Why Most Bloggers Are Actually Software (Including Me)

Disclaimer: don’t take this post too seriously. It’s a playful bike digression.

The other day I was on my bike and decided to forego all safety and embark upon a journey of philosophical investigation. The idea was to find out how far I could take the idea that I am a common observer in the universe. That is: out of the (relatively uncommon) observers in the universe, if there is such a thing, I am an average one.

Human brain

An average human brain (Photo credit: EUSKALANATO)

The first thing I came up with was: if I am a common observer, I should live in the most likely time period. That is, the time period with the largest amount of humans. Being a human in the present is much more likely than being a human at any time in the past (we are way, way more people), so that seemed to agree with observations. However, that brought about a disquieting thought: the fact that I am alive now and not in the future means, again assuming I am an average observer, that humans are more common now that in the future. That is, things aren’t looking up, guys. This could be because humans merge into something like eGod or because we get wiped out by:

  • Stupidity
  • Incompetence
  • Machines
  • Meteorites
  • Climate change
  • Killer cockroaches
  • Justin Bieber

But then I kept on thinking and I realized I am not a very common observer. I have a physics degree and a blog; I have also published a book. This puts me in a relatively uncommon portion of the population. There’s more: I was not counting animals, but why shouldn’t I? Animals are also observers. They are in all likelihood conscious, at least mammals. So in this sense I am extremely uncommon: I am a very special type of mammal with a moderately unlikely trait distribution.

There could be several explanations for

Survivor :: clouds not photoshopped [explored =) ]

The future’s looking bright (Photo credit: Nhoj Leunamme == Jhon Emmanuel)

this (again, assuming I am an average observer.) The first one is that animals are not observers and that, despite my relative uncommonness, I am still well within the statistically explainable margin for a human. The other is that, somehow, humans with my characteristics are much more common than it appears. But why would that be?

So I started thinking about possible reasons for that and came up with this: what if, in the future, the humans/machines/super-intelligent cockroaches there is decide to start simulating past humans? Would they just simulate any random human? Probably not.

Now, if I was a human/machine/demigod with a huge computer and I was asked to build a human, here’s what I would do: I would build a huge neural network and train it to give the same responses as a certain person from the past. For that, I would need a lot of information on that person: the more data, the more accurate the simulation. For example, if someone wanted to simulate me, they would need a software brain capable of coming up with this blog post. You see where I’m going with this, right?

What I’m trying to say is that the machines/overlords/whatever would only simulate humans they had substantial amounts of data for. What humans would those be? Well, people with a digital trail mostly. Bloggers, journalists, facebook addicts. Maybe famous people with well documented lives and published works they could draw on.

So is it possible for me to be an average observer? Yes, if I am a simulated one.

Summarizing: I’m either not average and quite lucky/unlucky or I am a simulation reconstructed from blog posts and other media.

Want immortality? Start a blog.

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4 thoughts on “Why Most Bloggers Are Actually Software (Including Me)

  1. elkement

    That’s a brilliant take of “anthropic reasoning”!!
    It’s funny you mention your degree in physics and writing a blog… Actually, I have come to a somewhat different conclusion: Whatever unusual combination of traits I believed to have found in me / my life: When I started googling I felt I was totally clichéd – just a member of a large group. But probably this is selection bias or filter bubble … and Google knowing me too well.

    Reply
    1. David Yerle Post author

      I did think about that and that’s why I mentioned I am likely “within reasonable limits” in the sense that there are quite a lot of people like me. However, once you take animals into account then the whole thing falls apart…

      Reply
  2. bloggingisaresponsibility

    Maybe an advanced intelligence would model billions of people? For instance, if they are interested in studying emergent phenomena, then they could model a large number of agents, each of whom exhibits a rich set of behaviors. In this case, they’re not interested in any particular agent (e.g.: you, me, etc…) but the collective behavior of the whole, a behavior determined by the interactions of behaviorally rich agents. This could also mean modeling animals and so on.

    If so, it would be most interesting to have a wide array of agent behaviors, from those who published books, to those who didn’t publish at all, etc… as this would enable them to study how well the system reaches equilibrium with significant fluctuations.

    What’s more, this simulation could be going on over a long period of time, or it could even be a-temporal. That is, the simulation could be a 4D one, in which time is one of the dimensions, such that all entities at all times are living “at the same time” but are experiencing their particular 4D slice of the “matrix” as time.

    Just a thought.

    If you haven’t checked out Cellular Automata, this is a good taste of what I’m talking about, although the cells in cellular automata are behaviorally simple. It still gives a dramatic sense of how order can emerge from interaction. Some automata (like the Game of Life) have Turing Complete subsets, and thus are capable of computation. Fascinating stuff. There are even physicists who speculate that our universe might be a Cellular Automata and even a computer simulation…

    Reply
    1. David Yerle Post author

      Yes, I am familiar with cellular automata and I did consider that, but if that were the case we would still have the problem: I don’t seem to be an average observer! That is, the point was to find some kind of explanation about the fact that I don’t seem to be average (especially if you include all mammals in the set of observers) but I should be. That’s why I hypothesized they’d be interested in simulating bloggers: it seemed like the most plausible explanation of why I don’t look like an average observer but in fact am one.

      Reply

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