Re: Memory as Simulation

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Tue Mar 07 2006 - 12:24:05 MST

Russell Wallace wrote:
> On 3/7/06, *Dirk Bruere* <
> <>> wrote:
> I'm rather fond of the Simulation Argument (SA) not least because it
> seems the only hypothesis that neatly resolves the Fermi Paradox.
> Suppose we grant the SA, why do you think this resolves the Fermi
> paradox? If the simulation resembles "real world" pre-Singularity
> history, then there are no aliens to be seen in the "real world" either,
> so the paradox [1] remains. If the galaxy in the "real world" is full of
> aliens, why would they be omitted from the simulation?
> [1] Personally I don't think it's a paradox because we have no a priori
> reason to expect there should be aliens in our past light cone, but
> that's another matter.

I agree with Wallace. Many proposed resolutions to the Fermi Paradox
actually make not the slightest progress on it. The Simulation Argument
is one of these; presumably a simulator would simulate a "typical"
ancestral civilization. This being the case, anything atypical that we
see cannot be explained by the Simulation Argument.

This should not be taken as a refutation of SA in general; just that the
Fermi Paradox is not supporting evidence to SA.

If you treat the SA in any fashion that allows it to explain any
anomaly, then it explains everything and therefore explains nothing
(vide _A Technical Explanation of Technical Explanation_). To attribute
a mystery to an act of the gods is to achieve no compression of it, for
it transfers exactly the same amount of Kolmogorov complexity into the
hypothetical gods' goals.

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky                
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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