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Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Video explanation: Transhumanist Nick Bostrom (Swewden,1973-), examines the future of humankind, and asks whether we can -- or should -- alter our fundamental nature to solve our intrinsic problems. He asks us to reconsider 3 "inevitable" features of life: 1) death 2) risk of extinction and 3) our inability to live consistently full lives. If we could, would we correct these flaws? Can we humans alter our basic nature in ways that will enhance our experiences in the world? Do we want to? No matter what your answer, Bostrom's engaging talk will force you to consider it carefully.
According to Nick Bostrom, philosopher of the University of Oxford and Director of Future of Humanity Institute, we could be living in a virtual universe, designed and manipulated by some post-humans (very advanced humans). The support to this idea happens of the hypothesis that conscious mental states can be generated in an ample variety of physical substrata (substrate-independence, theory), as long as suitable structures and computational processes settle down. While in “The Matrix”, most humans and the inhabited external world are illusions created in their brains (while their bodies lie in tanks full of liquids), the virtual beings conceived by Bostrom, lack fleshy bodies; their brains single are part of a network of computer science circuits. In “The Matrix,” it is not possible to unplug the brains of the tanks to see the real physical world. In the virtual worlds of Bostrom, math and logics are inexorable. Bostrom assumes that technological advances would build future computers (quantum, of nuclear matter or plasma), with a capacity of processing superior to all brains of the real world (within 50 years). Thanks to it, some post-humans, would create “ancestral simulations”: scenes of their evolutionary history inhabited by worlds and virtual people with completely developed nervous systems. In those worlds the real and the virtual people will be indistinguishable.

So that these worlds be viable, post-humans would have to be arranged to recreate them, with intentions of research or diversion. The hipótesis willface however some problems: 1) It will not be realized because humans did not adquire sufficient technology or because they did not arrive to post-human stage: humans were extinguished or self-destroyed 2) post-humans decided not to recreate the simulations, because they opted for other mechanisms of direct stimulation on his centers of pleasure 3) Although we do not realize we are almost living in a computer simulation (20% or but of probabilities, according to Bostrom). If these worlds were similar to the conformed in Second Life, SimCity or World of Warcraft, it will be posible control historical events. Then to respond the question of our present real world: Why God allows so much evil in our world? , would be easy to respond: because peace is boring and because in a virtual world it does not concern much like personal behaviours - because it is not real. David J. Chalmers, philosopher of the National University of Australia says that the hypothesis of Bolstrom, is not a another skeptical position, but a different metaphysical explanation from our world. Robin Hanson, an economist of the University George Mason says that next form of simulation would be advanced forms of intelligence.