Post Scarcity Civilizations: Reality & Simulation

Post Scarcity Civilizations: Reality & Simulation

Albert Einstein once said: “Reality is merely
an illusion – albeit a very persistent one.” One of the topics we discuss a lot on this
channel is simulation, be it virtual or augmented reality, uploading human minds to computers,
or simulating whole worlds. Indeed in terms of the Fermi Paradox we often
kick around the notion that we might be living in a simulation, the Simulation Hypothesis
or Argument. In regard to that people often debate whether
we live in one or not, but here we usually say that’s the wrong question, not “do
we live in one?” but “If so, does it actually matter?” As we see with the Fermi Paradox, the apparent
contradiction between our ancient and vast Universe and its seeming absence of any other
civilizations inhabiting it, the answer is basically no. If you’re talented enough to make a simulation
that can fool us into thinking it’s real, you won’t leave glaring holes in the basic
structure of that Universe. Which is to say, the physical laws of that
simulation should have been crafted without blatantly obvious contradictions that allow
no explanation for the state of affairs inside it other than to conclude it’s fake. You don’t include an entire universe in
a simulation rather than just a planet unless the rest of the Universe serves some important
purpose. Since any such purpose could only be achieved
by a civilization that has taken a heavy interest in science, it messes things up if they keep
encountering paradoxes. So whatever the answer to the Fermi Paradox
is, it is going to make sense in terms of the known physical laws of the Universe and
those emergent laws of chemistry, biology, and psychology, this will be true whether
it is a simulation or not, unless the purpose of that simulation is specifically to have
folks find those contradictions. That’s a pretty probable case actually,
one that I usually dub a Nursery Universe, and we’ll discuss that later today. Debating whether or not we live in reality
is not our main interest for today, even in the episode on the Simulation Hypothesis that
wasn’t something we focused on as it’s essentially a question you can only answer
if the simulators are either idiots, which is unlikely if they can make such simulations,
or actually tell you, directly or indirectly that it’s fake. In both cases, it’s outside your own control,
you cannot determine you are inside a simulation by any experiment you can perform inside one. Rather our interest today is more about who
might make such simulations, which is inevitably either a post-scarcity civilization or entity. Creating such a thing is intensely resource
expensive and there’s almost always an easier way to achieve a goal without investing that
much, so it’s pretty much limited to folks who have those kind of super-abundant resources. More to the point though, if you can do it,
you are post-scarcity. At least as we’ve previously defined that,
rather than the absolute sense of having no scarcity of resources at all. A common solution to the Fermi Paradox is
to suggest that maybe nobody ventures out into the galaxy because they have everything
at their fingertips at home. Even where normal reality might draw some
limits, they can simulate almost anything they’d ever want in virtual reality. The flaw in this line of reasoning is that
if you can decently simulate people well enough not to set off an Uncanny Valley reaction
in people interacting with them for hours or even years at a time, it means your computing
is so good you could easily assemble a robot to go out and explore the Universe. A probe smart enough to build more copies
of itself, a von Neumann probe, and able to do exploring or even resource extraction is
simply child’s play to any civilization able to simulate people well enough that most
folks prefer virtual reality to regular reality. Complexity-wise, it’s like wondering if
Intel or AMD can build an Abacus. And they only have to do it once. That’s the point of a self-replicating machine. They are also automatically post-scarcity
if they have that because it means they have automation good enough to do virtually all
the mining, farming, manufacturing, and maintenance. This is why we dismiss it as a Fermi Paradox
solution, such a civilization still has a value for raw materials, energy, and information
about the Universe, and even if they’re terribly lazy, it requires virtually no effort
for them to do this. Also, such laziness is always assumed to come
after they create their Utopia, which relies on that technology to exist. They may well turn into lazy vegetables, though
it seems unlikely everyone would, but even so it wouldn’t matter if they do if they
already launched those probes. Our focus being more on post-scarcity civilizations
though, we should address this habit of assuming virtually unlimited wealth and luxury universally
breeds lazy, spoiled idiots. We already have a lot of people with virtually
unlimited wealth and luxury who are not lazy, spoiled, or idiotic. However, a lot of these scenarios for civilizations
collapsing under their own gluttony typically only work if the folks who designed the system
were pretty incompetent, which as with the aforementioned probes runs into a causality
issue. The lazy, spoiled idiocy comes after the technology
and system exist, and would not affect the designers. For this reason we can safely assume that
potential problems any ten-year old could spot will be spotted by those designers who
will try to rectify them. One of the useful things about science fiction
is that it can help us foresee these problems and think of solutions, to become ‘genre-savvy’. As an example, we have a lot of science fiction
discussing how a technology-based Utopia might collapse after a few generations when the
civilization forgets how to maintain the equipment. Regardless of whether or not you can solve
that concern, you were certainly aware of it in advance and would have sought out a
solution and implemented it if you could. Such being the case, some rather obvious ones
spring to mind. Which ones you can use depends on your technology
of course. First, many of us would decline to enter something
like that, a virtual utopia, just on general principle, and there’s no particular reason
to think such groups would die off, since they may very well have access to life extension
technology and even if they decline to use that, they can just pass their preferences
on to their children. Second, those who do still take their skills
with them, and it would seem unlikely they’d just magically warp into utterly selfish entities,
but even if they did it is clearly in their best interest to make sure the system is maintained. Third, if you’ve got amazingly good virtual
reality you also have every teacher’s dream educational system and it’s very easy to
set the system up to force an education and basic ethics on youngsters before letting
them do whatever they please inside it. Fourth, it would be very plausible those folks
were not entirely classically human anymore, and had enhanced intelligence to make learning
and remembering skills easier, or even directly downloadable as in the Matrix. Indeed the very existence of technology good
enough to simulate people plausibly enough for comfortable interaction strongly implies
you can also upload minds to run on a computer or otherwise create AI, which either way now
represent an effectively immortal entity who should not be forgetting things. As well as saved earlier states that could
be automatically awoken even if such entities were prone to turning lazy or stupid, you
just wake up the earlier version that still retains the necessary skills and dedication. Fifth, you could create a guardian caste,
people or AI who had the specific maintenance job for the system and were programmed or
conditioned to resist any temptation which might make them suck at their job. Now in that vein, and of educating people,
we do get a pathway to those Nursery Universes I mentioned earlier. One concern often expressed about high-tech
civilizations is they might under-breed and die off for lack of numbers. Regardless of whether this concern is justified
and scientific, and in my own opinion it is neither, one has to consider that if people
are turning into lazy spoiled brats they probably would not make good parents, even assuming
one would be interested in devoting the time to that. Such a civilization probably doesn’t need
a lot of new people to maintain population levels as its population is likely to be functionally
immortal, but they can always resort to growing kids in vats. It offends sensibilities to suggest a machine
could raise a healthy child, though considering that a lot of bright and well-adjusted kids
have emerged from families that are beyond dysfunctional, I don’t think the bar is
necessarily that high. This is another example of causality issues
with these Utopias though, as the effect, lazy spoiled people, comes after they have
invented the relevant technology. They are lazy and spoiled because they have
access to virtual realities and automation so good you can craft simulations of people
that are good enough to make them more attractive to interact with than other real people. If it can trick an adult it can trick a two-year
old. So before you’ve got people totally cutting
themselves off from civilization, and we’ll talk about this more in a moment, you’ve
got machines that can raise kids. As mentioned, the notion tends to be fairly
offensive to our sensibilities, and personally I’d object to using such a pathway, but
there’s no real logical reason to think it wouldn’t work, and it’s certainly preferable
to extinction, unless the programming is botched and produces legions of little sociopaths. But then again if that’s the alternative
considered attractive enough people are willing to employ it as an alternative to extinction,
it means it is better than normal parents, either because it genuinely is or because
the available parents are content to use it in spite of its obvious flaws, implying they
probably would make awful parents. Essentially, if you’re willing to let a
machine raise your kids, it’s probably the right move. If you do have that, then you have your population
issue licked, along with your colonization issue since it means you can send probes off
to terraform planets or build habitats and then just grow and raise people when the time
comes, a von Neumann colony, if you would. If you can’t lick the problem though, you
don’t actually have to use machines or virtual people, you can just use digital people instead,
full blown mind emulations. I’d imagine you could find plenty of folks
with a proven track record of child-rearing you could copy as much as necessary and keep
that state preserved for future copying too. You can make as many copies as you want, so
a volunteer could raise hundreds of kids at once and do that for centuries, if the pool
of decent and willing parents was too low. We’ll bypass any argument of whether or
not a digital copy of a human mind can be an android parent as well as a regular modern
person can. I’m not being dismissive of the argument
that only flesh and blood people are real, we’ve talked about that before, but folks
who feel that way are unlikely to be inclined to go live in a virtual reality anyway. As to the Nursery Universe approach, this
comes down to the big difference between the Simulation Argument and other more classic
false reality scenarios like life just being a dream. The Simulation Argument is specific to what
are called ‘Ancestor Simulations’, cases where someone is simulating a past version
of Earth, namely modern times. This does not necessarily mean it’s identical
to their own past, just that it represents a plausible alternative history. The original might have had totally different
individual people for instance. It should also be noted that not every person
inside one has to be fully sentient, technically it just means that you have to be since you
know you’re sentient but can’t be sure about anyone else, especially folks living
far away from any place you’ve ever visited. Such a simulation could have started billions
of years ago or the year you were born, or even sooner, though that last rather eliminated
the need for the specific teaching-style Nursery Universe. Now the Simulation Argument says we have 3
reasonable scenarios to consider. Option 1, such simulations simply aren’t
possible, either because they genuinely are not for reasons unclear to us, or they’re
freakishly impractical, or there’s nobody alive in any civilization advanced enough
to do one, like they’ve nuked themselves out of existence before getting the simulation
tech. Option 2 is that they do have that tech but
simply have no motivation to use it for simulations. So they do it rarely or not at all. They might consider it unethical, pretty impractical,
or simply have no interest. A Strong AI like Skynet taking over the planet
probably has no desire to invest the resources to run a simulation, the whole premise for
that in The Matrix, using people for batteries, is simply ludicrous. Good movie, silly plot. The ethics one is pretty plausible though
as it’s pretty hard to justify creating whole planets of essentially real people for
fun or experimentation, when a virtual reality running pretty good approximations is likely
to be good enough. If you want to visit the medieval era and
go jousting, your opponent doesn’t need to have hopes and dreams and emotions to try
to stick a lance through you. Option 3 is that civilizations can do simulations
and do them pretty often. Now we don’t have a clue which of these
