The Simulation Argument

The simulation argument that we are living in a simulation by another civilization is, in my view, total BS (excuse my French!).

  1. The idea that if a sufficiently powerful computer does the simulation the simulated people will suddenly become conscious as long as you simulate the brain down to the neuron level, seems magical thinking. You will just end up with simulations that appear to act as if conscious but are not. What is a computer? It is nothing but state changes from one clock tick to the other a change of state. You could also let people do the calculations and write down the result on paper. Granted it would take a lot more time but the rate should not make any difference. Now would the sims suddenly become sentient from the paper their new state is recorded on? The description is not the thing.

  2. There is the problem of the first simulation and subsequent simulations. The first simulation would have the exact same problem they could also conclude that in fact they are living in a simulation. The simulated people could start their own simulation ad infinitum grinding to a halt eventually when all computing capacity has been used up. So it is absurd.

  3. Consciousness is not the result of the world but the world is the result of consciousness. A dream inside of consciousness held up by the power of consciousness on the canvas of consciousness. Now the assumption is that if we simulate the behavior of a sentient being consciousness will now also identify with that simulation. But we have no understanding at all under what conditions consciousness will identify with its dream creations. It is just a wild guess. We will be simulating on an entirely different material for instance. Silicon not living matter. Yes a computer uses electricity for signals just like the brains. But remember we are simulating these signals not actually implementing the signals. We are using electricity to describe the signals which is a completely different thing than actually signalling. So far the only things we know that are sentient are embodied in living matter. So the simulation becomes the original. It reminds of the slogan of a copy shop in Nigeria “The copy is better than the original!”. We would have a better chance if we actually built a brain and body. Wired it exactly as the human being and flipping on the switch i.e. start the hart. So no, we are not living in a computer simulation because we are conscious(JV added allegory of AI expert: does the computer get wet when we simulate rainy weather?).