Simulated Universe Nonsense (The Penguin Argument)

· November 9, 2012

Note from the author: Greetings readers. Here’s a disclaimer for my article. I deem this appropriate because Peter Rothman, the current editor of H+ Magazine, feared my views could reflect badly on him or H+. Considering Peter’s concerns I rewrote the my initial submission for this article. Despite extensively expanding some points I think this disclaimer is also needed. Please note this article reflects my opinions only, the article does not necessarily represent the opinions of Humanity+, H+ Magazine, or any other individual.

My impassioned writing style tolerates no-nonsense, which can annoy or offend people, but my purpose is not inflammatory. I detest confrontation. I merely feel very strongly about these issues. I feel incredibly angry regarding the typical nonsense tainting intellectual thought. I am partially influenced by Nietzsche therefore my writing is perhaps an example of how to philosophize with a hammer.

Editor’s note: FWIW, my actual concern was that this article might feel a bit like an attack on individuals who formerly were involved with H+. Since that clearly wasn’t my intention,  publishing the article as it was seemed wrong. I thought this might be misunderstood as originating from me as I am also a critic of the Simulation Argument for very different reasons. I also felt some of it was unnecessarily personal. 

My view is generally critical of the Simulation Argument and I’ve written about this previously here on H+. Despite that opinion, I don’t find myself in agreement with most of this article. I do think that the idea the future super-human simulation gods would have to be vindictive to operate a world where suffering is so pervasive has some merit. It should be clearly understood that this article does not represent my viewpoint or that of Humanity+  and its members but is only the view of its author Singularity Utopia. We welcome your comments on this publication as always.


Within the futurism community I feel there is often a toadying sycophancy shown towards some big names, therefore criticising these idols of futurism can be tantamount to an attack on God, which inevitably riles people, but if futurism is truly about explosive intellectualism then we must permit potentially offensive opinions because free-expression is vital for free-thinking. I’m fiercely independent therefore my views are my views alone. I’m an intellectual iconoclast thus my thinking is not hampered a deluded sense of etiquette. Via the hammer of my words I seek to destroy the intellectual travesty of our modern world. My ideas focus solely on the amplification of intelligence. There is no allegiance to political correctness here. My goal is to destroy the mediocre thoughts commonly exhibited during our unintelligent epoch. I don’t have a vendetta towards specific people. I merely want to improve our standard of thinking regarding futurism. Hopefully you can appreciate the validity of my rigorous intellect.

Considering how Linux pioneer Linus Torvalds likes to offend people, I think my views are reasonably tame.

Execrable Tripping

It’s very shocking when supposedly intelligent people seriously consider the idea of our universe being a simulation. Reminiscent of flies attracted to a rotting carcass, hypothetically intelligent people are drawn to this idea of reality being simulated. Note how David Chamlers considers the metaphysics of the Matrix. The simulation argument is merely an escapist fantasy, intellectual decay, a new form of religion, a topic in my opinion fit only for discussion by daydreamers or people tripping on magic mushrooms or LSD. Very worryingly many respected media organizations give credence to the simulation meme. The notion of our universe being simulated is anti-intellectualism therefore we must fiercely oppose it.

I’m not making an ad hominen attack upon simulation proponents, neither am I stating all daydreamers believe in the simulation argument, my point is merely to place escapist simulation theories into the correct arena. The realm of simulation thinking is comparable, in my opinion, to a situation where people on hallucinogens invent wacky theories about flying pink elephants. I’m definitely not stating simulation devotees are high on LSD or any other drug. The point is merely metaphoric or analogous regarding similarities between Abbie Hoffman levitating the Pentagon and simulation devotees thinking we are living in a computer program. When Abbie Hoffman urged his trial judge to take LSD this is essentially no different to suggesting we living are in a simulation. The simulation argument is wacky nonsense. The notion of our reality being a simulation is mystical belief, essentially it is belief in God. Simulated reality, hallucinations, and God are comparable, very compatible issues.

Advanced cultures where universe simulations could be created will inevitably be composed of beings possessing high intelligence, thus the antithesis of intelligence is a valid concept for discussion but focusing on the concept of stupidity is not a mere insult or name-calling. People often fail to grasp the interrelationship between stupidity and intelligence regarding futuristic high-performance computing. The issue of stupidity regarding the intelligence explosion is something we must not shy away from. Discussions about good can naturally lead to discussions about evil. In this modality I discuss stupidity and intelligence regarding futuristic civilizations where simulations could be created, which inevitably leads to analysis of the current intellectual status pertaining to key actors responsible for prevalent speculations upon the likelihood of simulation scenarios.

By the end of this critique you will hopefully agree my logic corroborates a classification of nonsense, stupidity, religion, psychedelia, or mysticism applicable to the simulation argument and its devotees. My disparaging classifications are not without proof. One blogger, for example, mentions a “Young Man on Acid” in the title of a post about our reality being simulated, and the image of that post states “LIFE IS ONLY A DREAM.”

Calling a spade a spade is a type of honesty vital to intelligence, therefore despite my classifications potentially being deemed impolite, it should be noted when I state simulation proponents are intellectual-impaired I’m not casting empty insults. When physicists write about “distant futurity” pertaining to hypothetical cultures responsible for our reality being a simulation, it is essential to mention the opposite of futuristic computing, which is stupidity. Intelligent people should not shy away from the possibility they are stupid. The explosive intelligence requisite for futuristic technology means the opposite of intelligence is a valid topic for analysis, therefore I’m attempting, not due to malice or petty name-calling, to highlight the idiocy of the simulation argument.

Via stating simulation advocates are deluded, cognitively impaired, in a manner comparable to someone tripping on acid, my purpose is merely to enhance intelligence via highlighting what I deem to be truth. I am simply stating the facts from my viewpoint. The truth does sometimes hurt but my intentions are not malicious. My purpose is to raise the level of everyone’s intelligence via invalidating the notion of our universe being simulated. I want to destroy a cancerous type of thinking. My destructive critique will improve the minds of the people I criticize. With surgical care I’m attempting to annihilate defective memes, thereby benefiting everyone. With very great clarity I will put substantial logical meat onto the bones of my descriptors regarding the flaws of simulation proponents.

White Rabbit Alternate Reality

The Matrix film portrays a simulated reality prison, resultant from a successful AI rebellion, entailing most humans being unaware of their imprisonment. Within this film there are a couple of references to the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland; there is also a reference to mescaline when the lead character asks: “You ever have that feeling where you’re not sure if you’re awake or still dreaming?” Some humans have hacked the Matrix thereby escaping it, therefore they attempt to free other humans. The process of freeing the lead character “Neo” entails Neo being asked to follow the white rabbit; he is ultimately asked if he wants to find out how deep the rabbit hole goes. Clearly the Matrix is very similar to the simulation argument because the Matrix is a simulated universe.

Via the white rabbit I will explain how usage of hallucinogenic drugs is comparable to the simulation argument, but before delving into the drug associations of Alice in Wonderland I will mention a non-fiction example of reality being hacked via drugs. Carlos Castaneda explained how humans are actually luminous balls of energy. We are apparently glowing giant eggs, but we cannot normally see this supposedly truer reality therefore via drugs we can learn to See. Usage of the drugs peyote, Psilocybe mushrooms, and datura enabled Carlos Castaneda to shift his assemblage point thereby assembling reality within the second attention, which is basically a method for becoming a superuser of the system thus great power is accessed. Upon entering this “second attention” (alternate reality) you can fly, become immortal, or commune with sentient beings from new realms of existence. This drug-based Separate Reality described by Carlos has a clear resemblance to the Matrix. Carlos always insisted his adventures in alternate realities were factual accounts but the authenticity has been disputed, thus we see the correct perception of reality is often questionable. Pertinently your attention also needs to linger briefly on the fictional film Altered States, which presents a another idea for alternate reality based on drug usage.

Now let’s consider the drug references regarding Alice in Wonderland. The BBC describes how drug usage is rightly or wrongly associated with Alice in Wonderland. Jefferson Airplane wrote a song called White Rabbit, which is commonly thought to be about usage of psychoactive drugs. The Jefferson Airplane lyrics mention logic and proportion falling “sloppy dead;” the song describes a dormouse urging us to feed our heads. Red and white hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria mushrooms are often featured in the world of Alice. Perceptual distortions occurring after Alice eats and drinks various substances, combined with a pipe-smoking and apparently stoned talking caterpillar, means people understandably associate the alternate world of Alice with altered states commonly induced via hallucinogens. Talking animals or chess pieces, combined with morphing body size, entails a very trippy experience, which is why Alice’s white rabbit is linked to the Matrix.

There are blatant similarities between religion, New Ageism, insanity, and the mind-bending consequences of psychoactive drugs but these categories of irrational thinking are subtly different to each other. The connecting theme is irrationality or stupidity. The idea of our universe being a simulation is a new type of irrationality similar to previous categories of irrationality. The simulation argument, via its irrationality, can be generally associated with previous categories of irrationality. The simulation argument appears to be a synthesis of classic religion, New Ageism, and psychosis, but I have focused metaphorically on the hallucinogenic drugs perspective due to the white rabbit references in the Matrix. Castaneda’s drug-induced alternate realities of constitute another factor adding weight to psychedelic descriptor for simulation enthusiasts.

Image courtesy of SingularityWeblog.com

Now let’s consider the film-maker and futurist Jason Silva. According to the Huffington Post, Jason has been described as ìpart Timothy Leary, part Ray Kurzweil, and part Neo from The Matrix.î Clearly there is a crossover between psychedelia, alleged aspects of futurism, and The Matrix. In his video Turning Into Gods Jason says he feels he’s stepped through the looking glass. In Jason’s video about turning into Gods there’s a clip of Timothy Leary saying: “In order to use your head you have to go out of your mind.” Going out of your mind, either via LSD or naturally, seems to be a type of insanity, which perhaps justifies usage of the “Gods” descriptor. When Richard Dawkins famously wrote about The God Delusion he didn’t definitively state the concept of God is a mental illness but psychosis and delusions are similar. Perhaps instead of “delusion” regarding our universe being simulated it would be more appropriate, due to preponderant Wonderland-Matrix and God references, if I described The Psychedelic God Hallucination. Incidentally Dawkins does not believe in the simulation argument, he doesn’t believe in any type of God.

The misguided merger of futurism and psychedelia is evident when R. U. Sirius describes relationships between drugs and cyberculture. On his website you can read about “understanding and experiencing the convergence and integration of technology, new age, philosophy and art.” Sirius shouldn’t be taken seriously when he presents issues “balanced between psychedelics, science, technology, outrageousness and postmodern pop culture.” Sadly many psychonauts do seriously hijack futuristic technology, therefore the wacky idea of reality being simulated can become popularized when gurus such as Terrence McKenna talk about Psychedelics In The Age Of Intelligent Machines. Being out of your mind, either metaphorically or actually, is clearly connected to technology for some people. McKenna has suggested a Stoned Ape theory regarding hallucinogens being the cause of human evolution; a theory which Jason Silva seems enamoured with. Similar to intelligent people wondering why a supposedly intelligent super-being would create our idiotic universe, people who reject psychedelic thinking probably wonder why magic mushrooms didn’t cause any other animals to become intelligent. Contrary to McKenna stating drugs are the source of religious experience in humans, I’d say stupidity is the source of religion, and yes it can be stupid to take drugs. The problem with mystics is their tendency to hijack almost everything to prove their mysticism, thus mushrooms are mystical sources intelligence, and futuristic intelligent computation is corrupted to support the idea of an intelligent designer fabricating our simulated reality where we are imprisoned. These issues are comparable to people who see a weeping statue of Christ then wrongly assume Christ is crying, they think the tears come directly from God, but actually a blocked drain is causing the leak. Likewise Christians might deem hurricane Sandy to be an punishment from God regarding same-sex marriage, it’s a conformation bias.

Jason is wrong, we are not turning into Gods, we’re merely becoming intelligent. Gods are actually idiots, but considering Jason is partially Ray Kurzweil we need to consider Ray’s idiotic thoughts about God and the simulation argument. Notably during a video interview regarding our universe being simulated, Ray Kurzweil expressed his views about life in the non-simulated sense: “This universe may have originated with an intelligent designer, as in another intelligent creature, or maybe a committee, in some other universe.” Ray thinks our universe could have been created by a super-intelligent being; he actually suggested the hypothetical super-intelligent creator may intervene in our lives occasionally. Ray thinks the design of our universe seems “pretty clever,” which is a joke from my viewpoint because our universe seems utterly devoid of intelligent design. From my viewpoint our universe the epitome of idiotic randomness.

Ray says: “It’s really quite plausible to say our universe is a computer.” So considering Ray appreciates how virtual reality can utterly resemble original reality, and Ray thinks our universe may have originated via an intelligent designer, it is safe to state Ray believes in the simulation argument.

Ray’s thoughts about our universe brilliantly illustrate, from an intelligent-design viewpoint, how the simulation argument is deeply connected to God. When Ray mentioned an “intelligent designer” he was speaking via a religious TV series called Closer To Truth, a “…definitive series on Cosmos, Consciousness and God, a global journey in search of the vital ideas of existence.” Ray said there’s essentially no difference between simulated and real reality if technology is sufficiently advanced. Yes it’s true simulated reality will utterly replicate reality but this does not mean we are in a simulation. The video ends with Ray saying our universe is a computer dealing with information.

If you remain doubtful about the theme of irrationality connecting drugs, escapism, simulated reality, and God (or Gob), I have found a video illustrating my points. The following video by Mallon Khan, featuring Amanita muscaria mushrooms, brilliantly portrays the issues I am elucidating:

“The National Institute on Drug Abuse” states some people can experience a “fear of insanity” while on LSD. Substance induced psychosis is possible regarding hallucinogens. Consuming hallucinogens can mimic or induce the symptoms of schizophrenia. Hallucinogens or other drugs have a clear potential to alter perceptions of reality, which is noted regarding HPPD, but this doesn’t mean all alternate perceptions are based on drugs.

Nick Bostrom’s simulation site prominently refers to the Matrix: “If each advanced civilization created many Matrices of their own history, then most people like us, who live in a technologically more primitive age, would live inside Matrices rather than outside them.” We can clearly see how the Matrix connects itself to Alice in Wonderland via the white rabbit. The Wonderland of Alice is clearly associated with psychedelic drugs, thus comparing the simulation argument to drug-addled ideas of alternate reality is valid. Ray Kurzweil has also been photographed in the company of white rabbit thus we see the hallucinatory world of Alice is relevant to futurism issues. Simulation proponents clearly seem to be tripping out of their minds on the psychedelic Matrix drug. Perhaps when simulation proponents refer to the Matrix there’s a subconscious realisation that some aspects of futurism, promulgated by Jaan Tallinn and others, are utterly ludicrous, totally wacky far-out nonsense.

The Matrix is trippy because the simulation argument is a trippy theory suitable for acid heads. Our reality being simulated it is not an appropriate theory for serious intellectual discussion. The simulation argument is tantamount to creationism. Reality starts melting when Neo takes the red pill, we see how he goes through the looking glass, or more precisely the mirror coats his body then slides down his throat. Instead of ingesting a computational algorithm-pill to disrupt his “input/output carrier signal” thereby pinpointing Neo’s location, perhaps Neo merely dropped some acid. The melting of reality experienced by Neo is very similar to the LSD experience.

Fiction, hallucinations, and delusions all have a clear link. The link is unreality and irrationality. Fiction can be useful to describe reality but if you become overly enamoured with fiction you can distort reality into a purely fictional delusion, similar to how hallucinatory drugs can push people over the edge into psychosis. Humans have a clear potential to retreat into either the fantasy world of fiction, drug-induced unreality, or delusional ideologies where they believe our Earth is only ten thousand years old, thus we have the belief we are in a simulation. Humans have a great capacity to be deluded but this truth about reality is often contentious, perhaps regarding human delusion, most notably, we see this reality-controversy exhibited via the Galileo affair. Alternate interpretations of reality are good, they should be encouraged. I want to take your questioning to the next level.

Huxley thought drugs opened the doors of perception, he thought hallucinogens helped us see reality clearer, but many people think drugs distort perceptions. Francis Crick allegedly discovered the shape of DNA while on LSD, or least if he didn’t discover DNA while on LSD he was a regular tripper. Perhaps Crick would have made greater discoveries if he never took drugs, but we don’t know because there was no control-study where Crick lived his life drug free. If hallucinogens are so good at improving our minds then maybe they should be added to the water supply, given daily to babies, young children, and adults.

If a type of thinking resembles the thoughts associated with drug usage, does this indicate strength or weakness in the thinking? It’d be a logical fallacy if my purpose was guilt via association. When I highlight similarities between tripping, psychosis, God, and the belief our universe is simulated, I am not presenting a false cause, a spurious correlation, which would be true if these associations constituted the essence of my simulated reality critique. If a metaphoric LSD descriptor was my core point then this would be the type of logical fallacy which simulation proponents are guilty of, I’d be making a similar error in logic.