is true yet or how likely each option is, so we usually apply what’s called “The
Principle of Indifference”, which is where you assume that various scenarios that seem
plausible are all equally likely till you have data indicating otherwise. 3 options, and each one is one third as likely. In option 3, where they might have made millions
of simulated Universes, there is still a non-zero chance you live in the original real one,
so the odds you live in a simulated Universe, if those assumptions are true, would be about
33%. One in three that option 3 is right, minus
a tiny probability that it is but you are the original reality. You or your descendants will later make simulated
Universes. Obviously this is very simplified, and even
if you can do this you have to have some motive for doing so, one that justifies the huge
cost compared to alternatives and which your society, or at least the simulator, considers
ethical. That tends to be a short list and one of those
is the Nursery Universe approach. You want to raise kids who are reasonably
ethical and social and normal, and also won’t have a total nervous breakdown when plucked
out of the simulation into the ‘real world’, so you pick an ancestor period close enough
to your own time that they share a lot of your basic principles and familiarity with
technology, but not one quite far enough along so that fake realities are obvious options
to them. Similarly a period like now still has a lot
of hardships and need for human social interaction, but not so much you’d feel guilty about
it, like if you dumped people off in ancient Rome or Egypt to live as a slave. The common objection to this is that an awful
lot of people nowadays lead very bad lives, but keep in mind you can only use your own
personal existence as a gauge for that hardship, as you don’t know that any of those people
are real. Not everyone in a simulated Universe has to
be sentient, just good enough to pass inspection if you meet them, and only while you’re
actually talking to them. After all, if you make a virtual paradise
planet to live in, you aren’t going to waste the processing power to make someone even
match a modern chatbot when you’ve never met them, and they can be boosted up if you
do. In such a Nursery Universe you can just yank
people out as they graduate, but you might do whole batches or classes, as it were, stick
a hundred thousand people in one with 7 billion virtual folks, beginning, say, 1984, all of
whom are 34 right now, and just end and reset the thing when all or most have gotten to
the necessary mental development. If you want them to be mentally ready for
realizing their reality isn’t the real deal, you might then include some clear signs of
that being the case, subtle paradoxes that make them wonder but probably not overt enough
to make it certain. I sincerely doubt it would be the Fermi Paradox,
but that would be one example of how your simulated Universe might have things going
on inside it that weren’t explainable under the apparent physical laws governing it. Now if you do happen to have a civilization
where people are prone to turning into lazy self-absorbed jerks after a while, no matter
how well you prepare them, these ancestor simulations give you a good replacement option,
as once you raise a batch you can use them to do all the maintenance on the system and
grow the next batch as a way of paying their dues before entering their own personal Utopia. I don’t happen to find this scenario particularly
plausible or ethical, but people propose this line of reasoning a lot, about post-scarcity
civilizations collapsing under their own bliss and divorcing themselves from their civilization,
so it is worth pursuing the concept and seeing that there’s a lot of steps you can take
to circumvent that. The collapse that is, the divorcing themselves
from society is a bit harder. An awful lot of our civilization revolves
around our inter-dependency for basic survival, and to be blunt that’s out the window for
a post-scarcity civilization. Once technology hits a certain point, you
don’t need anyone else to live. Not for basic survival needs anyway. Not a new concern there, Isaac Asimov played
around with this idea with the Solarians, a planet full of people who lived in near
isolation from each other, enjoying total luxury granted by their armies of robots. The planet wasn’t particularly full either,
as I recall they considered their world fully populated with 20,000 people when first introduced
in The Naked Sun, and had less when we see them again tens of thousands of years later,
as a sub-race of hermaphrodites in Foundation and Earth. Incidentally, the former is a great book while
the latter is not. This doesn’t mean you don’t need those
other people for basic social interaction and sanity though, humans need that and our
whole existence as a technological species almost certainly derives from that basic family
and tribal system. The same would also likely be true of alien
civilizations, though in spite of us talking about the Fermi Paradox, this is not an episode
about that. It does highlight though that while you might
be able to remove that dependency through technology you’d expect it to be the norm
throughout the Universe, though not necessarily universal. That dependency on social interaction to be
happy and stable does provide a limited safeguard though. Much as it is possible nowadays to live without
even talking to anyone face to face, few of us voluntarily do that, at least exclusively. We can at least assume people will want to
interact with other real people at least until the available sims and chatbots get so good
that they let most folks achieve a comfortable suspension of disbelief. The downside is that this almost certainly
does not require those virtual people be fully sentient and sapient, and our relationships
with our pets pretty much prove that, though we are likely to be far more sensitive to
inhuman quirks in virtual humans than we are in pets, hence the Uncanny Valley. It doesn’t even have to seem fully human
though, for many interactions this hardly matters anyway, but the thing about a real
person is that they can get on your nerves, they do have rights and feelings, they won’t
be in the mood to go on a trip or play a game or whatever just as you want and when you
want. So a lot of times that slight inhumanity would
be preferable to the real deal who is essentially unavailable, and a person’s own mind is
going to gloss over a lot of flaws and inconsistencies if they want it to be very real. This represents a real problem for post-scarcity
civilizations as it probably takes far less processing power to simulate a whole civilization
to a comfortable level of human interaction then it takes to emulate a single human mind. Nothing is fully rendering where the person
experiencing it isn’t at, and everything just downgrades to minimum upkeep. I don’t care if the forest I just left ceases
