Simulation of the collision of two galaxies |

In a paper published in 2003 [1] Nick
Bostrom proposed the following reasoning:

A technologically mature “posthuman” civilization
would have enormous computing power. Based on this empirical fact, the
simulation argument shows that

**of the following propositions is true:***at least one*
(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).

This reasoning embodies one important problem.
There is a fourth possibility, which Bostrom has not considered:

(4) We may be one of the first intelligent civilizations in the
universe, so nobody has had an opportunity to generate simulations yet.

Nick Bostrom |

On the other hand, the figures
offered by Bostrom in section III of his paper are not convincing and contain
errors (the result of the computation performed in note [10] is one order of
magnitude larger than stated). It is obvious that, to simulate an universe as
complex as ours, the amount of information needed would be at least the same as
our universe contains, which means that the computer where that simulation were
run should be larger than the universe it is simulating. In short, if we live
in a simulation, the universe where this simulation was implemented must have
been much larger and complex than ours and therefore much less probable.
Bostrom’s inference (that the number of simulations must be very large) is
therefore untenable. Finally, if our universe were actually infinite, as some
cosmologists assert, it would be simply impossible to simulate.

In conclusion, it is not sensible to
apportion one’s credence between options (1), (2) and (3), as Bostrom asserts.
Option (4), which we deem the most probable, must also be considered, while
option (3) would be the least probable, in our opinion vanishingly so.**Reference**

[1] Bostrom, N. (2003):

*Are you living in a computer simulation?*Published in*Philosophical Quarterly*Vol. 53, No. 211, pp. 243-255.**Manuel Alfonseca**

**Elena Postigo**

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