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The Computational Requirements for the Matrix

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the more-matrix-philosophy-yay dept.

The Matrix 953

goombah99 writes "Nick Bostrom discusses the computational requirements needed to simulate human existence. He offers a proof based on the anthropic principle, that you are almost certainly a computer simulation and not "real". The idea is that given that humans don't go extinct in geologically short time then eventually computer capability will allow complete simulation of the human cortex. Consequently, there must be far more simulations running in future millennia than seconds since you were born. Thus its astronomically more likely you are a simulation than real ... if humans don't go extinct shortly. Recalling the 13th floor, Robin Hanson discusses how one should try to live in a simulation. David Wolpert also weighs in on the physical limits of Turing machines for simulation of the universe. This also may explain why time travel seems impossible: we dont meet visitors from the future since only the present is being simulated."

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fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6088511)


hmmm (-1)

handybundler (232934) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088512)

Favorite Hot Sauce?
Frank's Red Hot
Taco Bell
Habanero/extreme hot sauce
That Handybundler Sauce is spicy enough

VFP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6088515)

Virtual first post ?

Re:VFP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6088521)

Virtually. But the tard who got it was MMMMMMEEEEEE!!!

and this my friends is why (5, Funny)

cyrax777 (633996) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088518)

drugs are bad mmmmkay


Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6088520)

Why don't you just kill yourself you fat subhuman piece of filth? No one could ever like you and your incredibly predictable 'insights' are a disgrace to any person with a functioning brain.

No wonder you can't get a real job.


Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6088537)

I agree with this post.

I Want Out! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6088524)

Where is the red pill?

After thinking about that, Neo quote required. (1)

Punchcardz (598335) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088525)


How about (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6088531)

"I will kick you in the face with a soldering iron." --Me

"Can you taste the HIV in my cum?" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6088546)

You only need to hear it once, matrix-fag...

Another Gay story posted by Michael the Man Pussy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6088530)

You know it's that gay time of day when Michael posts the boring homo stories.


Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6088678)

We go now live to our correspondant who is covering the disaster at the tape factory. They're in a bit of a sticky situation get it TAPE STICKY?!?!?!?

The future men said you say this. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6088534)

They said someone would try to persuade me that time travel was impossible. You have just validated their existence.

damn.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6088535)

reallly something to think i real?!

Re:damn.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6088542)

Also something to think about: Following the standard rules of capitalization, punctuation and spelling.

stupid schools (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6088538)

this is just further proof that universities waste too much time on diploma mills and not actually teaching anything.

woooah (5, Funny)

mjdth (670822) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088539)

this article is way too deep for 3 am. i'll just wait until /. accidently reposts it sometime later this week at a more reasonable hour.

but either way, i wouldn't believe this because it would be too scary if it were true.

Re:woooah (3, Funny)

pyrote (151588) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088661)

That's what they were wanting you to say... it's all written... here on this cd.

Re:woooah (5, Funny)

evilviper (135110) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088665)

The /. has you...

Follow the white rabbit...

Re:woooah (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6088682)

I don't see how it's truth would change anything (from your mind's perspective, at least), so I'm not sure why you would find it "too scary." Consciousness built on neurons made of atoms is no more real than consciousness built on simulationed neurons made of simulationed atoms. Consciousness is as consciousness does.

screw it. (4, Insightful)

cfscript (654864) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088540)

i don't care if the entire universe is real, a computer simulation or an atom in a giant being.

hypothesise all you want, it doesn't change the fact that A is A and you have to go to work on monday. the last thing the current american society needs is a new kantian theory to overtake it.

i'm all about philosophy and learning as much as i can, but no matter what, existence exists. wish all you want, carrie anne-moss isn't going to magically appear, and your troubles won't disappear until you get off your ass.

have to (1)

chocolatetrumpet (73058) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088590)

hypothesise all you want, it doesn't change the fact that A is A and you have to go to work on monday.

Some might say you are slave to reason, but I say no - you have complete free will, and you may do as you wish. You DO NOT have to do ANYTHING! YOU are TRUELY FREE. Believe it and embrace.

Re:have to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6088644)

That would be your choice, if you did nothing and died that would be up to you.
If you got up off your arss, went and raped a woman, you'd be charged with sexual assult.
If you got up off your arss, went and met a cute Korean (I prefer Japanese myself) girl, married and had kids; well You've Got Kids!.

You have to choose the life you want to live, then live it, that's all I can say to you; Just Live!

Cause and Effect.
A is A.
Rand was/is/and will forever be nuts.
Al Gore is a loser, and a socialist!
http://www.reason.c om
~ Waldo The man who is forever lost!

Re:screw it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6088675)

Typical 'blue pill' response.

Episode of Star Trek (5, Interesting)

ScottGant (642590) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088541)

The episode was "Ship in a Bottle" where Moriarty and his love are sent off in a computer simulation at the end. They think it's all real, but they're really just both in a simulation of the galaxy.

At the end, Barkley wonders if he himself is part of a simulation and says "Computer, end program".

Ok, that's it. I'm a Nerd.

Re:Episode of Star Trek (5, Insightful)

mati (114154) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088652)

Thank you for reminding me how good Star Trek used to be :)

Really good eipsode (3, Informative)

aardwolf204 (630780) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088677)

A conniving character from Sherlock Holmes takes control of a holodeck fantasy and traps the senior staff inside of it.

While enjoying a Sherlock Holmes mystery fantasy on the holodeck, Geordi and Data request that Barclay investigate some anomalies in the program. While doing so, Professor Moriarty appears and informs Barclay that the computer system has created him so well in the fantasy that he has come alive! According to Moriarty, Picard has held him hostage in the fantasy for over four years.'s Synopsis and multimedia for this EP [] ... I'm a nerd too.

I yam what I yam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6088544)

To quote Popeye, "I yam what I yam and that's all I yam." To assert that it is "astronomically more likely" that we are computer simulations than it is that we are human is silly. It assumes that my sense of existence was randomly chosen among all entities capable of supporting consciousness... when I am obviously me! That's like saying that it is incredibly unlikely that you ate whatever you ate for lunch, if you selected randomly among all things people have ever eaten for lunch before, or better yet everything that a person could have ever possibly fit in his mouth. You ate what you ate.

What if (3, Interesting)

katalyst (618126) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088548)

There is no end to what ifs.....
For example, if a charecter being simulated in a 13th floor styled simulation, did not understand the concept of wireframes (when he reaches the "edge" of the simulated world), would he consider it abnormal?
Similarly, in our "real world", space - the outer void - the vaccum - can be a means of conserving memory by being empty space, so that the "system" is able to process high detailed simulations on planets.... maybe only one planet has life (simulated) because the "system" is only capable of processing the complex simulations of one such biosphere
All i'm trying to say is that it's possible to come up with innumerable theories.. its exciting, it stimulates are brains, but HOW SERIOUSLY are we supposed to take them?

there is no matrix. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6088551)

man, how many people here have woken up in a wierd place after an agent took over then and then exited. getting drunk and high dont count. bah living inside a matrix, pfft!!

if thats the case why wouldnt the people running the matrix stop the making of the movies, so as to prevent any suspicion or rejection of the ideas by the people plugged into it. damn psychos.

Re:there is no matrix. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6088571)

Because, then we would know they know that we know....

So... (3, Funny)

orange_6 (320700) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088553)

I'm simulated.

Can I still be stimulated?

Looks like a TNT32 card and a 500mhz to me (5, Funny)

CrazyJim0 (324487) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088557)

Its not bullet time, so much as FPS lag.

One missed option (1)

Black Copter Control (464012) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088558)

I don't know if humanity will go extinct in a geologically short period of time, but I do believe that it is very possible (likely, even) that our society will colapse under the weight of geometrically increasing resource demands.

Re:One missed option (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088581)

Personally, I believe that _only_ certain segments of our society will collapse under that weight. Hopefully, my descendants and I will be in the segment that survives.

Re:One missed option (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6088595)

my argument runs along the same lines as "I yam what I yam" post

consider that there are an infinite number possible humans that could exist, so the probablity of me existing at any point is... one in an infinite number.

someone better at maths please respond... but it seems that logical reasoning cannot be applied on such a large scale. So the argument that "more seconds exist ahead of me then behind" is as incapable at providing any 'proof' as the argument i have presented above.

I hope this makes sense, but anyway my point is that when it comes to infinite values, or really really large values, such proofs just dont work.

I don't know... (1)

rgoer (521471) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088562)

This also may explain why time travel seems impossible: we dont meet visitors from the future since only the present is being simulated

Um, hello? I was just reading an article posted from "the mysterious future" not too long ago. Either the future is being simulated just like everything else, or Einstein didn't count on Slashdot's existence.

Re:I don't know... (2, Interesting)

KrispyKringle (672903) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088637)

Yeah, there are a lot better, non-we-are-living-in-a-Matrix reasons to assume that time-travel, at least in both directions in time (as opposed to the approaching-the-speed-of-light-so-time-goes-slower -empirically-tested-to-be-true-Einstien way) is totally, logically impossible.

For example, let's assume time travel is possible. We can go both ways in the fourth dimension. This basically removes any sort of chronological constraints from our actions. In other words, ordinarily, if I want to drive a car, I first have to obtain it. But in this universe, if I want a time machine, I can go back in time and teach myself how to make a time machine so I can go back in time to teach myself how to make the time machine. You get the idea.

So if I decide I want a time machine right now, why can't I just teach myself how to make one so that I can go back in time to teach myself how to make one? Yeah. That's what I thought.

why ohh why.. (4, Interesting)

Squarewav (241189) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088563)

The matrix was a good movie but come one thats it a movie. it had so many holes in the plot like why the robots did not just switch too nuclear or something far more powerfull then sucking body heat from people who are living in a virtual world. It seems like every week or so slashdot posts a story about some long ass report about how the matrix could be real. You dont have to justify likeing a movie, just enjoy the movie how it is a kung foo/super human/slowmotion fights. reminds me of that theme song from mystery science theater 3000 (something like) "if your wondering how they eat and sleap and other science facts, repeat to yourself its just a show you shood realy just relax"

Re:why ohh why.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6088583)

And you SHOULD learn how to spell you inept fuck. "Shood" what are you fucking retarded AND blind?

Re:why ohh why.. (4, Interesting)

KrispyKringle (672903) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088648)

Better than suggesting alternative power, why doesn't anyone ever point out the laws of thermodynamics?

This is always what got me about The Matrix. There is even a comment somewhere along in the first movie about how the living are fed the waste of the dead. Well, great, but what about conservation of energy? Where is this energy actually coming from? In our normal ecosystem, it comes from the sun via photosynthesis. Here, no sun, no plants, people eating people...sounds like perpetual motion.

And even if we do accept that animals can somehow power these machines, why don't they just use pigs or cows or something? Or give lobotomies on birth? Eh?

But as you said, quit thinking about it all seriously, and just enjoy the movie. It's a vehicle, and not every aspect should be taken at face value or should be expected to make perfect sense.

You mean I can dodge bullets? (3, Funny)

SolubleFrank (637562) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088566)

No, I'm telling you your just trapped.

Re:You mean I can dodge bullets? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6088589)

"Your" implies possesion. You're means "you are," please learn to tell the difference you fucking dumb ass.

Re:You mean I can dodge bullets? (0)

SubjunctiveSam (669606) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088602)

The contraction for "you are" is "you're."

Much like religion (5, Insightful)

mrbeaton (529364) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088568)

For any religion that believes that we are placed here by a higher being, we essentially are living in a simulation. God created us and is now sitting back watching us run around.

One of the articles mentions ways to change one's behavior upon realization that it is all a simulation... sound familiar?

Re:Much like religion (2, Interesting)

eaglebtc (303754) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088609)

A simulation...but for what though? To what end are we practicing? If, as you propose, God is running a giant simulator down here, then what "real" life is he mimicking?

Food for thought...

Can the Matrix simulate independent thought? (5, Insightful)

eaglebtc (303754) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088569)

I believe it is possible in 2199 for an advanced computer to simulate an existence like SimCity.

However, if everyone is a digital projection controlled by a computer program, then how is it the humans inside the matrix are capable of independent thought? Why isn't it like "Big Brother" in George Orwell's 1984, where the Thought Police were always watching for crimethink? Even if the computers' super-advanced AI engine could simulate thoughts *for* the human, and trick them into thinking they came up with it themselves, then why would the system allow a human to discover what is outside the Matrix? Is there a certain amount of "tolerance" built into the system? I guess that would explain the need for "agents."

...But if no one was allowed to think a "wrong" thought...there would be no law enforcement, but no one would care because they wouldn't need to be taught about obeying the rules because no one would ever think about breaking them (The Pre-Crime Division would take care of that) ;)

Soo...this goes back to my initial inquiry -- where does the independent thought come from? Is it somehow hardwired to the person's brain through the matrix? If so, they need subconscious experiences (daydreams, nightmares, etc.) in order to have independent thought. So the Matrix must have had a certain level of tolerance built in.

But.... if the Matrix *was* built by a race of cruel machines designed to control humans, then why was the Matrix programmed the way it is? Are they torturing humans with a life they once knew, before AI came into play and destroyed that which they had?

All this makes me want to see "Revolutions." I hope they answer all these questions, like "Who Created The Matrix?" It's too human, too sympathetic to be built by cold, heartless machines. There is religion in the matrix, so someone had to program that in.

Re:Can the Matrix simulate independent thought? (1)

basser (676211) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088592)

If you think back to simple programming basics, if you want everyone to think the same, declare thoughts[] as private static thought[] if you want independant thought private thought[] ... sooo... is deja vu when the makers of the matrix stuffed up with the pointers to our thoughts?:)

Re:Can the Matrix simulate independent thought? (0)

SubjunctiveSam (669606) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088619)

My theory is that most of the processing is done by the minds of the people that inhabit it. That is why things that should be unbending like laws of physics are quite malleable. This is what the people of the Matrix are really for, some kind of processing job, not a power source. The power source idea doesn't make thermodynamic sense and the architect just kind of brushed aside Neo's assertions that the architect needs people to survive.

Odd. (2, Interesting)

Soko (17987) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088573)

This also may explain why time travel seems impossible: we dont meet visitors from the future since only the present is being simulated."

IOW, branch prediction in the Great Itanium in the sky isn't working too well, is it?

Here's anoher one for your Saturday Night "Isn't that fucked up?" discussions: I've always wondered if time actually is linear. We and our physics are stuck in the current space/time continuum, and therefore we would have no idea if time actually followed say, a sine wave, since we would have no other point of reference.



