The Null Device

Via FmH, an interesting paper which attempts to prove 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.
In some ways, the posthumans running a simulation are like gods in relation to the people inhabiting the simulation: the posthumans created the world we see; they are "omnipotent" in the sense that they can interfere in the workings of our world even in ways that violate its physical laws; they are "omniscient" in the sense that they can see everything that happens. However, all the demigods except those at the fundamental level of reality are subject to sanctions imposed upon them by the more powerful gods living at deeper levels.

(So there is a God and ve is a simulation hacker? Not exactly a reassuring theogony that we're living in what may be a computer toy. "As flies to wanton boys we are to the Gods".)

We can, however, conclude that one naïve transhumanist dogma is false: The probability that you or your descendants will ever run an ancestor-simulation is negligible, unless you are now living in such a simulation.

There are 2 comments on "":

Posted by: loser Wed Dec 26 04:42:15 2001

Interesting argument, but no more valid than certain Xtian arguments that we are "in the end times" (people have been saying that for thousands of years) and that Jesus will come destroy us any day now. I suspect this guy has watched "The Matrix" a few too many times. Even if we are living in a simulation, so what? Good luck proving it. It is moot to point it out since the vast majority of people would never believe it or accept it.

See Douglas Adams:

"The argument goes something like this: `I refuse to prove that I exist,' says God, `for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.'

"`But,' says Man, `The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED.'

"`Oh dear,' says God, `I hadn't thought of that,' and promptly vanished in a puff of logic.

"`Oh, that was easy,' says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the

Posted by: loser Wed Dec 26 04:48:04 2001

next zebra crossing.

Nuts. Got cut off.

Through shear luck, we haven't destroyed ourselves in the Atomic Age. I'd agree with the author that are destruction in the Nanotech Age is a virtual (pardon my use of phrase) certainty. However, that in no way proves that human existence is a simulation.

Who really cares? Life is all a crap shoot anyway.