Lack of Spider-Man is evidence against the simulation hypothesis

This is a very short post, but I haven’t seen this argument elsewhere so I wanted to write it up.

The basic argument in favor of the simulation hypothesis runs like this:

  1. Far future people will likely be able to and want to create simulated realities

  2. If they do, they will likely create many such simulations

  3. The people in the simulations will not know they are in a simulation

  4. We are probably some of those simulated people

I guess this is sort of an attack on #1 - looking around at the world today, people do create many (low-fidelity) simulations of the world, which we call video games. Some are more realistic than others, and actually most are very unrealistic and full of wild and crazy stuff!

Obviously this is an undercount on both sides, but I think it’s instructive to compare The Sims to Spider-Man. According to Wikipedia, there have been 14 The Sims games, selling a total of about 200 million copies. That’s a lot of simulations! But even looking at just one character, there are approximately 40 video games just with Spider-Man in the title, plus many more games that contain Spider-Man. I didn’t easily find total sales numbers but just eyeballing the list, I know that some of those games were pretty damn popular. I think it’s easily the case that these 40 Spider-Man games collectively outsold The Sims by a ton.

If our theory that future people will likely want to create simulations is based on looking at the kinds of things that present people want to do, and extrapolating (and how could it be based on anything else?), then we should conclude that simulations are far more likely to be fantastical than to be mundane. The fact that we live in a mundane world is some evidence against simulation.