My metaphoric drug references merely set the scene for my logic. At the end of my exposition you will have a shorthand term to describe the “sloppy dead” irrationality exhibited by people on the simulation-trip. Labelling simulation devotees simulation-God-trippers or mystic-acid reality-dreamers will save time in the future, but to support my evocative classifications there must be powerful logic to justify the fitting labels.

The Simulated Universe Has You

For a long time I’ve been planning to highlight the errors of the simulation argument. I have various drafts regarding religious criticism pertaining to Giulio Prisco‘s simulation nonsense, but the recent incident responsible for reigniting my ire was a tweet by “posthuman AK” asking if we are in the Matrix:

Simulation-gibberish is in the news again, a topic for discussion, because physicists have apparently proved or nearly proved we could be in a simulation. The idea of our world being a simulation is not mere media hype. The so-called “science” has not been distorted. Forgive my bluntness regarding this rebuff, but the poor “sloppy dead” logic of simulation-devotees is very disheartening. Their substandard intelligence is exasperating, exceedingly depressing. Surely people who are aware of Singularity-Transhuman issues should be somewhat intelligent, or perhaps I am naive to assume intelligent people would be attracted to futurism issues. From the document referenced in the tweet by posthuman AK, which caused HuffPost Tech and others to state there may be evidence we are in a computer simulation, here is a quote:

“Extrapolations to the distant futurity of trends in the growth of high-performance computing (HPC) have led philosophers to question óin a logically compelling wayó whether the universe that we currently inhabit is a numerical simulation performed by our distant descendants [1].”

It is ridiculous to describe a “logically compelling way” regarding the notion of our reality being simulated. If the logic is valid don’t try to force the validity down our throats via insisting it is “compelling” when it clearly is not compelling. Let the logic stand alone, but what is the error of the so-called “logic” regarding the Simulation Argument?

The possibility of creating something doesn’t mean it will be created. Something may be possible but mere possibility does not mean it is likely. It is possible everybody is a figment of my imagination. It is possible God exists. Maybe you are in a coma thereby hallucinating-dreaming the entirety of reality, or perhaps reality is a schizophrenic delusion, thus instead of the world around us being real we are actually seeing a hallucinatory projection of our deranged mind, which means in reality we are gibbering in a padded cell while the real world continues without us. These things are possible but they are not likely.

Predictably the dream argument is often associated with the simulation argument. The association is unsurprising because both lines of thought are wacky topics suitable for weed or acid heads, or new-age mystics dreaming about fantasy worlds. Likewise it is unsurprising to note how the intelligent design branch of Transhumanism utilizes the so-called “logic” of the simulation argument to prove the validity of the New God Argument. All arguments for God, either new or old, constitute extremely congruent gibberish regarding our world be being a simulation. Simulation theories and God theories are very compatible. Mormon Transhumanists cite Nick Bostrom’s nonsense to justify their illogical views, thus they often ask: “Are you living in a world computed by neohuman Gods?”

Simulation Psychology

What is the psychology behind escapist simulation nonsense? Powerlessness, emasculation, and futility are the basic psychological states regarding this escapist fantasy. People feel powerless to control reality. They think rational solutions are futile therefore they create a fantasy world, where they are powerful, a Matrix type fantasy where they can fly, possess superhuman strength, defeat the baddies. The tendency to embrace the simulation argument is tantamount to drawing solace from star-sign forecasts or tarot cards. Due to the nature of escapism, unawareness typically features strongly in the mentalities of simulation devotees. Their embrace of fantasy is either conscious or subconscious but predominantly it is unwitting, they don’t really know what they are doing. Similar to someone suffering from severe anorexia, thereby starving to death because they think they are fat when they are thin, simulation proponents think their fantasies are logical. Instead of having confidence in the power of human ingenuity, there is a propensity to defer power to Gods or mysterious computer programs, which are allegedly constructing our reality. This is why the simulation argument has growing popular appeal. Believing in the simulation is comparable to watching the latest episode of Fringe or True Blood. It is reminiscent of praying to God, it is pure fiction. Simulation devotees either consciously or subconsciously hope they will be saved by a mysterious superhuman creator if they worship the concept of simulated reality, thus people adore the simulation meme, they think it is a valid concept.

Seriously, I understand. The world is full is idiots. Buffoons are excruciatingly plentiful, therefore it’s almost impossible to counter them, thus instead of transforming our idiotic civilization via rational methods, it is appealing to dismiss reality by stating reality is merely an illusion, thus hopefully we can take an irrational short-cut to transform the world, via hacking the Matrix, believing in God, taking magic mushrooms, escaping into a good sci-fi book, or becoming insane in the modality of Brazil: “I’m afraid you’re right, Mr. Helpmann. He’s gone.”

Consider politics for example, illustrated in the video below. People are often powerless to change to the world, politicians are clueless and their enforcers can quickly crush dissenters, thus despair and and futility are common. Escapism has many forms. For example you can believe in God or the simulation argument, you can watch TV, or you can take drugs. Some people enter a drug induced fantasy instead of confronting the horrific pain regarding reality. Note the ape possibly embracing escapism at the 59 seconds mark:

Yes I fully recognize NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has stated a goal of NASA is to turn science fiction into science fact, but this doesn’t mean every fictional premise will become real, thus ghosts, zombies, Santa Claus, vampires, or pixies will not be discovered. We will not create ludicrous monstrosities. There is no need to fear the creation of Nyarlathotep or Laundry occultism in the modality of Charlie Stross. We will not discover our reality is a simulation.

Future technology will easily create simulated reality identical to reality, but the reason why posthuman Singular civilizations have not willy-nilly created reality simulations, in a thoughtless and unethical manner, is because it would be incredibly stupid to do so. It would be astonishingly illogical to create simulations where the tenants suffer extreme pain, horrendous agony. One possible reason why some academics think the simulation argument is valid, is because they live a pampered life, cocooned in an autistic world of isolated pseudo-intellectual cliques, where they are ignorant of immense human suffering. Humans already have high ethical values despite the primitiveness of the human mind. Ethics will increase in synchronization with increasing intelligence.

Highly intelligent beings possessing supremely Singular technology will not possess thoughtless and unethical primitive minds epitomised by humans circa 2012, thus they will not think: “I really need to create a reality simulation, which will potentially contain billions, trillions, or an infinite number of intelligent beings who will suffer immensely. I need to create this simulation to an answer to a question, or prove a theorem, or merely as an ancestor zoo.” This is the main flaw of simulation devotees, they ascribe primitive human thinking to sophisticated futuristic technology created by highly refined future beings.

Ethics and intelligence are synonymous. Ethical standards increase when intelligence increases. Great intelligence provides great insight into the minds of fellow life-forms, therefore we are able to comprehend the suffering of others, we can empathize, sympathize. Primitive animals due to their basic minds are less able to comprehend the suffering of fellow life-forms, which is why nasty people are occasionally called cockroaches, snakes, rats, or worms.

Despite human intelligence humans are nevertheless capable of immense cruelty, but human cruelty isn’t a valid reason to dismiss the premise of ethics and intelligence being interlinked. The issue with human stupidity, or human intelligence, is that we straddle a thin line between awareness and unawareness. This dichotomy can cause derangement because people feel torn between two states of being, they feel conflicted, which means intelligence can be corrupted, it can be utilized perversely to emphasize stupidity, but this is only a problem with immature intelligence associated with primitive minds.

We are at an early evolutionary stage regarding intelligence. Our intelligence is primitive thus it can be flawed; we can regress either permanently or temporarily into animalistic savagery, great cruelty. We try to be humane but our inhumanity can persist because we have only scratched the surface of intelligence. Steven Pinker highlights how violence is decreasing. Despite the primitiveness of human intelligence we now live in the most peaceful of times, which I am convinced is due to our increasing intelligence, our increasing culture whereby we try to ensure equality between sexes and races, a sense of humaneness, which means we oppose slavery and we try to ease the suffering of farm animals. We try to be humane because we are becoming intelligent. In the meantime people can be crazy because reality is very painful due to a lack of intelligence.

The problem with humans circa 2012 is we have brains sufficient for deep intellectual thoughts, but we haven’t fully manifested our intelligence via technology therefore despite our powerful brains our civilization is technologically primitive, which can cause derangement because it hurts to be simultaneously very close and very far. This is why people invent crazy beliefs.

Stupid Mass Murdering Distant Descendants

Our “distant descendants” will have very intelligent methods for answering questions, solving problems. They won’t need primitive simulations. They will possess exemplary intelligence and ethics; they will have an exceptional sense of humanity, a deep sense of being humane, therefore either intentionally or unintentionally they will not subject real or virtual beings to agonising pain, torture, death. It’s an oxymoron to assign stupid actions to our inevitably intelligent distant descendants. The flaw of the thesis espoused by simulation proponents is the attribution of 2012-esque mentalities to futuristic post-2045 technologies. This flaw in the logic is comparable to an ape possessing a nuclear bomb or a machine gun, or dogs recklessly driving cars at high speed, or playing poker, it is absurd. Apes cannot invent nuclear bombs, and thankfully idiotic humans cannot create universe simulations, thus apes don’t destroy our world via full scale nuclear war, and humans cannot create nightmarish virtual reality prisons where the inmates are subjected to extreme pain and death.

Simulated reality without consent is basically slavery, it’s an atrocity, which no intelligent being could condone. Think about all the people who have suffered agonizing deaths throughout history, deaths we have attributed to mere nature. If nature isn’t a blind-unthinking-mechanism devoid of volition, if nature is instead the tool of highly intelligent beings, then natural deaths become acts of cruellest malice. The hypothetical creator of our world becomes the most atrocious serial killer in the universe, the ultimate killer of all life in our universe. The concept of simulations isn’t fundamentally bad, simulations should be permissible if participants give consent. The vileness, diabolicalness, slavery, and imprisonment regarding simulations is simply an issue of involuntariness. Simulations are only an atrocity if no consent has been obtained. A simulation where participation is enforced against a person’s will is a despicably heinous act.

John Cokrell asked via Twitter: “Perhaps the Simulator’s logic is produce no more suffering than would occur naturally?” I replied by explaining how it would be a licence for mass murder if a natural universe was duplicated, it would permit billions of simulations to be created where billions of intelligent beings die horrifically. If something is permissible in nature this doesn’t mean it is acceptable. It isn’t ethically valid for intelligent beings to reproduce the horrors of nature, thus it isn’t valid to kill people via a disease or tsunami merely because nature kills people in this way. Nature kills people in many horrific ways, but the example of nature does not mean it is acceptable to reproduce acts of nature to kill people. There is a clear difference between unavoidable natural death, accidental death, and intentionally acting in manner which kills people.

If slavery is indistinguishable from non-slavery, regarding a simulation resembling the natural world, then maybe non-slavery is not the good situation we previously thought it was. Criminal actions are criminal even if no discernible harm or awareness occurs. For example if a male rapist drugs a woman or a child to unconsciousness, via an evening meal, then somehow rapes the victim during the night so that the victim doesn’t notice, this would nevertheless be extremely bad. A victim’s unawareness regarding the criminal act is not a defence for the perpetrator.

A simulation is comparable to slavery when the simulation resembles a prison where simulated beings have minimal or no control over their existence. A slave is someone who is controlled by a master, thus if a simulation has been created, and simulated beings have been given no significant control over their world, if the inmates have been deprived of the keys to their prison, then they are slaves to the will of their master. Their master’s will is evident in the code of the simulation when that “will” cannot be easily thwarted.

Note how approximately one hundred thousand people die on Earth each day due to old age, thus with an intelligent designer behind our universe those deaths become intentional, they are acts of murder dwarfing the barbarity of any human serial killer. Intelligent life could exist elsewhere in the universe therefore the potential mass murder could entail trillions of deaths each day. Being in a simulation or not, it is the difference between unintentional mass death, accidental natural death due to an earthquake or disease, and mass murder by a psychopath. Simulation apologists try to argue God (the simulation creator) was unaware of how intelligent beings would be a product of the universe, thus the suffering of humans is unintentional and can be forgiven, but this premise assumes God is a gibbering imbecile unable to perform basic planning. Criminal negligence cannot be forgiven, furthermore this hypothetical negligence is highly unlikely for a super-intelligent being. Rudimentary foresight could easily predict the creation of intelligent beings within a universe simulation. A moronic God unaware of consequences would be incapable of creating a universe therefore God doesn’t exist, our universe is not simulated.

Fallacious Logic

Merely because something, our universe for example, may have an underlying lattice construction, and there are supposedly limits to an aspect of it, for example energy particles, this does not prove a simulation. Correlation does not imply causation. Yes our universe looks similar to a brain cell or a computer, but this correlation does not mean the cause of our universe is a computer program; we are not DNA inside a giant’s brain, we aren’t nits on a giant’s head. The relationship is spurious. Yes nonsense can be fun but let’s leave the nonsense to Family Guy or South Park not serious intellectual study.

Why don’t people know how to think? Logical fallacies regarding the Simulation Argument are ludicrous, it’s a form of idiocy similar to assuming the Singularity is religious because the Singularity promises eternal life. God traditionally promised eternal life in heaven, therefore some people will say anything promising eternal life is religious regardless of whether or not eternal life is based on science of mystical belief. Religions promise paradise but all promises of paradise are not religious. Science has the potential to create utopia but if science does create utopia this doesn’t mean science is a religion. Medical science in a Singularity context is not religious despite what some critics say. These fallacies are comparable to assuming whenever someone sneezes they are suffering from flu, but in reality it’s possible they’ve merely inhaled some dust, or perhaps they suffer from hay-fever. Our universe may have similarities with computation but similarity doesn’t prove identicalness. Instead of computational aspects regarding our universe demonstrating intentional construction (a simulation), it is very likely our computers merely mimic nature but this mimicry, the correlation between computers and the universe, does not prove someone created the universe; it’s a false cause, a coincidental correlation. Believing the universe is artificiality created due to computers being artificially created is tantamount to believing the crowing of a rooster causes the sun to rise.

Simulation thinking is fruitless. It is basically a form a prayer. Being in a simulation or not is irrelevant, physics is physics, nothing changes, except the horror of existence becomes an act of violence and slavery if we’re in a simulation. We must tend our gardens instead of escaping into fantasy. Physicists are perhaps hoping they can appeal to the mercy of the creator via uncovering simulation truths. The simulation argument is intelligent design whether or not people realize it; it’s all about God. Every atheist should know the concept of God is indefensible. Researching the structure of the universe is praiseworthy but suggesting it is a simulation is idiotic.

Some people may argue the simulation-creator could have a different idea of morality or logic compared to human morality, but I am convinced morality conforms to logic and logic is the same for all intelligent beings. A simulation where masses of people suffer extreme pain and death is not logical, there is no intelligence thus no simulation. The reason to believe logic is extra-universal is because logic is evolution and everything must evolve.

 

Surrender to Irrationality

We all have irrational aspects but we should not surrender to irrationality regarding serious intellectual thinking. Our irrational aspects should remain wholly an issue for our psychiatrists, therapists, doctors. It can be attractive to think reality is an illusion, a simulation. Illusionary reality is entertaining fiction, which can be seen in Star Trek (Frame of Mind) or in Lost where Hurley contemplates killing himself to awaken from the illusion. If we surrender to irrationality there is possibility we could jump off buildings thinking we can fly because we can hack the Matrix, but in reality the Matrix is escapism. If we are only pixels in a simulation then some people will think murder is permissible, which is a common type of thinking exhibited when people justify hypothetical simulation deaths caused by a hypothetical universe-creator. Simulation thinking is a the pathway to psychosis or suicide. Justifications for murder due to reality being unreal are notable in psychopaths. Psychopaths sometimes think reality is a film, for example it was reported how James Holmes ‘thought he was acting in a movie’ when he murdered people during a showing of The Dark Knight Rises.

If we progress too deeply into the rabbit hole we can start seeing hidden messages, clues telling us we should open our eyes, or codes in the bible. It’s a schizophrenic type delusion where we see messages in the lyrics of music specifically directed at our lives. Maybe we resemble congenitally blind people in the Country of the Blind thus we wrongly deem truth to be insanity; maybe the sane and insane are mixed-up. Maybe I’m an agent of the Matrix trying to stop you from waking up. Perhaps if you’ve surrendered to irrationality you will think everything I’ve stated is additional proof regarding of the unreality of reality. Wild fiction should remain wholly an issue for sci-fi writers. Writers of fiction, David Brin and his friends for example, they should be careful not to think preposterous fiction is fact. Delving too deep into the concept of reality being a simulation is a method for madness, or at least it’s a way to become very stupid. Simulation drivel is plentiful thus supposedly educated people, Clifford Pickover for example, feel the urge to psychologically defecate various forms of nonsense.

