Re: Implementation, Simulation, and Emulation

From: Stathis Papaioannou (
Date: Mon Mar 17 2008 - 06:34:00 MDT

On 17/03/2008, Lee Corbin <> wrote:

> > [Lee writes]
> >> I don't quite understand this point. Aren't you being emulated by rocks,
> >> or maybe large rocks also? Aren't you being emulated by some of the
> >> patches of dust between the galaxies? Since you're being emulated in
> >> so many many places (assume for a moment our Level One universe
> >> is infinite like Tegmark says), surely the demise of a little bit of matter
> >> in Australia (whether it's removed altogether from the universe, or
> >> raised to 451 degrees Fahrenheit) can't make a difference, can it?
> >
> > No, I'm not being emulated by rocks, rocks and I are both being
> > emulated in Platonia.
> I recoiled in shock. Suddenly, I didn't know what was going on. What
> is emulating what? How?
> (I now rather think, by the way, that Stathis maybe should have said "No,
> I'm being *implemented* in Platonia". And he might have corrected my
> usage by something like "Lee, no, I'm not being emulated by a rock,
> the rock and I are on an equal footing, we're both being *implemented*
> in Platonia". Of course, I don't know yet if that's what Stathis might really
> have thought or agreed with.)

Yes, OK: the simulation or the emulation is being implemented on a
computer somewhere, maybe the big Turing machine in Platonia. But if
there's no "original" do we call it a simulation or an emulation? We
do refer to virtual worlds as "simulations" even when they aren't
actually simulating anything; can we than have an emulation of a

> So I will continue to insist that the goal of uploading is to emulate
> a human consciousness, not simulate it, and we need some sort
> of terminological distinction for this, if not the one I've been pushing
> on this list and Extropians for five or ten years.

Yes. But apparently there are some, such as Jeff L. Jones, who would
work hard to overcome this bias. I think that that would be like
working hard to overcome a fear of death.

Stathis Papaioannou

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