Saturday, March 04, 2006

Are You Living In A Computer Simulation?

What are the odds that you are living inside a "Matrix" style computer simulation? Higher than you may think, as this paper from Nick Bostrom of the Philosophy Department of Oxford University explains.
This paper argues 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. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor-simulations is false, unless we are currently living in a simulation. A number of other consequences of this result are also discussed.

Essentially, the arguments lead to the conclusion that either we're not going to survive long enough to create the technologies needed to build a sim, or we do survive to that point, in which case it's more likely we are in a simulation than not. Personally I think we are NOT in a simulation because I believe that the 1st proposition is most likely. Either through our own efforts or divine intervention, humanity isn't going to make it to the "posthuman" era.

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