X-Message-Number: 3765
Date:  Fri, 27 Jan 95 16:38:27 
From: mike <>
Subject: simulations

Some recent postings on Cryonet have addressed the issue of simulations of 
reality or various aspects of it, say with a computer program, versus "the" 
"real" thing. These discussions are important, despite being somewhat 
removed from the everyday affairs of cryonics, because they address issues of 
identity and survival which are also important in cryonics. Here are a few 
additional thoughts.

The point is made that, e.g.,  a simulated water molecule in a computer is 
different from a real water molecule. And I agree that there is certainly some 
validity to this claim. However, the issue is not so straightforward that I 
(along with others) feel comfortable with a simple dichotomy here, i.e., that 
computer simulations are simply "unreal." Some interesting thought 
experiments suggest it's better to think otherwise. E.g., someday, we may 

find that there is a universe, very much like the one we *think* we are in right
now, and on a world within that universe is a computer, rather larger & more 
powerful than ours of today, but still clearly recognizable as a computation 
device, and in that computer is a program, which has been running *us* as a 
simulation. So all along, the air we were breathing, water we drank, etc. were 
"not real," but neither were we. (This idea was suggested in a recent posting 
of Mike Darwin.) However, at that point I don't think I'd be worried much; it 

would be clear that this notion of "reality" is a relative concept. Relative to
me, everything I thought to be "real" would in fact have been so. On a deeper 
level, I would strongly favor the position that the simulated water, air, etc. 

*is* "real," though its relation to certain other entities (i.e. things outside 
the simulation, in the REAL "real world") may not be what I thought 

Pursuing thoughts of simulations further, it could be the case that, just as our

world is a simulation in a larger world, that world in turn may be a simulation

in a still larger world, etc. In other words, "simulations all the way down" (or
up). So none of the simulating worlds is really "real" since it in turn is a 

simulation. Still another thought: Can you have circular simulations, e.g. A is
simulating B while B is also simulating A? Then both would be equally "real" 
or "unreal." I don't believe this is logically ruled out, though it seems to 
involve some tricky ways of modeling the historical process.

With such thoughts in mind, though, I feel reasonably comfortable with the 

idea of uploading, at least as a future possibility. But the technology clearly
has a long way to go, and certainly, at present, is no substitute for cryonics.

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