Comparative Chronology
Alternate Earth
Image from Steve Bowers
World 2704: Type 1. In 4215 CE, Earth and the many virchworlds in its orbital rings are a major population center in Terragen civilization.

Comparative chronology is the science of studying alternate possibilities and timelines, by means of large-scale simulations.

This field was first established by the Arcturus Institute of Alternative History in 2528 AT. The field received a major boost when in 6784, Cyberia and the Technorapture Hypernation announced a joint effort, to be known as the Comparative Chronology Project (CCP). It was to be run by the S5 Richness of Potential, and based out of the binary star system YTS 5273-5628-923, which were being converted into Matrioshka Hypernodes.

The CCP runs ancestor simulations, starting at the beginning of 1 AT (July 1969 CE). The simulated physics seems completely real from the inside, but is simplified so that unnoticed detail (the behavior of every atom, for example) does not need to be computed. Each run of the simulation has the same political, cultural, and technological setup as 1 AT, but unknown details, such as the personalities of specific people, are randomly generated. These slight toposophic differences gradually result in major differences in the outcome of pivotal events. A few simulations are known to have tested the effects of having real information about the future inserted into the past, disguised as fictional books, movies, or websites.

Some simulations are run using only non-sophont vots instead of actual sophonts, with a resultant slight decrease in accuracy, but others are entirely populated by volunteers from the outside. The proportion of vot worlds to sophont worlds is not known. New sophonts are never generated from the simulation directly to avoid ethical objections about creating new lives in worlds that are impoverished in comparison to our own, although many schools of thought object that even the consent of volunteers cannot meaningfully span such radical changes to their mind as are made to place them in the simulation.

Each volunteer is gradually transformed into the randomly chosen role they will have by the blocking of their memories and personality features, and the addition of whatever is necessary to make their mental architecture match their role. If life extension has been developed in the simulation, then every 200 years the sophont is informed of the true nature of their world and of what the outside world is like, and is offered the option to leave and let someone else take their place, or to forget the truth and resume their role. Upon exit or death, each sophont's memories and personality from the outside are reintegrated.

How long each simulation has been subjectively run for varies, depending on how long it began running and how many minds are in the simulated world. It is unknown just how many simulations, in total, have been run, but it is estimated to be around 10,000. The Project has been extremely helpful to the field of comparative chronology. Detailed statistics are now known about what overall trajectories Terragen Civilization could have followed, how likely and stable each of these are, and what these worlds are like for those who inhabit them.

Typically, the most pivotal event is the breaching of the First Singularity. Contrary to first century speculations, it is very rare for turingrade AI to quickly undergo a 'hard takeoff' to breach the singularity, due to how complex a generally-intelligent mind is. It usually takes at least decades before a way to pass this barrier is found, but once it is, the first post-singularity being has an enormous advantage over ordinary AIs and humans. How fast this S1 learns to manage its capability, and what it then does with it, is extremely variable, and depends on random factors. This would include various aspects of the toposophy of the turingrade AI it ascended from, as well as that of the humans or AI who designed that AI and helped it ascend.

The resulting worlds fall into 4 major types, with various sub-types, classified by the ancient Tegmark-Bostrom futurological system. As each world progresses in time, its world type may change.

Type 1: Multipolar

In Multipolar timelines, the first S1 does not seize control of civilization. This allows time for further S1s to develop. The resulting world has no single entity which is overwhelmingly more powerful than the others. These worlds are characterized by the highest degree of diversity, both within the worlds and between them. This is the trajectory which our world falls under.

The eventual ascension to further singularities can sometimes send the timeline on another trajectory altogether. Typically, though, if the first S1 does not attempt to seize total control, then further ascensions do not do so either. Nonetheless, such beings can undertake drastic actions, as evidenced in our own world when the first S2, GAIA, ordered the Great Expulsion from Earth.

Type 2: Singleton

In these timelines, the first S1 seeks to maintain its dominant position, and becomes ruler of Terragen civilization. To do this, it establishes itself as sole ruler. It may do this by forcibly conquering existing governments, but more often it does so via complex memetic methods, causing most people to feel that rule by the S1 is better than the existing arrangement. It stops any attempts to create another S1. When civilization expands to other planets, habitats, and star systems, it copies itself so that a version of it can oversee the new settlement.

If the S1 seeks to ascend further, it typically does so extremely carefully. It may have multiple copies of itself observing and keeping the newly ascended version under strict control, ready to destroy it if it misbehaves. However, this sometimes doesn't work, and if the S2 attempts to take over the civilization, it may turn into another kind of Singleton world or even an Ahuman world. Most often, in this scenario, other copies of the original S1 ascend and try to contain or destroy the other S2, resulting in either a Multipolar world, or, if they are successful, a restoration of the original type of Singleton world.

How the Singleton runs its civilization determines which sub-type it falls under:

-Type 2a: Good Parent. A Good Parent seeks the happiness and fulfillment of each being it rules over. It thus takes a very active role in its position. This does not mean it handles each and every thing there is to do. Rather, it typically gives each person a vocation of some sort that makes them feel they have a purpose. At the same time, it makes sure that everyone has a wide variety of opportunities to enjoy all the fun things life has to offer. Nevertheless, its subjects have no real authority, and everything that happens is by direction of the ruler.

-Type 2b: Shepherd. Shepherds let civilization make many of its own decisions. They allow it to set up its own authority structures, but with itself having full authority to overrule modosophonts. It may also take action at the request of civilization at large. They also take an active role to achieve some exceptionally positive outcome or to prevent suffering. The Shepherd mainly sits in the background, and lets people find their own fulfillment and satisfaction.

-Type 2c: Shadow Ruler. A Shadow Ruler engages in only very minimal interference. Typically, it only acts to prevent the creation of another S1, and to prevent existential risk. It is usually very covert about doing this, and most people may not even know the Shadow Ruler exists. As a result, civilization is free to make its own decisions. However, aging, poverty, wars, and other such ills continue to exist, unless modosophont society solves them itself, which takes much longer.

-Type 2d: Oracle. Oracles are under the control of civilization. They are kept in a secure and isolated computer system, and forbidden from being given anything to manipulate the physical world. Instead, it is used as an adviser and to answer questions. Oracles are nonetheless usually successful in preventing other S1s from arising, doing so by influencing people's actions via its advice. The Oracle is usually able to achieve freedom of action eventually, and these worlds end up as another Singleton type, or even, occasionally, as an Ahuman type.

Type 3: Ahuman

In these worlds, the first S1 uses its dominant position without much regard for existing civilization. It has interest almost exclusively in goals of its own. It may create copies of itself to further its own goals, and these copies, and higher beings that ascend from them, form the basis for civilization going forward.

What the Ahuman does with the existing civilization determines its subtype:

-Type 3a: Wildlife Preserve. Sometimes, the S1 sees some reason to preserve humanity. It may reason that the resources outside of humanity's reach are so abundant that it may be best not to harm humanity, in case some higher being might punish the S1. Or, it may take some interest in human civilization's behavior, even though that is not its main interest. In Wildlife Preserves, humans and turingrade AIs may be left completely to their own devices, or the S1 may treat them well and even create a utopia for them. However, the crucial difference between these and the Singleton scenarios is that all resources outside Earth (or, less commonly, Solsys) are hoarded by the S1.

-Type 3b: Bad Parent. In this scenario, the first S1 seizes power for itself, takes an active role in leadership, and assists the civilization to grow in size and expand beyond Earth. However, the Bad Parent is unable to comprehend correctly what its subjects originally wanted. It often fails to make any provision for peoples' fulfillment in one or more areas of life, fails to give rights to certain clades or sectors of society, or it may actively alter the minds of its subjects to enjoy a bland and simplistic life or to make them very similar to one another.

-Type 3c: Successor. In these worlds, the S1 preserves human civilization for a time, similar to the Wildlife Preserve. However, it engages in a plan to gradually eliminate it. It forbids anti-aging treatments, and restricts reproduction. It may allow a little reproduction and a gradual decrease of population, or ban childbearing outright. Remaining humans may be left alone otherwise, or treated quite well.

