Printed: 2019-11-20

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies





IEET Link: https://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/sorgner20191102

Sorgner versus Musk on whether we live in a Computer Simulation




November 02, 2019

“The Life Cycle is a podcast series dreamt up by Klang Games, conceived as an excuse to procrastinate the development of the studio’s simulation MMO, Seed, a game about human survival and exoplanet settlement”, according to their website. (https://www.thelifecyclepodcast.com/home/#about) In their latest episode of the podcast, they dealt with the question whether we live in a computer simulation and what our chances are that we do actually live in such a simulation. Elon Musk argues that chances are very high that we do not live in base reality. IEET Fellow Stefan Lorenz Sorgner demonstrates that we do not have any good reason for regarding this claim as plausible:

https://www.thelifecyclepodcast.com/episodes/2019/11/1/the-simulation?fbclid=IwAR1ttMUErtW8zBCAUOJRCUkcYSc2wJtDOfZfyP7OOv1Cihutykop6ez4Px0

A central reason mentioned by IEET Fellow Sorgner is that no digital living entity exists so far. In his 2018 Nicolai-monograph “Schöner neuer Mensch”, he explained this thought in more details by refuting the argument presented by Stephen Hawking that a computer virus can already count as a living digital entity, as it possesses the capacity of self-replication. Sorgner stresses that a metabolism is central for any entity which we regard as being alive, which is a capacity a computer virus does not possess. Hence, we do not have any good reasons for regarding the simulation argument as a plausible one, even though it has widely been discussed by many leading thinkers, researchers, and intellectuals.

The philosophical background of Prof. Sorgner’s reflections are being made explicit in his recent discussion with Kathleen Bryson, Rebecca Levene, and Volker Sommer at the Art Biennale in Venice on the transhuman:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unlEAo3U6v0


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