X-Message-Number: 16677
Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2001 12:18:25 EDT
Subject: Pizer's questions

One of Dave's questions:

> But, how can you know if your life is real?
First, if you have feelings, then your life is real, whether it is an 
original or a copy of some kind.

Second, I have previously pointed out possible (not necessarily immediate or 
sure-fire) ways to distinguish a simulation from an original. (a) A 
simulation necessarily contains only those "laws" of physics known or 
believed by the programmer at the time. Hence a simulated scientist cannot 
discover new laws or new phenomena, and apparent inconsistencies or 
incompleteness in "existing" laws could not be reconciled. Over time, this 
might provide good evidence of being in a simulation. (b) In a simulation, 
"prayer" might be answered. I.e., the programmer might notice the 
supplications of someone simulated, and respond with a "miracle" of new input.

Dave's other question concerned boredom and ultimate goals (not necessarily 
closely related). 

I think Lee Corbin pointed out that boredom or vivacity are hormone-related. 
Someone who is physiologically young and healthy can hardly remain bored for 
long, regardless of whether available activities are new or old. 

Boredom does not result merely from repetition. Many things we have done all 
our lives remain pleasant and interesting. If necessary, one could edit 
memories to reduce familiarity and boredom, but that should not be necessary. 
In the "natural" course of events, our memories fade and our interests 
change. Alan Harrington (THE IMMORTALIST) predicted a future of perpetual 
game-playing; that was a paltry vision, but a possibility.

In any case, understanding of the brain will make almost everything 
subjectively possible. (David Pearce thinks it will become possible to 
eliminate unpleasant feelings entirely.) You can be changed to want things 
that now you don't want, to be interested in things that now don't interest 
you. To want something, and to want to want it, are two different things. I 
don't like jazz, but I want to like it, and one day I probably will. 

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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