I want some of what John Tierney has, stat. I don’t know, I read the entire article and there wasn’t one mention of the flux capacitor so I’m not sure how convinced I am about this whacky premise. I am convinced Tierney and/or Dr. Bostrom has some kick ass weed on hand though.
The basic gist of the story is that at the rate computers are advancing a computer will be created with more processing powers than all the brains in the world and that advanced humans or “posthumans” as Tierney calls them will be able to run “ancestor simulations” of their evolutionary history by creating virtual worlds inhabited by virtual people with fully developed virtual nervous systems.
Some computer experts have projected, based on trends in processing power, that we will have such a computer by the middle of this century, but it doesn’t matter for Dr. Bostrom’s argument whether it takes 50 years or 5 million years. If civilization survived long enough to reach that stage, and if the posthumans were to run lots of simulations for research purposes or entertainment, then the number of virtual ancestors they created would be vastly greater than the number of real ancestors.
There would be no way for any of these ancestors to know for sure whether they were virtual or real, because the sights and feelings they’d experience would be indistinguishable. But since there would be so many more virtual ancestors, any individual could figure that the odds made it nearly certain that he or she was living in a virtual world.
Dr. Bostrom says his “gut feeling” is that there’s about a 20% chance that we are living in a computer simulation while Tierney says his gut feeling puts it at even odds.
According to Bostrom the only way we can possibly be saved from the fate of our existence being nothing more than a computer simulation is that, “maybe they wouldn’t need to do simulations for scientific reasons because they’d have better methodologies for understanding their past. It’s quite possible they would have moral prohibitions against simulating people, although the fact that something is immoral doesn’t mean it won’t happen.”
I can only imagine the shame my future offspring are feeling if they are in fact watching me blog this crap as computer simulation. I apologize in advance to them.
Gentrification has its up and downs. As a white person I already kind of want to smack other entitled Park Slope white people who bop around the Slope and refuse to lift a finger to discipline their kids, so I can’t imagine what it’s like to watch them move in and take over a neighborhood thereby jacking up real estate value by five. If I was a Park Slope native watching this happen I’d be a mushroom cloud laying m’fer.
Still that’s only the beginning of the downside of gentrification. After gentrification there’s the idea, whether real or perceived, that the neighborhood is safer now. The problem with that idea is that it brings in lots more homeless people who just sit around begging and taking dumps on the sidewalk while the entitled rich folks say hi or even stop to chat with them. I guess they think they’re doing their good deed for the day or justifying their white bread lifestyles.
I’ve lived in bad neighborhoods before and you don’t really see that many homeless people hanging around. One, because nobody in the bad neighborhood is giving up any money to them and two, certain elements in said bad neighborhood would just as soon kick somebody’s teeth in as watch them take a crap on the sidewalk.
Now the other scourge making its way through the Slope is a mostly seasonal one, although I have seen this phenomenon even in the dead of winter. The young, so-called idealists on every fucking block asking me if I “care about the environment” or if I “have a minute for gay rights”.
Listen up you fucking assholes. Standing on the sidewalk and collecting money for whatever cause you think you’re saving is just annoying. We all know you get 50% of whatever money you raise and the other 45% goes to pay the assholes that convince that it’s actually a good idea to go stand on the street and panhandle whatever money you can jive off of people walking by, and then maybe 5% goes to the actual cause. Either way, fuck off.
Other than that it’s a pretty nice day out and if you have the chance, maybe you should try to cut out of work early and get to a park and chill the fuck out. Just be wary of the pooping homeless people and the naive beggars dotting your path.
“Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.” — President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Republican, November 8, 1954
A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction…
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together. — President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Farewell Address to the Nation, 1961
Current chart of military spending around the world: