Dear David

Why is it so difficult to conceive that the simulators should be
unwittingly? Or in some way non ethical and thoughtless of the pain, fears,
loves etc of an interesting by product (or even possibly irritating by
product) of their simulation.  Do you eat meat?  Trap mice? kill flies? Wash
bacteria from your hands?  How much  time and concern do you (we) give to
these  life forms?  For all we know the cockroach may be the purposeful
study of the simulation we are in - or even whichever species is "the
surviving species" of interest at t=time to stop.  I know it feels like we
should be important but, in the scale of things - it's probably just
wishfull thinking. A hugely more intelligent species may not even be moral.

Who says morality to all other species is useful anyway (for survival) and
even a defining feature of intelligent species?  In war people kill people
just like themselves, as long as they wear a different uniform! We drop atom
bombs and say it was to save life!!(Hiroshima).  This may be true.  Truth
and morality can get in conflict.  Morality can therefore easily get lost in
the fog.  How expensive it may be to run simulations that generate so many
forms too.  Perhaps some form of superintelligence decides who will live or
die in the simulation.  If you've ever been on a hospital waiting list for a
really life threatening illness it is clear how priorities can change the
moral landscape.  If I made a simulation I would want it to be moral but I
don't don't know what dilemmas the pandora's box generated by the simulation
and the financial or unknown constraints far above my knowing would turn up.
That's the interesting thing about simulations - they are run to "see what
might be when we can't guess the answers". Yet, I hope your right and I'm

Nick Prince

-----Original Message-----
[mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf Of David Nyman
Sent: 07 August 2006 00:16
To: Everything List
Subject: Re: The moral dimension of simulation

But your observation goes to the heart of my question.  If we were
indeed 'merely incidental' (from whose perspective?) then what would
this say about the ethical position of the simulaters?  Further, if we
are merely playing the role of 'simple automata' then what is the
purpose (from the simulaters' viewpoint) of our *conscious* fears,
pains, loves, life struggle, and so forth?  Are these just an
unavoidable and unimportant (except to us) 'epiphenomenon' of the
simulation method?  Or are they what you mean by an 'interesting
pattern'?  Are we to take our creators' position as being 'superior' to
ours and if so what does this imply for our own (periodic) moral
delicacy about the rights and feelings of others - should we perhaps
view this as mere naivety or lack of intelligence in the light of our
masters' indifference to ours?

These are the issues I'm attempting to raise in the context of the
'simulation hypothesis'.  Of course, there's an aspect of this that
recapitulates the struggle throughout history to establish humane moral
criteria in the face of various arbitrary and omnipotent god-figures,
or for that matter 'blind necessity'.  Even in the teeth of your
creator, you are not forced to accept the justice of his position, even
as you bow to his overwhelming force, as Job shows us.


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