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.
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:
- 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 forthis (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.