Innocence Lost: Simulation Scenarios: Prospects and Consequences

Abstract

Those who believe suitably programmed computers could enjoy conscious experience of the sort we enjoy must accept the possibility that their own experience is being generated as part of a computerized simulation. It would be a mistake to dismiss this is just one more radical sceptical possibility: for as Bostrom has recently noted, if advances in computer technology were to continue at close to present rates, there would be a strong probability that we are each living in a computer simulation. The first part of this paper is devoted to broadening the scope of the argument: even if computers cannot sustain consciousness (as many dualists and materialists believe), there may still be a strong likelihood that we are living simulated lives. The implications of this result are the focus of the second part of the paper. The topics discussed include: the Doomsday argument, scepticism, the different modes of virtual life, transcendental idealism, the Problem of Evil, and simulation ethics.

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Author's Profile

Barry Francis Dainton
University of Liverpool

References found in this work

Are We Living in a Computer Simulation?Nick Bostrom - 2003 - Philosophical Quarterly 53 (211):243-255.
How Long Before Superintelligence?Nick Bostrom - 1998 - International Journal of Futures Studies 2.
How to Live in a Simulation.Robin Hanson - 2001 - Journal of Evolution and Technology 7 (1).

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