[FoRK] Physical limit on total amount of computation vs. Bostrom...

Lucas Gonze lgonze at panix.com
Wed Apr 28 11:53:31 PDT 2004

On Wednesday, Apr 28, 2004, at 14:20 America/New_York, Gordon Mohr 
(personal) wrote:

> Lucas Gonze wrote:
>> On Wednesday, Apr 28, 2004, at 13:38 America/New_York, Gordon Mohr 
>> (PERSONAL) wrote:
>>> If I were to run conscious ancestors (or lab
>>> rats or recreational avatars or whatever) inside
>>> a simulation, and I wanted them to take their
>>> "universe" at face value, I might very well make
>>> its computational-capacity ceiling appear pretty
>>> low, to keep them in the dark as long as I'd
>>> like.
>> Eventually they'd discover the discrepancies you had to allow to 
>> plant that deception.
> Why do you think there'd have to be discrepancies? Their ultimate
> and self-consistent truth would be that the universe they reside in
> hits an absolute computational ceiling, by design. No discrepancies
> necessary.

The key is in your word "appear."  Either you could only simulate 
universes with physics that lead to a low computational ceiling -- not 
in appearance but in fact, with the low ceiling designed into every 
constant and law, which would eliminate universes you'd want to 
simulate -- or you would have to allow physics that only appeared to 
lead to a lower computational ceiling, which would entail discoverable 
discrepancies.  In the first case you have unsimulable universes 
because you can't simulate physics without a computational ceiling.  In 
the second case you have unsimulable universes because you can't run 
the simulation past the point where the inhabitants discover it.

More information about the FoRK mailing list