Finding Yourself

This post earlier about whether we are living in a simulation relies rather critically on this idea that our certainty that we are in a simulation should be the proportion of humans who are simulations. I kind of glossed over the rationale behind this although I think it is a bit intuitive.

I mentioned that it would be difficult to tell the difference between living in a simulation and the real world. The differences between the two is partially an engineering question of how realistic they make simulations so I’ll just assume I am unable to distinguish.

However, it is important to note that being unable to distinguish between two situations does not imply that I should be equally certain that I am in each. For example, I might be unable to distinguish between a situation where life is as it seems and one in which I am the subject of a Truman show, but it would be absurd for me to consider them equally likely possibilities. The difference here is that these are different possible worlds and they are not equally likely to be the world I’m in. Perhaps I will talk about this more another time.

In this figure, the numbers on the side are the a priori likelihood I assign to that world existing. The circles are indistinguishable situations I could find myself in along the time line of that world.

If, on the other hand, I am unable to distinguish between two situations in the same world, then I must consider them equally likely possibilities. In the previous situation the asymmetry between the worlds prevented me from considering the situations equally likely. In this case there is only one relevant world to consider. Since I am unable to distinguish between the situations, I must consider them equally likely as is the case in the following figure.

In the simulation argument all of the situations you could find yourself in occur in the same world just at very different times. The simulation situations occur occur in the future while the non simulation situations occur in the present (‘future’ and ‘present’ assume we are non simulations). So given that being a person in a simulation is indistinguishable from being a person in real life, you should consider yourself equally likely to be any non Sim as any Sim. Thus your likelihood that you are a Sim is the proportion of Sims.

This isn’t actually the best estimate you could make though because you have more information than that you are merely a person. For example, you know that the perceived year is 2010 so you can compare the number of people in 2010 to the number of Sims who think the year is 2010.

This post wasn’t really that interesting in itself, but it’s just a point I wanted to clarify because it is relevant to my next post.

Listening to: The Way I Am – Eminem


One Response to “Finding Yourself”

  1. Church of Bruce « The Mind Of Bruce Says:

    […] The Mind Of Bruce Just another weblog « Finding Yourself […]

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