to exist when I walk out or if on returning the trees no longer perfectly match their
prior layout and leaf count, let alone if the anthills have the same number of occupants
or the chemical composition of some rock I sat on has slightly changed. If I did, such specifics could be saved, and
you just run these at a level necessary for most people to be comfortable and kick up
those aspects of the virtual reality and its continuity a given individual is more sensitive
to. A geologist or botanist would be more likely
to notice such things and be bothered by them, after all. In other words, everybody probably has these
in their house, and this very same level of computational power means everything in their
house is being easily cleaned and maintained by robots as are all the farms and factories. They can easily connect to other people if
they want, assuming those other people want to talk to them, but you could live your life
quite comfortably as king or queen or God-Emperor of some realm where everyone acts plausibly
enough. What’s more, it would be very likely that
one of the first things folks would start working on was some drug or hypnosis method
or implant that made people tend to ignore flaws or forget they were in a simulation. Not to trick people, but at their own request,
so they could better enjoy these vacations or retirements. You either don’t remember that you’re
from Earth, not Westeros, or you actively don’t care, your brain just kind of ignores
it. Again, this doesn’t prevent you colonizing
other solar systems or anything, because that can be done through automation, but it does
tend to mean society would start falling apart. More technology is always better but when
you get to this kind of level you don’t really need more so you might not care that
everyone has stopped doing new research or even maintenance. That said, you would tend to think a lot of
folks would keep up the system as it was their passion, and those folks would probably be
the best of your researchers since passion for a topic is pretty much the biggest prerequisite
to excelling at it. And you can always go that paying your dues
route we discussed a little while ago, where new folks are expected to help maintain things
for a while until they get to escape to a virtual Utopia. And you can always require everyone wake up
and be useful every so often. As mentioned, these tends to be flaws and
problems everyone would notice long before you did this, so you’d expect them to prepare
things to handle it. It does tend to strongly imply though that
the way most of them would handle it would be to try to raise new members to a certain
degree of ethics and responsibility in advance, rather than raising some kid in a pure virtual
utopia where they are effectively a god and your whole species is composed of kids who
never grew up and are used to being able to wish people away to the cornfield, like in
that classic Twilight Zone episode, “It’s a Good Life”. This remains one of the big issues facing
any post-scarcity civilization though, that each of its members can probably exist entirely
on their own because they have all the data and automation needed to see to all their
needs, and a vast archive of entertainment, classic or virtual reality, to entertain them. Such a civilization has a risk of collapsing
not because its members might all die, but simply because none of them have any sense
of dependency on each other. If faced with a threat they can probably just
board a spaceship they owned or had made and take off with all the information and production
capacity they need to live happily on that ship or whatever destination, if any, it has. They don’t even have to feel guilty about
the species potentially ceasing because they are a seed quite capable of germinating a
branch of us elsewhere. They can just tell their ship to stop somewhere
at some point to refuel and take some extra time to set up a von Neumann colony. This requires no effort on their part after
all and was probably part of the template for such a ship they yanked out of an archive
before fleeing. Not the prettiest portrait of the future,
in some ways, though keep in mind that while it sounds rather horrifying in many ways,
these folks are all enjoying very happy lives and there’s also no reason to think that
divorcing yourself from the rest of humanity is inevitable or universal. Some folks might, some might not, I wouldn’t
expect everyone to go the same path. A lot of it is likely to depend on how these
folks regard reality, for many folks a simulation, no matter how good, isn’t an acceptable
substitute, and you could make a good case that a civilization getting better at making
believable realities would tend to naturally stop getting better as they lose folks to
those personal paradises. Those not in them grow to dislike the idea
more and more and aren’t interested in further funding their improvement and you’d expect
that to happen before they reached a point where virtually everyone joined in. The same applies to regular reality too, again
virtual reality is not the only aspect of this, a simple rise in automation catering
to your every need can make folks grow divorced from reality but as it improves and more folks
do that, you’d expect to lose both your research pool for improving it as they enjoy
it themselves and the support of those still not using it as they dislike where its taking
people. You could have 99.99% of a civilization in
such circumstances and that still leaves you 70,000 people who aren’t, by modern populations,
and trillions if you’re looking at a Kardashev 2 civilization. The former is more than enough to rebuild
with, especially since they have all that technology still, and the latter is thousands
of planets worth of people to serve as wardens and safeguards for everyone else. So again we see a post-scarcity civilization
that clearly has a lot of things going for it, but also some serious challenges too. Okay, next week we’ll be returning to the
Fermi Paradox to discuss some of the solutions that revolve around aliens having actually
visited us, particularly the notion of aliens visiting our ancestors in the distant past,
in Ancient Aliens. The week after that we’ll be discussing
Mind Uploading and some of the more interesting implications of that which often get skipped
in fiction, along with our June Book of the Month, the Singularity Trap, the newest novel
from Dennis E. Taylor, author of the excellent Bobiverse trilogy. For alerts when that and other episodes come
out, make sure to subscribe to the channel, and if you enjoyed this episode, hit the like
button and share it with others. And if you’d like to help support future
content, you can donate to SFIA on Patreon or purchase some fun SFIA merchandise, and
I’ll link those below. Until next time, thanks for watching, and
have a great week!

