Simulation hypothesis

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Herb Caplan
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Simulation hypothesis

Post by Herb Caplan » Wed Sep 18, 2019 11:57 pm

Supposing that some civilization, over all time (including the past and future), created an exact simulation of their world with high enough fidelity that its conscious minds were also simulated:

1. The inner simulation would create its own simulation (and recursively ever more nested ones) because the ancestor civilization it is based on also did.
2. Number of all Simulated Worlds > Non-Simulated World(s) ≥ 1
3. Simulated Minds > Non-Simulated Minds; a random selection of a conscious mind from totality of conscious minds in existence is more likely to draw a simulated one.
4. Therefore, if you are a conscious mind, it is more likely** that you are simulated.

** perhaps certain, like the chance you will not win the lottery is certain


Expanded argument:
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.
A posthuman civilization would have enough computing power to spin up a our-universe simulation as easy as we can turn on an iPad. The number of conscious minds that exist in simulations would far, far outnumber those in the ancestor reality. Additionally, the "ancestor reality" may itself be a simulation, and their simulations should also be capable of being an ancestor to their own simulations. The recursive simulations proliferate exponentially. The resources necessary to simulate is cheap relative to the total resources of a universe; the simulations could be very deeply nested.

You know that you are a conscious mind. But there is no way to know where you live in the hierarchy of simulations. So you take the null hypothesis. Assuming you are a random conscious mind of all the conscious minds, you are probably simulated. The whole world is.

Your only option as an unequivocal denier of simulationism is that all conscious civilizations (over all time and all universes—not just our Earth) have failed and will always fail to create a simulation. This reason encompasses the proposition that simulations are impossible. As soon as one civilization creates a simulation, suddenly #3 is activated without any doubt. If humans on Earth create a simulation in your lifetime, you are proven wrong; the lottery numbers are revealed. (Although one could still argue that, miraculously, he or she happens to belong to the first civilization in all of existence to witness as much, that would be as bold as lottery ticket buyer attempting to take out a loan against his assured future winnings.)
If you meet the Buddha (blessed be the arahant) on the road, kill him.

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DNS
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Re: Simulation hypothesis

Post by DNS » Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:12 pm

I think this could be compatible with some Mahayana and some other older, early schools of buddhism. I believe there were some called "mind only" and believed there was nothing real, all is just illusion. This simulation hypothesis could be an extension or evolved form of those older buddhist traditions.

Some buddhist schools believe truth is not set and that religion is a living tradition, open for change; evolution. And this could be seen as the next step in that.

However, I'm skeptical of this hypothesis, in general as there is no proof. I can't disprove it, but you can't prove a negative.

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Re: Simulation hypothesis

Post by DNS » Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:14 pm

Herb Caplan wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 11:57 pm

Expanded argument:
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.
I'll go with number one. Some rogue nation eventually will nuke the world, finishing the human species (before simulations can be set up) and this repeats itself in the universe on other planets with intelligent life.

tkp67
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Re: Simulation hypothesis

Post by tkp67 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:14 pm

Herb Caplan wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 11:57 pm
Supposing that some civilization, over all time (including the past and future), created an exact simulation of their world with high enough fidelity that its conscious minds were also simulated:

1. The inner simulation would create its own simulation (and recursively ever more nested ones) because the ancestor civilization it is based on also did.
2. Number of all Simulated Worlds > Non-Simulated World(s) ≥ 1
3. Simulated Minds > Non-Simulated Minds; a random selection of a conscious mind from totality of conscious minds in existence is more likely to draw a simulated one.
4. Therefore, if you are a conscious mind, it is more likely** that you are simulated.

** perhaps certain, like the chance you will not win the lottery is certain


Expanded argument:
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.
A posthuman civilization would have enough computing power to spin up a our-universe simulation as easy as we can turn on an iPad. The number of conscious minds that exist in simulations would far, far outnumber those in the ancestor reality. Additionally, the "ancestor reality" may itself be a simulation, and their simulations should also be capable of being an ancestor to their own simulations. The recursive simulations proliferate exponentially. The resources necessary to simulate is cheap relative to the total resources of a universe; the simulations could be very deeply nested.

You know that you are a conscious mind. But there is no way to know where you live in the hierarchy of simulations. So you take the null hypothesis. Assuming you are a random conscious mind of all the conscious minds, you are probably simulated. The whole world is.

Your only option as an unequivocal denier of simulationism is that all conscious civilizations (over all time and all universes—not just our Earth) have failed and will always fail to create a simulation. This reason encompasses the proposition that simulations are impossible. As soon as one civilization creates a simulation, suddenly #3 is activated without any doubt. If humans on Earth create a simulation in your lifetime, you are proven wrong; the lottery numbers are revealed. (Although one could still argue that, miraculously, he or she happens to belong to the first civilization in all of existence to witness as much, that would be as bold as lottery ticket buyer attempting to take out a loan against his assured future winnings.)
They simply aren't aware of each other but all of them where realized in shakyamuni's original enlightenment and are thus connected from the point of his enlightenment past, present and future.

Sounds impossible but dependent origin in this world would be a catalyst to any new models of consciousness created and these would be linked back to the realm of consciousness that shakyamuni was enlightened to.
Last edited by tkp67 on Thu Sep 19, 2019 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

tkp67
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Re: Simulation hypothesis

Post by tkp67 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 6:15 pm

DNS wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:12 pm
I think this could be compatible with some Mahayana and some other older, early schools of buddhism. I believe there were some called "mind only" and believed there was nothing real, all is just illusion. This simulation hypothesis could be an extension or evolved form of those older buddhist traditions.

Some buddhist schools believe truth is not set and that religion is a living tradition, open for change; evolution. And this could be seen as the next step in that.

However, I'm skeptical of this hypothesis, in general as there is no proof. I can't disprove it, but you can't prove a negative.
The best way to understand it is through evolution of consciousness as relative to the live forms bearing it.

At first consciousness doesn't have the mechanisms to self recognize because limits of physical form not the limits of conscious itself. At some point in evolution it can and at some point in evolution consciousness becomes capable (once again because of capacity of life form housing it) of understanding its own purpose in propagation of life which is always relative to the capacities of the life forms evolving. Genetic expression and evolution are relative to consciousness so the actual purpose in the propagation of life is understood through various stages of consciousness and is relative to the place those organisms are in their development in regards to conscious.

This means self realization of consciousness itself is evolving and thus it realizes itself through humanity in evolving methodologies such as religion.

It is simply how reality functions in regards to consciousness and life.

Herb Caplan
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Re: Simulation hypothesis

Post by Herb Caplan » Thu Sep 19, 2019 8:31 pm

DNS wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:12 pm
I think this could be compatible with some Mahayana and some other older, early schools of buddhism. I believe there were some called "mind only" and believed there was nothing real, all is just illusion. This simulation hypothesis could be an extension or evolved form of those older buddhist traditions.

Some buddhist schools believe truth is not set and that religion is a living tradition, open for change; evolution. And this could be seen as the next step in that.

However, I'm skeptical of this hypothesis, in general as there is no proof. I can't disprove it, but you can't prove a negative.
Theravada can be compatible with the simulation hypothesis. The axioms of Buddhism (or indeed any other religion for that matter) can be true within the context of the simulation. The mechanics of our simulation are orthogonal to the question of whether the simulation exists. For example, gravity exists here, but whether gravity exists out there (although it would make more sense if it did) does not change the truth of gravity in this world.
DNS wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:14 pm
Herb Caplan wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 11:57 pm

Expanded argument:
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.
I'll go with number one. Some rogue nation eventually will nuke the world, finishing the human species (before simulations can be set up) and this repeats itself in the universe on other planets with intelligent life.
Fair enough, but every day you wake up alive without a nuclear holocaust having happened, #1 becomes less and less likely.

It seems very unlikely for this to be the absolute case in all possible worlds. I can think of many ways to prevent it from happening here. How about we genetically engineer away all the violence in humans? What if some charismatic leader convinces every country to earnestly throw away all their nukes? Or what if intelligent machines kill all humans and create a simulation of their creators for fun?
DNS wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:12 pm
Some buddhist schools believe truth is not set and that religion is a living tradition, open for change; evolution. And this could be seen as the next step in that.
I agree with this view.

Speaking of evolution, I think that this will be the next version the theory of evolution vs. Creationism debate. There are a few parallels. In the 19th century, Creationists reacted viscerally against Darwinism; it was too insulting to the human ego to accept having evolved from monkeys. The simulation argument adds even more existential injury to the human ego. Not only are we just animals, but we're not even animals that exist in a privileged real world. Like Darwinism, which was simple enough to have been accurately hypothesized just by thinking about it before the statistics that Darwin collected, the simulation hypothesis can be arrived at ahead of the concrete evidence (like a real simulation being developed on Earth).
If you meet the Buddha (blessed be the arahant) on the road, kill him.

Herb Caplan
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Re: Simulation hypothesis

Post by Herb Caplan » Fri Sep 20, 2019 3:47 am

tkp67 wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:14 pm
They simply aren't aware of each other but all of them where realized in shakyamuni's original enlightenment and are thus connected from the point of his enlightenment past, present and future.

Sounds impossible but dependent origin in this world would be a catalyst to any new models of consciousness created and these would be linked back to the realm of consciousness that shakyamuni was enlightened to.
Interesting perspective. Maybe enlightenment could be the linkage between the simulations.

Intuitively this would make the most sense. Simulations are designed with the intention of hosting consciousness. They could only have been created by conscious beings, and ones that don't feature consciousness are not relevant to begin with. Consciousness is therefore a fundamental unit of a simulation. If there were an escape hatch or way to realize the nature of the simulation or other consciousnesses, a plausible way of doing that would be through consciousness itself—like by sitting down and meditating. It would seem more corny and unrealistic that the hack for the simulation would be something like colliding atoms in a certain way or moving around stars because physical matter is not the endpoint of a simulation.
If you meet the Buddha (blessed be the arahant) on the road, kill him.

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Re: Simulation hypothesis

Post by DNS » Fri Sep 20, 2019 3:35 pm

Herb Caplan wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 8:31 pm
Theravada can be compatible with the simulation hypothesis. The axioms of Buddhism (or indeed any other religion for that matter) can be true within the context of the simulation. The mechanics of our simulation are orthogonal to the question of whether the simulation exists.
Perhaps some forms of buddhism and some forms of hinduism are compatible to simulation hypothesis; but for example in Christianity it is God who created the universe, created man and the earth is very real, not some simulation. To say Jesus Christ is a "simulation" would be a blasphemy to mainstream Christianity, for example, similar with Islam, etc.
Fair enough, but every day you wake up alive without a nuclear holocaust having happened, #1 becomes less and less likely.
Yes, because when it does happen, I won't be here. :tongue: It could still happen in some 100 to 200 years from now, in fact it's probably very likely to happen, given the exponential growth in warfare technology.

tkp67
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Re: Simulation hypothesis

Post by tkp67 » Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:03 pm

Perhaps some forms of buddhism and some forms of hinduism are compatible to simulation hypothesis; but for example in Christianity it is God who created the universe, created man and the earth is very real, not some simulation. To say Jesus Christ is a "simulation" would be a blasphemy to mainstream Christianity, for example, similar with Islam, etc.
All cause (including religion) throughout the consciousness experienced in life is due to shakyamuni's enlightenment. It sounds impossible but consciousness, even ours, while experienced in the moment is dependent on its own past experiences.

Consciousness does not conform to time in the way we think it does and even quantum physics realizes this on the quantum level in regards to dark matter.

Herb Caplan
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Re: Simulation hypothesis

Post by Herb Caplan » Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:52 pm

DNS wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 3:35 pm
in Christianity it is God who created the universe, created man and the earth is very real, not some simulation. To say Jesus Christ is a "simulation" would be a blasphemy to mainstream Christianity, for example, similar with Islam, etc.
I'm quite sure Muslims and Christians would say it's heresy. I'm not concerned with the baggage of what a Muslim has to chime in with. I'm talking about the idea of, say, an Allah in a simulated world for what the idea itself really is.

It's possible for Jesus to have been the creator of our universe if our universe is simulated. It is also possible for a 3 headed turtle to have created the universe. It wouldn't make Jesus's (or the turtle's) accomplishment in creating the universe any less impressive or less relevant just because it took place on a computer, the same one that Jesus's/turtle's believer would exist in.

SUPPOSE as a thought experiment that you entered a fully immersive virtual reality game. You walk around some grassy plains. It is sunny and warm outside. I'm in the game too, and I make the claim to you that it is actually ice cold and snowing. Thermometers and various measurement tools work in this world. You do a number of tests scientifically and determine that it is definitely warm. I was wrong. What you just proved was the ability to empirically disprove a claim in a computer simulation.

As a corollary this also proves it is possible to prove a claim in a computer simulation.

Point is, the claims made by science/logic/religion may be fully sandboxed within the simulation. Notice that it may have been sunny in the simulation but raining in the city where you were wearing the virtual reality goggles. The state of truths within and outside of a simulation are orthogonal. Even the claim of omniscience can be sandboxed within the simulation: A god may know all where all is all of reality—this reality.

All that matters is that you are conscious. There is no good reason to desire consciousness in an original reality over a simulated consciousness. To desire otherwise is to be attached to the substrate which is irrelevant.
If you meet the Buddha (blessed be the arahant) on the road, kill him.

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