Sentient World: a simulation of civilization
We are on the verge of being able to simulate every person, thing and activity on the planet, play it, replay it, run it at ultra high speed so that years speed by in seconds, and intervene, God-like, to see how the simulation is effected. A small step from that will be to endow these simulated beings, individually with sentience. We will then run hundreds, no, millions of these simulations for every imaginable reason from war games to marketing research to sheer entertainment.
One might wonder how we could think of running experiments or games with beings, albeit virtual beings, who were experiencing their reality just as we experience ours. As interesting as that question is there”s another, even more interesting one. How do we know we ourselves are not sentient virtual beings in someone else”s simulation?
If considered with dispassionate objectivity I believe the answer to that question is that we almost certainly ARE living in a a virtual simulation. Here”s the argument: if we can do it (almost) then surely other civilizations elsewhere/elsewhen in the multiverse have/had/will have the same ability, probably countless gazillions of them each running gazillions of simulations. That makes it extremely more likely that we are in a simulation than not. Especially when you factor in that simulated beings ought to be able to run their own simulations.
So, we are either all alone in the multiverse (come on, get over yourself) or we are the most technologically advanced (sure we are) or nobody ever runs these simulations (we are about to, why wouldn”t others?). Or, we are overwhelmingly probably a simulation ourselves. Neat.
This argument originates with Nick Bostrum.