Hans Moravec, the robotocist and author of the brilliantly predictive book Mind Children, propounded exactly the same concept as this guy Bostrom back in the 1990s. I mentioned this in a profile of Hans published in Wired 3.10 in 1995. The concept was identical, including the ingenious argument that we are more statistically likely to be living in a copy of reality than in reality itself, because there will be multiple copies and only one original.
I'm not saying that Bostrom ripped off Moravec, but -- well, I have suspicions.
Here's the relevant extract from my interview with Hans:
But by this logic, our current "reality" could be nothing more than a simulation produced by information entities.[When I was a book editor at Wired, I published a line of science fiction books called The Cortext Series which included Charles Platt's excellent science fiction novel, The Silicon Man, that explores these concepts (yes, Platt credits Moravec in his book). -- Mark]
"Of course." Moravec shrugs and waves his hand as if the idea is too obvious. "In fact, the robots will re-create us any number of times, whereas the original version of our world exists, at most, only once. Therefore, statistically speaking, it's much more likely we're living in a vast simulation than in the original version. To me, the whole concept of reality is rather absurd. But while you're inside the scenario, you can't help but play by the rules. So we might as well pretend this is real - even though the chance things are as they seem is essentially negligible."
And so, according to Hans Moravec, the human race is almost certainly extinct, while the world around us is just an advanced version of SimCity.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects