Now that I’m watching the movie “Welt am Draht” from 1973 about simulated worlds, I am reminded of a remarkable semester during my mathematics studies that changed everything for me. I studied mathematical logic, I came up with the idea of superworld superposition, my dad died, I realized the abundance of immortality. It was terrific. My world was shaken to its core. My view of reality expanded beyond infinity.
Back then I already had contacts with the international transhumanist community, and the idea that this world could be a highly sophisticated computer simulation hadn’t been foreign to me. Of course, this idea implies the question whether this world is a computer simulation or not. Now, one is usually compelled to answer this question with “yes”, or “no”, but this reveals a thinking that’s rooted in Aristotelian logic and only accepts the answers of “true” or “false” for propositions. And that’s an assumption that simplified reality, perhaps too much. No, definitely too much. If we try to think beyond Aristotelian logic and entertain the thought that there may be answers beyond “true” / “yes”, and “false” / “no”, things start getting really interesting.
Now imagine we are 1000 years in the future and we could simulate worlds of comparable complexity to that we currently live in. Suppose that we created a simulated world that merely relied on modelling a world based on very basic and never chaning physical laws. And suppose that this world was inhabited by intelligent beings who reasoned about their existence. What are they supposed to think about the question whether they live in a computer simulation or not. From our point of view, the right answer to their question would be undoubtably “yes”, but that answer would be inappropriate to them! Why? Let’s suppose that somwehere in the multiverse there was a world that happened to exactly coincide with the world we simulated. After all, it’s merely based on simply physical rules, so why shouldn’t that be plausibly be the case? Now, we have at least two versions of that world in which those inhabitants ask about the nature of their world. What’s the right answer now? Well, “yes” and “no”! Their world is a simulation, and it’s not a simulation. And that’s what I call “superworld superposition”. The worlds that simulate ours are our superworlds. And that there are probably many of them, means that our world is in some kind of quantum superposition regarding its state of being simulated in a higher world.
Well, why shouldn’t the same be true for our world? At least that should be plausible unless there was overwhelming evidence that our world would make sense only as simulatiion or as not-simuation. But given the possibility of us being Boltzman brains, such evidence is really hard to come by.
How does this connect to the prospect of abundance of immortality? Well, if our world was a simulation, we would be packages of data that could be re-initialized in new mind-body complexes in our “superworld”. Reincarnation becoming true. If our world happened not to be a simulation, we would simply disappear after our mundane deaths. So, those versions of us who happened to be in a non-simulation wouldn’t really matter after all. Only those versions of us who happen to be in a simulated world, and happened to be resurrected in a superworld would have a continued existence which validated their point of view.
What suffices for us to be essentially immortal is the mere possibility that we live in a simulated world. And given that we don’t have conclusive evidence that our world can’t be simulated, means that chances are that our world is in a superworld superposition that includes many situations in which we are ressurrected into some kind of superworld. So, there’s quite likely an afterlife for all of us. How would that look like? Well, that’s hard to tell. What motivations do the simulators have to simulate a world like ours? Well, what really matters is what motivations those simulators have that simulate our world and plan to resurrect us into their world after our Earthly end. This closely ties in with “simulation ethics”. In the following thread I’ve reflected on the basic possibilities:
Well, as you might know, Elon Musk tabooed talking about the possibility about our world being a simulation. The reasoning behind that is rather solid. We can only vaguely speculate about the kind of worlds that our world in being simulated in. Entertaining the prospect of being immortal in a trans-mundane way may soothen us psychologically, but it may negatively impact our ability to make a positive change in this, our world. Or does it? I am not sure about that. Taking this world as some kind of game, movie, challenge, play, training may very well colour our worldy experience pretty much and change its nature. Still, the interpretation of what our world truly is, remains with us. We are still the prime determinants of our destinies – unless proven otherwise.
We could very well be artificial intelligences in testing. In a testing environment that should evaluate our fitness for being let loose on the “real” world. How do we “win”? How do we prove that we are ready for the “real” world? Or does that feel like too much of a responsibility? Well, the prospect may be very real, and very scary. Just take a look at the following magnificent thought experient turned into a YouTube animaton series:
Thoughts like these may be dangerous, but they will appear quite naturally. The more naturally, the more highly advanced the civilization in question. This poses a potential issue for simulators. Their sims will increasingly get the idea that they live in a simulated world, as their technology and philosophical maturity increases. How should they deal with that? I’ve sometimes caught myself entertaining these thoughts and reflected on how our simulators would think about me having those thoughts. Huh. Well, I guess the answer is that this is just all-too natural. It’s a normal part of life. Just as sometimes questioning whether you are dreaming or not. Some people do that more ofthen than others, but there’s nothing truly special about such thoughts.
Anyway, we need to come to terms with the likely reality that we live in a simulation. Why not just stop pretenting that all of this is “real” and accept the truth that all of this is essentially simulated? Wouldn’t that be the most mature and enlightened thing to do? That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take this world we are living in seriously – after all it’s the only world that we know about.
Then what’s the point of all these thoughts and ideas? Are they merely a signal of our awareness? An awareness that implies that we wouldn’t be truly surprised about anything happening?
For at least nine more seasons!