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Could We Force the Universe to Crash?

Caleb Scharf: Nick Bostrom makes the argument that if any extremely advanced civilizations develop the capacity to run “ancestor simulations” (to learn about their own pasts) the simulated ancestral entities would likely far outnumber actual sentient entities in the universe. With a little probabilistic hand-waving it is then possible to argue that we are most likely simulated. All of which is good fun if you’ve had a few beers or spent a few too many hours cowering under your bedclothes. But while you might love or hate this hypothesis, the simple fact is that before judging it we should really apply the criteria we use for assessing any hypothesis, and the first step in that process is to ask whether it can be assessed in any reasonable way.

 

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