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Aug 27, 2009



"Then, simulate the features of space that are of interest. Finally, send people into the simulations. Same effect, much cheaper and less dangerous. Also more fun, because you can go to another galaxy in a minute instead of thousands of light-years."

In so many ways this article is ridiculous. 15 years ago in 3d web virtuality, this idea was a cautionary tale and mocked this false value of virtuality.

Its as misguided as like well looking for real world economy lessons in entertainment products.


It reminds me of the type of people who sat at home in europe drawing maps of sea monsters and incorrect land masses across unknown seas where they were sure of lands of savage baby eating monsters living in cities of gold. Cause that was so much more fun.


Ted, I'll confess to have only skimmed Bostrom's research. But... "If there are infinite civilizations out there, and infinite simulation technology, and at least some desire to simulate, then the probability that we are a simulation approaches 1." Doesn't sound right. I would say the probability that we are being simulated SOMEWHERE approaches 1, but the probability that we are a simulation here seems independent of the size or complexity of the universe.

I'm unaware of research into finding if we are simulated based on simulation artifacts/bugs. That might be really interesting.

Keep watching the skies... Simulated or not!


Yeah, it is about as ridiculous as flame-plugging sci-fi boxer shorts and coffee mugs.


>Ted said - "(By the way, the same argument could be used to insist that the probability we have been contacted by extra-terrestrials is 1, and to my knowledge we haven't been)"

This conclusion does not necessarily follow from the sim argument. If civilizations disappear into their own simulations instead of exploring space, then this explains the Fermi Paradox (i.e. based on the number of stars in our galaxy, it must be teeming with intelligent life yet there is no sign of it). See
John Smart's article
. On the appendicitis argument, see my 2006 paper which is mentioned on Bostrom's site.

I think that the huge Mars hoax is perpetuated by purveyors of telescopes and pancake mix. Great that you took the blue earth pill/m&m, though!


Wikipedia is on your side, Ted. It points out that some people think sending human bodies to Mars might be a suboptimal use of human resources:


Personally, I'm in the robotics camp. I think machines are probably going to outperform human bodies in most space exploration tasks and they've got the added benefit of being 1/10 the cost and expendable without moral considerations.

I'm not sure space exploration is about having "fun" exactly, though. Exploring an accurate simulation of Mars would probably be less fun than exploring a Mars with LGM abounding, but if the simulation were fully accurate, I would actually learn something about the real Mars. Same goes for exploring the world, vs. entertainment products (movies, games) that use real-world backdrops.


Space is an amazing source. But it depends what you mean by ‘look’. Astronomy is all very well but many of the stunning images we see from spaces are nothing that a human could ever see as they are either visible spectrum images that have ‘false colour’ treatment based on things like light intensity or they are maps that have been frequency shifted from the non-visible to the visible.

Or to put it another way – much of what we think of a space even out side SF is nearly always mediated in and some ways virtual - which if course I don't mean in a negative way at all.


@Andres Ferraro

In the Matrix they make the point that Deja Vu is just such an artifact.

In his paper, "The Physical World as a Virtual Reality," Brian Whitworth alludes to many things that could be looked at as artifacts. For example, the fact that the universe has a maximum speed or the Big Bang.





If you had bothered to google, you could have taught your son a lesson about truth and proof.

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