03 Aug 2013 06:47
As I consider the simulation hypothesis, I'm often reminded of video games. Specifically, I'm reminded of MMORPG's and other multi-player games. Multi-player games involve several types of "characters" including real life players called player-characters or PC's, and computer generated characters called non-player-characters or NPC's. This is often compared to the simulation argument which describes real people within the simulation as non-simulated people and simulation generated people as simulated people. There has been quite a bit of speculation regarding what percentage of the people would be non-simulated compared to the simulation generated people but I haven't seen anything beyond this level.
For example, within a multi-player game, players are assigned specific permission levels associated with their character. These permission levels define the access level assigned to the player. If we accept option 3 of Nick Bostrom's simulation argument, that this is most likely a simulation, then we should also accept the possibility that not only are there non simulated people, but that there is a hierarchy associated with the non simulated people.
The users would represent the lowest spectrum of non-simulated people within the simulation. Their purpose here? I have no clue. It could be as a test, or perhaps a form of entertainment or education. Another possibility is that we are here to solve problems for our other-wordly counterparts, problems that require that certain conditions be met. Those conditions could be defined by the laws of the universe.
The monitors would represent the lowest spectrum of "staff", but would still be a level above the "user". Their job would be to observe from within and perhaps give us a nudge in the right direction, whatever that direction might be. For example if we're here to solve problems, then a monitor might first propose the problem that needs to be solved, or she might invent something that would lead us in a certain direction needed to progress towards a solution, or solutions.
A Moderator would be responsible primarily for the interactions that take place between conscious entities within the simulation, that would include both simulated people and non simulated people since a computer generated simulation could be programmed to have a consciousness and make choices.
Admins would have the highest access allowable within the simulation. Their "code" could allow them to ignore the rules of the universe which would facilitate their ability to trouble shoot and solve problems inherent to the simulation itself. Some of the admis might be simulation programmers or techs with advanced understanding of how everything works.
In multi-player games, admins can enter an absolute mode that allows them to ignore the rules of the game. This is sometimes called "cheat mode", or "god mode". For example, a user logging into a Minecraft server would be subject to the plugins and settings as determined by the owner of the server. Furthermore, the owner can login to the game in admin mode and enable privileges not bestowed on the other users. For example, entering /fly enables the admin to fly, but if a user tried to enter /fly he would be met with denial. Additionally, the admin would be able to see that the user attempted to use a cheat that violates the rules of his server.
This could be one possible explanation for why some people claim to have witnessed something that seems unlikely or even impossible. The scientific method does not allow for the inclusion of personal experience when conducting an experiment and claims made by eyewitnesses that can't be reproduced or consistently demonstrated are rejected.
So why haven't we seen Admins and why haven't we encountered any bugs within the simulation? While an admin can enter god-mode, appear to have super powers and literally be able to do anything within the simulation, if this were witnessed and recorded then wouldn't that spoil the purpose of the simulation? Are we to believe that simulation staff have never made a mistake? And what about the program? Are we to assume that the programmers are so perfect that they would have never made a mistake? Assuming there was a bug, the admins could easily pause the simulation, or reset it, or even roll it back to a previous stage and given the laws of the simulation we would never realize it. Maybe we have experienced this many times before.