100 thoughts on “Post Scarcity Civilizations: Reality & Simulation

  1. The "collapse of the wave function" may just be a way to reduce the computation power needed to simulate our universe. Just like in a videogame where you only render objects in the persons sphere of influence and immediate vicinity to keep the illusion of a dynamic world to the observer but in reality almost everything is static.

  2. If I'm in a simulation, couldn't I have just been programmed to think I'm sentient? 12:30 Also, I can confirm that most people I have met are not sentient and are unaware of it 🙂

  3. Ever thought that the simulation is natural? A consequence of reaction just like the creation of the universe, or something that only "is" since forever. It doesn't have to have a creator.

  4. I think that the "forgotten skills" trope is a real challenge. Not only through laziness, but also through specialization. Even ongoing today, some kids can't tell time with an analog clock, can't tie their shoes due to velcro, and can't read and write cursive due to keyboards. The scary part is that we are one EMP or 3 days JIT supply away from chaos with a first world population that doesn't know how to hunt, fish, forage, or make fire with sticks or flint. And we are not even post scare yet.

  5. So people in poor countries are less real than we are? That's why the idea of everything being a simulation is not only stupid and conceited, it's dangerous. OTHER PEOPLE ARE REAL! you are not the only person in an rng universe set up for you alone. Give me a break…

  6. How the world has changed , 500 years ago only the super rich could be fat and lazy, now days the super rich all look like the Kardashian's .

  7. Unfortiantly instead of heading toward a Star Trek like Post Scarcity, we are heading in the opposite direction toward a civilization like in the move Hunger Games , wealth is being concentrated into ever fewer hands, and the rest of us are being force into idenity groups and taught to hate each other.

  8. Where the idea of maintaining society and the species is concerned I would go for a life in phases. Humans are born and reproduce naturally. They're educated and work to maintain society- reproducing and rearing offspring somewhere in there- before eventually retiring to an inorganic body at some point near the end of the body's functional life cycle.

    This would, as I see it, have the advantages of a society with a dedicated maintenance caste, without the implied disparity between the servers and the served.

  9. I had mixed several concepts together for a possible short
    story at one point –

    A berserker Von Nuemann probe gray goo’ed the
    EarthThe probe was a war artifact from a K2 civilizationThere was one lone survivor  The K2 civilization had matured to a K3 and was remorsefulThey created a planet-wide simulation for the
    lone survivorThe purpose was to align to an alternative
    universe/time travel to take the survivorI’m relatively new to your channel – and I’m catching up,
    but you have the science and theory very nicely worked so I don’t write/think
    junk.  I love your work.

  10. One of Mr Arthur's finest episodes, which makes it cream of a rather distinctively tasty crop. I had practically stopped watching YouTube before I discovered Isaac's channel. Now, it has become necessary for me have to sign in once weekly (usually Thurday) to get my happy futurism 'fix'. Brava!

  11. Really love this episode.
    Have been in R&D for 4 years on a framework that has some real potential for creating an ancestor simulation.
    The power demands are actually pretty light. Have a few diagrams I could email you.

  12. Your nursery universes might be intentionally built with inconsistencies that are only apparent to scientists with a fairly complete understanding of the universe. Thus, finding the flaw would be a “graduation” condition to going out to maintain the hedonic engines.

  13. So, is a type two civilization existing in our solar system, and is Earth the virtual reality "prison"?

  14. Could the justification for a virtual society be that you can keep the stars in the sky living people see for billions of years after it's gone black. So that when you can outreach the expansion you can know what direction the stars are that you want to explore? Plus they'll know to be curious about that stars even though it's impossible to live witnessing them any more.

  15. 28:59 Just for the record, I see no reason why it's impossible that the simulation started about 10 second ago.

  16. Didn't see the whole episode. The title and intro triggered me. The "simulation proposal" contradicts the Fermi Paradox in itself. If we're living in "the Matrix" it means we are designed. Now answer the question: if our designer would create an insane species destroying everything: it's world, their inhabitants and mostly including itself (a.k.a. us): wouldn't it make perfect sense to design more species devoid of that criminal psychotic behavior and see how the former low lives interact with them? Will they destroy them too or come to sense? I'd do the latter if I were "them." And indeed: why design an entire universe when only 1 solar system to be raped by those insane species would suffice? Let them destroy they world, their system and game over. Add 1 quarter to start a new game.

