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RaelwayScot comments on Simulations Map: what is the most probable type of the simulation in which we live? - Less Wrong

5 Post author: turchin 11 October 2015 05:10AM

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Comment author: RaelwayScot 11 October 2015 09:50:48AM *  5 points [-]

If we are in a simulation, why isn’t the simulation more streamlined? I have a couple of examples for that:

  • Classical physics and basic chemistry would likely be sufficient for life to exist.
  • There are seven uninhabitable planets in our solar system.
  • 99.9…% of everything performs extremely boring computations (dirt, large bodies of fluids and gas etc.).
  • The universe is extremely hostile towards intelligent life (GRBs, supernovae, scarcity of resources, large distances between celestial body).

It seems that our simulation hosts would need to have access to vast or unlimited resources. (In that case it would be interesting to consider whether life is sustainable in a world with unlimited resources at all. Perhaps scarcity is somehow required for ethical behavior to develop; malice would perhaps spread too easily.)

I’m a big fan of these infographics by the way.

Comment author: drethelin 12 October 2015 12:34:56AM 3 points [-]

Video games are one kind of simulation we generally engage in, and the answers to these kind of questions are because they're enjoyable background or optimized for gameplay rather than something else. Games like half-life 2 spend a lot of time simulating really boring physics so that they can exist for the few situations they're actually kind of interesting. Lots of games have worlds where every single entity is hostile to the main player or damages them in some way.

If we're in a simulation, we can't discount that we're being simulated in a specific way for non-obvious motivations.

Comment author: passive_fist 15 October 2015 08:39:59PM 1 point [-]

The quantity of extra computation isn't comparable. Half-life 2 may simulate a few objects falling, but it doesn't simulate e.g. the Sun. Which, in our universe, is a computation trillions of times more complex than everything that's 'interesting', at least from the point of view of simulating intelligent beings.

Comment author: drethelin 16 October 2015 01:49:48AM 1 point [-]

You're ignoring the possibility for shortcuts. Half-life 2 ALSO simulates the sun! It simulates it as a spot of light in the distance in the game. Similarly, the gravity and friction and motion simulation is hugely simplified compared to reality. If the sun works the way it would work in what we understand of physics, it would be extremely complex. But the same doesn't hold if it's a simulation.

Comment author: moridinamael 12 October 2015 03:40:31PM 2 points [-]

The speed of light also allows simulation domains to by cleanly truncated for parallelization.

Comment author: ZankerH 11 October 2015 12:30:47PM *  3 points [-]

How do you know it isn't? Everything off the Earth could be a very simple simulation just designed to emit the right kind of EM radiation to look as if it's there. Likewise, large chunks of dead matter could easily be optimized away until a human interacts with them in sufficient detail. Other than your observation about classical physics, all your points are observations "from the inside" that could be optimized around without degrading our perception of the universe.

Comment author: James_Miller 11 October 2015 02:39:04PM 4 points [-]

The Fermi paradox and quantum physics (as opposed to unlimited layers all the way down) are massive simulation streamlines.

Comment author: RaelwayScot 11 October 2015 07:26:45PM 0 points [-]

Perhaps the conditions that cause the Fermi paradox are actually crucial for life. If spaceflight was easy, all resources would have been exhausted by exponential growth pretty quickly. This would invalidate the 'big distances' point as evidence for a non-streamlined universe, though.

Comment author: tailcalled 12 October 2015 09:49:08PM 1 point [-]

It could be that the 'external' world is completely different and way, way bigger than our world. Their world might be to our world what our world is to a simple game of life simulation.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 12 October 2015 10:24:41PM 0 points [-]

If the hypothetical external world in question diverges from our own world by a lot then the ancestor simulation argument loses all force.

Comment author: tailcalled 13 October 2015 04:45:01PM 1 point [-]

Of course, but OTOH, we have simulated a lot of tiny, strange universes, so it's not completely implausible.