Astronomer from Columbia University David Kipping has used the argument of the Swedish philosopher Nick Bomstrom to conclude that, from what we know right now, the chances that we live in a simulation they are close to 50%, but always below half.
Bostrom’s argument suggests that we can to be living inside a sophisticated simulation, elaborated on a computer, by a technologically more advanced civilization, indicated in a publication from the website Engadget.
According to this hypothesis, it is reasonable to think that if at some point there is a post-human civilization capable of running simulations like us and they wish to do so, “the number of simulated realities would greatly exceed the base reality, ostensibly indicating a high probability that we do not live in that base reality. “
Which means that, if there can be a human society capable of creating ‘Sims’ (social simulation video game) with a conscience similar to ours, one of the following statements would necessarily have to be true:
- Or it is highly unlikely that post-human civilizations exist.
- Or it is highly unlikely that, if they exist, these civilizations have no interest in doing such simulations.
- Or (almost) everyone who has our kind of mental experiences lives in one of those simulations.
He original Bostrom item is short and shows all possibilities of the argument. But what is most interesting is that it raises the possibility that we are not real, although Bostrom has repeatedly pointed out that he has no strong empirical arguments for any of his hypotheses.
Minor chance just a little less than 50%
In your intention to clarify the problem, David Kipping reduced Bostrom’s trilemma to just two hypotheses: either there are such simulations (third motto) or they do not exist (either because of the first or the second). Then he assumed that the more layers of reality we add (the more simulations that can occur within the simulations), it would be more difficult to have a computer capable of sustaining these simulated worlds.
Kipping analyzed this argument by applying Bayesian inference, which allows calculating the probability of an event, called posterior probability, first making an assumption about the object in question and assigning it a ‘prior probability’. Kipping realized that the chance of us being simulated is less than 50%.
The percentage is lower than the above, although not by much. This because of there are no firm arguments for favoring one or the other possibility. The final odds are insistent by the hypothesis that these simulations do not exist, but they do it for the minimum (at best).
The definitive technical argument Kipping makes is that we have not been able to create such simulations, and ensures that “if we start to create convincing simulations, the probabilities they will go from 50% to 50% until we are almost certain that we are not real “, that is, the day humanity is able to create a simulation with conscious beings within it, the physical hypothesis will be excluded and, according to those calculations, it can be said with almost certainty that we are in turn virtual beings. (I)