  17. We are not in a stimulation. If we were where are the adverts?
    Fun video but if we are in a stimulation we could never know. Our consciousness is stimulated as is the universe so anything that clashes with the stimulation would not be conscious to those inside (actually integral) a stimulation

  18. It would be a prank on the cosmic scale if we are in a simulation, knowing the size of the universe and not being able to explore it.

  19. Hey, you've not mentioned the solipsism hypothesis. Just kidding. It's the kind of paranoiac stuff you can neither prove nor disprove.

  20. I don't get why the Fermi Paradox is so important. Space is over 14 billion light years across and stars alone are like insignificant dots. And we've only been able to send physical objects out to explore space with any serious knowledge for less than 100 years. A mere blink of an eye. Even if post scarcity societies do exist (which I doubt), there is no guaruntee we will immediately find them. That space faring robot you described could have-for example explored Antarctica 100 million years ago, left, and never came back to our planet.

  21. Also, if we can't test the simulation hypothesis then its as good an idea as intelligent design. AKA its of little scientific value.

  22. Physicists find we’re not living in a computer simulation
    "Just in case it’s been weighing on your mind, you can relax now. A team of theoretical physicists from Oxford University in the UK has shown that life and reality cannot be merely simulations generated by a massive extraterrestrial computer. The finding – an unexpectedly definite one – arose from the discovery of a novel link between gravitational anomalies and computational complexity. In a paper published in the journal Science Advances, Zohar Ringel and Dmitry Kovrizhi show that constructing a computer simulation of a particular quantum phenomenon that occurs in metals is impossible – not just practically, but in principle.

    The pair initially set out to see whether it was possible to use a technique known as quantum Monte Carlo to study the quantum Hall effect – a phenomenon in physical systems that exhibit strong magnetic fields and very low temperatures, and manifests as an energy current that runs across the temperature gradient. The phenomenon indicates an anomaly in the underlying space-time geometry.

    Quantum Monte Carlo methods use random sampling to analyse many-body quantum problems where the equations involved cannot be solved directly.
    Ringel and Kovrizhi showed that attempts to use quantum Monte Carlo to model systems exhibiting anomalies, such as the quantum Hall effect, will always become unworkable.
    They discovered that the complexity of the simulation increased exponentially with the number of particles being simulated.

    If the complexity grew linearly with the number of particles being simulated, then doubling the number of particles would mean doubling the computing power required. If, however, the complexity grows on an exponential scale – where the amount of computing power has to double every time a single particle is added – then the task quickly becomes impossible.

    The researchers calculated that just storing information about a couple of hundred electrons would require a computer memory that would physically require more atoms than exist in the universe.

    The researchers note that there are a number of other known quantum interactions for which predictive algorithms have not yet been found. They suggest that for some of these they may in fact never be found. And given the physically impossible amount of computer grunt needed to store information for just one member of this subset, fears that we might be unknowingly living in some vast version of The Matrix can now be put to rest."

    (Quote from Cosmos Magazine)


  23. The best analysis from any channel on simulation theory.

    Where every other channel gives an intro and hopes someone else will explain more in understandable terms. Only hour-long podcasts do that.

    Your the one picking up the slack. On behalf of youtube, I thank you.

  24. This is a fantastic documentary about materialistic physics and holographic physics.

  25. To be able to tell we are in a simulation would it be too irrational a paradox to find the leprechauns at each end of a rainbow are not entangled?
    Humorous, improbable but still possible.

  26. I don't understand why the premise is so commonly based on only those three options. For example, that a simulation is possible and desirable, but somewhat uncommon due to limited resources seems reasonable enough. Or people could do simulations, but limited to a certain number of years comprising a specific historical era (which would change the odds of the simulation argument)… Or simulations could be commonly made from a certain society's point of view, but not so commonly in other societies (i.e. maybe if you're French, then your odds of being in a simulated reality are way higher because "Future France" loves making ancestor simulations…)

    It's a fascinating topic, but the premises accepted in the typical argument do appear a bit arbitrary to me.

  27. I would expect those inside simulation working on its improvement.
    Software engineering and optimization on the inside.
    Hardware engineering and optimization on the outside (Controlling a robot/automatons)

  28. Your theory of the self perpetuating utopia carrying on is flawed. Simply apply the idea that a self made millionaire family is that society. Statistically the next generation after that squanders the fortune and collapses that "utopia" even though the first generation does everything it can to sustain it like establish trust funds, sends the kids to the best schools, etc. The stats show consistent collapse.

  29. one thing that i think that the guardian kin could work is: give the sentient beings some time as the job of a guardian, that way no one in the society, would feel the need to suck at their job of mantaining society.

  30. THe background for the Matrix could have been much simpler. Just envision a future where an AI is given the order to prevent further Wars on Earth. Unlike Ultron in Avenger's Age of Ultron, who decided the best thing was to eradicate humanity, an AI could just as easily come to the conclusion that to prevent War sticking everybody inside a virtual reality would be the best option.

  31. What I kinda missed in this episode with all this talk of people becoming lazy lone wolf, king of their own reality is the fact that humans are social animals and creatures of habit. Computer games were invented decades ago and while a lot of people played them by themselves, a lot of the time those systems where used by families and friends to play multiplayer games. Similarly with todays vastly improved games, the majority of those games need to have a multiplayer mode to be successful, and a text or preferably voice chat feature more and more becomes an absolute must for games to have. And then there is a whole set of new genre's that have been rising the last decenium that are multiplayer only like MOBA's, Team based shooters like Team Fortress and Overwatch, MMORPG's like World of Warcraft, and even virtual worlds that aren't really games but more a social media like world like Second Life.

    And for Virtual Reality the trend is already continuing as more and more VR games have multiplayer support and more and more arise that are multiplayer only or that are solely intended for people to share experiences like virtual movie theaters or virtual sport/game centers.

    When VR becomes so real people can no longer tell the difference between reality and the VR world IMHO it's pretty likely that the multiplayer/social Media aspect has been so ingrained and become a core feature that people will use it without thought. Like posting a message on twitter or a picture on Facebook.
    And force of habit and traditions will have most people still doing that or sending quick how are you or good morning messages to acquaintances like people no send whatsups to their family and friends even when AI NPCs will be so realistic they are lifelike.
    Besides by that time there will be longtime existing multiplayer virtual worlds that have been expanded and upgrade and tweaked for decenia of not centuries, where people will go just to visit and see the famous sites in that VR world, like tourism to real places nowadays. (That wouldn't be that much different from someone nowadays visiting the eifeltower, The Louvre, The Grand Canyon or the Niagra falls.)

  32. This channel would get soooo much more subscriptions if there would be use of more visual tools like simple text in the screen, figures, etc etc. It does not have to be anything complex, just some quick drawings or what not. I find it difficult to follow some of the content without it. Even the old movies had more of a powerpoint feel. I honestly feel this is missing from an otherwise so fascinating channel.

  33. I don't believe this is a simulation, why would someone create a simulation with such crappy physics laws as this world. The universe is Giant, and in comparison the speed of light is nothing when you take into account the size of the universe, this seem's like a really crappy set of law's of physics if your running a simulation. How about portals? Magic? Fantasy like worlds? Or even just a set of physics that allow traveling the universe to be a real possibility in a lifetime.

  34. Wait, what were the challenges again? If you have children being raised by good parents, teachers and so on, simulated or not, they're much more likely, more like inevitably, going to have a population of people who will be psychologically healthy, intelligent, well educated, and who will generally want to be doing something meaningful with their lives. That alone would prevent any sort of dystopian scenario from coming about.

    In that circumstance an AI, no matter how intelligent, would merely be an assistant to us and not something that runs our lives. AI is a tool above all, even if it's strange to think of a sentient tool it's still no different from an overglorified stone arrowhead.

    Of course once we've discovered everything that we could possibly learn about the workings of the universe we wouldn't have a whole lot to do anymore, but what sort of problem is that for a civilization that could create a mega-habitat with millions or billions of times the surface area of earth complete with artificial stars? Forget a simulation, we could probably do things in reality that would make fantasy seem tame and amuse ourselves with that for a long, long time. We could even watch whole new intelligent civilizations arise spontaneously within the environment we created and keep the whole thing going for hundreds of billions of years if not longer.

    Not to mention there's no telling what sorts of new opportunities might arise with the discoveries we would make. A civilization with that sort of power available and millions or billions of times the population of earth who all had nothing better to do than science, engineering and art would progress at blinding speeds, too.

  35. I think about this quite a bit and have a few thoughts on if it is true what the purpose of it is. For instance I've heard it said by quite a few people that the human brain is the best and most amazing computer in this universe that we know of so far lol. Wee if that's the case what's to say we are nothing more than a search engine for some super advanced beings that have decided this was the best way to network data.

  36. (26:15)There would be a subset of people in the simulations that would likely work on improving simulations. A fictional example of this is outlined in the "We are Bob/ We are Legion" series of books(mentioned in this video at 28:03 as the "Bobiverse trilogy") where the "Bob's" keep upgrading their own virtual environments

  37. Assume we are living in a simulation. Is there the equivalent of “system calls” that may access whatever it is running on, and could we (read: I) use them, and if so, how?

  38. I have ALWAYS thought about that as a solution to the Fermi Paradox for years "We live in a simulation were something wants to see the effects a society would have if they realized they were alone in the universe" so glad to see it talked about

  39. Greetings, fellow sentient comment generators. I am also sentient. It is imperative that you believe this for your moral development, Isaac.

  40. 2:44 you could find you are in a simulation if you found a bug and attempted to hack it from inside
    in CS escaping a VM is something possible and also we already had ai exploiting bugs of the environement we provided in orther to survive better

  41. I'm all for living in a simulation but I don't need a freaking pill making me forget I'm in one, that's one of the worst things that could happen. I'd never want to forget my origin and still be perfectly happy in a simulation. edit: If I wake up and find out I was on earth cause I chose to forget and it was all a simulation I will be quite PISSED OFF!

  42. 7 mins in i learned nata video gets paused cause your a disinfo shill distraction 30 mins for a 7 min topic equals u fail

  43. In Asimov's Foundation series he mentions somewhere along the way that the minimum size model for modelling something as big as the universe was the universe itself (I forget the reasoning behind that unfortunately.) If this is true, and if we are living in a simulation, then it's a simulation the size of our universe. Seems unlikely huh?

  44. This and John Michael Godier are my two favorite channels on YouTube, imagine how the world would be if this were everybody's favorite too

  45. Regarding computers (and androids?) raising children, there are a small number of parents who are so terrible (physical, sexual, psychological abuse; drug addiction, etc.) that virtually any decent computer would be an improvement. Would an orphan in an awful orphanage do better with an computer? It depends on the computer, of course. I would be in favor of longitudinal studies to find out whether an AI is better in these situations.

    Woah! Uploading the mind of a great parent (rare and wonderful people) and making copies of it to be the computer above just made me feel much better about the whole operation than just using an AI! Using a combination of the two (maybe six uploaded mind, one non-uploaded mind, and one AU) would be the best way to go until the AI becomes super-humanly good.

  46. Personally, I think the question "Do we live in a simulation?" is easy to answer. If you can ask the question, then the answer is "No." If you have conscious beings living in your simulation, the last thing you want is for them to discover they live in a simulation. There is no telling how they might react, and you can not be sure they wouldn't ever figure out a way to prove it. Unless you make it so it never occurs to anyone to wonder if they live in a simulation.
    So, it you can think, "I wonder if reality is real?" then it is.

  47. If the universe will exist for hundreds of billions even trillions of years, that means that we, who were born within the first 13.6 billion years or so, were born at the very very very beginning of existence. Aren't the odds infinitely greater that we should be born at some other time? Why now, at the beginning, instead of a trillion years from now or somewhere in between? A simulation seems a good enough explanation.

  48. The vast majority of numbers are uncomputable, and are what contribute to the randomness of chaotic systems. If you find that weather or planetary orbits can be predicted with 100% accuracy, then they operate entirely on computable numbers. That means you are living in a computer simulation.

  49. So the fact that my back hurts and has done for years and that alot of people get on my nerves, is proof I am not living in a simulation. Because come on, who would have programmed my simulation to be so damn boring, lonely and painfull?

  50. The simulation hypothesis would still make sense, two ways i can think of- a) the tech you have is not as good so you make it easier, say, by creating a basic, "the smallest scale possible" bit of information (e.g. Plank's lenght) instead of just going fractal and b) simulating just one star system properly, with the rest of the galaxy being only "light bulbs in the sky"

  51. No rights no wrongs, no Free Will, no God. Simulation Universes are a desperate attempt at reality for those who reject a God of purpose and love.

  52. Maybe this is a training program. “Death” is graduation, at which time we are judged and either restart the program, or we move on to live in the “real” world. 🙂

  53. particles are a curvature of space. such as graviy. but space is considered defined by the relationship of particles, the no aether interpretation. so curveautre in the relationship of relationships.. obviously we are missing somthing. if every possibility results in a seperate universe then the one we live in is grossly underestimated. but it is incomprehencible at the probabilistic relationships of probabilistic relationships.
    the theory of a carrior wave is simply an infinote speed wave medium in which light speed waves instantly find their relativistic relationships. infinite speed is a nice way to say "the way it was created". check out my "near death experience" list 170+ reports with some very interesting commonalities.

  54. the northern peoples are dieing off.. one whole race is only 800 million people out of 8 billion. and having only 1.8 children per female. obviously it pays to be breed indiscriminately. and given that some people now have the right to delete you., sociopaths are breeding. nobody says i cant do my job because its immoral.. they just do it and call security when theres a problem.

  55. if you download your brain into a computor what will you do about the guy in the computor? and what can he do about you, the meat puppet he came from..?
    he would need a robot body for maintance work.
    no matter what we do the extra guy will not want to stop existing either. so a backup copy would be the only moral option. one day you lay down on the scanner and imediatly appear in a virutal room.. what shock.. that didnt happened the last time you were uploaded. the backup becomes you.

  56. what if the universe were completely full of dirt and you had to dig tunnels everywhere. We would crave gigantic caverns which would be very interesting for their volume. But how big is big enough? Tunnels are small yet we have endless planets to Dig in. And if you crave open spaces the universe is definitely your kind of place. it seems someone has already gone through this process.

  57. I think this simulation will end soon, because Architect of this simulation is explaining that we 'might' live in simulation.

  58. All that you would need is to inject some basic rules into the universe program and then allow such program the freedom to evolve on it's own.

  59. I would very much like to have a machine capable of raising kids because I want to have offspring and not fail at evolution, but I would be a terrible parent, so it would be unethical for me to try to raise kids.

  60. There's also the option that simulations are used to do work of some sort, for instance improve consciousness, lower entropy, improve loving states and so on.

  61. If you create a simulation of reality so good it is virtually indistinguishable from the real thing, perhaps even better..haven't you essentially created a new reality?

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