Bostrom, N 2003, ‘Are you living in a computer simulation?’, Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 53, no. 211, pp. 243-255
This article claims that if we believe it to be a possibility that at any time in the future we will possess technology capable of creating a simulated reality with sentient simulations, then we must also believe that we could be those simulations.
This goes against the more commonly discussed theory, at least in the media/entertainment industry, that we are biological beings which are unknowingly living in a virtual reality (in a manner similar to that of the Matrix films) but rather suggests that we are the computer simulated products of an advanced “posthuman” civilisation. It is also reliant on the conclusion that conscious thought does not need to be organic but can be replicated using computers and technology.
The author describes this posthuman stage of civilization as one where humans have an unfathomable level of computing progress.
This article appears to be incredibly relevant to the topic be examined regarding where the technological advancements in society will lead us and how we as humans will react to and interact with these advancements. The author suggests that any form of posthuman society will use their incredible computing power to create “ancestor simulations” and as such we must assume that we could potentially be a simulation ourselves. An interesting point the author made was that, in order to minimise computing power, there may be what he refers to as “shadow people”, humans simulated only at a level sufficient for the fully simulated people not to notice anything suspicious, and that we may not ever even know if the people we see around us are real or base level simulations.
Igarashi, T, Sharlin, E & Young, J 2011, ‘What is mixed reality anyway? Considering the boundaries of mixed reality in the context of robots’ in Wang, X, Mixed reality and human-robot interaction, Springer science and business media, New York, pp. 1-13
Moskowitz, C 2016, Are We Living in a Computer Simulation? High-profile physicists and philosophers gathered to debate whether we are real or virtual—and what it means either way, Scientific American, viewed 2/8/16, <http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/are-we-living-in-a-computer-simulation/>
Burrus, D 2014, The Internet of Things is far bigger than anyone realizes, Wired, viewed 2/8/16, <http://www.wired.com/insights/2014/11/the-internet-of-things-bigger/>
In this article, Burrus discusses the internet of things and the possibilities that this technical progression may grant our society. He claims that rather than just being a simple manner of “machine-machine” communication, the internet of things will allow for a much greater level of interaction between people and machines and between sensors, machines and people. The most interesting notion is that of sensors and they’re uses in everyday life. As Burrus explains, sensors can be used in every day situations, from simple scenarios such as road maintenance to complicated real time traffic information and route planning for commuters.
Burrus discusses the seamless convergence of this technology with our society in only the positive effects, disregarding any potential negative results. For example, when describing how a smart car may automatically slow when sensors detect an icy road ahead, there is no mention of adverse potential for self driving or self acting cars that may receive incorrect sensory input. This new technology may appear to be bringing about a fundamental change in the way we act, but Burrus doesn’t consider whether this new dependence on the internet of things or a sensor system may cause issues if this system begins to fail in any way.
This article’s content and the subsequent discussion forms the basis for what we will be looking at in terms of the internet of things and how we as a society will interact with a changing technology and the combination of the real and virtual worlds.