It could be that we are merely incidental to the purpose of the simulation. In the game of life for example there are many interesting patterns which come out of simple automata. In the case of this game , AFAIK the only purpose was to demonstrate the possibility of complexity from simplicity.
Nick Prince -----Original Message----- From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf Of David Nyman Sent: 06 August 2006 19:43 To: Everything List Subject: The moral dimension of simulation I don't know whether these issues have been given an airing here, but I have a couple of thoughts about whether we're really 'in the Matrix', a la Nick Bostrom. Firstly, a moral issue. At least at the level of public debate, in our (apparent?) reality there is considerable sensitivity to interfering with fundamental issues of human freedom and dignity, and of avoiding where possible the infliction of unnecessary suffering, either to humans or other sentient organisms. It seems to me that if we are to take seriously the idea that significant numbers of advanced civilisations would 'simulate' us in the 'feelingful' way we (or at least I) experience, that significant moral issues are raised. These are not dissimilar to the paradoxes raised by the juxtaposition of an all-loving and omnipotent God. None of this is to claim a knock-down argument, but nevertheless it places a constraint on the kind of 'civilisation' that might undertake such an exercise, especially in those scenarios that take it to be some sort of game or entertainment. Secondly, what sort of role are 'we' supposed to playing? On the one hand, we may simply be required to play a part 'intelligently', or at least predictably, for the benefit of the 'real' players. In this case, would they need to go to the trouble of making us 'sentient'? Or can we take this as evidence that the complexity required for 'intelligence' simply gives rise to such sentience? Thirdly, is part of the point that 'they' share 'our' experiences? If so, what does this say about the supposedly privileged relation between an individual and her experience? Or is it just that they get a third-party 'read-out' of our experiences? Well, again, would it then be necessary for us to go through the whole messy business 'consciously' for such reporting to occur? It seems to me that the above, and similar, considerations may act to constrain the likelihood of there being such simulations, their nature, or our 'actually' being in one, but I'm unable to say to what degree. Any thoughts? David -- No virus found in this incoming message. Checked by AVG Free Edition. Version: 7.1.394 / Virus Database: 268.10.5/405 - Release Date: 01/08/2006 --~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~ You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to email@example.com To unsubscribe from this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED] For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---