TheAlmightyEgg wrote:Ok, I'm probably making a fool of myself here, but I can't for the life of me convince myself that shutting off a simulation of the universe would destroy that universe.
My line of reasoning is this: a simulation is characterised by a set of rules for computing the (n+1)th state given the (n)th state (there might be complications if things are continuous, but I don't *think* that breaks the reasoning), and a set of initial conditions. By the very fact that the simulation can be computed up to some state n=k (whether k is finite or not is irrelevant to our purposes), all states previous to k in the simulation must be defined, which intuitively seems to be sufficient for any inhabitants of that simulation to continue to experience their universe as continuing to exist.
The problem that I have with the don't-unplug-it-or-you'll-destroy-the-universe line of thinking is that each of these states is clearly defined *before* the simulation is run. Hell, presuming that the rules and initial conditions can be expressed in some finite language (I'm not sure that this presumption is actually necessary, but nor am I sure that it's not, so 'better safe than sorry' comes into play), the simulation and all of its nth states for n<k can be said to, in some way, exist, long before anyone even codes the damn thing. I'd even go so far as to suggest that its existance wouldn't require any 'previous' (sorry, that's the wrong word for it, so I'm gonna have to rely either upon you guys being either telepathic or upon what I've written making enough sense that you can work out what I mean from the context, each of which is about as likely as the other) universe for it to be simulated within.
Presumably I've missed the point somewhere along the line, but I can't spot where
If I understand correctly, this was answered some 400 years ago, with "Cogito ergo sum"... just because the simulation will happen, doesn't mean it's valid. Maybe in 100 years, someone will simulate a version of Japan being mauled by Godzilla. Does that make any less fictional right now?