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Joe Rogan vs Nick Bostrum – Is Life A Simulation?

Toward the end of JRE with Nick Bostrum they got into a bit of a set-to about life being a simulation now or not. Video is here

https://youtu.be/5c4cv7rVlE8?t=6961

Nick Bostrum says there are three options when it comes to the universe being a simulation

1. Civilizations do not last long enough to create a simulation of the universe eg they suffer a meteorite impact, worldwide nuclear war etc

2. Civilization agrees that they will not develop a simulation of the universe

3.That we are living in a simulation

Bostrum’s premise being the possibility of us having the ability to create a simulation and then not to be living in a simulation is so remote as to be non existent, hence why he does not consider it an option.


So they go back and forth (or round in circles) for about ten minutes.

Joe is asking why today cannot be a simulation.

While Nick is saying we probably are in a simulation looking at the probabilities.


In short

Joe saying “today is not a simulation but we could live in one in the future”, is Option 2 from Nick Bostrum’s three possibilities.

While Nick Bostrum is arguing that we are most likely in a simulation now if we assume our civilization lasted long enough to make it and we did not decide against making simulations. In those conditions it is most likely we are in a simulation now. Assuming the first two options are not reality.

The reason for the argument/heated debate.

Bostrum does not understand that Rogan is arguing for option 2 being reality and Rogan does not understand that Bostrum is arguing for option 3 being reality

They are both correct. They both agree with the other’s position.

Their issue is they did not clarify the others person’s position (at least not clearly enough)

A storm in a teacup, a fuss over nothing, a semi-argument for no reason


At 2hr:07min Joe asks Bostrum what makes him think that we are in a simulation now, why would Bostrum even entertain the possibility that there is such a thing as a simulation.

Great question

Bostrum says he views the world in 4 dimension ie he looks at the totality of our civilization in terms of time as well.

In this clip Bostrum says he believes that, looking at the complete lifetime of the universe, that the time where there is no simulation is tiny compared tot he time with a simulation, yet he gives zero explanation as to why he thinks this a reasonable hypothesis

https://youtu.be/5c4cv7rVlE8?t=7903

Generally Bostrum, for some reason, finds it incredibly hard to understand Joe Rogan’s position. ie he cannot repeat back to Joe, Joe’s position.

It gets interesting again when Bostrum finally understands Joe’s position. ie we are living on the planet, we are not in a simulation yet. He asks Joe, “okay, so what happens in the future? If we don’t create a simulation what happens and if we create a simulation what happens”

https://youtu.be/5c4cv7rVlE8?t=7973

Joe brushes over this reply from Bostrum, which I think was a mistake. BY this time Joe was getting a bit frustrated.

I think because Bostrum can’t/didn’t answer Joe’s very simple question.

Why is it more likely we are in a simulation now. Where does the concept of a simulation come from? What initially gave Bostrum the thought that the world being a simulation could be a possibility.

Instead of answering the question directly, Bostrum goes of one numerous higher level tangents which do not answer the core question.

The answer IMO

Because, given our current rate of technological development and given the resources we are investing in virtual reality whether it be games, weapons of some type etc it seems inevitable that we will perfect virtual reality into something which is indistinguishable from reality and if we can do that, it is inevitable that we are living in a simulation. At least that is Bostrum’s position.


Right at the end of the interview Bostrum says something profound

https://youtu.be/5c4cv7rVlE8?t=8838

“It seems unlikely that we will have the first simulation in the universe given the amount of extraterrestrial civilizations that are probably in existence. And if it is true it is because option 1 or option 2 have been true throughout all civilizations. “

Bostrum seems to be assuming that more than one simulation operating at the same time is not an option and for us to be unaware is not an option

Generally a bit of confusing and frustrating podcast. Commenters on the JRE YouTube channel are ripping into Joe.

Personally, I think Joe was asking a simple question and Bostrum did not address it directly which led a lot of circling and back and forth with no progress in the conversation.

But it all ended well, great podcast as usual from JRE

This page was last modified Sep 18, 2019 @ 4:36 pm

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