Re:Odd. (0)

SubjunctiveSam (669606) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088645)

How do you mean? The only difference between a sine wave and a straight line is that a sine wave's slope is constantly changing. What does this slope represent? The rate of time? Such an idea is absurd. When people refer to time as linear, they just mean that it doesnt loop back and cross itself. Don't try to extend all of the quirks of algebra and calculus to the nature of time's flow. Well, don't try like that at least...

wha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6088575)

wow..please tell me they aren't trying to pass this off as legitimate.

So that means... (5, Funny)

BanSiesta (41108) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088576)

So I'm just a piece of code then? I bet I'm not even indented properly. Bastards!

I hope I don't get optimized away...

This brings to question.... (2, Funny)

basser (676211) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088577)

Does terminating the game of life make us mass murderers?

What the......? (4, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088578)

O.K., aside from the rather schizoid posting, I clicked on the link and actually read some of this stuff. Why? Because it's 1:40 a.m. and I can't read any more real science without it leaking out of my ears. So, at the end of the article, filled with leaky logic and propositions that would get an undergraduate philosophy student in trouble, I get to this:

Another event that would let us conclude with a very high degree of confidence that we are in a simulation is if we ever reach the point where we are about to switch on our own simulations. If we start running simulations, that would be very strong evidence against (1) and (2). That would leave us with only (3).

and I have to wonder.....this guy is a postdoctoral fellow at Oxford? Jeez, what are they paying these guys for? Pop culture derivative drivel about a movie whose sequel sucked? [] . This is like high school philosophy where you would sit around drinking beer in someones mom's basement saying "so, dude, how do we know if we are really here?" Please. I'm all for arts and liberal education, but let's work at thinking about things that can make a difference.

Re:What the......? (2, Informative)

ScottGant (642590) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088616)

He does state on his that the proposition entitled "The Simulation Argument: Why the Probability that You are Living in the Matrix is Quite High." which is the article that Slashdot links to is in his words a "Brief, popular synopsis. But read the original paper instead if you can."

The ORIGINAL proposition is here: on.html

Re:What the......? (3, Interesting)

maxpublic (450413) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088617)

The sad thing is that a lot of what passes for modern 'philosophy' is the same drivel being spouted by this guy, only 'cleaned up' in a tautological fashion so that said drivel is impossible to disprove. Also impossible to prove in any meaningful sense, but modern philosophy doesn't recognize empiricism as a valid approach (and in fact tries to deny it by placing much of its supposition in the fantasy realm of the 'metaphysical').

What I find interesting is that people actually get *paid* to indulge in this masturbatory nonsense. Talk about an amazing con....


Re:What the......? (1)

dr_tube (115121) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088653)

uuuum, sounds to me like you are making fun of what you don't understand. If you understand it, it's pretty deep and something worth thinking about, considering its pretty clean logic surrounding the nature of reality.

Once you realize you are not conscious, you become conscious. Stop talking and think, you fucking automatons.

Re:What the......? (2, Insightful)

Soko (17987) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088666)

Jeez, what are they paying these guys for? Pop culture derivative drivel about a movie whose sequel sucked?. This is like high school philosophy where you would sit around drinking beer in someones mom's basement saying "so, dude, how do we know if we are really here?"

And you asked that question might have been fun? Aren't these people entitled to a little fun too?

Please. I'm all for arts and liberal education, but let's work at thinking about things that can make a difference.

IME, the human body works better longer if it's exercised regualrily, and with different regimens. Concentrating on a single regimen can lead to specialization of the body, which can be bad - I would guess Arnold Schwartzeneggar isn't a great gymnast, for instance. The human brain is no different - it requires different types of stimuli frequently to remain at it's peak.

As well, seeing college professors think - and using pop culture to give the thought processes a well known context - may stimulate a few young minds into becoming great minds by giving them cause to be exercised. I'd say thier doing thier jobs - getting people to think and hopefullly learn something.


permatrails = fps lag ? (1)

bender183 (447302) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088580)

So if im a simulation, you think the permatrails I have are just fps lag?

Bogus explanations (1)

Surazal (729) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088584)

The whole "why don't we see travelers from the future" question is basically moot. Think of this era as a "pristine timeline". The only way for us to see travelers from 2050 is simply because 2050 hasn't happened yet. Once someone does figure out a way to go back in time, then a non-pristine timeline is developed. The odds of any one of us being in this kind of timeline (the type of theoretical nonsense you'd find in comic books) is literally infinitesimal.

This of course is based on the assumption that time travel (into the past) is even possible. Every theory I've looked at indicates that the straight arrow of time is precisely that; a straight arrow going one-way.

Of course, having read this guy's work, he's doing thought-experiments, but fails to account for basic laws of physics in doing so. So he gets points for doing "mostly correct" theoretical work. That doesn't fly too far with those who take these sort of subjects seriously though.

Re:Bogus explanations (1)

Surazal (729) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088597)

The only way for us to see travelers from 2050 is simply because 2050 hasn't happened yet

Ack... missed a part of a sentence there... what I *meant* to say was:

The only way for us to see travelers from 2050 is for 2050 to happen first. Therefore it is impossible to see travellers from 2050 simply because 2050 hasn't happened yet

Heisenberg uncertainty negates this (1)

StandardCell (589682) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088588)

If you cannot simultaneously know the position and momentum of a particle, you are going against the fundamental laws of computing as we know it. Computers do what they're told to do. They are based on certain fully known and defined states without which they cannot begin. In fact, all digital logic, when simulated, starts in an inexact or unknown state (an "X") until reset is asserted on the storage elements and all inputs are defined. That includes binary, trinary, and even "analog" computing.

In fact, there is a way for inexactness to happen in regular digital systems, which is metastability. A flip flop (single bit storage element) that does not have a stable input at the time it is clocked. When this happens, the output tends to go unstable, which eventually throws subsequent logic into an unknown state. The way to fix this is to stack flops transparently, thus giving the output of the first flop more time to stabilize. This is based on probabilities, strangely. However, infinite metastability immunity requires an infinite number of cascaded flop stages. And remember - one unstable element can throw an entire chip off track and require a logic reset.

We have enough problems getting computers that we use today to work the way they're supposed to. Simulating the universe? I'll slice that idea up with Occam's razor any day and I'll be happy when I'm as close as h/4pi or whatever the estimate is these days for the uncertainty.

Oh well. (1)

KFK - Wildcat (512842) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088591)

We all know the simulation will be ended soon anyway, thanks to the Volgons...

And by that same logic... (4, Insightful)

Larne (9283) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088593)

the number of things that don't exist is vastly greater than the number of things that do. Therefore, statistically speaking, you don't exist. Any evidence to the contrary is just the product of your diseased, nonexistent, imagination.

Best Post Yet -eom- (2, Funny)

schlach (228441) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088674)

I think, therefore I think I am.

What's so significant about seconds? (1)

ahfoo (223186) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088594)

Like so much of the so-called philosophy about The Matrix this seems fundamentally flawed.
It seems questionable in the extreme that seconds are a particularly significant measure of a person's life.
Breaking it down to nanoseconds or picoseconds doesn't fix the underlying issue of how we can say with certainty that human life is a series of discreet units similar to an animation.
Besides, you don't need The Martix to suggest that life is an illusion. You can show the same thing in a much more profound way using language theory.

Read something like that before... (1)

JamesTRexx (675890) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088598)

This reminds me of this page [] .

Bad logic is fun (2, Insightful)

gunner800 (142959) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088600)

There is only one planet Earth. There are astronomically more planets than Earth. Therefore, we're probably on some other planet.

Problem is, the probability of the existence of a simulation is not the same as the probability of us inhabiting that simulation. Plus, the existence of massive comuting power does not imply that that power is used for a certain task.

Re:Bad logic is fun (0)

SubjunctiveSam (669606) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088671)

Man invented word, and calls it god. "The Word World", imposed by the academic institutions, is synonymous with the Matrix's induced "Dream World". Both are most efficient mind enslavers, and humans know not their difference from "The Cubic World", the creation principle of all that exist.
That's from Gene Ray. Check out more of his views on the Matrix, and the nature of reality at []

umm.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6088605)

...your all a bunch of nerds

Not Exactly... (3, Insightful)

KrispyKringle (672903) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088606)

"(1) The chances that a species at our current level of development can avoid going extinct before becoming technologically mature is negligibly small

(2) Almost no technologically mature civilisations are interested in running computer simulations of minds like ours

(3) You are almost certainly in a simulation."

...So if you think that (1) and (2) are both false, you should accept (3).

Obviously this last sentence is meant more to play up the conclusion that we are in a simulation. (2) is the most plausible; it is incomprehensible to me (though admitedly I may be of a lesser mind that those running the simulation) why greater beings would waste CPU time on mere humans.

In all seriousness, though, if we assume 2 to be true and 1 to be false, we can most certainly dismiss 3. And if we assume 1 to be true, where does that leave us?

"Let us consider the options in a little more detail. Possibility (1) is relatively straightforward. For example, maybe there is some highly dangerous technology that every sufficiently advanced civilization develops, and which then destroys them. Let us hope that this is not the case."

Of course most mutations die out. This is how evolution works. Obiously, we can assume that if evolution has gotten us this far, it is likely that it will have created similar intelligent beings and perhaps even more advanced than us (or we ourselves will acheive such a level of mental greatness).

This is a fun intellectual debate (and clearly meant to gain the limelight) but its a bit overblown, too, I think.

Judging by the effects in Reloaded... (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088607) Xbox could handle the matrix just fine :).

Real Deep for 2:30 (1)

Hangtime (19526) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088608)

So I'm up right now and just read through this and blew through my mind a little too far.

The article ends on the following
In sum, if your descendants might make simulations of lives like yours, then you might be living in a simulation. And while you probably cannot learn much detail about the specific reasons for and nature of the simulation you live in, you can draw general conclusions by making analogies to the types and reasons of simulations today. If you might be living in a simulation then all else equal it seems that you should care less about others, live more for today, make your world look likely to become eventually rich, expect to and try to participate in pivotal events, be entertaining and praiseworthy, and keep the famous people around you happy and interested in you.

In other words, the article is says if you believe your in a simulation live for the now. The unfortunate this is without outside evidence of living in a simulation i.e. the light falling to "earth" in the Truman Show, you have no real way of knowing. If the simulations themselves were detailed enough, all the individuals could be programmed with memories, meaning if I am indeed a simulant then all my memories up to this point could have just been given to me including writing this reply....spooky. Reminds me a lot of Jeremy Bentham and Hedonistic Calculas for those who took Philosophy in college. In the end the way you live your life is soley dependent upon your time frame and values. How I would live my life if I were to die in a month from now is much different then if I believe I am going to live to 150. Its not wise to plan for one and not the other, i.e. spending all your money today and nothing for tomorrow, but also not taking advantage of saying I Love you to everyone of your Loved ones every chance you get. Your internal compass must guide you.

Before I turn in for the evening I did get a kick out of this passage.

Also, in general the behavior of many people far from the simulated people of interest might be randomly generated based on statistics from previous simulations, or come from "cached" records of previous simulated people. Some "people" in a crowd simulation might even be run by very simple programs that have them wiggle and mumble "peas and carrots" like extras supposedly did once in movie crowd scenes.

Now who hasn't run in to these people!

How many times have we all wondered this (1)

aardwolf204 (630780) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088611)

How many times have we all wondered this after playing Sim City? Or was it just me?

Of course the universe is a simulation... (5, Insightful)

ites (600337) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088612)

But Occam's razor says we do not need to assume humans and computers are resonsible for it. The simulation is all around us... some examples:

- you consider the world to be composed of things with surfaces and textures, yet in fact most of everything is interatomic space. Matter is a simulation.
- you consider yourself to be a being, complete and individual, yet you are built from trillions of cells each with a lifecycle, not to mention hosts of other organisms that cohabit your body, even your gene pool. Individuality is a simulation.
- you think you are reading this text, and yet it is just a sprinkling of letters and dots and random ideas. Language is a simulation, the Internet also.
- you believe you exist, and yet we are truly just temporary assemblages of matter acting as hosts for the multilevel game of life. Existence is a simulation.

But none of this means much: as in the Matrix, if I stab your simulated heart with a simulated knife, your simulated body will simulate death. And your simulated consciousness will try very, very hard to avoid that. Welcome to the Real World.

Computer? Or spiritual world? (1)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088613)

I think this can tie into religion really well. Consider, for example, the idea of a spiritual world. Supposedly, you have a spirit that exists forever. You're born into this physical world and live a life, and then you croak and return to the spiritual world. During your time here, your spirit continues to exist in the spiritual world, while your physical body exists in the physical world.

Kind of like when a program allocates memory for a structure. The memory always exists. Then, you allocate a structure from the chaos and put stuff into it. Eventually you deallocate the structure and all returns to the chaos that was before. During this time, the physical memory continuously existed, but the structure came to exist within it for some time.

What is the physical world, as opposed to the spiritual world? In the spiritual world, everything "flows" there are no boundaries between objects. It's just one big "light." (Kind of like how computer memory is a long string that starts at address 0 and goes until whatever.) Everything is a concept in the spiritual world. But in the physical world, everything is defined. A cup is a cup, a light bulb is a light bulb, and a house is a house. (Kind of like how a struct tm is different from a struct FILE.) Everything is so well defined, actually, that objects cannot occupy the same space as one another. (Kind of like the aforementioned two structures, which occupy different regions of memory or would overwrite each other. Of course, God is a Real Programmer, so that doesn't happen in the physical world, unless you're flying over the Bermuda Triangle or something, of course.)

Which brings me to my point: What if the spiritual world is the "real" world, and the physical world exists only in the "imagination" of the spiritual world? What if there really is no spoon? Not because we're running inside a computer, but because the spiritual world acts as a sort of "computer" that processes this world?

What if the spiritual world is only a simulation inside a larger world that exists outside of it?

I don't think this has anything to do with time travel. If it did, then how come we don't meet people from the past? After all, they must have been simulated.

Unless... what if all the knowledge of the universe has just been loaded, 2 microseconds ago, that makes us think that we've been around for a long time. How do you know that what happened a minute ago really happened and wasn't just a memory that was fabricated?

As for the 13th floor... I just drove to the edge of town over here and guess what I saw? Except it looks a little different from the movie. It was like the floor turned into a grid of yellow lines, about an inch wide, that extended outward for what must have been ten miles and then rose directly upward to form a wall that disappears into the sky above. I think we're in a really Star Trek holodeck.

Not new... (1)

ReyTFox (676839) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088618)

More simply, you could say "it takes the universe, or more than the universe, to simulate the universe. So if we do manage it then we're a simulation. Otherwise it can't be proven."

This is really kind of an obvious logic carried through with some academic rigor. I came up with the idea on my own, too.

What about... (0)

Zep1a (632445) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088621)

Deja Vu.. Attention Mr/Ms Sim Programmer. Please fix that bug! It wierds me out. K,thx Back to my life pod.... Zep--

Applied recursively (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088622)

Surely by the same argument the people running a simulation of us are themselves being simulated along with their simulation, and that by another group of people who are themselves living in a simulation created by an even more advanced civilization...

It's turtles all the way down!

Time Travel Impossible? (2, Insightful)

crashnbur (127738) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088625)

This also may explain why time travel seems impossible: we dont meet visitors from the future since only the present is being simulated.
It wouldn't matter when what or who is simulated or how or why or where. If it is indeed a simulation, the "architect" of the system could organize some feasible means of simulating beings from some imaginary future, which -- within the confines of the simulation -- would constitute time travel.

If this indeed were a simulation, the rules would only be as strict as the design allowed, and they would only be broken when the designer(s) allowed...

...unless, of course, you buy the Architect's explanation in the Matrix Reloaded that a perfect design, by which sentient entropy would never lend itself toward a "system crash", is slightly impossible.

Plato's Cave (1)

kavachameleon (637997) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088626)

The Matrix has spawned a new era in pseudo-psychology, it seems. Plato first had this idea many thousands of years ago, in the Allegory of the Cave. A Brief Explanation of the Allegory [] What the Wachowski Bros. have done is reintroduced the concept of the Cave to society. Unfortunately, these topics have been gone over before, in much more depth than your average Matrix fanboy cares to think about.

Re:Plato's Cave (4, Insightful)

Nihilanth (470467) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088684)

any good art leads you to more. How many people never heard of the cave allegory or gnosticism before seeing the matrix? I mean, for me, it was P.K.Dick that introduced me to the idea, and i never got around to reading -him- until Linklater mentions him in the movie "Waking Life" (yeah, ive had a lot of Dick to catch up on).

There are probably better ways of judging the movie than scoring how much time it spends regurgitating what everyone's said about the cave allegory already, but all of these methods are by and large predicated on waiting for the actual story to finish. You know..see where they're going with it.

BS (1)

d_strand (674412) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088627)

This article is bullshit, see the problem here:

This paper argues that at least one of the following propositions is true: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a "posthuman" stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation.

Most people should realise that (2) is the most likely correct proposition. Just because you have the computer power to run a simulation doesn't mean you have the rest of the technology needed to do it.

Direct human-brain manipulation? Forget it... maybe in 10 000 years.

Re:BS (1)

Nihilanth (470467) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088668)

i doubt humanity will be recognizable to itself in 10k years, if its still around at all.

They said it would take 100 years to each the moon, and it was done (all conspiracy theories aside) within that decade. The same was said about flight earlier in the century (many said it would be impossible).

How are extropian ideas like direct neural interfacing and immortality any different?

I don't see why this technology would be employed to re-live the past instead of reshaping reality, except maybe for the scenario of an involuntary human-machine symbiosis like the one portrayed in The Matrix.

A simulation........ (1)

PS-SCUD (601089) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088632)

Are we a simulation to US, or are we a simulation to God?

#include "universe.h" (4, Funny)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088633)

If we really are living in a simulation, I think we need to send someone outside to hook up a NAT server, so we can connect the Internet to the world that encloses ours.

Advantages: We will be able to communicate with the people who run our world from the "real" world. I can already see people on IRC asking all kinds of favors, like "I want to be rich. Someone important. Like an actor."

Disadvantages: Script kiddies will get into the machines of the "real" world and they'll perform a DOS attack. Next thing you know, you're just walking down the street minding your own business when suddenly the street you were on turns into a toxic waste dump and a couple of identical cats walk by.

But anyway, if we ever do build a simulation, we should definitely connect our Internet into the world we make. That way, people who figure it out will be able to communicate with us. We'll tell 'em we're God... Screw the Prime Directive.

Hmm... (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088634)

From the paper:
It is not an essential property of consciousness that it is implemented on carbon-based biological neural networks inside a cranium; silicon-based processors inside a computer could in principle do the trick as well. Arguments for this thesis have been given in the literature, and although it is not entirely uncontroversial, we shall take it as a given here.

Knowledge about limitations of your data collection process affects what inferences you can draw from the data. In the case of the fish-size-estimation problem, a selection effect--the net's sampling only the big fish--vitiates any attempt to extrapolate from the catch to the population remaining in the water.

From the summary:
He offers a proof based on the anthropic principle, that you are almost certainly a computer simulation and not "real".

So, his "proof based on the anthropic principle", first breaks the rules of anthropic principle, by imposing limitations of the alternate possibilities.

In addition, I would like to add my personal opinion here, only to say that, if we WERE a computer simulation, the computer would no doubt have been designed to prevent us realizing the fact that we are in a computer simulation... While you are realizing that we are all a simulation, tell me what the meaning of life is, will you? Then again, it's quite possible anyone who figures it out will spontaneously combust.