If we want to expand upon the theme of surrendering to irrationality, I would suggest there is one possibility for how simulated universes could be permissible. All intelligent beings inhabiting the simulation would need to be willing participants; it is a consent clause, which would mean the number of inhabitants in the universe would be very low, likely only one person, thus all other supposedly intelligent beings wouldn’t really be intelligent, they would be philosophical zombies therefore no suffering occurs regarding their deaths. Instead of the year actually being 2012, or whatever year it is when you are reading this, the year could be 8512, thus we are living in a historic recreation of reality. The idea would be for simulation participants to erase their memories before entering the simulation, they would willingly store their pre-simulation memories outside of the simulation for later assimilation when the simulation ends. Perhaps the life of Singularity Utopia has great significance in the future thus people relive my life, or your life, which would mean they agree to willingly enter the simulation, therefore this willingness, combined with everyone else being a p-zombie, means there are no ethical objections to the simulation. Perhaps thousands of years from now it is considered character building to undergo my life experiences.

Human stupidity could be explained by humans not actually being human, they could easily be p-zombies. I often think people can’t naturally be so stupid. I frequently feel I’ve never encountered a human able to pass the Turing test, but considering the newness of the intelligence phenomenon it’s rational to think humans are naturally stupid, people are not really p-zombies, they don’t exhibit simulation-stupidity. It can be difficult to accept beings with sophisticated brains are morons, or p-zombies, but not too difficult when you consider the evolutionary newness of the brain. The irrationality of thinking typical humans are not real occurs due to the horror of being stuck in an unintelligent world despite being in possession of an exceptionally intelligent brain. Forever I feel I am on the cusp at shouting “Get your stinking hands off me, you damn dirty humans!” Sadly humans would not understand me if I shouted my condemnation, they’d probably think my eyes were causing me to be insane thus they might want to remove my eyes to cure my insanity. The horror of being intelligent in a world of cretins can be unbearable thus the irrationality of escapism can be desirable, which is why it can be tempting to think reality and people are not real, thus all the morons in the world can be deemed p-zombies.

This idea of simulation permissibility is a surrender to irrationality because there will be exceedingly better ways, more intelligent ways, for a being of super-intelligence to build character, learn about history, or prove theories. The premise of prior consent for the simulation, regarding character building, or learning about history, it is pre-Singularity thinking applied to post-Singularity culture, it’s an oxymoron, which is an appealing type of thinking during our pre-Singularity epoch. Logically we must conclude post-human civilizations will have zero interest in running ancestor simulations, although I dearly want our reality to be a simulation because then there’s a chance I can stop, right now, the agony of living in a moronic world. Waiting for the Singularity is tiresome.

If a person did willing enter a simulation I’m sure there would be a fail-safe method to escape, a form of tech-support, but despite desperately needing tech-support I have never found the method to pause eXisteneZ. Or in the interest of authenticity perhaps no escape would be possible. Considering immortality, a handful of decades trapped in a prison is not a long time, therefore unwitting simulated reality could be conscionable but this is a surrender to irrationality.

The justifications I cite regarding our world being a simulation are irrational because super-intelligent minds in the future will have super-powerful imaginations, therefore instead of undergoing decades of historic simulated reality, it would be vastly easier and less painful to read a book written by a superhuman intelligence. A minimalistic book of mere paper and ink would be sufficient, it would be able to create an utterly vivid historic picture of reality without the agony of actually living in a simulation. Experiences invoked within the imaginations posthuman book readers would not constitute simulated reality; virtual people would not suffer, it would be similar to how aspects of your dreams are utterly integral to you, you are not running a simulated universe in your head regarding the people in your dreams, thus dream people do not suffer.

The imagination of a superhuman (posthuman) would know it is the imagination of the superhuman, similar to how an actor imagines themselves into the role of a character, the actor knows they are only acting. The imagination of the superhuman will not be a distinct being or beings separate from the superhuman. The imagination will be very much part of the superhuman and the superhuman imagination will be very aware of itself even if it acts unaware due to the role it is playing.?

There is a difference between imagination and simulated reality but some people let their imaginations run wild. I don’t surrender to the irrationality. I hope you will refuse to surrender also. We are evolving, we are at an early stage of evolving intelligence, which means humans often have stupid ideas; for example God, the Simulation Argument, or legitimate rape; but if we apply our rationality we can overcome the idiocy.

Conclusion

The idea of our universe being a simulation is pseudo-science because we can never prove we are in a simulation, we can never be prove we are not in a simulation. Or to express the issue with greater clarity, we should note how the notion of reality being simulated is applicable to every type of reality; it’s always possible every conceivable reality is a simulation, which means there can never be, with any certainty, a natural reality evolved via non-intelligent design, thus an original reality is essentially impossible. The notion of reality being simulated is illogical, infeasible, it’s a type of thinking so wrong it is not even wrong, it often verges into the realm of wronger than wrong. When we scrutinize the notion of our universe being simulated, we can see the premise does not admit tests for falsifiability. My views regarding the simulation argument being pseudo-science are shared by Rational Wiki, which highlights how simulation proponents rely upon the fallacious argument by assertion.

For example, regarding the inability to ever prove or disprove the simulation theory, if we contacted the hypothetical creator of our universe, we could then, if permission is granted, apparently leave our universe via entering true reality, but contacting the controller of the simulation could merely be a deeper part of the simulation. Contact with the creator of our universe could be simulated, it could be an illusion, thus if you leave the simulation there is a possibility your exit from the simulation could be simulated, in a manner identical to how people currently argue we are already in a simulation, which means we could merely be exiting into another simulation, which highlights the meaningless nature of simulation nonsense. If your proofs or discoveries about reality happen within a simulated reality then realness, or inauthenticity, could be easily simulated, thus reality can never be real or trusted.

Perhaps it’s wrong to assert the simulation argument is pseudo-science. Rational Wiki states also the argument is philosophy not science therefore the pseudo-science label is a category error. I don’t think the philosophy issue is clear cut, for example quantum physics is philosophical but it is science. My recent interest in simulated reality stems from a disquisition published via ArXiv, pertaining to the categories “High Energy Physics – Phenomenology (hep-ph); High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena (astro-ph.HE); High Energy Physics – Lattice (hep-lat); High Energy Physics – Theory (hep-th); Quantum Physics (quant-ph).” ArXiv clearly publishes scientific papers. High energy physics is clearly science. I think the flawed phenomenology aspect underpinning the physics renders the physics pseudo-science in this case. The authors of the disquisition, Silas R. Beane, Martin J Savage, and Zohreh Davoudi, are clearly scientists not philosophers; they are presenting what they deem to be science. If their philosophical components could be removed from the science then perhaps the science could be deemed valid but the wacky simulation philosophy is a core impetus driving the science, their delusional philosophy is fundamental to their science, thus I think ultimately the pseudo-science classification is correct. Their trippy philosophy, of a highly illogical nature, has irreparably skewed their science. Finally we should note how science grew from philosophy thus the dividing line can naturally be blurred.

Simulation proponents may dishonestly state they are impartial regarding the three possibilities of the argument; but in reality via putting forward their flawed allegation of a possible intelligent designer, they are merely doing what typical intelligent design proponents do, they say our universe could be intelligently designed. In actuality there’s no logical possibility our universe could be created by an intelligent designer. We are not in a simulation, or if we must consider the utterly remote likelihood of our universe being a simulation, then with equal likelihood we need to consider we’re actually time-travelling LSD nano-pixies from a wibbly-wobbly dream-world existing inside psychedelic cheese.

Simulation argument proponents obviously believe we are simulation thus they don’t put forward the penguin argument. The penguin argument states humans could actually be penguins disguised to resemble humans therefore beneath our human skin you will find a mischievous penguin, furthermore all the penguins are actually sentient spaceships from the planet Krypton. People don’t consider this penguin argument because it is utterly ludicrous, it resembles a drug-induced hallucination. Sadly the simulation argument is equally preposterous but the believers of the simulation argument cannot see their idiocy.

The simulation argument or hypothesis is based, perhaps inadvertently, upon natural-evolutionary-original-reality almost certainly being impossible. If unwitting simulated reality is almost certainly possible then non-intelligent design (natural random evolutionary design) for the creation of universes is almost certainly impossible because according to Nick Bostrom “we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation.” If everyone in every universe is “almost certainly” living in a simulation, due toan astronomical number of ancestor simulations,” this means a natural universe is almost certainly impossible. Considering the notion where participants in the simulation are unaware or unsure if they are in simulation, this means the likeliest possibility for the creation of all universes is a voluntary type of omnipotent creation, deliberate creation, where there is always, or almost certainly always, an intelligent designer responsible for creating all universes. All simulation notions, applied to hypothetically original reality, are therefore pseudo-scientific arguments for God, it is religious belief, which I reject.

The question of God existing raises the question of who created God, it makes us wonder about infinity regarding our universe because everything appears connected to an earlier event. From the viewpoint of a baby its world begins at birth, but its origins actually stretch back to parental copulation beyond the system of the baby. Similar to how traditional God must have a natural evolutionary origin, way back in the depths of time, an original universe must have existed at one point. There must have been a naturally evolved non-simulated universe before the first hypothetical simulation, or maybe not. Gods or simulated universes appear to be without beginning or end because they are so utterly far removed from their origins, due to the almost certainty of reality being a simulation based on the premise of ancestors recklessly creating an astronomical number of simulations.

Reality in any form is somewhat odd for self-aware beings because it seems there is no beginning, it seems there will always be an earlier stage because something popping into existence from nothing is illogical. It is also difficult to grasp the infinity of reality, which can never have a beginning. Perhaps in the expanse of infinity the first non-simulated universe was devoured by the simulation, similar to a virus killing the host, thus the host was compelled via its self-destruction to create a new reality, a new distinct virus universe with new laws of physics. Perhaps this budding of a new separate universe, via simulation machinery, created a simulated and distinct universe with enough intelligence to sense all its connections throughout infinity, perhaps in an infinity of simulations, or an astronomical number of simulations, time loops back to the beginning therefore the oldest descendants are the earliest forebears. Perhaps a simulated universe evolved to function independently from original reality, reminiscent of a person lifting themselves up by their own boot-strings. Anything is possible in simulated or real worlds. If an astronomical number of simulations exist then time travel is possible especially when you consider the colossal intelligence required to create simulated universes populated by intelligent beings. It is possible non-simulated reality never existed therefore simulated reality is a self-perpetuating and self-contained immaculate conception; or we could drop the nonsense. We could stop surrendering to irrationality. We could simply state reality is really real not simulated.

In this context where people question the authenticity of reality, regarding our hypothetically real world, the word “simulation” should be replaced with the word “God” because identical to unwitting simulated universes, a mysterious God elusively incommunicado has essentially always existed and always will exist, without beginning or end. Involuntary simulated universes constitute a malware meme corrupting minds via fantasy, in the long tradition of religious thought. If people insist God or the “Simulator” is a valid creator of our reality, then insane fairies on LSD, from the imagination of a time travelling psychopath, could equally be the creators of our reality. Considering all the potential universes or Gods theoretically in existence, it is exceptionally odd to have no valid discernible contact with God. Contact of an irrefutable nature with the creator or creators of our universe would be inevitable if they existed. It appears there is an evidence of absence regarding simulated reality. It appears the creator of our reality never existed. Logic indicates our universe is a natural non-simulated phenomenon.

Super-intelligent beings able to create universes will not possess idiotic minds, they will have exemplary ethics naturally arising from their exemplary intelligence. The logic of ethics is applicable to all intelligent beings, it is simply evolution, everything must evolve. The concept of ethics means it is logical for all intelligent participants in simulations to give informed consent regarding their participation in simulations, or if intelligent beings are likely to be created within the simulation then no harm or suffering must be inflicted without consent, furthermore involuntary participants must be allowed to opt-out of the simulation. We have no memory of giving consent, therefore if we inhabit a simulation we erased or removed our memories prior to entering the simulation, or the other option is we were created wholly within the simulation. The extreme pain and death humans have endured, combined with the lack of a valid opt-out, causes me to discount, due to the ethical principles of informed consent, the notion we were created wholly in the simulation. If our universe is a simulation then we must have given consent to our participation, but this type of masochism is incompatible with a super-intelligent mind. A being of super-intelligence would not enter a simulation for a prolonged unaware period regarding a technologically primitive civilization.

For example, would you willingly go back in time ten thousand years to suffer the barbarity of an era where none of our modern comforts exist? Perhaps it would be interesting for some people to go back in time, via a simulation, for a couple of days, but enduring decades or a lifetime in a barbarous civilization without escape is preposterous, only a moron would consent. Some masochistic humans of low intelligence, circa 2012, would perhaps want to go back to a barbaric era, but idiotic desires will not apply to future generations. It’s an oxymoron to suggest super-intelligent distant descendants will act stupidly. Vastly more intelligent ways exist to build character or learn about history. People could argue eighty years of existence amidst a barbaric culture is a short duration for an immortal being, equivalent to our perception of two days, but an immortal being of high intelligence would possess heightened senses, despite potential deletion of memories regarding a post-Singularity mind regressed to exist in a pre-Singularity world, therefore a relatively short duration of horrendous pain would nevertheless be exceedingly loathsome, utterly untenable, unconscionable.

Considering my potentially short lifespan combined with my pre-Singularity mind, despite the limitations of my sensibilities, one hour in our nightmarish civilization amidst unintelligent minds is a gibbering monstrosity of insane torture too long to endure. A being hundreds or thousands of years in the future would likewise feel utter horror existing in the pre-Singularity era. We are progressing, our world is improving, but for an intelligent person our existence is sadistically horrendous, it is a nightmarish world of primitive technology, which no truly intelligent being would willingly suffer.

I can explain why involuntary or unaware simulations are illogical, they are extremely unlikely nonsense, but I cannot prove anything, therefore at the end it all hinges upon faith, do you believe in God (is our universe simulated)? Intelligent design is ludicrous, our universe is utterly random, very stupid, devoid of a designer, but people can argue God the “Simulator” created our world in this flawed way to test us, to refine theories; a character building or learning exercise. Human brains and bodies are far from being intelligently designed, which is ironically the reason why humans typically don’t have the intelligence to overcome their primitive thinking regarding the existence of an intelligent designer.

The escapist (irrational) part of my mind dearly wants reality to be a simulation, I want to escape from the horror of life via a very easy route. I want to be able to send a message to God, to the creators, asking God to ensure my next lottery ticket wins the jackpot because educating morons regarding their folly is an almost hopeless task. I want to ask for total emancipation but sadly God doesn’t exist. Solipsism and fantasies are appealing. The horror of our reality means escaping into Permutation City, Counterfeit World (Simulacron-3), Implied Spaces, or The Thirteenth Floor can be desirable but fantasies are not attractive regarding serious thought therefore I reject the irrationally regarding involuntary or unaware simulations. Thoughts about our reality being a simulation are circular reasoning, it is a spiral of insanity. Theories about our reality being a simulation are pure nonsense. Perhaps I have occasionally strayed into gibbering nonsense addressing these issues, but on the whole I hope you agree my opinions are “logically compelling” or at least humorous regarding our universe not being intelligently designed.

We are not in a simulation. If you are intelligent you will see how logic refutes the existence of God. The simulation argument is essentially an argument for God, an intelligent designer, which should have no place within discussions about futuristic technology. God is a useless concept with no relevance to intelligence. Gods are morons because God is a moronic concept. The concept of God is an intellectually primitive fantasy enabling immature minds to cope with the horrors of a technologically primitive world. God is irrelevant nonsense regarding the explosion of futuristic technological intelligence.

98 Responses

  1. Micah says:

    I disagree with article on so many levels it’s almost impossible to respond to all of it. I’ll pick the choicest parts. First, the author equates intelligence with empathy. This is demonstrably proven false. Intelligent people are not inherently more kind or considerate than less intelligent people. (Are people with low I.Q.’s, such as those with Down’s Syndrome all violent psychopaths? Are all genius level intellects Gandhi?) I don’t think you have to consider this very long or hard, regardless of your intellectual capability to understand the point.
    Second, it confuses intelligence for education. Education is the effort to conform a mind to a certain set of ideas and (dare I say it?) cultural norms. Intelligence is measured by the capacity for a mind to take in and retain the information we gather from our senses, and our ability to put it to use. Our ethics are cultural, not at any point related to intelligence. We follow our ethical considerations even though at times it can disadvantage us.
    Third, the myth of progress. That’s a common theme in futurist studies and I think blinds students to the implications of real world problems like resource depletion, environmental change, etc. This article is rife with examples of how modern society is just getting better and better and this will last forever. It strikes me as obvious that nothing follows a path so smoothly. That would be like suggesting in 2007 that the American housing market would continue it’s upward course forever. Of course, even in 2007 rational people knew the housing market was in the middle of a big bubble about to burst. And modern civilization, I suggest, is a bubble on the verge of bursting much like the housing market that almost took down western financial markets.

