Thursday, June 07, 2007


The American humourist, Art Buchwald, once lamented that television channels were depriving him of an undisturbed enjoyment of the commercials, by frequently interrupting them with baseball matches, movies, sitcoms, etc. Just when he was warming to the theme of the advertisement, he protested, the channel would slip in a long scene from a movie or a match and spoil his fun.

Coming to think of it, when you are glued to the TV, where commercials are aired for half the time, don’t you get confused if your original intention was to watch the cricket match with commercial breaks in-between, or watch the commercials with cricket breaks in between?

The philosopher, Nick Bostrom, had come out with such an argument when discussing the subject of simulated reality. Bostrom postulated that with strides in technology, it was possible to simulate, on a computer, entire planets or even entire universes including all the people on them, with all the sensory experiences built in. In such a scenario, he explained, the simulated people would be fully conscious beings, as much as the ‘real’ people.

His argument was, “So, maybe this has already been done and you are all simulated human beings living in a simulated planet? Maybe the real people like Raj are watching you on a computer screen, with head phones and 3-D glasses on.”

Ha. All you simulated, unreal creatures out there. Don’t try to get out of your virtual world. I’ll simply press Ctrl+Alt+Del and knock you off the screen.


rajeev said...

The movie Matrix, based on the same postulate, was so successful because it feels so feasible. Please don't let your power go off, we like our reality - however virtual it may actually be :).

Raj said...

rajeevl yes, Matrix. About the power supply....