Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Our Lives, Controlled From Some Guy’s Couch

Are we are living in a simulation akin to, 'The Matrix?' According to Oxford University Professor Nick Bostrom there is a 20% probability we are... Below is an extract from the article in the NY Times.

In fact, if you accept a pretty reasonable assumption of Dr. Bostrom’s, it is almost a mathematical certainty that we are living in someone else’s computer simulation.

This simulation would be similar to the one in “The Matrix,” in which most humans don’t realize that their lives and their world are just illusions created in their brains while their bodies are suspended in vats of liquid. But in Dr. Bostrom’s notion of reality, you wouldn’t even have a body made of flesh. Your brain would exist only as a network of computer circuits.

You couldn’t, as in “The Matrix,” unplug your brain and escape from your vat to see the physical world. You couldn’t see through the illusion except by using the sort of logic employed by Dr. Bostrom, the director of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford.

Dr. Bostrom assumes that technological advances could produce a computer with more processing power than all the brains in the world, and that advanced humans, or “posthumans,” could run “ancestor simulations” of their evolutionary history by creating virtual worlds inhabited by virtual people with fully developed virtual nervous systems.

The full paper from 2003 is available here. Thanks to one of our Beta testers Scott for this feed. Add him as a contact - he sure needs some! Just kidding Scottie!!!

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