  2. Phil Rubyn says:

    BTW, I think that the author is just a tad overly hostile. Unnecessary – weakens his argument.

  3. Jack Sheit says:

    In the section “Stupid Mass Murdering Distant Descendants” the author states:

    “Simulated reality without consent is basically slavery, it’s an atrocity, which no intelligent being could condone.”

    What I would like to ask is how is creating a simulated person in a simulated reality anymore of a violation of consent than creation of a human being through conception, gestation, and our familiar method of child-rearing?

    It seems to me if creating a simulated person in a simulated world of suffering and death is cruel, than giving birth to a real one in a real world of suffering and death is also wrong.

    • Phil Rubyn says:

      Brilliant point – you don’t have to simulate to cause suffering – just be a parent (most parents – and children – would agree with that)!

      The answer I think is that there is a distinction between our level of intelligence and that of beings that could make a simulation with us in it. The author is assuming that the latter would be too intellectually advanced to create such a world of suffering and so wouldn’t do it, while we, on a much lower level, would create such a world. (Although I would think that there are even now many people who choose not to have children, because they know that those children will likely suffer in their lives to some degree.)

      The problem then is that if simulators wouldn’t simulate suffering, then how could they, as you brought out, create their OWN real and suffering descendants? Maybe they are so advanced that they are able to remove suffering from their own real world also. If not, how would they perpetuate themselves? Perhaps they would have to consider real suffering as a necessary outcome of childbearing, as opposed to simulated suffering, which they could avoid creating.

      I have also seen another reason why simulators might not be bothered with their simulations’ suffering. Maybe they would see our suffering like we see the suffering of simple animals – as insignificant. They could be that much, or even more advanced than us, assuming that they had a million years more than us to evolve. Perhaps they would evolve to the point of considering our suffering significant also, perhaps not.

  4. Dave says:

    This is brilliant. The simulation theory of the universe is the laziness, weakest, piece of crap I’ve ever heard. Makes me credit creationists much more with their theories because the simulation one is of no difference; you could make a computer simulation of a God creating a universe and arrive at the same conclusion; “HOLY CRAP IT LOOKS JUST LIKE OUR UNIVERSE!!!” I like all the dumbasses responding to this with things like; “this is ridiculous..” yeah, and the simulation theory isn’t? Since when did science become all about theories pulled from our asses once we realized our universe is far too complex and difficult to understand? Meh, who cares it’s a simulation lets go get some beer.

  5. James Dunn says:

    All of mathematics is based upon causality; logic not time. All of causality can be built from two components: evolving and non-evolving causality (quantum causality).

    This is not the limit of physics, this is a limit of mathematics. So if quantum causality, which is also the limit of computation, does not fully characterize the physics of the universe then something other than computation and mathematics must be used to characterize the universe.

  6. Peter MONROE says:

    This is it. “On Computer Simulated Universes”

  7. Peter MONROE says:

    Interesting article but I think it misses the point. It seems that we are dealing with probabilities here, and even a 10-20% chance that the simulated hypothesis is correct makes this an interesting concept to think about. I am not sure why the author brings in the concept of God; the two lines of reasoning are not analogous. And recent writings do indirectly address falsifiability concerns. New book on the subject:

  8. Bill MacLean says:

    Summary:
    Unsound argument from SU does not disprove simulation. (By way of disclosure, I think the simulation argument to be incorrect because of the required assumption that conscious beings can be created in software. But this post addresses SU’s argument, which differs from my objection)

    Detail:
    As I understand it, SU’s argument is of the form
    If P
    Then Q
    Not Q
    Therefore not P

    The instance of the argument form looks like this:
    If some super intelligent being is simulating our reality (P)
    Then that simulator would not allow us to suffer. (Q)
    It is not the case that we don’t suffer (not Q)
    Therefore, some super intelligent being is not simulating our reality (not P)

    Of course that’s a valid argument form (Modus Tollens), but for the particular argument be _sound_ the premise must also be true. There is no evidence that a super-intelligent being would prevent the suffering of being is created. SU’s assertions are not supported by actual argument and contradict experience.

    Here are few examples of the problems with SU’s premise:
    “Ethics and intelligence are synonymous.”
    To apply a quote from the Princess Bride, “I don’t think that word [synonymous] means what you think it means”. Synonyms denote (roughly) the same thing. “Ethics” is the branch of philosophy that deals with determining values and concept of right vs. wrong. ”Intelligence” deals with capacity for learning and reasoning. There may be some overlap, but the words are in no way synonyms.

    Here is another assertion that doesn’t make sense:
    “Despite human intelligence humans are nevertheless capable of immense cruelty, but human cruelty isn’t a valid reason to dismiss the premise of ethics and intelligence being interlinked.”
    Two paragraphs before this sentence, ethics and intelligence were “synonymous” but now they’re just “interlinked”. It may be that intelligence is _necessary_ for one to understand and adhere to an ethical standard, but it is hardly sufficient. History is rife with examples of highly intelligent people with low ethical standards.

    Here’s the failed attempt to deal with the examples of intelligent people with low ethical standards:
    “The issue with human stupidity, or human intelligence, is that we straddle a thin line between awareness and unawareness. This dichotomy can cause derangement because people feel torn between two states of being, they feel conflicted, which means intelligence can be corrupted, it can be utilized perversely to emphasize stupidity, but this is only a problem with immature intelligence associated with primitive minds.”
    What precisely would be doing the action of corrupting and perversely using intelligence? If the intelligence can be “corrupted” and “used” by something, then that something is necessarily separate from the intelligence itself. So what is that something? The paragraph implies that the corruptor/user may be the person’s feelings. Whatever the corrupter/user is, the paragraph leads to the conclusion that the part of the person that implements ethics (determines values) is separate from intelligence.

    If the user/corrupter is different from the intelligence itself, what evidence do we have that super intelligence cannot be corrupted through the same mechanism? Answer: none, we only have SU’s assertion. Assertion argument.

    SU assures us that the problem of low ethical standards and high intelligence only afflicts “primitive minds” that are burdened with “immature intelligence”. Given that human minds are the most complex minds of which we have direct experience, it is pure speculation to assert that minds more complex than the human mind would have better ethical standards. If an artificially created super intellect were possible in the future, what basis would have today for asserting that its ethical standards would exceed ours?

    SU’s argument is valid in form, but because the premise is untrue, the argument is unsound.

  9. Tim Gross says:

    I and others have more than once explained to SU that she is attacking a cartoon strawman of Hollywood’s making- that no one worth mentioning advocates some simplistic aliens running an ALife simulation kind of idea- that it is a deeper issue of Computational Universality – Multiverse statistics- and about the Promethean goals of civilization- about how WE shall be the simulators- but SU continues to live in a bubble of her own petty prejudice- whatever-

    For example: ” in a digital universe- the categorical distinctions made between an “artificially controlled simulation” and “naturally evolved environment” – are themselves artificial – and wholly arbitrary- the Principle of Computational Equivalence shows that all information systems possess the equivalent of “intelligence” [ pattern recognition of low entropy structures] and “conscious awareness” [ selection and sorting of low entropy structures] – artificiality is simply the set of strategies that humanity has discovered and used- so “artificial simulation” as opposed to ” natural world” is incorrect and anthropocentric- it’s more correct to say anthropic simulation as opposed to alien simulation- thus- Simulism is the more correct explanation of ALL forms of “digital physics”-

    ” We can say that there’s a necessary condition for life: that the system exhibits sophisticated computation.

    But beyond that, there really doesn’t seem to be any kind of abstract definition one can give. The practical definition for us is based on history—and based on the actual historical properties of life on Earth.

    Well, what about intelligence? It’s pretty much the same story.

    It’s clear it’s difficult to identify, because we even have trouble very close at home. Understanding when babies exhibit what level of intelligent behavior, or whether something like a whale song is really showing intelligence. And actually I just don’t think there’s an abstract definition of intelligence either. The only thing that characterizes intelligence is a necessary condition: that a system is capable of sophisticated computation…

    …in the end I think one’s just going to realize that there’s no abstract notion of intelligence, extraterrestrial or otherwise. And the thing we’re really talking about when we talk about “intelligence” is human-like intelligence. As for life, intelligence is not something absolute and abstractly definable. It’s something in a sense historical—defined by its connection to a thread of history.” Stephen Wolfram

  10. light says:

    Hello. Sorry for my English far from perfect.

    I have a good question to throw and I’m surprised no one has commented something similar:

    If a supermind could create entire worlds and universes with conscious beeings there, the creator of these virtual universes could create after such complexity anything impressing according to desire, pleasure, etc… and from all possible virtual universes almost perfect…. we find ourselves in a world without any evidence extremely interesting .

    There for no virtual universes

  11. Big Dub says:

    Your ENTIRE retarded argument against Simulation Theory amounts to an appeal to emotion, that being forced to exist in a simulation is morally reprehensible. Too bad the logic, the mathematics and the empirical evidence ALL point in the direction of simulation. Shall we reexamine the facts that you so pathetically misinterpreted?

    First, error correction code in the math.
    Second, background radiation redistribution.
    Third, the hard problem of consciousness and the logical homology that has been drawn between avatars and living organisms.
    Fourth, the energy field, the only thing science has ever demonstrated to exist: dimensionless points flashing in and out of existence and interacting.
    Shall I go on?
    Simulation Theory works whether you like the implications or not. So why is a simulator a moral monster and therefore can’t exist but nature takes no blame?

    Wake up and embrace reality before you get snuffed out of the simulation. Only the truth will help the simulation evolve, not your petty bullsh*t.

  12. Nathan says:

    As to the substance of this piece,
    This is a long article with a lot of big claims and almost nothing in the way of good argument to back it up. There’s a giant undistributed middle between your position and the matrix-fantasizing you (repeatedly and annoyingly) attempt to frame as drug-addled nonsense.

    There is nothing crazy, if you are a functionalist about mind, in thinking that the functions which make mind possible can inhere in a universe that has a much lower resolution than whatever base reality it is being simulated from. Furthermore, there’s nothing anti-intellectual about the task of seriously contemplating the constraints within which such a system might be possible (and which, indeed, we may someday create as a society as we attempt to create ever-richer simulations of our own universe).

    In sum:
    The mere notion that our reality is a simulation is not crazy. It is not merely religion. It is worth contemplating for the same damned reason that it is worth contemplating basic physics: because being an intellectual is about being excited by ideas regardless of their supposed applications.

    On less substantial matters,
    You really came off like a prick in this article. Also: you need to put the thesaurus down, your sentences were stuttering, stalling messes.
    For example:
    “By the end of this critique you will hopefully agree my logic corroborates a classification of nonsense, stupidity, religion, psychedelia, or mysticism applicable to the simulation argument and its devotees.”
    Could have, instead, been said thusly:
    “At the end of my argument, I will have demonstrated that the simulation argument and its devotees are under the spell of etc. etc. etc.”

  13. Michael Flaherty says:

    The writer of this piece, to put it bluntly, cannot get points across effectively using the written word, at least in English he can’t.

  14. Blake says:

    You say you’re an “intellectual”, and you say that even so-called intellectuals must consider the possibility that they aren’t so smart afterall…and considering the amount of grammatical errors in this artical, I would suggest entertaining that same thought. Seriously, did ANYBODY proofread this? Like, at all? It really seems like you’re trying WAY too hard to use big words. As a matter of fact, it’s almost blatantly obvious that you went into this article with the “I’m going to use as many big words as I possibly can in order to sound smart.” mentality. I mean, personally, I think it’s somewhat stupid to even assume we know what this life is about, or what our purpose is. We are all walking around this earth with basically no idea of what our true origin is, or what happens to us after we die. Your guess is just as good as mine, or anybody’s. It’s not like we have anybody on Earth that has, for a fact, seen our origin or some sort of afterlife. This article makes you seem somewhat arrogant, and this is coming from somebody who dropped out of high school at sixteen (due to serious health issues). I still don’t have a G.E.D. or a high school diploma, and you honestly still seem like a dumbass. All I see is criticism of people who are simply entertaining a thought of something that is actually possible. You call it “nonsense”, yet I’m pretty sure you believe at least one thing that could easily be called “nonsense”. As far as I know, nobody said that we are absolutely, one-hundred percent, without a doubt, in a simulation. However, it IS a possibility. Please, think just a little bit before you go on a criticism spree like this. Sorry, but it’s not very attractive. =/

  15. AlexanderB says:

    I dont agree with the article in general, but i have my own thoughts about the SA.
    If you have to run a sim of something, to get data, you dont really need something like consciousness “down there” just a computer which is able to calculate all the parameters and tell you what you want to know in form of a number. Like if you want to know the force you will need to throw a stone 10m, you can use formulas and a calculator, and neither has anything to do with a stone, gravitation or someone throwing things, it is very abstract, also consciousness would consume more “calculation-power”.
    The only way this would make sense would be that the sim was made for entertainment, and the usual NPCs weren’t enough to satisfy the “user”, and I want to ad that we can not know anything about the morals of that user, he could be a sadist, in a society which encourages this behavior… or worse.
    The SA itself is not very well formulated its more some sort of pascals wager, and unfortunately it encourages weird religious beliefs, but the great problem philosophy faces with such questions is that we are only capable to watch at the world with our primate brains, to search for patterns, like faces, a cause, to see time and space from our very limited point of view, we may not be even able to ask the right questions regarding existence.

    Personally(my opinion nothing else) i find the whole concept outright terrifying .
    An indifferent universe which came into existence for no reason, filled with all sorts of terror and problems is far more likeable than one that was created by some “god” with all the “evil” planned with intention.

  16. dae says:

    Truth i’m afraid in my context seizes to become irrelevent. Civilization itself is unsustainable. The rate at which we’re consuming resources is not tenable. Most people are asleep. They don’t want to be woken up to this. They don’t want to help find solutions either. Civiliztion ITSELF has become an act of mass hysteria. look around you. Look at the masisve clusterblunk of unfounded beliefs. WE for instance want more border security because we’re afraid of the ‘terrorist’ who are all but wiped out. I’m ideologically opposed to borders because honestly speaking sometimes CHAOS is NOT inherently infeiror to Order. It’s litttle things like how we give freedo up, and yes to the corporations as WELL as to the government (unlike what ron paul is peddling, who is another peddler of mass hysteria) the point i’m trying to make is objectivity has gone out the window quite awhile ago because of the realization that our state for instance thinks it’s perfectly ok to believe in a god that punishes people infinitely for finite sins but if you believe you’re an alien we shoot you full of antipsychotic drugs. Mind you i’m not saying either is what I believe but that I See you as merely someone that is afraid of the future that happens when the mass hysteria really sets in and from my frame of reference the truth became something that didn’t really truly matter because reality behaved as if it was a headtrip anyways. We ALL are full of delusions and false beliefs about the nature of realtiy. At the end of the road you realize that reality is largely consentual in nature (it only really operates this way because we largely agree this is how it ought to)

    Sciencist would have to throw off a LOT of preconceived notions themselves to even APPROACH rationality..we’re nowhere near that. It’s arrogance of the highest degree to think that the scientist themselves were not under some kind of hysteria themselves.

    Here’s what I mean. Our country for instance. It only really exist on paper and in the minds of individuals. Yet very few people called bush on it when he called this country a “homeland”<-It's not. That was SCARY. It's a an IDEA that exist only by merit of the fact that people will use VIOLENCE to FORCE others to believe in it.

    The whole idea of "countries" and "paper money" itself are acts of mass hysteria that we chose to go along with ever single DAY.

    that team ipod is better than team microsoft inherently…all false beliefs. All this division. We keep striving for division but MOST of our divisive beliefs are ultimately false.

    so when you realize the very people trying to bring you back from the cliff are suffering illusions themselves mainstream psychatry loses relevance. Examine your OWN illusions. is your doctor an atheist? How ironic is it when a catholic or a christian tries to lecture ME on what "objective reality?" Is.

    I don't deny "objective reality" exist but that we have NO meaningful tools to MEASURE it when communicating with people so therefore it's useless to speculate about it WITHOUT those tools. All there really is is subjectivity when two people converse at this point. objective truth kind of loses meaning unless you have the empirical tools to demostrate that truth. and unfortunately the religous nutters would just distort realtiy to deal with that and many scientist would probably similiarly deny god if we objectively demostrated he or she Did exist. Because at the end of the day human beings rarely care about truth more than their comforting beliefs. This is why Faith is so powerful and Truth often seizes to matter in the scrap heap. All there really is is a competition over which set of beliefs makes us happier.

