There's been a spate of articles lately on the question of whether we are living in a computer simulation. Those articles were prompted by some off-the-cuff remarks by Elon Musk. Crazy Elon thinks we are indeed living in a simulation.
What else would he think? In Flatland, Elon is a Very Important Person.
Follow the Vox link above to review Elon's silly argument, which derives from the original silly argument made by "post-human" futurist Nick Bostrum. Now the New Yorker has picked up this—I need a synonym for silly—theme. And that's where I read this paragraph, which I broke up for readability.
The [simulation] argument is based on two premises, both of which can be disputed but neither of which are unreasonable.
The first is that consciousness can be simulated in a computer, with logic gates standing in for the brain’s synapses and neurotransmitters. (If self-awareness can arise in a lump of neurons, it seems likely that it can thrive in silicon, too.)
The second is that advanced civilizations will have access to truly stupendous amounts of computing power.
Bostrom speculates, for example, that, thousands of years from now, our space-travelling descendants might use nanomachines to transform moons or planets into giant “planetary computers.” It stands to reason that such an advanced civilization might use that computing power to run an “ancestor simulation”—essentially, a high-powered version of the video game “The Sims,” focused on their evolutionary history. The creation of just one such simulated world might strike us as extraordinary, but Bostrom figures that thousands or even millions of ancestor simulations could be run by a single computer in the future. If that’s true, then simulated human consciousnesses could vastly outnumber non-simulated ones, in which case we are far more likely to be living inside a simulation right now than to be living outside of one.
I want to be fair. The New Yorker article also included this sentence—
But recently, a number of philosophers, futurists, science-fiction writers, and technologists—people who share a near-religious faith in technological progress—have come to believe that the simulation argument is not just plausible, but inescapable.
A "near" religious faith in technological progress? Maybe I don't understand what 'faith' means either.
Have nice weekend.