Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A PATCH FOR THE SIMULATION ARGUMENT

A PATCH FOR THE SIMULATION ARGUMENT [.pdf]

Nick Bostrom
Future of Humanity Institute
Faculty of Philosophy & James Martin 21st Century School
University of Oxford

Marcin Kulczycki
Institute of Mathematics
Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science
Jagiellonian University

(2010) [under review]
www.simulation-argument.com

Abstract
This article reports on a newly discovered bug in the original simulation argument. Two different ways of patching the argument are proposed, each of which preserves the original conclusion.

The bug
An earlier paper by one of us (N.B.) argues that, having accepted some plausible assumptions, one must conclude that at least one of three propositions is true:

(1) The human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a posthuman
stage
(2) The fraction of posthuman civilizations that are interested in running a
significant number of ancestor simulations is extremely small.
(3) We are almost certainly living in a computer simulation.

This paper has generated several commentaries from the philosophical and scientific community and has drawn considerable interest from the wider public. What has so far passed unnoticed is a mathematical non sequitur in the original
paper.

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