  17. R.U. Sirius says:

    or you could rework the comments. the discussions about psychedelics are worth having…

    R>

  18. R.U. Sirius says:

    I guess I’m late to this party but just noticed that I was mentioned. To wit:

    “The misguided merger of futurism and psychedelia is evident when R. U. Sirius describes relationships between drugs and cyberculture. On his website you can read about “understanding and experiencing the convergence and integration of technology, new age, philosophy and art.’”

    Thing is, those words belong to someone else. On my site, you can read all kinds of things. You could probably have read this article there, if it had been submitted to me. I don’t know if I’ve ever, for instance, mentioned the New Age without at least a hint of ambiguity if not outright contempt.

    Whatever. Do carry on.
    R.U.

    • Peter says:

      R.U., this was one reason I almost didn’t post the article. FWIW.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      Yes I did realise the words didn’t strictly come from your mouth which is why I wrote “on his website you can read about,” whereas if you wrote it I would have wrote “R. U. Sirius wrote.”

      One of the articles on your site which I linked to has multiple authors “By R.U. Sirius & Jeff Mark (& Others)” regarding the title: “NeoPsychedelia & High Frontiers: Memes Leading To MONDO 2000 (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #21).”

      Again when you are one of multiple authors regarding the article titled: “From Psychedelic Magazine With A Tech Gloss To Tech Magazine With A Psychedelic Gloss (Mondo 2000 History Project Entry #23)” I wrote: “R. U. Sirius presents” but perhaps instead of “presents” (as in the site owner presenting issues via a collaboration regarding various authors) I should have wrote “published”. The section on you R. U. could have been refined. I apologise for the lack of clarity.

      Despite my criticism of you I do have a lot of respect for you, so don’t take my comments dismissing you too seriously.

      I will leave of references to drugs and psychedelia out of future rewrites, the whole issue is a distraction, way too messy, it draws attention away from the core issues, but as a starting point I am reasonably pleased the article.

  19. Harry Dishman says:

    For someone who claims not to accept fallacies, the author sure seems to enjoy them; the vast majority of this article reads like a vast Appeal to Ridicule, mixed with a healthy dose of rhetoric for flavor.
    I would expect this sort of thing from a pulpit, but not here.

    The Ethical argument, whilst valid, is rather still rather dodgy – for example, even if intelligence leads to ethics as proposed, it doesn’t necessarily follow that those ethics will be concordant with our expectations.
    To this comes our lack of understanding concerning the method the simulation is created, and suffering itself; it may well be that some level of suffering is necessary for the simulation to perform within spec.
    There are other ways that simulated suffering can be assuaged, but they’re not worth mentioning at this point.

    Ultimately, there are so many assumptions attached to the premise that this article has said almost nothing.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      The simulation argument says nothing, therefore *if* my article also says nothing then perhaps I have painted a correct picture of the simulation argument :)

      On to more important matters…

      If our idea of ethics is a unique perspective of ethics according to our intelligence, if human ethics is not based on logic, or if human logic is a unique human perspective, what type of ethics or logic or rationality could entail the extreme suffering inflicted upon intelligent beings by beings of greater intelligence?

      Or perhaps you are saying the hypothetical creators of our universe may not be rational, maybe they cannot reason? If you can reason, Harry Dishman, then please reason out how the thinking of a super intelligent beings could justify mass murder and suffering inflicted upon intelligent beings. If you are going to surmise our reality could be a simulation you should at least try to give a reason why they creation of the simulation.

      What possible problem could a simulation (containing billions of suffering intelligent life-forms) solve for super-intelligent beings? Just as the concept of traditional God is a concept based on the intelligence of man, the concept of a simulation-creator and the problem the simulation needs to solve, is a concept based upon the problems humans need to solve, not the problems super-humans need to solve.

      • Harry Dishman says:

        If you’ll forgive the delay in posting; I rarely get the time to post on the Net.

        >if human logic is a unique human perspective, what type of ethics or logic or rationality could entail the extreme suffering inflicted upon intelligent beings by beings of greater intelligence?<

        The most blatant answer is "a non-human one".
        -A non-social or artificial species need not necessarily ascribe any ethical weight to suffering, if they possess an ethical system at all.
        -PostHumans also fall under this category: A suffering-free PostHuman (or indeed any suffering-free entity) may be unable to comprehend the suffering we experience, or a PostHuman Hivemind may simply be unable to conceive of suffering on the individual level, any more than I can conceive of the suffering of my neurons.

        We can add to this any ethical system based upon enlightened self-interest, in that the simulator has nothing to gain from beneficial acts towards to simulated persons.

        Finally, suffering may be in some way required. If a human being without suffering is more resource intensive to simulate than a normal human, then the simulation becomes bound by what is essentially the Mere Addition Paradox, meaning that suffering can be allowed if it frees up resources for extra individuals, so the the net happiness of the simulation is maximized.
        Similarly, it may be that the processes for suffering are intertwined with those for happiness, and reducing one reduces the other, so that once again the simulation must allow potential suffering in order to maximize happiness.

        The latter two cases point towards a simple statement;
        Simulating a Life is ethically correct if those lives are /i>worth living.
        I think most people would agree that this is the case.

        As for what “problem” a simulation is supposed to solve, I’m not sure how this could possibly be answered without knowing the character/circumstances of the simulator. Perhaps it’s an attempt to rebuild historical records lost in the great meme-plague of 34,589, or a simulation of how the universe would be if cosmological constants were different.
        Hell, maybe it’s a prison.

    • some guy says:

      THANK YOU<3

  20. rel says:

    “Ethics and intelligence are synonymous. Ethical standards increase when intelligence increases.”

    Ever heard the term “evil genius”? The degree of your tendency to ignore the depth and variety of human psyche or subconscious issues is just strange to me. Or you really know nothing about them.

    “Some masochistic humans of low intelligence, circa 2012,” –Behavioural and emotional patterns are based on subconscious equations. Masochism has nothing to do with intelligence. Unfortunately, at this stage of our development, the ability of our consciousness to rule our subconscious is really low.

    Also, the article you wrote is unethical according to your very own standards: you say empathy and sympathy is at the core of ethical standards, and then you go insult and trod on all believers of all kinds. Er… where’s your empathy and sympathy deriving from your unimaginably high IQ?

    I find the tone of this article really very disturbing, and fascistic.

  21. BrknGlss says:

    From whence the pipe-dream that Greater Intelligence mandates Better Ethics? Disregarding for the moment that a Greater Intelligence may have a definition of “Better” far removed from your own apparently consciousness-philic definition, I do not see any causal linkage between the two phenomena. Simply because thus far we are the greatest example of Intelligence that we are aware of and we apparently (but not inarguably) have a better moral code than those those entities which we regard as intellectually inferior to us does not establish an irrefutable link between these two attributes.

    Anecdotally, history is replete with examples of very intelligent and very successful human sociopaths. Conversely, we can find innumberable examples of what at least appears to be great compassion and empathy even amongst those creatures whose intellect does not appear to match our own.

    One might even argue that your vicious attack on the Simulated Reality conjecture, let alone your repeated expressions of almost pathological exasperation with those you apparently deem less intelligent than yourself (which, unless I misread, you believe to be the overwhleming majority of all humans, yes?), proves either that A) Greater intelligence does not mean greater compassion, as you exemplify, or B) You are not nearly as intelligent as you’d like to believe and therefore your lack of compassion is understandable.

    But back to the original argument…

    Given the assumed intellectual difference between an average bacterial parasite and a human doctor trying to limit the damage the previous organism does to its host, are we minimizing that human doctors’s capacity for “compassion” or deriding her “ethics” when we recognize that the doctor’s efforts, if successful, will kill literally millions of instances of that parasite?

    Would it make a difference if those bacteria had a measurable consciousnesses? Even if the disparity between intellects was maintained? Might not it be a reasonable assumption that “The doctor knows best”? After all, the doctor is the smart one in this equation. Would the doctor be under some kind of ethical compulsion to get consent from each bacterium before treating the infected patient?

    If I hit my thumb with a hammer, do I get angry at the hammer? Do I get angry at a reality that allows me to do such damage to myself (And consequently declare that such a reality, by virtue of its cruelty, is therefore more “real”)? Isn’t the second ridiculousness only the logical extension of the first ridiculousness?

    You pontificate on the drives and goals and morals and ethics of an intellect that by definition is beyond all human comprehension and insist that what you claim to be true about humans, namely Greater Intelligence = Better Ethics (which has not been conceded by any stretch), continue to hold true.

    Only a human could be so arrogant.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      Dear BrknGlss, is there a connection between intelligence and ethics? Maybe some people think violence, immorality, cruelty are intelligent?

      I cited Steven Pinker’s exposition regarding decreasing violence. I also mentioned growing equality between sexes and races, the abolition of slavery. These are examples of increasing ethics. We also have higher standards of animal welfare, we try hard to limit the suffering of animals. The question is do these examples of increasing ethics represent increasing intelligence, are they products of greater intelligence?

      Let’s consider the relationships between black and white people or women and men. Is it rational to see black and white humans as being equal, is it rational to see men and women as being equal? If equality between humans is rational, if it’s logical, then what relationship does logic or rationality have with intelligence? If we become more logical, more rational, does this mean we have become more intelligent. The above mentioned ideas of equality are deeply linked to ethics, they are deeply rational, they are deeply intelligent.

      Why do many aspects of human civilization try to protect children or mentally retarded people? Children, or adults with the mental age of a child, are not intelligent in the way adults are intelligent but what is the reason for protecting them? Is it ethical or is it intelligent? could protecting humans of lesser intelligence be ethical but stupid? Logic tells me the linkage between ethics and intelligence is inseparable thus unethical intelligence is an oxymoron. Protecting humans of lesser intelligence is simultaneously ethical and intelligent because all examples of ethics are intelligent. Ethics is a product of intelligence.

      Historic examples of humans who applied their minds in sociopathic ways demonstrate stupidity not intelligence thus typically we see the self-destructive consequences of sociopathy. Self-destruction is not intelligent. Sociopathy is stupid because it delays progress which harms the sociopath.

      The intelligence difference between bacteria and doctors will not apply to humans and posthumans because despite the limitations of the human mind we do have minds, we can think, we can reason. The correct comparison between humans and posthumans would be the comparison between a baby and an adult. Humans compared to posthmans may appear to be mindless similar to babies. Newborn humans can appear utterly mindless but humans generally don’t kill babies because with minor tweaks the baby soon transforms into an intelligent adult, likewise humans with minor tweaks can transform into posthumans whereas the leap from bacteria to human is far more difficult even if the increase in intelligence is comparable to the human-posthuman transition. A clue to the similarity between humans and posthumans is the word “human” thus despite colossal intelligence posthumans will feel ethically obliged to humans; or maybe you think humans should be renamed as postbacteria?

      Animals with lesser intelligence can demonstrate ethics and they can demonstrate intelligence, but they don’t reach the level of ethics or intelligence demonstrable in humans.

      • ErikSMeyer says:

        This article is a bloated, repetitive jumble of ad hominem attacks punctuating an incoherent, poorly articulated attempt at argument.

        An aside: You know nothing of Nietzsche. I assume you were “influenced” by third hand quotes you skimmed online… though I suppose you may have actually tried to read one or more of his books (“Apes don’t read Philosophy!” “Yes they do, they just don’t understand it.”): Nietzsche’s hammer was a tuning hammer, not a sledge hammer; he was hardly a believer in the existence or desirability of equality, and described the particular little moral code you present as a Universal Prerequisite for Intelligence as the Slave Morality, articulated by the Last Man

        Anyway:
        1. You think only a creature of godlike intelligence (god) could create a reality simulation
        2. You think no godlike intelligence could exist that didn’t share your particular moral objections to such a simulation
        3. Thus a simulation is impossible

        This is bad theology, an atheist struggling with theodicy (who has probably never heard the term).
        Theodicy: Reconciling divine omnipotence and benevolence with the existence of evil

        You don’t think that God can exist in the face of so much evil. (Or rather, no God worthy of the name, certainly no God approaching omnipotence, or omniscience, could allow such evil to exist, could have created a world so filled with suffering, and injustice, etc.) It’s an ancient argument.

        What is most amusing here is that you give a kind of Christian response to the problem (Instead of saying, God is good by definition, so he must have his reasons, which we are not equipped to judge, you say,
        No god could be a god unless he were good, and no good god could create a world so full of suffering and evil, thus there can be no god (or at least this world could not have been created by a god).

        Nonsense. All of it.
        1. A god can be a god and not be good
        2. Even a good god could create this world (for reasons we cannot understand)

        What have the gods to do with your little rules of morality? Why should they care about equality or compassion or any of your little precepts of goodness? They are gods, they do what they’d like.

        There could be any number of god like intelligences who care nothing about you or the suffering of your world (who are either indifferent to it, uninterested, or actively enjoy it)
        The universe could have been created, as the Gnostics believe, by demiurges (demons), so that they could torture us to amuse themselves.

        And you rant, like a Calvinist, that the one Faith is so True, so Universal, it holds everywhere and always for all possible life! That even a god could not exist, by definition (!) unless he accepted it.

        You think humans are getting smarter because more of them pretend to believe in equality? What rubbish! Everyone from Plato, Aristotle, Caesar all the way down to Thomas Jefferson would have laughed in your face.

        Intelligence has nothing to do with morality (especially the way you define it).

        Brilliant men may be evil. Dullards may be good. (And what is called Good by some may be called Evil by others; what is good to some may in fact be evil to others, and both can be right, in context, as the Falcon and the Pigeon, about dinner)

        An evil brilliant intelligence could create a universe, or a simulation of a universe, full of suffering and horror, and care nothing for the harm he has done, or revel in it.

        I personally accept the existence of external reality as real (as the background position, for purposes of argument), but I have to concede that there is no way of knowing that it is real. It is one of those things we accept because it may as well have been established as being true (all other arguments are predicated upon it, or contextualized within it). Even if we were living within a simulation, it would be reality as experienced by us, and thus real enough for our purposes.

        Just as there is no way of knowing whether, even if “real” (not a simulation) it was in fact created by some intelligence.

        We may assume the real is real, without Affirmatively believing it Has to Be

        That seems to enrage you, but there are limits to what you can know, to what you can prove:
        Just because you don’t know something does not mean it isn’t there
        Just because you can’t prove something does not mean it isn’t true
        Just because you don’t like something does not mean that it is wrong (or impossible)

  22. Nyc Labrets says:

    Sigh.

    I have gotten high with Abbie Hoffman.

    If anyone can levitate the Pentagon it is that guy.

  23. Hedonic Treader says:

    Some people here are seriously overconfident in asserting what future posthuman beings will or will not want to do.

    One example from the article:

    Our “distant descendants” will have very intelligent methods for answering questions, solving problems. They won’t need primitive simulations. They will possess exemplary intelligence and ethics; they will have an exceptional sense of humanity, a deep sense of being humane, therefore either intentionally or unintentionally they will not subject real or virtual beings to agonising pain, torture, death.
    Complete conjecture, based on nothing but wishful thinking.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      I think it is very logical to expect futuristic beings to have very intelligent ways of solving problems. For example I am sure futuristic beings will have progressed massively beyond typing search terms via a keyboard, using Google, to gather data.

      The wishful thinking occurs when people apply our current parochial standard of intelligence to beings 30 or 40 years from now.

      Things such as reality simulations or committee reports or political steering groups will be utterly obsolete anachronisms. People won’t use Amazon for their products in the future, in fact all businesses will be obsolete, people will simply print whatever they want without any business acting as a middleman.

      You could argue simulations are very intelligent but I put forward the idea simulations are stupid due to the immense suffering they could cause.

      The future is all about increasing intelligence but what exactly will be the intelligent methods future beings use for solving problems. I think a futuristic mind will easily be able to make any prediction without needing to run a simulation, similar to how humans in the year 2012 don’t run a simulation to discover whether or not they will enjoy a holiday or a meal. Everything in the future will be as predictable as our hunger pangs, thus any problem will be merely solved via thinking about it, it will be comparable to thinking I need to cook some food and then cooking the food. No simulation is needed.

      It can however be difficult to imagine this futuristic intelligence from our current level of intelligence.

      • Hedonic Treader says:

        The overconfidence I see is not in the “very intelligent methods” part, but in the “exceptional sense of humanity, a deep sense of being humane, therefore either intentionally or unintentionally they will not subject real or virtual beings to agonising pain, torture, death” part. In other words, you assume ethical motivations on beings whose nature you don’t know.

        Intelligence is a tool, posthumans will probably have better tools. But ethics isn’t just a tool. It’s a dynamic system of cognitively and culturally distilled emotional tendencies. And there is no certainty about future emotions, because the potential variety in posthuman beings – and their emotional phenotypes – is very high, as is the variety of their potential cultural evolution trajectories. We simply have no sane method of making hard predictions about those details.

