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Are We Living In A Simulation?

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Was reading this paper and found it very interesting. Could we be living in a simulation?

It makes the argument that if in the future humans ever run a significant number of simulations with simulated concious minds in then we are almost certainly living in a simulation, it also asserts that even if we ran these simulations ourselves we couldn't be sure that we weren't in a simulation as we could have advanced enough within it to design our own, infact if we manage to make such a simulation it would mean that we were almost certainly living in a simulation ourselves.

Basically nobody could ever know if they were in a simulation or in a simulation within a simulation within a simulation.....etc etc

Read the whole paper it's an interesting read.

http://www.simulation-argument.com/simulation.html

This paper argues that at least one of the following propositions is true: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor-simulations is false, unless we are currently living in a simulation. A number of other consequences of this result are also discussed.


A technologically mature “posthuman” civilization would have enormous computing power. Based on this empirical fact, the simulation argument shows that at least one of the following propositions is true: (1) The fraction of human-level civilizations that reach a posthuman stage is very close to zero; (2) The fraction of posthuman civilizations that are interested in running ancestor-simulations is very close to zero; (3) The fraction of all people with our kind of experiences that are living in a simulation is very close to one.

If (1) is true, then we will almost certainly go extinct before reaching posthumanity. If (2) is true, then there must be a strong convergence among the courses of advanced civilizations so that virtually none contains any relatively wealthy individuals who desire to run ancestor-simulations and are free to do so. If (3) is true, then we almost certainly live in a simulation. In the dark forest of our current ignorance, it seems sensible to apportion one’s credence roughly evenly between (1), (2), and (3).
Unless we are now living in a simulation, our descendants will almost certainly never run an ancestor-simulation.



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pje1979 wrote:Was reading this paper and found it very interesting. Could we be living in a simulation?


No. It's all bollox.

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The Vonz wrote:
pje1979 wrote:Was reading this paper and found it very interesting. Could we be living in a simulation?


No. It's all bollox.

:roll:


Lol

Harsh.

But kind of what I was thinking.

Interesting reading though, OP. Although I think scientists try to read too much into our 'existence'. I have to agree with the vonz on this one. ;)




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Well I'm not sure what I think. I can see where the paper is coming from. If we ourselves ever managed to run such a simulation thus proving it possible would that change your opinions?

It would certainly sway me more towards believing we could be living in a simulation.



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It is a very interesting read. Although with out looking too much into it, it makes the mind boggle. I suppose everything is a possibility unless proven otherwise. Thanks for the article though. I enjoyed it.




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This is a skeptic position. Descartes would agree it's possible.



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pje1979 wrote:Well I'm not sure what I think. I can see where the paper is coming from. If we ourselves ever managed to run such a simulation thus proving it possible would that change your opinions?

It would certainly sway me more towards believing we could be living in a simulation.


Interesting indeed. The article proved far too technical for me, but it makes sense that if it's theoretically possible to run simulations of that kind, the possibilty of currently living in one surely cannot be dismissed al that easily.



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Sonne wrote:
pje1979 wrote:Well I'm not sure what I think. I can see where the paper is coming from. If we ourselves ever managed to run such a simulation thus proving it possible would that change your opinions?

It would certainly sway me more towards believing we could be living in a simulation.


Interesting indeed. The article proved far too technical for me, but it makes sense that if it's theoretically possible to run simulations of that kind, the possibilty of currently living in one surely cannot be dismissed al that easily.


Yes exactly. It boggles the mind a bit but if a simulation is possible then the likelihood is we are living in one, as it's very unlikely that we are the fist people to invent one, by that I mean if advanced civilisations do/have made many simulations then that would mean more people live in a simulation than not, which in turn would mean we are more likely to be living in a simulation than not.



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For example say an advanced civilisation can run a simulation of the world & Universe on their home computer and lots and lots of that civilisation decided it would be fun to run such simulations, then you could have a situation where the population of their world was X billion but the number of people in worlds they're simulating is X Billion multiplied by the number of simulations, if the number of simulations was substantial then that would mean there could be millions more simulated worlds than real ones, if that was the case then it would mean that you were almost certainly living in one, it would also mean they were almost certainly living in one. There could be many layers of simulations and it would be impossible for anyone to be able to tell if they were living in one or not.

The simulated reality doesn't have to be the same as the people's running the simulation as reality would be what ever the simulators wanted it to be, this could mean there are many layers of simulations and many layers of different realities.



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pje1979 wrote:[...]

The simulated reality doesn't have to be the same as the people's running the simulation as reality would be what ever the simulators wanted it to be, this could mean there are many layers of simulations and many layers of different realities.


The experiment that seems to confirm this is the 'delayed consciousness experiment' by Benjamin Libet, which appears to demonstrate that supposedly conscious decisions are already settled before we become aware of them.

