[extropy-chat] the structure of randomness

Russell Wallace russell.wallace at gmail.com
Mon Jan 2 04:54:37 UTC 2006

On 1/2/06, Jeff Medina <analyticphilosophy at gmail.com> wrote:
> You have absolutely no idea whether the computing power "just barely
> available" to the simulator is anywhere near (as opposed to notably
> greater than) the amount "just barely adequate for a ground level
> simulation of the visible universe". Why are you making such a strange
> assumption?

Of course it's a strange assumption, which is why I not only don't make it
but have been arguing against it the whole time. Remember that the original
argument was that a certain experiment may have detected a slight anisotropy
of space or something similar (this seems unlikely in light of further
discussion, but it can be taken as a premise) and that this implied one's
estimate of the likelihood of the simulation hypothesis should be adjusted
upward. Why would it be adjusted upward? Everyone understands the implied
logic: a simulation is short of computing power and might skimp just enough
to let the imperfection through. I'm arguing that we should _not_ a priori
expect the available computing power to be anywhere near (in either
direction), and therefore the original argument is _not_ valid; the
originally described results do not give us any reason to adjust the
estimated probably of the simulation hypothesis either up or down.

Aside from that, it's also not necessarily unlikely that those values
> would be near one another. If I were trying to create an interesting
> simulation-world, I just might use all of the computing power
> available to me. Then Russell-in-the-world-I-made would say, "It sure
> is unlikely that my visible universe's required computing power
> matches the computing power available to the simulator." And
> Sim-Russell would be wrong.

Not really, because there'd be a zillion googol Sim-Russells simulated more
efficiently, so the statement would be correct to the tune of a zillion
googol to one.

- Russell
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