Part one of this blog/discussion was titled “Existential Questions that Need Answers”. It contains an introduction to Nick Bostrom and his prolific career as a philosopher of Artificial Intelligence and bioethics. PART ONE outlined the ABSTRACT of the paper he published in 2002, titled ” Are you living in a computer simulation?” I urge you to read it for the rest of this thesis to make sense.
BY; NICK BOSTROM
Many works of science fiction as well as some forecasts by serious technologists and futurologists predict that enormous amounts of computing power will be available in the future. Let us suppose for a moment that these predictions are correct. One thing that future generations might do with their super-powerful computers is run detailed simulations of their forebears or of people like forebears. Because their computers would be so powerful , they could run a great many such simulations. Suppose that these simulated people are conscious ( as they would be if the simulations were sufficiently fine-grained and if a certain quite widely accepted position in the philosophy of mind is correct. Then it could be the case that the vast majority of minds like ours do not belong to the original race but rather to people simulated by the advanced decedents or an original race. It is then possible to argue that, if this were the case, we would be among the original biological ones. Therefore, if we don’t think that we are currently living in a computer simulation, we are not entitled to believe that we will have descendants who will run such lots of such simulation of their forebears. This is the basic idea. The rest of this paper will spell it out more carefully.