"Libet asked his experimental subjects to move one hand at an arbitrary moment decided by them, and to report when they made the decision (they timed the decision by noticing the position of a dot circling a clock face). At the same time the electrical activity of their brain was monitored. Now it had already been established by much earlier research that consciously-chosen actions are preceded by a pattern of activity known as a Readiness Potential (or RP). The surprising result was that the reported time of each decision was consistently a short period (some tenths of a second)after the RP appeared. This seems to prove that the supposedly conscious decisions had actually been determined unconsciously beforehand. This seems to lend strong experimental support both to the idea that free will is an illusion (at most, it would seem, there is scope for a last-minute veto by the conscious mind - a possibility which has been much debated since) and to a form of epiphenomenalism. "

http://www.consciousentities.com/experiments.htm



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Thanks Sonne very interesting. I love talking about this kind of stuff, although it does boggle the mind.I guess it's hard for a person in our reality to think about other realities, our brain is not really built to understand things outside of our experience of reality.



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This is a very interesting subject for me. For some reason I've only just come across this thread, :)

I am very open to the possibility that we could be living in a computer universe simulation. Although the computing power required for such a simulation would be HUGE how long before the human race, assuming it survives long enough, will have enough computing power? Not that long in the grand scheme of things if you extrapolate the current rate of increase. certainly within the next thousand years easily. within the next 100 years? Quite possible.

Current knowledge tells us that the fundamental particles of the universe are all forces with certain attributes. nothing is solid. It is only perceived as being solid. therefore matter doesn't really exist except in a sense which can be replicated by software.

The 'system' which allows to perceive the universe, and indeed confirm it's existence is only really software running on the processor called the brain.

Simulation? why not? maybe the 'GOD' some people believe in is the 'programmer' :D :D

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Hmmm very interesting, but a load of old to...<Invalid Operation>

Dumping Core to \\Universe\v2\debug\build 30004\output

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smeggypants wrote:This is a very interesting subject for me. For some reason I've only just come across this thread, :)

I am very open to the possibility that we could be living in a computer universe simulation. Although the computing power required for such a simulation would be HUGE how long before the human race, assuming it survives long enough, will have enough computing power? Not that long in the grand scheme of things if you extrapolate the current rate of increase. certainly within the next thousand years easily. within the next 100 years? Quite possible.

Current knowledge tells us that the fundamental particles of the universe are all forces with certain attributes. nothing is solid. It is only perceived as being solid. therefore matter doesn't really exist except in a sense which can be replicated by software.

The 'system' which allows to perceive the universe, and indeed confirm it's existence is only really software running on the processor called the brain.

Simulation? why not? maybe the 'GOD' some people believe in is the 'programmer' :D :D


Exactly and if we are only a reasonably small amount of time away from being able to run such a simulation what makes us think we are so special that we will be the first ones to have run one?

Of course it's impossible for us to say either way because a simulation would be written in such a way that the people in it couldn't detect it. Of course our knowledge of science would only be knowledge of the science within the simulation, science might be totally different outside our simulation.

We would not notice a 'hiccup' within the simulation because we would see them as normal phenomena especially as most people aren't looking for problems within a simulation. Even if the simulation was to crash the simulation could be rolled back to before the crash occurred so nobody would ever know.



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MartinJ wrote:Hmmm very interesting, but a load of old to...<Invalid Operation>

Dumping Core to \\Universe\v2\debug\build 30004\output


I like that!

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MartinJ wrote:Hmmm very interesting, but a load of old to...<Invalid Operation>

Dumping Core to \\Universe\v2\debug\build 30004\output


ROFL :)


This Reality cannot be displayed

The reality you are looking for is currently unavailable. The Universe might be experiencing technical difficulties, or you may need to adjust your perception settings.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Please try the following:

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pje1979 wrote:
smeggypants wrote:This is a very interesting subject for me. For some reason I've only just come across this thread, :)

I am very open to the possibility that we could be living in a computer universe simulation. Although the computing power required for such a simulation would be HUGE how long before the human race, assuming it survives long enough, will have enough computing power? Not that long in the grand scheme of things if you extrapolate the current rate of increase. certainly within the next thousand years easily. within the next 100 years? Quite possible.

Current knowledge tells us that the fundamental particles of the universe are all forces with certain attributes. nothing is solid. It is only perceived as being solid. therefore matter doesn't really exist except in a sense which can be replicated by software.

The 'system' which allows to perceive the universe, and indeed confirm it's existence is only really software running on the processor called the brain.

Simulation? why not? maybe the 'GOD' some people believe in is the 'programmer' :D :D


Exactly and if we are only a reasonably small amount of time away from being able to run such a simulation what makes us think we are so special that we will be the first ones to have run one? [/quoet]

... adn there's no reason why simulations couldn' be run inside simulations

Of course it's impossible for us to say either way because a simulation would be written in such a way that the people in it couldn't detect it. Of course our knowledge of science would only be knowledge of the science within the simulation, science might be totally different outside our simulation.

We would not notice a 'hiccup' within the simulation because we would see them as normal phenomena especially as most people aren't looking for problems within a simulation. Even if the simulation was to crash the simulation could be rolled back to before the crash occurred so nobody would ever know.


... and if the simulation was 'paused' for some reason we would not notice it as our perception of time would be relative to the 'qunatisations' of the simulation's sample rate. The actual rate of the simulation could vary enormously and we'd never even realise it.

This happens with Digital Audio software now. You can either sync the samples to the audio card's clock for realtime output or process the audio in non real time -( as when rendering to a file to be played back later ), and it will happen at a speed that processing allows.

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Just giving this a bump. :)

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I have always wondered this myself, and considered that there could be some foundation to think so, I mean, some say we are always set on a path in our life and that most of us follow it, so that could be pertaining to a computer programming that had long been written for us. Maybe FATE is the word of the program itself, much like MS Word, etc...

And what about Deja Vu? Anyone who saw Matrix would know their suggestion that deja vu could be a glitch in the program, or maybe it could be that we have been run through this program before, and are simply running it again, to improve it. Sometimes, we follow the same route every time, and sometimes, we do better.

Children, and new babies could be new written programs. And why not? Maybe once in a while the computer decides to erase other programs, through death etc and then replace it with better, maybe more sleeker files. Files... lol I know, I am thinking of us as files, but I have always wanted to write a book on the idea, until Matrix came out. There are so many possibilities with being a simulation really. Maybe we are just an experiment, to see if we can get it right. The big bang could be the computers being turned on lol.

I am off to the mental house now, sorry. :rofl:

No, but seriously, I have considered it. And some people have considered me mad for doing so, but if there is just the slightest chance... why not? Anything is possible.

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Jericho wrote:I have always wondered this myself, and considered that there could be some foundation to think so, I mean, some say we are always set on a path in our life and that most of us follow it, so that could be pertaining to a computer programming that had long been written for us. Maybe FATE is the word of the program itself, much like MS Word, etc...

And what about Deja Vu? Anyone who saw Matrix would know their suggestion that deja vu could be a glitch in the program, or maybe it could be that we have been run through this program before, and are simply running it again, to improve it. Sometimes, we follow the same route every time, and sometimes, we do better.

Children, and new babies could be new written programs. And why not? Maybe once in a while the computer decides to erase other programs, through death etc and then replace it with better, maybe more sleeker files. Files... lol I know, I am thinking of us as files, but I have always wanted to write a book on the idea, until Matrix came out. There are so many possibilities with being a simulation really. Maybe we are just an experiment, to see if we can get it right. The big bang could be the computers being turned on lol.

I am off to the mental house now, sorry. :rofl:

No, but seriously, I have considered it. And some people have considered me mad for doing so, but if there is just the slightest chance... why not? Anything is possible.


Exactly, it sounds far fetched but is still a possibility in my opinion. We don't even have to be pre-programmed to follow a certain path, we could have free will within the simulation. Once computers are powerful enough to store many concious human minds those minds can be put inside a simulation and allowed to do what they want.

The further we got towards achieving this ourselves then the more likely the simulation theory becomes. This article is quite interesting, I also saw a TV programme about it a while ago:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Brain

Blue Brain is a project, begun in May 2005, to create a computer simulation of the entire human brain, down to the molecular level.[1] The aim is to study the brain's structure. The project is a collaboration between IBM and Henry Markram's Brain and Mind Institute at the École Polytechnique (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland.[1]

The project uses a Blue Gene supercomputer,[1] running as simulation software, the MPI-based Neocortical Simulator (NCS) developed by Phil Goodman, to be combined with Michael Hines's NEURON software. The simulation will not consist of a mere artificial neural network, but will involve much more biologically realistic models of neurons.

The initial goal of the project, completed in December 2006, was the simulation of a rat neocortical column, which can be considered the smallest functional unit of the neocortex (the part of the brain thought to be responsible for higher functions such as conscious thought). Such a column is about 2 mm tall, has a diameter of 0.5 mm and contains about 60,000 neurons in humans; rat neocortical columns, which are very similar in structure but contain only 10,000 neurons (and 108 synapses). Between 1995 and 2005, Markram mapped the types of neurons and their connections in such a column.

Now that the column is finished, the project is pursuing two separate goals:

1. construction of a simulation on the molecular level,[1] which is desirable since it allows to study effects of gene expression;
2. simplification of the column simulation to allow for parallel simulation of large numbers of connected columns, with the ultimate goal of simulating a whole neocortex (which in humans consists of about 1 million cortical columns).



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