Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Caution! Knowing the universe is a simulation will end it…? Wow, magic.

arroba Email

No, cosmology, according to the New York Times.

So, Sir Martin Rees, you be quiet for a bit. You might be right, of course, but please don’t frighten the Forces:

If we’re all living inside a complex computer simulation, we should probably accept our fate — lest our universe get unplugged.

At least, that’s according to Nanyang Technological University philosophy professor Preston Greene, who penned a New York Times op-ed arguing that we should stop looking for evidence of simulation theory — because proving the universe is simulated would probably render the simulation useless for whoever’s running it, meaning we could all get scrapped like a wayward family in “The Sims.”

Dan Robitzski, “Simulation Theory “May Cause the Annihilation of Our Universe.”” at Futurism

Here’s the op-ed:

As far as I am aware, no physicist proposing simulation experiments has considered the potential hazards of this work. This is surprising, not least because Professor Bostrom himself explicitly identified “simulation shutdown” as a possible cause of the extinction of all human life.

This area of academic research is rife with speculation and uncertainty, but one thing is for sure: If scientists do go ahead with these simulation experiments, the results will be either extremely uninteresting or spectacularly dangerous. Is it really worth the risk?

Preston Greene, “Are We Living in a Computer Simulation? Let’s Not Find Out” at New York Times

At least the crackpot cosmologist is mostly scaring himself. The rest of us are wondering whether water bears could survive on the moon. That’s all the “space aliens” we can be sure of.

See also: Rob Sheldon on the chances of the tardigrades (water bears) surviving the recent moon crash Sheldon: Well, I do think that dormant tardigrades, which could survive for hundreds if not thousands of years in a “freeze-dried” state, can be revived when placed in water. If the spacecraft, Beresheet, had crashed with dormant tardigrades, then most definitely they are scattered about the surface of the Moon, waiting for their resurrection day in water.

Follow UD News at Twitter!

Preston Greene's concern is that the simulation might be shut down once we know that is what we are part of, that that is our real "reality", and that that would extinguish our existence. His fear is predicated on the materialist assumption that our consciousness is somehow a result of or one and the same as, neural data processing in the brain, some sort of illusory epiphenomenon or other. So he thinks that if the universe, our world, is a simulation, we must be part of the simulation. For numerous reasons not gone into here this materialist assumption is false and consciousness is existentially separate from the brain and neuronal data processing - it can't be computed, simulated, etc. In this view AI systems will probably never achieve true conscious awareness. That means that if we are living in a simulation generated by some other (higher) beings, we must really be the users of or participators in the "virtual reality simulation game" and our real existence is outside the simulation. If the simulation is terminated, we, our conscious awareness, would presumable not be wiped out - we would simply exit the simulated world/reality into the higher reality of the simulation, which might really be our home. Like the gamer having his computer and virtual reality simulation game turned off on him. His computer, virtual reality goggles and keyboard/controller no longer work, involuntarily returning his consciousness to the real physical world. So I don't think Greene's concern is valid. doubter
Perhaps the Mind running the simulation wants us to discover that we are simulated, because then its simulation becomes more interesting to it. At that point the Mind could start hoping for us to find ways to communicate and interact with it. Oh wait, a Mind of that capability and control would essentially be God from our perspective, and we already have a God who sustains his creation and wants to interact with us. Positing the Universe as a simulation makes the concept of God more manageable, somehow. For an expanded version of this concept, along with some theological consequences, see: https://thopid.blogspot.com/2019/01/our-simulated-world.html Fasteddious
Lol EDTA you literally read my mind AaronS1978
Just mentioning the possibility in his article might be enough to trigger it. At least we know how the researcher valued the possibility of ending it for all of us versus getting an article published. EDTA

Leave a Reply