Besides, if we were actually part of a computer, I think my memory would be MUCH better....

Re:Hmm... (1)

Nihilanth (470467) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088651)

if, in fact, we are living in a computer simulation, and if, in fact, the computer is designed to prevent us from realizing that, it would seem likely that it would allow the idea to be contextualized and dismissed, similarly to how many governments dismiss, sanitize, and damage-control its misdeeds; by hiding them out in the open.

Where do I submit patches (5, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088638)

Cos I have a few changes I would like to make to this simulation. Simple things like

Person* Timesprout = GetPerson(xxxxx); Timesprout->physique = "Addonis";
Timesprout->attraction_level = "irristible to supermodels and actresses;'
Timesprout->wealth = BILL_GATES->wealth * 10;
Timespout->abode[0] = "Island paradise surrounded by beautiful nubile girls";
Timesprout->car[0] = "Ferrari spider";

I'll see how these work out before commiting more.

What if (1)

aardwolf204 (630780) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088639)

Wondering if in year 2163 humans develop a computer capable of simulating life on Earth to the finest detail, and start the program at year 1900 going at a speed of 1 year per minute (overclocked with water cooling of course).

Do you think it is possible that within 263 Minutes, or the sim equiv of year 2163 the sim-humans would develop a computer capable of simulating life on Earth to the finest detail, and starting the program at year 1900 going at a speed of 1 year per minute (overclocked with water cooling of course).

And then within 526 minutes real time, the sim-human's sim-human project reaches the sim equiv of year 2163 and...

Please read his original paper (5, Informative)

ScottGant (642590) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088641)

Slashdot linked to what Dr. Bostrom called a "Brief, popular synopsis. But read the original paper instead if you can."

Here is the original paper: ml

Whoa (3, Funny)

Iron Monkey543 (676232) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088649)

I just had my 8th Corona. All of this crap just made more sense.

more modern view of a superbeing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6088658)

Don't you think that this is just a more modernized version of that old thing of us just being a dream of some powerful being. and the thing about what happens when he wakes up

life(); (5, Funny)

aardwolf204 (630780) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088660)

So what your saying is that if life as we know it is a simulation then the meaning of life() is Return 0;

i doubt it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6088667)

Ever mess with n-body simulations? Try to
simulate more than a thousand or so points at a
time and your new computer starts feeling like
your IBM PC from the 1980's.

Every point must be compared to every other
point with a handful of equations. so maybe
n*(n-1)*10 things that need to be done when
considering each particle. You get more than a
thousand particles, and you end up having quite
a long list of things for the computer to do
for every iteration.

What if you had a million, or a
particles? 1 x 10^63 particles? I wonder how
much time it would require to model a trillion
particles on a modern computer with a typical nbody an

Lately I've been kind of obsessed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6088672)

with this ice bong concept. Basically you fill this two-liter bottle with crushed ice and then sort of freeze the whole thing so that a crystal lattice forms. Then you punch a hole in the side near the bottom of the bottle and you sort of smoke the joint through this ice bottle, letting the smoke cool in there for a while before you actually inhale.

If you can't tell the difference... (4, Insightful)

irritating environme (529534) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088673)

What does it matter if what we view and perceive is "reality" or a simulation? You can't detect the difference, you were born into this "reality", simulated or not, and I'd bet that you'll die in it too.

There isn't any evidence of artifacts of some simulation, beyond the existence of the laws of physics. And there certainly isn't any way to break it. If there is a higher power/controlling computer, they don't seem to care about us that much.

In terms of what we mathematically define as computation (given the observed rules of the simulation we know as life), it would be pretty hard to simulate what scientists view, measure, and track with our computational technology. The geometric rate on our computational engineering will probably slow drastically in the next century (to be liberal), so we can't count on a trillion times more space and speed.

Not really (3, Interesting)

dfeist (615612) | more than 11 years ago | (#6088680)

Two baseless claims.
First, we won't ever have the computing power to simulate a universe. That's simple to find out: If you want to simulate something completely, Your computer hase to be bigger than what you want to simulate. Because somewhere you have to store all the information, and you'll need exactly as much quantums to store the information about them as you simulate. Conclusion: we won't be able to even simulate the earth.

For sure, that doesn't yet prove we aren't a simulation. One can't prove or disprove anything about that, and that's why this isn't science.
There could of course be a universe with enough storage and computing power to simulate our universe (and that could again be a simulation etc). If you know something about quantum physics maybe you can imagine what computing power is necessary - for each single quantum, you need to compute the forces to each other, and some probabilities, too. We're far from even simulating very little amounts of matter today.
But saying it would be more probable we're being simulated is like giving probabilities for the existence of a god - ie one can't say anything about it. It's outside of what one can give something like probabilities for.
The only thing we could look for was if we find evidence for that our universe is simulated with computers similar to the ones we're using today, ie we could search for typical errors or something like rounding...
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