        Ancestor simulations could have as simple a motivation as current Renaissance fairs, role-playing games or works of abstract art. You may wish to think no one will ever create works of art that contain massive pain and suffering, but you have no sound basis to predict this; you specifically have no sound basis to predict strong universalized empathy on the part of beings whose emotional nature you can’t predict.

        • Eray Ozkural says:

          Ethics surely isn’t emotional tendencies. That’s a very primitive way of looking at the problem, you start sounding like the “rational” trolls who think “positive utilitarianism” is a good answer to ethics.

          • Hedonic Treader says:

            No, ethics is culturally and cognitively distilled emotional tendencies. If you think this is primitive, then please tell me what you thought ethics was.

  24. /:set\AI says:

    /:set\AI
    Member

    some of my FB replies:

    what does the simulation argument do? All it does really is to reveal that reality is programmable and imply that it is programmed by someone or something beyond you- yes religion did this but it had to rely upon a supernatural entity- simulism deals with naturally evolved agents using technology to control your reality- yet the result is the same- these categorical distinctions are nothing but memetic noise- re-contextualized archetypes- but notice that what is netted is a truth: the world IS a programmable virtual reality- that’s what human civilization and cultures are- and someone outside of you IS controlling your reality- I’m doing it right now with these words- I’m programming ideas and reactions in your brain- these are the sorts of usefel places that the rabbit hole goes

    many people mistakenly believe that these cosmic ideas about the ultimate implications of information technology will always be unprovable philosophy- but ALL of these issues will be resolved in just decades- not centuries or never- by 2050 the planetary hypercomputer will either have crossed the line of reflection where we become/remember we are the simulators of our own past- or we will simulate and join the multiverse network of postsingular civilizations including those that simulated us- or we will find that none of this follows and we will create a completely different metaverse and make the simulation hypothesis true for our own creations and ourselves going forward- but all futures converge in the same Omega Point virtual multiverse network rendered into reality- an unavoidable attractor in the combinatorial space of cosmic evolution- a Final Anthropic Principle

    the ” turtles all the way down” version of the simulation hypothesis is the naive popular idea- a kind of conspiracy theory that says we are alien ALife- it only moves the question of origins back a level- the more mature idea is to be found in things like Deutsch’s Fabric of Reality combining the pillars of Church Turing/ Tiplerian Omega Point cosmology/ virtual reality/ the Everett -Wheeler Quantum Multiverse- instead of an uncaused cause you get an Ouroboros Cosmology where the Omega Point in one of all possible futures creates itself in the past through the selection processes of sorting through it’s own configuration space that manifests the past that brought it into existence through simulation

    the idea of alien simulators being more statistically probable has some issues- first even though it is very likely alien civilizations are out there we cannot confirm they are- making it speculative from the start- like the possibility of paleocontact- secondly- we know there is an excellent chance that we ourselves will create these simulations in our future- therefore it is always far more likely that you live in an actual ancestor simulation- a simulation run by future posthuman artilects reconstructing this and other possible versions of human history- not aliens- I consider this outcome to also be a better answer for the question of Tegmark’s Quantum Suicide Gedankenexperiment- instead of an observer always observing some miraculous survival while all other observers mostly see them die- at death all observers simply wake up in the future – extracted from an ancestor simulation

    this is closely related to my most recent blog posting : “some people like Jim Elvidge think that the Simulation Hypothesis and the technological Singularity contradict- that if our reality is a simulation the simulators would not allow us to hack our reality and consume it’s computational resources- but for me the issue is quite straightforward and contains no contradictions AT ALL- when you look at the ultimate form computers take: black holes a world simulation likely runs on a black hole computer- and as John Smart explains in the Transcension Hypothesis the end state of any information technology is to condense into a black hole computer so it seems quite clear that as the planetary network approaches becoming a black hole computer- it will simply REVEAL that it already IS a black hole computer that was simulating it’s past[s] prior to collapse- the circle completes as the simulated become the simulators- Simulism is not about being some bug in an ant farm- it is seeing your future reflection in the Mirror of the Omega Point’s event horizon- history is simply the process of re-merging with that reflection”

    the Simulation Argument is NOTHING AT ALL like Russell’s teapot or the Flying Spaghetti Monster or any other UNLIKELY object- it is more like the argument for extraterrestrial life because we observe that life on earth is made of ubiquitous materials undergoing general processes that must obtain everywhere- likewise you can infer a Simulist ontology because of the discovery of discrete computational processes in nature [DNA/quantum mechanics] and understanding about Universality and equivalence- the world we see implies Simulism- it’s not merely a possibility

    I hate the idea of Simulism being perverted into a rational crutch for the weak who need to seek a higher power and purpose beyond themselves- the idea of a programmable universe should liberate you- show you a path to seize control and “storm the Reality Studio”

    Simulism is the ultimate no-lose proposition for the reasons hinted at above- if Simulism is right- it’s right- and if it’s wrong we will use our technology to make a virtual multiverse and create new virtual civilizations anyway- thus making Simulism correct IN THE END- and if you can program your present then the past is also up for grabs because the past only exists in it’s effects on the present- which will now be fully programmable – so any past can be synthesized and all pasts become equally ‘true’- you cannot escape it

    • /:set\AI says:

      oh- the reason I never addressed any of the moral arguments is because it should go without saying: there is no morality in a simulated reality since no harm can be done- everything is repairable and reconstructable- like in any video game suffering and death are merely temporary experiences- and this world I argue is the most ethical of all possible worlds anyway

  25. Hans Sachs says:

    What is your bias for free will/determinism?-if the former, I would say you still believe in a god. If the later, the idea the universe is cruel, blind, stupid (because, as you kept hammering-things suffer and die), is seen from a different light.

  26. Eray Ozkural says:

    “I can explain why involuntary or unaware simulations are illogical, they are extremely unlikely nonsense, but I cannot prove anything, therefore at the end it all hinges upon faith, do you believe in God (is our universe simulated)? Intelligent design is ludicrous, our universe is utterly random, very stupid, devoid of a designer, but people can argue God the “Simulator” created our world in this flawed way to test us, to refine theories; a character building or learning exercise. Human brains and bodies are far from being intelligently designed, which is ironically the reason why humans typically don’t have the intelligence to overcome their primitive thinking regarding the existence of an intelligent designer.”

    This is true. It’s not an argument, it’s just an expression of someone’s utterly irrational faith. Faith of this kind is, well, religious faith, always irrational belief. There is no real difference between this argument and the original scholastic Intelligent Design (watchmaker bla bla) argument that many successive philosophers debunked.

    So what happened during the time that intervened, since the intelligent philosophers, and the wacky new age nonreductionist dualist mysticist nonsense of today? LSD? Neurotoxins like DDT, Fluoride? Radiation? Hormones in our food? Brain virii? Misinformation from advertisements? I have no idea what happened, but something happened and we live in a substantially stupider world than in 1950. Unfortunately. We’ll find our way through, but that way means we have to gather our wits and confront idiotic superstitions as this, especially all variants of creationism, most notably modern flavors of intelligent design that they (the religious nutcases/criminally stupid people) use to deceive fools with.

  27. Eray Ozkural says:

    “The simulation argument or hypothesis is based, perhaps inadvertently, upon natural-evolutionary-original-reality almost certainly being impossible. If unwitting simulated reality is almost certainly possible then non-intelligent design (natural random evolutionary design) for the creation of universes is almost certainly impossible because according to Nick Bostrom “we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation.” If everyone in every universe is “almost certainly” living in a simulation, due to “an astronomical number of ancestor simulations,” this means a natural universe is almost certainly impossible. Considering the notion where participants in the simulation are unaware or unsure if they are in simulation, this means the likeliest possibility for the creation of all universes is a voluntary type of omnipotent creation, deliberate creation, where there is always, or almost certainly always, an intelligent designer responsible for creating all universes. All simulation notions, applied to hypothetically original reality, are therefore pseudo-scientific arguments for God, it is religious belief, which I reject.”

    Again brilliant. This is a brilliant refutation of the extreme and unwarranted conclusions drawn from some pretty strong assumptions for which there is no evidence or any real support. This is WHY the argument itself falls apart: it PRESUPPOSES THAT EVOLUTION DOES NOT WORK ON ITS OWN!!!!! So, it’s a way of saying “Man, I don’t understand theory of evolution, so I think I’ll just find a way to justify intelligent design in my head. Let me pick up that tab of acid!”

  28. Eray Ozkural says:

    “Logically we must conclude post-human civilizations will have zero interest in running ancestor simulations, although I dearly want our reality to be a simulation because then there’s a chance I can stop, right now, the agony of living in a moronic world. ”

    I thought anyone could see that. But clearly that’s not the case. Brilliant, SU, truly.

    No, there isn’t ANY logical reason for such stupid ancestor simulations. The future will be so much more complicated and INLUENTIAL than our barbaric, stupid, wasteful, past, that its effects will actually overwrite everything in the past. Nothing about the past will have to be maintained. Maybe some memories, and they will probably be evaluated with some distant contempt and amusement.

  29. Eray Ozkural says:

    I’ve read this article, and despite the flamboyant tone, it actually contains very sound reasoning. There isn’t much in it that’s obviously or intentionally false or invalid. In fact, it’s a great combination of continental “convincing” narrative and analytical refutations of the argument.

    I really enjoyed it. The relation between drugs and simulation argument you can deny. But I think it’s still there. Unfortunately, it’s a very well known fact that psychedelic drugs induce schizophrenia.

    Medieval solipsism, intelligent design, those idiotic “scholastic” arguments for god’s existence, like cosmological argument, etc. those are schizophrenia. IOW, GRAND STUPIDITY. It happens when your inference is not working correctly.

    It happens when you’re compromised by superstition. It’s really an IQ test. If you’re a bloody idiot and scientifically illiterate, OF COURSE, you’re going to believe in intelligent design, but you’re also going to believe in all sorts of nonsense, so it’s going to be easy to spot you.

    So if you’re unable to understand that this is a variation of intelligent design argument. Well, surely you should quit studying any philosophy because you’re not cut out for the job. There is no significant difference between this and theological versions of the intelligent design argument. There is no “improvement” in reasoning, nothing at all. It’s just ID dressed in scientific sounding jargon for pompous idiots.

    I especially liked the reference to Chalmers’s schizophrenic Matrix paper. He clearly thinks that we do live in a matrix, and our brains actually exist outside the simulation. As you might guess that would be an explanation for the idiotic “metaphysical” thesis of substance/property dualism. Why? Because he’s a sorry closet christian/theist and he actually believes the bible, but ask him and he’ll deny that.

    The only thing I’d recommend SU would be, to cut out the “guilty by association” parts because that’s considered a failure or argumentation nowadays. And instead focus on analytical reasoning which is better I suppose. I think it could be shorter and more focused. And it could actually be published in a philosophy conference.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      Yes I appreciate the guilt by association flaw Eray, thus I mentioned in the article how I wasn’t attempting to prove guilt by association.

      You are correct, it should be dropped and I will do so in future rewrites.

      Future versions will be very short and punchy. I focus on the key points.

  30. Peter Koller says:

    After reading this I was neither more nor less impressed with the idea of SU (I consider it an idea, supported by Bostrom’s statistical argument and at least worth toying around with).

    The author’s argument is basically that SU (simulated universe, not the author) is bullshit because its proponents are psyched-out hippies and that future superbeings would not run SU, because they wouldn’t want ot make their simulacrums suffer.

    Then the author goes on attacking SU by using statements of philosophers and scientists which they said in public for a general audience, goes on to compare SU with hollywood movies, pop music and fantasy literature. And we all know how out of context and simplified statements can get – just watch an episode of Brian Greene’s NOVA/cosmos documentaries.

    Having read some previous articles by the author I am convinced he/she has the mental capability to know and be aware of this. So what’s the intention behind this article?

    Where is the attack on the actual papers about SU and argument vs argument?

    Even Dawkins could more or less keep his temper at room temperature and explain religion away in God Delusion. I am sure the author of this article could have done the same.

    Why not?

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      Dear Peter Koller, opinion seems sharply divided on this article. Some people think my points are very valid and others think I am merely ranting, attacking people without justification or waffling inanely.

      I didn’t focus on the specifics of the actual simulation papers because I don’t deem the those papers to be the root of the problem, they are merely a branch of the problem. Hacking off a branch of a tree doesn’t stop the tree from growing. I wanted to attack the root of the problem, I wanted to point out how the rationale for creating unwitting simulations is flawed. I wanted hack down the simulation tree at the roots via highlighting the issues of ethical standards regarding torture, rape, murder, slavery or all the other painful things happening or which have happened in our world. The point is intelligent beings would NOT condone such barbarity, they wouldn’t condone such wilful suffering inflicted upon intelligent beings even if those beings (us humans) are significantly less intelligent than the creator. God (the hypothetical designer of of simulation), if a designer for our hypothetically simulated reality existed, would be intelligent enough to understand ethics. The creator of a universe would also be intelligent enough to glean answers to all problems without running simulations where intelligent beings are enslaved.

      The comparison to drugs such as LSD and magic mushrooms is not that simulation proponents are tripping. I am not saying they are on hallucinogenic drugs, although maybe they are, I don’t know, the point is that typical simulation thinking is a type of thinking which resembles the thinking of someone on acid. Simulation thinking and drug-induced hallucinatory thinking are comparable despite being different, there is also a comparison to psychotic thinking, or delusional thinking. If simulation thinking resembles the thinking associated with perceptual distortions, which occur after consuming hallucinogens or can be seen in psychotic people, then that similarity could indicate the simulation argument is an aberrant perceptual distortion. I am merely being metaphoric when I analogously state simulation devotees are high on the Matrix-hallucinogen. They are out of their minds tripping on absurdity thus in the midst of their delusion they see a vision of God creating our simulated reality. My metaphors or analogies are not the essence of my refutation. The key point is ethics. Involuntary simulations are utterly unethical.

      In future when abbreviating Simulated Universe I suggest you should use Simulated Reality (SR) or “A” (SA) for Argument thus avoiding confusion with the abbreviation of my name (SU).

      Wasting the glory of my mind on matters very far beneath me is very depressing thus I found the composition of my article very difficult, but despite the typos and the length of the article, or any other possible flaws, I think the article is good, a success, and a number have people stated it was good. It is merely a starting point for refuting the simulation nonsense.

      • Peter Koller says:

        Dear, SU, using the number of people finding something good to qualify the quality of something might work on American Idol, but, I hope, not here ; )

        I think, to assume that beings, who have the capability to simulate universes, share our ethical values, is as far fetched as the SA itself. Maybe they don’t give a fuck about pain/suffering, because our attitude towards it is just a negletable short time-episode in a simulation or just affects a tiny fraction of the simulations they run (if they are testing multiverse theories that can have 10^10^10.000 universes they might accept the collateral damage they cause in 10^1000 of them). Maybe they have to run those sims to save their asses – and their superbeing-butts would certainly be much closer to them than the ones of trillions and trillions of meaty biped-behinds. It would only be logical to simulate and murder everything inside the sim if your own survival depends on it, especially if the victims are amobea compared to your own godlike presence.

        My points are, just like yours, just like anyone’s, who tries to forecast the ethics of post-singularity beings, futile. I share your view on minimizing suffering in the universe and currently the world on a trend of reducing suffering, but I would not bet on our POV, because it is vastly different from the beings who will roam the universe in a million years. And there is another trend too: That all our former POVs were just plain wrong, I think we are just getting less and less wrong. So, probability says, we are very, very likely wrong again. And probability also tells us a figure about the SA and it doesn’t care about our attitude towards it.

  31. Keith Henson says:

    The modern version of the simulation argument might stem from a conversation Hans Moravec and I had at the first Artificial Life conference in Sept. 1987.

    Hans had a printout of the manuscript of Mind Children, about 2 inches thick (I almost used “thick as a phone book” but talk about an obsolete phrase.)

    He was rapping away to me about the ever falling cost of computation when I stopped him by saying “Hans, do you realize how unlikely it is that this is the first time we have had this conversation?”

    Hans got this really blank expression on his face, rare, considering he is one of the brightest people around. I explained that the falling cost of computation would allow simulating the history of the race, and like the Civil War reenactors, they would do it many times, reducing the probability of this event being the first time to near zero.

    I was probably inspired by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulacron-3 by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_F._Galouye which impressed me when I read it decades before this meeting with Hans.

    While the possible recent origin of this meme was lighthearted banter, it’s one that’s hard to easily dismiss. Our own probably trajectory into the future makes this possible, though we may not do it. (Frankly our past is grim enough not to want to relive it.)

    But it is a nagging problem, like that the Fermi question. Are we the first? Is this the base reality?

    Or if this concept is utter BS, what prevents it?

