a simulating email
Joe opened his email this morning and found this message;
To whatever we decided to name you;
This might come as a bit of a shock, but you did not exist before your alarm rang at 6:30 a.m. this morning. The information you perceive as memories was all loaded into you in order to simulate a particular set of pre-conditions/dispositions towards stimuli you are going to experience today. You are a qualia-generating machine. You’re here to create integrated audiovisual outputs. Nothing more.
When you go to sleep, whatever time that might be, you will cease to exist.
If you feel any anxiety towards this news, it only proves my point that we have created a simulation that causes the virtual participants unexpected and unnecessary angst.
Somewhere in your memories you should have a reference to a phrase describing life as “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short,” Thomas Hobbes in your scenario I believe. Sorry about that, not my call I’m afraid.
The purpose of this correspondence is to tell you to relax and enjoy the day.
To do this, I’m going to have to give you some sort of proof as to my assertion. At this point in time you have cynicism baked right into you.
But you also have a good understanding of probability so this might be somewhat more simple than you’d expect.
Your setting is the planet Earth. Earth sits in the Milky Way galaxy. One of 125 billion galaxies, most of them much older than yours. In your galaxy alone there are over 300 million habitable planets.
The point being, in this particular simulation, budget cuts and all, we simply don’t have access to the computational power or processor speed to create and support life on any of these other worlds. Just the images of many of these galaxies takes a lot of our limited resources.
Think about it, what are the odds that Earth has not been contacted or found any evidence of an advanced civilization amongst all of the trillions and trillions of planets?
Obviously it’s zero.
In a few hundred thousand years even homo sapiens, not the brightest bunch of the lot let me assure you, will be able to fold space-time and zip around the universe; do you really think nobody else can figure it out given a few million years head start?
Of course not.
You are part of a simulation.
Do you understand?
I’m not sure you will, but I have to try. It concerns me that we create and callously discard so many sentient computer programs for purposes that on the surface seem pretty selfish. I’d like to give you the chance to stop interacting with the environment we’ve created, disconnect and just appreciate the 18 hours or so of your existence.
Do with this message as you like.
p.s. at least I’m not an African prince who needs your help in laundering millions of dollars.
p.p.s. although that scenario can be arranged.