Charles Platt says:
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
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.
"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
[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]