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6rant6's avatar

If you discovered you were just a simulation what effect would that have on your life?

Asked by 6rant6 (13629 points ) November 17th, 2010

There’s a logical argument that goes like this: Intelligent life forms like humans will develop simulation via computer, in which the virtual people will think they are “Real”.

One advanced civilization can produce an very large number of virtual civilizations.

So the chances are that THIS is a simulation.

It’s a very precise mathematical argument, which is not what this is about.

I am asking if you woke up one morning and got the news that you were a simulation what would you change?

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32 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I would have simulated feelings of loss and rip-off, and then eventually I would just move on with my simulated life. What else could I do?

iamthemob's avatar

I would pretty much continue as I had…except I would try to communicate to whatever might be out there running or watching the simulation to let them know, “Hey! Don’t shut this thing down until I say so…dammit!”

If I’m conscious, it really doesn’t matter to me how that consciousness was formed.

submariner's avatar

“I think, therefore I am.” —R. Descartes

“Life may be an illusion, but the suffering is real.” —G. Santayana

If you are undergoing 1st-person experience, then you are real, period, without scare-quotes, even if you are systematically deluded about everything (like Neo in The Matrix before he took the pill). We have no reason to think that a simulation, no matter how complex (like the Smiths in The Matrix), will ever genuinely have real 1st-person experience. Filmakers like to muddy the waters by portraying droids like C3PO has having real personalities, but executing a program is not the same as really having 1st-person experience.

No matter how advanced our video games get, killing simulations in a FPS will never be murder.

If you are interested in the topic of artificial intelligence, you should read about the Turing Test:
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/turing-test/

flutherother's avatar

The virtual people will think they are real and the ‘real’ people who created the virtual world will think they are real too but are they? There is no test for reality and for we humans this is as real as it will get. Enjoy!

Zyx's avatar

It would give me direction in my quest to become a god, the first step is clear, overcome the simulation. Nothing else.

Scooby's avatar

My bed clothes!! They’re too girlie! :-/
For a bloke!!!

Zyx's avatar

And after reading the question again I’d say it’s equally improbably as it is probably because there are an infinite number of alternatives to a simulation which are just as likely to be true.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I would rewrite or manipulate the program where all simulated beings in the construct would eventually become self-aware and sentient and embark on a new life somewhere in the future.

wundayatta's avatar

It wouldn’t make a bit of difference to me. My experiences wouldn’t change. The only thing different I’d have is this idea that my life is programmed somehow. No, wait. My life is programmed to some degree.

Never mind.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’d think “I knew it!” and completely move on.

6rant6's avatar

There’s the implicit idea in this proposal that the simulated worlds (our perhaps) would create their own simulated worlds, and they theirs, and so on.

So when we create OUR simulated worlds, maybe we ought to think about how we’d like to be treated in ours.

thekoukoureport's avatar

I kinda live that way now. What I mean is that I control the world around me, not to any godlike extent but I will tell you that all of my dreams have come true. Not to the extent that I may have imagined, but to a degree that I could realistically say it was fulfilled. I have been having this sort of discussion with a friend of mine.

Like when you start talking about something and you get questions but the conversation goes nowhere…. Then later the information is presented to you from someplace completely out in left field. Or you sing a song from nowhere and then it comes on the radio. (insert twighlight zone music)

How about this, My buddy and I are building a ramp onto my mothers house. Last week a guy, we’ll call Pat, comes up in conversation. Now Pat was a handyman who had hired my friend to work with him on odd jobs probably 15 years ago and my friend said to me aloud that he would like to see if Pat had any work or if he was still in the business. We have not seen Pat for at least 15 years. We are poor but today I came across a couple of sheckles and treated to hoagies. When we drove to the sub shop I open the door and out walks Pat.

Do you think thats air your breathing?

mattbrowne's avatar

Well, I’d assume that I would live as long as the universe got free energy.

Mr_Paradox's avatar

Totaly crash the system by introducing hundreds of paradoxes that blow up the logic coding in the sim causing total malfunction that forces the moderator of the sim to shut it down.

6rant6's avatar

@Mr_Paradox Or just shut you down.

Mr_Paradox's avatar

@6rant6 deleting me would do nothing because the basic structure of the sim would be destroyed.

6rant6's avatar

@Mr_Paradox That’s exactly what they programmed you to believe. Well done.

Mr_Paradox's avatar

@6rant6 You know nothing about logic programs do you? If you introduce a paradox the logic systems spend forever trying to work it out and eventualy the feedback destroys the system.

6rant6's avatar

@Mr_Paradox I get it. You’re programmed to believe!

Mr_Paradox's avatar

@6rant6 You’re more frustrating than trying to remove a stripped screw….

6rant6's avatar

@Mr_Paradox So I’m ¬ you. I’ll take that as a complement.

Mr_Paradox's avatar

Do you realy want to get into a debate about existentialism with me?

6rant6's avatar

@Mr_Paradox Yes. Please notify me once you exist.

Mr_Paradox's avatar

I am, therefor I think. I think, therefor I am.

6rant6's avatar

@Mr_Paradox Hmmm.

Not buyin’ it.
Not buyin’ either premise, as a matter of fact.

Can you supply __any__ evidence?

Mr_Paradox's avatar

If I didn’t exist could I write this?

Zyx's avatar

That all depends on the definition of existence, which depends on whether or not this is a simulation. There is no solution, so tired XD

6rant6's avatar

@Mr_Paradox I’d go so far as to say you could write something better than that even if you don’t exist.

Keep_on_running's avatar

It already feels like a simulation; I don’t know what would be different. If I knew all my physical and mental characteristics were punched into a computer, it would make me feel a little better and I would probably enjoy life a little more, not having to worry about why and all that.

flutherother's avatar

It would make shaving difficult if I couldn’t see my face in the mirror.

Mr_Paradox's avatar

@6rant6 you need to take a train trip to realityvil.

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