Portrait of a Creator as a Sims Freak

by Devanshu Mehta

Fantastic profile of Dr. Bostrom, the director of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford, in <a href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/14/science/14tier.html?ei=5124&en=22efff4469281187&ex=1344744000&adxnnl=1&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink&adxnnlx=1187101355-5HWiLxChv9ReqvISlLpTnQ”>the New York Times</a>. <blockquote>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. [..] 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.</blockquote>

I’ve had a similar theory for a while now, which I’ve tried to spin in to a fantasy novel (someday…) about a creator as a high-on-sugar kid with a LEGO set, albeit a LEGO set that builds intricate worlds. I’m paraphrasing, of course.

In any case, none of these ideas are ‘Matrix’-like pluggable-hybrid humans; they’re actually completely simulate that live in the circuits. The tubes, as they say in Alaska. I’d buy this theory, except there’s no way of knowing if it’s true. This isn’t the Truman Show, where you can walk out the end of the world or where everyone else is in on the joke. So, ultimately, it’s a cool hypothesis but I’m already set against unprovable creators.