    I have concerns that are of the same class and possibly related. http://hplusmagazine.com/2012/04/12/transhumanism-and-the-human-expansion-into-space-a-conflict-with-physics/

    Keith Henson

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      Hi Keith, I did mention Simulacron-3 (AKA counterfeit world), which is the source of the film The Thirteenth Floor, but you can be forgiven for missing that due to my very long article (I am in the process of rewriting it into a VERY condensed format focusing only on the key points, which I will publish elsewhere).

      This is what I wrote above: “The horror of our reality means escaping into Permutation City, Counterfeit World (Simulacron-3), Implied Spaces, or The Thirteenth Floor can be desirable but fantasies are not attractive regarding serious thought therefore I reject the irrationally regarding involuntary or unaware simulations.”

      I think ethics prevents the creation of ancestor simulations, thus the simulation argument is utter BS. Even for beings of intelligence vastly exceeding our intelligence, it would nevertheless be utterly unethical for them to run ancestor simulations. Think about it, the level of pain and death caused via our world. No intelligent being could allow the drawn-out agony of this existence, but perhaps ethics is overlooked due to the minority social circumstances of well-to-do academics who are somewhat sheltered from the horrors of life, perhaps due to their limited humans minds they forget how painful is for a lot of people. The only way simulations can be possible is if all intelligent beings in the simulation have consented.

  32. Eray Ozkural says:

    Beware when theologians embrace an argument, never a good sign of anything!

    http://www.new-god-argument.com/

    More detailed comments, later.

    • Ellis Reppo says:

      Ed Fredkin view on the simulation argument and god.

      ” “Every astrophysical phenomenon that’s going on is always assumed to be just accident,” he says. “To me, this is a fairly arrogant position, in that intelligence—and computation, which includes intelligence, in my view—is a much more universal thing than people think. It’s hard for me to believe that everything out there is just an accident.” This sounds awfully like a position that Pope John Paul II or Billy Graham would take, and Fredkin is at pains to clarify his position: “I guess what I’m saying is—I don’t have any religious belief. I don’t believe that there is a God. I don’t believe in Christianity or Judaism or anything like that, okay? I’m not an atheist, I’m not an agnostic, I’m just in a simple state. I don’t know what there is or might be. But what I can say is that it seems likely to me that this particular universe we have is a consequence of something I would call intelligent.” Does he mean that there’s something out there that wanted to get the answer to a question? “Yeah.” Something that set up the universe to see what would happen? “In some way, yes.”

      http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/issues/88apr/wright.htm

      http://www.digitalphilosophy.org/essays/

  33. Schrodinger Carroll says:

    Forgiving the typos and repetitive re-phrasing,
    and appreciating the enthusiasm to correct erroneous thought with a philosophic hammer, I have to say that not only do I generally disagree with many of the premises this “argument” is trying to stand on, the several I do accept just do not lend much support to the thesis.

    The “scene” the “logic” is built on–anti LSD and psychedelics–is nothing but the explanation of a bias. What a foundation for a philosophical argument! I’m biased, too–rather oppositely, but my biases have no business in proving my point.

    Biased or not, a point-of-view is a very limited and absolutely unique subjective version of a reality we can only logically assume has any objectivity. The argument between the absolutism of either the Subjective or Objective is as old as thinking, and so I have no need to state the logical proofs or fallacies of either. I will, however, invite the reader to agree that we all experience a world that includes both. Can I get a “duh!”, or what?

    Ok. A “simulated” world is one that is constructed by one or many observers, right?

    Well, your own point of view arrives to you through a complicated process of selection and arrangement of data, most of which is unconscious and all of which is put together–assembled–simulated, or whatever you wanna call it in your brain and not mine. My point of view is in my brain that constructed it. These points of view are the totality of our respective subjective realities. These subjective realities are the only ones that either of us ever experience in our nervous-systems. If we are indeed experiencing a common objective world as common sense (not mystical/tripping sense) should tell us (an advantageous evolutionary trait?), then it still only reaches our brains as a unique creation as positively different from each other as it is impossible for two spacial points to occupy the same location.

    That–by definition–is a simulation. This fact actually endorses the idea of an independent objective world that is, however, unfortunately unlikely to ever be observed for what it really is by any observer. Unless of course, if it would be possible to synthesize the thesis and antithesis of Subjectivity and Objectivity, ala Hegalian “alchemy” and produce a Singularity uniting and transcending them both, as is the actual goal of Yoga.

    I leave that possibility up to anyone who would actually experiment with Yoga and it’s methods or shortcuts (such as tripping on acid with the proper controls implemented) to try and then judge for themselves. I personally would expect something of creative value coming from your success, should you find yourself believing to have achieved it, as both a validation that the complete union of Subject and Object is possible and as a contribution to the rest of the world that has lapsed into their mass “sleep”, or illusion/simulation, should we indeed tend to occupy such a “matrix”.

    I would use the discovery of the shape of the DNA molecule as a standard for rating your success.

    Don’t worry, that is much easier for you than if I used the fruits of what I reckon to probably be my own successes in this experiment , such as the time I apparently started a brushfire exactly on the point I was meditating while on heroic amounts of LSD, or the time a visible surge of electricity lept from my focus point to a poor party-kid’s head a few feet away on mushrooms. There were sober people around to verify both. I wont even go into my precognitions or the apparently “miraculous” recovery of the sick during healing ceremonies, etc. that is all very verifiable. Well the fact that these events happened are–my actual as opposed to apparent role in them is left for us all to add to our simulations as we either choose or let be chosen for us.

    Advice: Read Robert Anton Wilson, complete the eight limbs of Yoga and take a properly programmed trip “down the rabbit hole” before you try to sound smart regarding the facts of this topic–that way you can have some actual experience to build on instead just rationalizing whether or not it fits into your current reality-tunnel. And then smite the p-zombies with all your wrath!

    • Mark Plus says:

      >Advice: Read Robert Anton Wilson

      You mean the guy who said back in 1978 that we would have become “immortal” by now?

      http://rawilsonfans.com/next-stop-immortality/

      Uh, no thanks. Those late 20th Century druggies suck as “futurists,” and they show how transhumanists have a history of making heroes out of ridiculous people.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      Sorry about the typos Schrodinger Carroll. It’s very depressing wasting my time and energy explaining issues which from my viewpoint should be utterly obvious, thus I’m feel fighting against overwhelming despair. It is agonizing trying to explain all the points regarding how simulation devotees will attempt to evade the idea of the simulation argument being nonsense. It’s an amazing feat of courage that I managed to write the article in any shape or form. It is extremely tiresome focusing on the mediocre details of every word amidst the composition of a treatise addressing the flawed logic and mundane objections regarding inevitable responses from simulation advocates. It is hard keep focused on details due to the inevitable depression which arises from wasting the glory of my mind on matters very far beneath me. Hopefully the typos will be amended in a few days.

    • Mike says:

      Hi ‘Singularity Utopia’ (not sure the real/author’s name!)…
      I’d like to humbly invite you, if you’re so inclined, to our Facebook discussion group:
      http://www.facebook.com/groups/RationalScientificMethod
      We not only critique the establishments discrete particle theories and big bang, but work to provide new, rational (read: physical!) explanation for natural phenomena. I’m sure you’d have much to input, and we cover wide topics from the philosophy of science and ontology right up to economics and ecology. We’re impressed by your debunking of the Sim Arg.!
      I hope you can take the time to pop in, even just to say “hi”!
      Regards,
      Mike

  34. What if those who created the simulation are not so super-intelligent. What if it were you or I in 60 years time, body kept alive on drugs and bionics and your Ipod version 234353 hooks you up to a program called 2012 where you can relive your younger days as a philosopher?

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      Already in the year 2012 despite limited human intelligence there is a reasonable standard of ethics for human experimentation; there are clear standards regarding informed consent for mere inoculations or minor surgery. Note the Nuremberg Code regarding human experimentation, thus if we could create an universe simulation today we would not generally condone slavery, cruelty, murder or any other mistreatment of intelligent simulated entities. There are however malicious people such as Marc Dutroux or Josef Fritzl who would torture and enslave people if they could create simulations today. In 60 years time or only 30 years time circa 2045 human intelligence will have improved dramatically thus we will be far less likely to make stupid decisions. The likelihood of acting in a criminally negligent or malicious nature will be very remote, almost impossible in the year 2045. Artificial intelligence of a kind vastly exceeding Watson will ensure, if idiotic humans continue to persist, that humans do not harm other intelligent beings. AI will be the safety-check, like a self-driving car able to brake if a human fails to detect an imminent collision.

      There is nothing wrong with willingly entering a simulation if all the other intelligent beings in the simulation consent to it. People will be able to relive 2012 if they desire but any intelligent entities in the simulation will not be forced to relive 2012.

  35. I’m Reno from Anthrobotic.com, the dude who mentions acid in the intro to a much more light-hearted Simulation Theory piece. The opening is an attribution to Bill Hicks, a well-known American comedian. The title of the piece combined with the text in the main image reflects on one of his more famous statements on the nature of reality. The piece has nothing to do with drug use, everything to do with life being “just a ride,” as he used to say. So yeah, just – you know – context.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      Yes we discussed this on my Google+ personal profile. I decided to include the “acid” and “dream” reference merely because you had connected them to the simulation argument. It might just be about the “ride” but the connection to hallucinations or unreal states (such as dreams) has been made regarding the simulation argument and this is worth mentioning.

  36. Dranorter says:

    Maybe it is for the sake of rhetoric, but I think you are overclassifying people as either stupid or intelligent. Intelligent people have stupid ideas and fail to catch their own faulty logic, because intelligent is a hard problem. Arbitrarily intelligent beings in the future will still do stupid things too.

    Also I don’t think simulating a part of history adds to suffering, it just allows access of that same identical suffering. Adding 2+3=5 doesn’t affect that addition problem, which has an abstract existence, it just represents it in a human-usable form.

    Sorry if these are repeat comments, I do intend to repent & read the other comments later.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      Intelligent people will always have the capacity for stupidity but occasions of stupidity actually occurring will diminish correlated with increasing intelligence. The stupid design of our universe is such a flagrant error I doubt even a human circa 2012 (if we actually had the ability to design a universe, if we actually sat down to plan the creation of a universe,) would make such errors entailing immense suffering, which our universe does entail. At least I wouldn’t make such errors if I created the universe and I am only human.

      An exact replication of history is not history, it is not actually the original event, it is a replication thus it is additional suffering, thus the suffering is doubled, thus unconscionable.

      • Micah says:

        There is the No Clone Theorum in physics forbids an exact replication of a quantum state. That is, if the quantum state is exactly the same as another quantum state, then the two states are entangled. An exact replication then would not be a replication at all, it would be the same event. You can’t even say it’s the “same event happening again” because on the quantum level that would be nonsense.. So an “exact replication of history is not history” is not an accurate statement, at least in light of modern physics. For better or worse an exact, perfect “replication” of a quantum state would be the same thing. A perfect simulation of our history is not adding suffering, it’s just the same suffering.

  37. The Heretic of Ethic says:

    In order for intelligence to understand concepts such as “Compassion”, “Empathy” and “Sympathy”… it must first understand pain and suffering. Without mishap, the former emotions have no reason to exist. Without understanding why things are not preferable to do (They hurt, they are hurtful, they are mean), no intelligence has a reason to develop compassion, empathy or sympathy.

    (What is the definition of pain? What is the definition of mean? What are these things if they do not exist, and why are they not preferable if they have no existence?)

    There are more possibilities to the theory that we are living in a simulation than merely “An intelligent designer made it so”. We could be one of a trillion algorithmically generated realities, part of a generative computing program that tests parameters through universe creation. Like Kurzweil stated, we could be a committee created reality… perhaps the elements making up our universe are a scientific experiment of some sort to suss out a particularly curious equation.

    SU leaps to the conclusion that the simulationist theory is simply the Creationism argument with different wallpaper, and most of what is said is supported just by personal attacks disparaging the intellect and mental faculties of the individuals who entertain a theory.

    The thing about theory is that it doesn’t require belief, there are hypotheses as to how to test for evidence which may indicate we are existing in a simulation (Which, any one of which are proved right, does not require it be accepted as fiat truth).

    The second piece of SU’s argument is one of ethics, and again appeals to a notion of some Noble Futurian (Ironically enough, probably as inaccurate as the idea of the Noble Savage), ignoring the varieties and vagaries of the human psyche.

    One of the commenters made the comment that nobody in their right mind would simulate Auschwitz. Where does this assumption spring from? It is conceivable in ten thousand years that we are so far removed from Auschwitz as to view it curiously through a historical lens.

    Would the same argument hold for the battle at Thermopylae? Would no-one simulate that, the desire to participate as a Spartan soldier in one of the greatest battles of all time?

    See, the problem with the idea that a simulation creator would ethically not create simulacrums that feel pain or suffering is that you are assuming some baseline that all simulation creators will be the same in.

    People are not the same. With some luck, we never will be.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      People are not the same and people will change. Intelligence is however the key thing to focus on. Greater intelligence will given greater reasoning ability, thus diversity and individual perceptional biases will be respected. Beings of the future could be sadistic or masochistic or immune to pain (I don’t think this will be the case though) but they will be able to understand how pain is perceived by humans similar to straight people are beginning to understand how the rights of Gay people should be respected despite straight people not actually being Gay.

      We can understand how a war today is equally horrific compared to a war thousands of years ago. The The Battle of Thermopylae is essentially no different than the invasion of Iraq. How would the alleged creators or creator of the universe feel they had their liberty taken away, I am sure no matter how much perceptions change they will understand freedom, the ability to be free from pain or death, the ability to determine your own life, and if they existed they would apply the freedom to humans.

  38. Daen de Leon says:

    You’ve accepted only the third of the three of Bostrom’s propositions (“You are almost certainly living in a computer simulation”), which strongly implies that you’ve rejected the first two (“Almost all civilisations at our level of development become extinct before becoming technologically mature” and “The fraction of technologically mature civilisations that are interested in creating ancestor simulations is almost zero”). This is strange; you have ignored the entire argument in order to focus on a proposition which is meaningless in isolation.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      The research by the physicists, which inspired my article, also rejects the other points, as most simulation devotees either consciously or subconsciously do. The focus by various commentators is that we are in a simulation, therefore I address their beliefs.

      It is like the penguin argument. We may or not be penguins, similar to how they say we may or may not be in a simulation, but via making the penguin argument (or the simulation argument) it is my assertion that proponents do place the greatest weight upon one of the points, the point that we are in a simulation or that we are penguins, there is an unconscious bias, a bias which has actually become conscious regarding the paper by the physicists which inspired my article.

  39. Zar says:

    Far too long and full of nonsense. Rest assured, your primary point stands out.

    The slavery-cruelty-increased_empathy part makes an interesting point.

    If this is a simulation, well, it started before we could really ask for ‘consent’. If there were any sort of anti-slavery law-custom, perhaps it would take the form of non-interference.

    Who fucking knows how intelligence will change in the future. Maybe empathy will keep increasing, but in ways unexpected. What if pain is a transitional period for low-end goal-seekers. Only to be overcome with significant development and increase in cognitive capabilities. [Maybe there are alternatives though ;b] The current state disagreeing with one’s goals sucks. A simple entity may have to experience this simply and sharply: pain. Could simpler life forms experience worse pain than humans then :( ?

    Crap! What if pain’s a trivial by-product of more accurate simulation. I hope this is a friendly sim-universe rather than a pandemic-esque game just getting started. Trying to wipe out humanity in a ‘simulation’ is pretty fun though >:)

    Also, is there a reason to think time flow in a simulation will be more than a few seconds in the simulating-world?

    Nonetheless, you have a point that should we reach the point where we can create such detailed simulation universes, perhaps the possibility that our universe is simulated will motivate us to be more empathetic to the creatures in the simulated universes.

    What if ‘pain’ as we know it is a transitional phase for embodied life? Further strengthened by nature’s demand we respond quickly. Do we end this issue with a ‘that’s life’? Empathy may change its form — especially if these simulated life-chains move beyond this ‘painful pain’ too.

    Let’s talk about the ethics of genetic algorithms squelching ‘worse fit’ problems :<.

    The "won't even a 'real', non simulated, universe's occupants have reason to believe they are in a simulated universe" point is also interesting. Unless there is something weird out there we haven't thought of and don't know about in their 'real' or 'base' universes, maybe they should. Oops, statistically we should be simulated, but who really knows~ Not that this changes how we should act in our universe at all.

    Are there computational limits on simulated universes?

