Robotic Realism

If life is a simulation, are other people real?

There’s a general axiom that I tend to go by, which is: if different options are plausible, then the actuality is likely a combination. So I tend to lean in the direction that some people are “real” while others are “bots”. So when I notice other people, I often eye them suspiciously, attempting to discern whether they’re “real” or not. How stereotypical are they, how deep is their thinking, do they respond to humor, do they have a sense of confusion about this odd experience of existence.

Yet even concerning myself, I don’t feel fully conscious. Life seems automatic and beyond my control, perhaps dreamlike. I’m more like a cyborg, my body just does whatever while carrying my awareness along for the ride. So if I’m only partially present, how present are others? Therefore, it seems plausible that there might be varying shades of consciousness. For instance, some perspectives of spirituality suggest that individuals proceed through stages of awakening.

Are there those who are fully awake and simply acting out their earthly-role as a means to entertain themselves? Are there those that are only half-aware and struggling to stay afloat amidst the tumult of existence? Are there those that are just bots, programmed and responding mechanically? To be honest, I seem like a combination of all three — and the portioning varies. I’ll go through periods of pure understanding followed by uncontrollable automation followed by confused partial-awareness that has me grasping for stability.

I wonder if the world is similar to Westworld in the sense that there’s a small portion of real people mixed among many bots (Just to note, I’ve only watched the original 1973 movie Westworld, not the recent TV series). And if that’s the case, it’s likely that actual people are stars of the show, taking positions of prominence within the world. They’re guided along a preset narrative while bots behave accordingly making sure the show proceeds as planned. But of course there may be those individuals that simply want to observe from a laid-back position. Or perhaps individuals take turns occupying prominent roles.

Something else to consider: what about all those directly affected by tragic conditions? Are their preferences set to hard-mode? Are they bots? Or do such events simply not matter within the infinite scope of a virtual world? Essentially the question becomes: is suffering authentic? Ultimately I don’t know, yet it is in my interest to establish an appeasing answer to such questions. So when faced with the seeming brutality of existence, the virtuality of life becomes an appealing outlook to consider.


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