The Standard Simulation Hypothesis (SH1) And Transhumanist Thought
I can’t believe this had not really crossed my mind until now but the standard simulation hypothesis (SH1, both the universe and ourselves are simulations, i.e we are simulated beings living in a simulation), and almost any variant thereof, save perhaps a partial, poses some serious difficulties for the transhumanist position. In particular its most common thesis that human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into different beings with abilities much surpassing those we have at present. The difference in abilities will be so great that we will no longer be human but instead become posthuman beings. A common version of this suggests that at some point our technology will become so powerful that we will be able to download “ourselves” into a computer and thus achieve eternal life in the digital domain without the need of a physical body.
It is not my intent to argue the merits and demerits of this view. My take on the transhumanist position is simple, ultimately they view the human body, possibly all corporeal forms, as fundamentally flawed and weak, and therefore it is incumbent upon us to try and escape this sad sack of blood, meat, and organs as soon as is technically feasible. While I tend to agree with some aspects of the first part I absolutely reject in the strongest terms the notion that escape or flight from the body is the correct response. I have no quarrel with modification of the body in the service of the disabled or even perhaps to improve and extend our current physical abilities but I draw the line at complete abandonment of it. Since I believe a body with at least one and possibly more than one functional sensory modalities is a is fundamental requirement for true intelligence I must therefore believe the transhumanist position is stupid. While I may indeed believe that, it is only partly for that reason and partly for a host of others, and stupid is too strong a word and not one I would use if I were not me, which I am, therefore I will, it is stupid. How’s that for not debating the merits or demerits of the transhumanist position? Only one paragraph, I feel I restrained myself fairly well.
So the problem for the simulated transhumanist living in a simulation is this, what will he download “himself” into? As simulated beings in a simulated universe everything that we “create” is also simulated. All of our technology, our Iphones and computers and internets are simulations. They are not real, at least not really real. They certainly are real to us, real enough that we go through the motions everyday “living” “life” as if they were. Meanwhile the creators of the simulation, be they angels or demons, watch (or perhaps not) and continue to exist as they have for time immemorial in the actual, real universe, the one not created by even more powerful simulators. Or, perhaps they to are simulations and there are layers and layers and layers of simulations and simulators. It really does not matter because there will be a top layer, or a bottom layer, depending on your point of view in which exist the actual beings that created the original simulation. It is possible those being have long since become extinct but that also does not matter for it is clear that at least their technology, the technology they used to create and support the original simulation is still functional, for if it were not the original simulation and any simulation created out of/from it would be gone in the blink of an eye.
As I am thinking this through even now I am beginning to see the flaws and cracks in my arguments. They are crumbling to my own objections more quickly than I can answer them. Usually when this happens it means I need to take a break. Maybe a quick trip down to the local Arby’s to pick up one of their new beef Gyro’s. As I mentioned previously they really hit it out of the park with that one. Also, as usual I will get a small mountain dew as I am thirsty. Maybe my old manager Mr. Simmonds will be there. I can give him shit for taking down my nanodegrees that I had hung in the men’s bathroom. The bathrooom, I must add, that is not nearly as sparkling clean as it was when I was still gainfully employed there thank you very much.