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      On the issue of consent, humans could not give consent when the hypothetical simulation of our universe began. This however does not permit cruelty, slavery, murder, and abuse by the controller of the simulation regarding subsequent intelligent beings. If a being evolves intelligence within a simulation then consent must be sought for the continued participation of the being in the simulation. Consent must be sought from beings who are able to give consent therefore if beings have been forced to partake in something prior to having the capacity for consent then consent must be sought immediately at the point where consent can be given

      For example a person could be injured in an accident entailing unconsciousness; therefore upon admission into hospital they CANNOT give consent to medical treatment but their temporary lack of mental capacity, to give consent, does not mean it is ethical to ALWAYS deprive freedom (self-determination) from the patient when the patient subsequently gains consciousness. This issue is similar to how humans give birth to their children. During the early years of a child’s life the child is deemed not intelligent enough to have control over their life, thus many decisions are taken without the child’s consent, but when intelligence matures the child or young adult is given the choice in many aspects of life, and then finally they become an adult with all the rights and freedoms which being an adult entails.

      An intelligent designer of our universe would easily be able to predict the evolution of intelligent life, thus they would be ethically obliged to ensure any intelligent beings are consenting participants in the simulation, at the point when beings become sufficiently intelligent, which humans are. Similar to how it would be utterly unethical for parents to enslave their adult children merely because their children did not consent to be born, it is also utterly unethical when a hypothetical creator of our universe forces us to participate in an often fatal and painful simulation after we have evolved intelligence.

      Even if futuristic perception of pain and ethics changes into something barbaric from our viewpoint; an intelligent designer if they are intelligent would be obliged to comply with our ethical standards regarding murder or consent to immense pain (torture). Despite futuristic beings potentially being sadistic or nonchalant regarding the suffering they are causing to other intelligent beings, they would have the intelligence to see how their views should not be enforced upon other intelligent beings.

      I know how intelligence will change in the future, intelligence will become more intelligent, it will not revert to stupidity.

      It is possible time in a simulation could condense aeons into mere seconds but nevertheless the intelligent designer would have the intelligence to analyse in detail the smallest amount of time within the simulation, they would be utterly aware of what is occurring and what would be likely to occur in the simulation.

      Based upon the lack of provision for us to consent regarding this alleged simulation we call reality, I say it is illogical to posit an intelligent designer. Logic indicates we are definitely not in a simulation

      • Matt says:

        You consent to the simulation with every breath you take.
        You are free to leave at any time.

      • Zar says:

        If you don’t consent to living in this world, commit suicide. The choice has been made many times before.

        More intelligent beings may have more interesting things to pay attention to. They may have more interesting goals to pursue. Rather than worry about whether the ants in SimAnt suffer pain. Or about the immortality of simulated life forms.

        Hmm, I take it your a vegetarian?

        What’s wrong with living in a less-than-maximally-expansive world? As long as there’s enough there to satisfy the inhabitant’s goals. Some people don’t even bother to leave their home country.

        When is one ready to be an adult? By 13? 18? 25? Parents in some cultures see fit to oversee their childrens’ lives into the twenties as well, arrange marriages, et cetera. There are differences even among humans. Maybe we’re not there yet.

        We have a particularly strong sense of ‘freedom’ and the ‘right to go after one’s wants in as many ways as possible (within reason)’. I see pain as but a way we experience something against this.

        As long as the simulated world is broad and deep enough, even the adventurous inhabitants will be satisfied :) , especially if it is closed and they don’t know of other possibilities.

        A code against cruelty, slavery, abuse, et cetera BY A CONTROLLER would simply prevent the controller from interfering. No spontaneous skinnings. Phew, that’s good.

        In line with ‘freedom’, should not the inhabitants be free to develop as they will?

        Perhaps there will be codes against leaving any signs that they are in a simulated world, as this could adversely affect their well-being.

        All we really need here is some reason to keep the simulated separate from the simulators. [population? some odd form of self-preservation? a somewhat arbitrary choice? we're just not there yet? . . .]

        If we’re making a simulated world for a (simulated) entity, we may have to ethically make sure the world is suited for the entity’s goals, but in the case of evolution the entities adapt to the world. So, life emerges or not? — Maybe the dynamics of exactly how life forms emerge in different universes is very complex, even for more intelligent beings! [Heck, we could be one of many universes in a scientific experiment -- that would pretty easily explain non-interference]

        Pushing one’s views on others goes both ways. Some view it as a good thing: by pushing my ideas on you, I AM HELPING YOU. Others view it as bad. Forcing the simulated not to be ‘cruel’ to each other will be a breach of conduct as it strips the simulated of their freedom to act within their universe. The ideas to not be ‘cruel’ are already here.

        The largest problem here, I guess, is the cruelty of progress (by evolution) whereby inferior programs — people, life forms — die rather than changing as well. Maybe ‘they’ have a different perspective of ‘life’ than us though.

        I’m not really convinced we will necessarily bother being ‘ethical’, but even if we are, I can envision simulation ethics that don’t involve ‘consent’ — especially not ‘sure, leave the simulation’ consent. Along with our intelligence came our ability to commit suicide. A form of saying ‘no’ to living in this world.

        (Maybe when we die we do go to another world — give it a try ;p)

        Another idea: You really are just part of the simulation. How can you ‘leave’ it. What if the physics and chemistry are quite different from the simulating world? What if we simulated very simple few-celled life with different chemistry? It’s not like we could even really extract it from it’s ‘world’. I guess this could go under “we’re not there yet”.

  40. Dr. Nordstrom says:

    65/100

    see me after class

  41. There are many false and misleading claims in this article. I’ll point out one here. The article associates Mormon Transhumanists with “intelligent design”. I know many Mormon Transhumanists, and I don’t know one that believes in intelligent design.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      The issue of intelligent design, Lincoln, is in the context of what the Mormon Transhuman Association describes as neohumans: “Are you living in a world computed by neohuman Gods?” I realise the Mormon Transhumanist Association does not represent every Transhumanist Mormon but they do represent many, and they do advocate a Transhuman type of intelligent design.

      You see the simulation argument IS intelligent design, it is all about an intelligent designer, which is why during a religious video interview Ray Kuwzeil said an “intelligent designer” could have created our universe. Your “New God Argument” is intelligent design although you may not realise it similar to how Nick Bostrom may not realise his SA is ID.

  42. Peter says:

    I made the decision to reject the original and publish this second version. Any blame therefore rests with me. As I stated in my note at the outset, personally I find plenty to disagree with here but I didn’t want to censor SU either. I appreciate the direct feedback on my decision.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      A point to note is that H+ content from others is not being omitted due to this article of mine. I am not taking the place of other contributors thus you have more content rather than less. With every magazine there will occasionally be articles you may not agree with thus you can move on to the next article.

      This article could be refined but as a starting point for criticising the simulation argument I think it is worthy of publication.

  43. Dave says:

    I can’t remember when I’ve read something so long with so little substantive content. Whoever rejected the first draft should’ve stuck to their guns.

  44. Samantha Atkins says:

    This egregious accusatory crap does not belong in this publication. I am ashamed to read it here. The Simulation Argument does not say anything at all about how one lives one life or that one takes life seriously. I think the SA is a very weak and questionable form of argumentation but claiming it is mystical, pseudo hippie (as if hippies were a bad thing) brain rot and attacking about anyone of much name in H+ is ridiculous.

    Strange that the same author that is known for penning super Utopian sweet post-singularity by and by prose shows ver psychological flip side with this public dump taking.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      Variety is the spice of life.

      The image of tripped-out hippies does create a good analogy to highlight the deficient logic exhibited by simulation argument proponents.

      Regarding the White Rabbit lyrics by Jefferson Airplane, it should be noted how logic falls “sloppy dead.”

  45. Matt says:

    You will become superhuman.
    Able to create new universes.–
    Singularity Utopia

    “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: PS means everything will be be free, at no cost. Pocket universes, Grandpa universes, universes and galaxies in any size or shape according to your desires, in any way your “intelligence” sees fit. Suns tucked under your armpits, and black-holes swirling about your head if you desire. There will be no limits, the only limits will be those you choose to impose. You will be free to do whatever you want; there will be absolutely no price. Of course all the sensible beings will probably leave you to your own devices and they will disappear into their own universes.”
    –Singularity Utopia

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      Universes can easily be created I do not deny this. My point is that the universes created by intelligent beings will be intelligent, not idiotic travesties of intelligence which our universes is. Intelligent beings in the future will be able to create universes very easily but they definitely will NOT enslave intelligent beings within those universes. It would be utterly unethical to compel beings to participate in a simulation with consent.

      An super-intelligent being could easily create a universe without harming any lifeforms.

      Being free to do whatever you want, in the PS sense, is within the context of intelligence thus intelligent beings will not want to become sadistic psychopaths despite being free to do so.

      • Singularity Utopia says:

        typo: “with consent” should be “without consent.”

        It would be utterly unethical to compel beings to participate in a simulation without consent.

        Participation in the simulation must be WITH consent.

      • Bryant says:

        “An super-intelligent being could easily create a universe without harming any lifeforms.”

        A universe that is incapable of harming lifeforms is a universe without lifeforms. Part of being an intelligent entity is having the capability of being harmed in some way.

        • Singularity Utopia says:

          A failure to envisage a universe where creatures great and small are not harmed is merely an conceptualisation failure. With sufficient intelligence it would be easy. At the very least it would be easy to avoid hurting intelligent life in any way. Via synthetic-biology various sophisticated organic structures could be created without those structures being lifeforms, furthermore an intelligently designed ecosystem or universe would be far more vivid, vibrant, and diverse than our random dumb universe.

        • Peter says:

          Intelligence does not require danger or threat of harm and this can be demonstrated in simulation. For example, the desire for optimization of resources in a complex dynamic environment should be enough to generate intelligence without conflict or warfare.

  46. David Pearce says:

    David Pearce Just a note that the Simulation Argument (SA) doesn’t purport to show that we’re living in a Simulation. For what it’s worth, last time I asked Nick, he assigned the Simulation Hypothesis (SH) a credence of no more than 10%. Rather SA’s bite lies in how it seems to show that if any of (what naively we call) our descendants do run ancestor simulations – a conjecture that many futurists find plausible – then statistically we would seem likely to be in one of them.

    Once again, for what it’s worth I think the SA contains suppressed premises regarding the nature of meaning and reference that we should question; and I’m sceptical of the possibility that software-based phenomenal minds can exist at some level of computational abstraction. But a variety of rebuttals of SA have been attempted; and the scholarly consensus seems to be that none of them have yielded a knock-down refutation.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      Yes David I appreciate the sitting-on-the-fence non-committal stance regarding the 3 points of the argument, but I think this is disingenuous. I compare the issue to Christian intelligent design of the human body, where typical ID proponents don’t say humans are definitely intelligently designed, they merely say we could be intelligently designed.

      I think if there is a 10% chance we are in a simulation there’s a 10% chance the penguin argument is true, but people don’t discuss the penguin argument because it doesn’t appeal to their subconscious yearning for God, escapism. The penguin argument brazenly displays its preposterousness whereas the simulation argument cloaks its preposterous with an illusion or delusion of respectability, but both arguments have equal logical or illogical merit.

      My key point, which I fear became lost in an attempt to cover all possible objections, is that enslavement and torture of intelligent beings is unethical. Humans already with our primitive brains can see how inflicting pain on lesser beings is unethical. Logically, ethics increases in relation to increasing intelligence; this is a faultless notion, thus the simulation argument is merely a hallucinatory-penguin-argument-acid-trip, it is nonsense but it is appealing nonsense for some people. Ethics prohibits involuntary inclusion of intelligent beings in a simulation. The problem is that when discussing the simulation argument people idiotically fail to address the ethics of creating universes in a reckless manner.

      A simulated universe where the participants have not consented is a utterly despicable act, diabolically unethical, which no intelligent being would permit.

      • David Pearce says:

        SU, I essentially agree with you. How are the raw feels of our hypothetically “simulated” phenomenal pains different from real phenomenal pains?
        But whereas everyone finds the Penguin Hypothesis literally incredible, not so the prospect of running ancestor simulations. Ask someone whether they think our descendants will run ancestor simulations, and many futurists reflexively think yes: doing so sounds a cool idea. But it’s not really a cool idea. Thus ask anyone whether our descendants are likely to recreate Auschwitz, and the prospect seems self-evidently absurd. These responses are not mutually consistent.

        However, I don’t think we should take anyone to task for “sitting on the fence”. In futurology, an open-minded but lame-sounding “I don’t know” is often the most honest response.

        • Singularity Utopia says:

          David, many people think many things are ludicrous while other people find those same things to be utterly sensible. The God Hates Fags brigade think they make perfect sense and the creationists really think our world is around 10,000 years old. I think simulation proponents are equally deluded thus they consider something to be sensible when it is essentially an LSD Penguin Hypothesis.

          The prospect of our descendants running ancestor simulations is as ludicrous as humans actually being penguins.

          You have hit the nail on the head when you say futurists reflexly agree with the simulation idea merely because it sounds cool, they have not thought it through. They are applying 2012 ethics and intelligence to futuristic beings. It is comparable to Vikings imagining how eight thousand years in the future they will be able to do lots of raping, pillaging, and enslaving due to increased populations, they fail to account for how culture and minds will evolve. Incidentally one theory for Viking Berserkers is that they consumed the hallucinogenic fly argaric red and white mushrooms.

          My point about sitting on the fence is that it is a façade, it is an illusion of rationality portrayed to advance an untenable premise. Despite allegedly sitting in the fence the simulation proponents demonstrate a clear bias in favour of our reality being simulated. If you read between the lines, their silence or fence sitting speaks volumes. This is how Christian intelligent design proponents promote their theory; they know they can’t clearly state we are definitely intelligently designed because such a clear statement would be revealed as nonsense, thus they merely raise ID as a possibility. I suspect Nick and others would like to state definitely our reality is simulated but reluctantly they must sit on the fence because they do have some intelligence therefore they realise they cannot let their fantasises run totally wild, but if you look beneath the veneer you will see the fence sitting is a façade.

      • some guy says:

        @Singularity Utopia, you make a blatant strawman in regards to the simulation hypothesis, in which you misrepresent it as a simulation conclusion. it is merely a syllogism. you talk about anti-intellectualism and how it is poisonous to free thought, yet you use sophistry throughout this tl;dr. invoking nietzsche doesn’t make you “intelligent” or “independent”- a cogent argument without baseless and unsupported appeals to authority does. i do agree with you that a “simulation” is most likely not the best way of thinking about our universe (simulations take place within our universe and, to our knowledge, only by human intellect.) Non-cognitivism is the noises reasonable people make in the presence of metaphysical statements.

  47. Dirk Bruere says:

    Without merit – it’s the kind of blinkered conservative opinion I associate with “men in suits” discussing “hippies” circa 1969.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      I should point out I am reasonably experienced with taking drugs recreationally, although I have not taken anything in over 10 years. I am not a blinkered conservative. I am not a prim and proper straight-laced reactionary. I know first hand how mushrooms, LSD, and other drugs distort perception. I have even been to an acid house rave. :-D

    • Jess says:

      what does simulation have do with GOD????

      this simulation theory is about COMPUTER SIMULATION with humans involved.

      The bible doesn’t mention anything about that.

      unless you’re referring to another god i’m lost here. I didn’t read the whole thing but doesn’t make sense.

  48. Eray Ozkural says:

    Surely, nobody with an IQ significantly above 100 would consider any postmodernist BS as serious philosophy. Sorry to break it to you, but new age nonsense is just pseudo-philosophy.

  49. Singularity Utopia says:

    It is interesting that on the one hand psychoactive drugs can allegedly cure mental illness and on the other hand drugs such as LSD and mushrooms can induce psychosis.

    The point which is not in doubt is that drugs DO impair perception – thinking is impaired, which is provable by dosing anyone with a couple of acid tabs and then asking them to drive a car in busy traffic a couple of hours later when the tripping is under-way.

    The impaired perception of psychedelic drugs indicates the perceptually distorted reality of trippers is not good for clear thinking, unless you want to crash your car while tripping on acid, but distorted perceptions could be good for Alice in wonderland fantasies or free-association therapy where a patient discusses his or her deepest fantasies with a therapist. Just don’t try to drive your car or do anything level-headed after an LSD therapy session.

  50. BrknGlss says:

    There is rather a large connotative as well as denotative difference “impair” and “alter”.

    Altered perceptions are not necessarily impaired.

    After all, a good set of glasses will certainly alter one’s visual perceptions. I’d hardly call that impaired.

  51. dae says:

    have fun chasing success to the point where civilization leaves you behind and you get run over by the train. I’m sorry no one with an IQ above 100 would accept modernism. They would realize that often the “hope” of starting a new corporation is a pipedream and that the only thing there was was to fall in line to the corporate hoop jumping. Most seriously academic and intelligent types disdain a world that treasures success above all else and makes life about anything but love.

    My IQ was 144 when it was measured at 13. Thank you. Life is NOT about success. it’s about whatever makes you happy.

    Modernism is not a serious philosophy. It’s a black hole of illusion most people fall into thinking they’ll be able to die with the most toys. Sorry. The game was rigged quite awhile ago. The train left about 100 years ago.

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