I can simulate my pleasure
I can simulate my pain
I can simulate the whole shebang, and still not go insane
I can simulate my husband
I can simulate my wife
I can simulate my children, and the others in my life
I can simulate a sunset
I can simulate a kiss
I can simulate the dog I had, and really really miss
I can simulate the ocean
I can simulate a stream
I can simulate a forest, or an autumn, or a dream
I can simulate perfection
I can simulate the good
Which is strange, because the real me can’t imagine why I would.

Context over here, somewhere. In a nutshell, it’s singularity stuff. rant follows:

Ok, this is gonna get ugly. Trigger warnings on link with an asterisk.

We are never going to simulate the real world. We don’t want to. This* is the real world; who would want to simulate that? Sure we could muck around with the code a bit, and clean up the virtual world to get rid of that, but frankly the math is horrendous, and it would be considerably easier to actually fix the problem in the real world before simulating it.

And we don’t.

We want a pill so we don’t have to brush our teeth, or work out, or study, or watch those commercials with the starving kids, or treat them as our equals.

Don’t get me wrong–I love the real world. But that does not, and will never, mean that there are not parts of this real world that are horrible. That I would not want to simulate. Why would I? Why would anyone? And yet, it is in the real world where we could most easily make the changes we want to see.

What we want, in these “upload your brain” scenarios, is a life free from pain, or reasonably so, and reasonably free from the “thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to–tis a consummation devoutly to be wished”. Sadly, my choice of quotes gives it away. We want something that is not life at all.

And we already have that. In the ’50’s, they called it the “pleasure probe” (I warn you, don’t google that term today!)–electric stimulation of the nucleus accumbens, or if you want a short-cut… heroin.

Heroin will always be cheaper than reprogramming a virtual world to look like we wish the real one was. And don’t fucking get me started on Second Life.


  1. says

    OK, I know it’s a totally inappropriate association, given the actual seriousness of this post, but I can’t help “hearing” each triad of lines in the verse to the tune of There Ain’t Nothin’ Like a Dame from South Pacific.

    When I clicked on your “real world” link, I felt especially shitty to have that particular song playing in my head. That is all.

  2. Cuttlefish says

    Actually, Bill, I love inappropriate juxtapositions like that. I remember horrifying some people because I thought the explosion of the Challenger shuttle was aesthetically beautiful.

  3. machintelligence says

    It may be a character flaw, but things like acid attacks make me yearn for the Old Testament eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth type of justice. Quoting R.A. Heinlein “cruel and unusual crimes merit cruel and unusual punishments.”
    On downloading personalities, science fiction has both the utopian {Fred Pohl’s Heechee saga) and the dystopian (Bill Gibson’s Neuromancer). If it becomes possible it will probably be bad and clunky at first, but probably never utopia.

  4. says

    I remember horrifying some people because I thought the explosion of the Challenger shuttle was aesthetically beautiful.

    Yeah, I can (now) see that it was, but the too soon window on that was long for me: My dad worked at NASA, and knew several members of that crew personally. I was teaching English in Korea the day it happened, and when I got in to work, someone had written on the whiteboard:

    “What do we have in common with NASA? Teacher burnout.”

    I guess maybe I can see that as funny now, but at the time, I just about lost it.

  5. Cuttlefish says

    Hmmm…. Bill, I would not have called that one “funny”. Reminds me of the National Lampoon cover, “that’s not funny, that’s sick”. For me (I will never claim universality), something can be horrible and tragic, yet aesthetically beautiful, but not “funny”. Others, I know, disagree.

    For me, the “funny/sick” continuum is orthogonal to the notion of beauty and the idea of tragedy. I have often wondered whether I am typical, or unique, or somewhere in between, in this.

  6. Randomfactor says

    What gets me is that, to us atheistses, THIS is as close to heaven as we’re going to get. And way too many folks insist on mucking it up because they’re waiting for the next one.

    Maybe uploading consciousness to virtual realities will enable us more easily to eliminate the Bad Stuff. More likely there will be virtual George Carlins inside to remind us all that we’re insane, and there’s a real world still out there with people suffering.

  7. Crudely Wrott says

    I’ll always recall the trails of the solid rocket boosters emerging from the gout of hydrogen and lox as the horns of a devil. Hideous and fascinating. lacrimose and spellbinding.

    I’ve got the start of a tune to go with your verse, dear Cuttle. Not the South Pacific song suggested above which threatened to be a meddling ear worm; more of a Shawn Phillips kind of lilt. A bit Irish even. Descending tones with a quick and lively ending on the last phrase. We made me laugh out loud! It’s fun, I tells ya.

    Here’s a link to Shawn that not only gives a hint to my nascent melody but also tells a funny story about an astronaut, about a moon man. I think you’ll like it, maybe even recognize it?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *