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9/21/2018 9:53 am  #1

A Better Simulation Argument

I have come up with a better simulation hypothesis. It is a version of Bostrom's argument, which can be found here: His argument assumes that simulants could be conscious and rational, which I of course deny. But the argument can be reconstructed as to include "neural simulations" (brains in vats and the like), which obviously would be conscious and rational. Even after this is done, though, I believe the SA still would not work, because H3 of Bostrom's trilemma is self-defeating. 

But I believe the argument can be made to use the Self-Indication Assumption. The SIA says that one should reason as if one is a random selection among all possible observers. For example, imagine this scenario: A coin is flipped. If it lands on heads,10 observers are created; if tails, 1000 observers are created. The created observers do not know how the coin landed. If they reason according to the SIA and bet on tails, 99% of observers will guess correctly. Here is a more comprehensive defense of SIA: 

It is obvious how this relates to SA. BIVs could be created in far greater number than real people. If H1 predicts 100 billion humans, H2 predicts 1 trillion, and H3 predicts 2 trillion, there are 3.1 trillion observers. The SIA would then say there is approximately a chance of 2/3 that H3 is correct, because it contains approx. 2/3 of all possible observers. How do I refute this?


9/21/2018 3:06 pm  #2

Re: A Better Simulation Argument

In case at some future time you realize that you have allowed yourself to get entangled in a joke, here is a paper with a very good version of that joke:

Jörg P. Rachen and Ute G. Gahlings (2013), "Conspiratorial cosmology - the case against the Universe", Journal of Comparative Irrelevance (Letters), Vol 23, p. 966 (April 2013)

In case someone else sees here the grounds for an article in the intersection of philosophy and psychology, I suggest a title: "When a joke becomes a yoke: the case of people actually worrying about the simulation hypothesis, Boltzmann brains, and the like."

Last edited by Johannes (9/21/2018 3:15 pm)


9/21/2018 3:57 pm  #3

Re: A Better Simulation Argument

Why is the argument a joke? It seems many people take it seriously. Do you have any objections to the version I gave?

     Thread Starter

9/21/2018 7:01 pm  #4

Re: A Better Simulation Argument

[whisper mode on]
Psst... The real issue is that if awareness that we live in a simulation starts to spread, the Simulators will terminate it! So just pretend that you agree with what I said in my previous post...
[whisper mode off]

For serious refutations of the hypothesis (to the extent the subject allows seriousness at all), I suggest these two:

[1] Long article from a smart physicist, currently active in academia.

[2] Long article, based on [1], from an odd but smart physicist, long ago expelled from academia.

Additionally, you might want to read this Short coverage of the topic from a smart physicist, linking to two previous short coverages. Quoting a comment by him:

Peter Woit wrote:

"I’m now deleting any more comments explaining why the simulation argument is stupid. Yes, it is. Comments about the panels are fine, what’s intriguing here I think is why very smart people are involved in such a dumb argument, not the argument itself."


Last edited by Johannes (9/21/2018 7:07 pm)


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