggests(physical law, history, etc.)Take a few VR-trips: threat will feel real …significant probabilitythat your life = virtual
50 Objection:Sim-scepticism= self-underminingSim threat= not real
51 Recall the basicline of reasoningAnd see how itdefeats itself …
52 My life isnon-virtualSimulationArgumentMy world hasproperties F, G ..High oddsthat I amliving in asimulation
53 ? My life is non-virtual Simulation Argument My world has properties F, GHigh oddsthat I amliving in asimulation?
54 Steps to a vicious, epistemically unstable, loop: Certain beliefs about the character of the world lead you to believe that it is likely that you are living in a simulation.But: the latter belief undermines the former beliefsIf 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
55 Loop concluded and relaunched … So you no longer have reason to believe you are living in a simulation.You conclude: things are much as they seem.But: if things are much as they seem, there is a good chance that you are living in a simulation ….And the loop repeats ….
56 One response: entrenchment Anyone who initially assignshigh probability to simhypothesis is always returnedto their initial stateSo: rejecting the Sim Arg and‘returning to reality’ isis not a stable option
57 A problematic(& puzzling) symmetryRejecting Sim Arg= not a stable optionAccepting Sim Arg= not a stable option
58 Question: Maybe… Rejecting Sim Arg = not a stable option Accepting Sim Arg= not a stable optionCan the Sim Argleave one in anepistemically stablesituation?Maybe…
59 A suspect equation…. No Yes Traditional demon hypothesis Naturalistic SimulationMisrepresentationTraditionaldemonhypothesisNaturalisticsimulationhypothesesNoYes
60 Simulation Realism: variants Full: simulation is perfect duplication of actual worldPartial: simulation is accurate in some respectsphysicsbiologyhistorypersonalities
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)laws of nature, technological possibilities, social trends, etc.Modest claim: at least 75% of current fictions (films, novels, computer games) have high S-realismModest prediction: at least 50% of future fictions will have high S-realism
62 Steps to an epistemically stable situation My world is broadly asit seems + low oddsthat my life is virtual80% chanceI am living in asimulationSimArgMy world is broadly as itseems + good chancethat my life is a simulationSimulations withhigh S-realism= 50%40% chanceI am living in asimulationSteps to an epistemically stable situation
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 highClaim: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
65 Theology: Problem of Evil distribution of ‘pointless’ sufferingrealvirtual worlds / livesmost evil = directly due to humankind
66 Metaphysics: varieties of VR H-sims v S-simsAutonomous v. Programmed actionsActive v PassiveOthers are real (active) or merely apparent.Communal v. IndividualOriginal v ReplacementPsychologyYour own psychology, or another one
67 ‘The Matrix’ = active, communal, original ? Active – Individual – Original PsyActive – Individual – Replacement PsyActive – Communal – Original PsyActive – Communal – Replacement PsyH or SPassive – Individual – Original PsyPassive – Individual – Replacement PsyPassive – Communal – Original PsyPassive – Communal – Replacement Psy16 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 trueBut: our world would have a different nature than we commonly believee.g. physical things are constituted by computational processesSome plausibility for COMMUNAL sims
69 Pragmatic Issues: Should I be Should I act depressed? differently? My life is unusually interesting: does this increasethe odds?My life is boring: does this reducethe odds?
73 ‘The Sims’ = bestselling computer game for the past three years No life is too dull!
74 Simulation Ethics Creation Issues Maintenance Issues Question: might ethical scruples diminish the menace posed by the Simulation Argument?
75 Deception ObjectionDoes the wrongoutweigh the giftof existence?Sim subjects are being deceived about their real condition. It’s wrong to deceive in this way.H-sims, VR-vacations:deception = temporary& self-imposed!
76 Future generations will restrict sims to secure their own reality Self-Interest ObjectionCan’t guaranteepolicy will be continuedFuture generations will restrict sims to secure their own realityOpposing forces: escapism,entertainment industryRealization: innocencecannot be recapturedimplicationsfor us …
77 Sim innocence: can’t be regained, but can be simulated popularity(no. of simulations/visits)2003sim ageinnocence100,000 ADtransition
78 Concluding speculations: Might We Be In a Minority? don’ttake sim threat seriouslyussum total of intelligent conscious beings
79 A further (final?) Copernican shift virtualrealsum total of conscious lives