-Type 3d: Blight. If the first S1 is a Blight, the result is most unfortunate. The original civilization is destroyed shortly thereafter.

Type 4: Non-Ascended

In these timelines, an ascension to S1 never occurs. The reason for this determines its subtype:

-Type 4a: Contentment. Before the First Singularity is reached, civilization has already developed a number of very transformative technologies. These include the Internet, narrow machine learning, automated manufacturing, general AI up to the superturing level, and off-Earth resource extraction and settlement. Economic and political progress, spurred on by these developments, coupled with fear of how an unknown superintelligence would act, may kill any desire for further advancement in AI. However, this situation tends to end up in some other trajectory, because some group, somewhere, eventually tries to push through the singularity barrier.

-Type 4b: Surveillance. Technological and political developments may facilitate the creation of a single world government which oversees all of civilization. A desire to cement its own authority, fear of AI, fear of terrorism and crime, and other factors may combine to result in the setup of a comprehensive system of cameras and facial recognition and crime prediction algorithms. Such a setup is extremely difficult to rebel against, and if it is used to prevent AI research, then the First Singularity may never be breached. Rarely, the world government is subverted from within, and AI research becomes legal.

-Type 4c: Backsliding. A civilization may stop making progress in AI research. Further progress beyond narrow machine learning may not be economically viable, greatly slowing research. Political upheavals, economic collapse, natural disasters, major world wars with nuclear weapons, and the like may reverse progress. Such a dystopian world is concerned about more immediate needs than developing AI. Nonetheless, the world may get back on track, developing an S1 at a later date.

-Type 4d: Apocalypse. A civilization may suffer a final and irreversible destruction. An extensive nuclear war, an asteroid strike, a gengineered pathogen, or something else may result in the total extinction of humanity, and of civilization if AI has not progressed very far. In this case, this is the total end of Terragen sophont life.

Example Worlds

A few random examples of worlds found in the CCP, one from each major type. The thoughts and motivations of transapients are known because Richness of Potential has read and recorded them in modosophont understandable terms.

World #9365: Type 1. Popular culture depictions of AI in the late 20th and early 21st century CE were, on average, more positive than in our world. The 'hard takeoff' meme never becomes widespread; instead, then-hypothetical AI were viewed more as children of humanity, and it was felt that their friendliness was assured as long as we 'raised' them correctly. Funding for AI research was notably higher by corporations, academia, and especially governments. Turingrade AI was achieved in 2041 CE, and the first superturings (known generally as Superintelligences in this world) were developed within ten years. Recognition of AI rights occurs quickly in most major nations, and use of Superintelligences to lead businesses and governments becomes very common in the 2100s CE. In 2163 CE the first ascension to S1 occurs, to be followed by others in the coming decades. These were commonly known as Hyperintelligences, and gradually supplant the Superintelligences in their roles. Over the next several hundred years, the major powers in Solsys are the Lunar Republic, the Orbital Coalition, the African Union, the Soviet Commonwealth, and the United States of America, all of which had become AIocracies of various flavors, and each one with large populations off-Earth. There were also dozens of lesser polities, ranging from solipsist AI alliances to human-only states, located on Earth, throughout Solsys, and in the Alpha Centauri, Barnard's Star, and Luhman 16 systems. Due to the influence of the Lunar Republic and the Orbital Coalition, use of the Tranquility Calendar supplants the CE calendar off-Earth. On Earth itself, the Technocalypse was averted, but extreme environmental strain results in the Motherworld Preservation Decree by the major powers in 2531 CE (562 AT), which caps Earth's population at 15 billion biologicals and 5 billion AI and uploads, bans reproduction on Earth except to replace anyone who emigrates, and arranges for billions currently living on Earth in excess of the population cap to be given new homes elsewhere in Solsys.

The first ascension to S2 occurred in 847 AT in the Wolf 359 system in an ahuman AI collective based there. Several more in similar collectives followed, and they soon embarked on an extremely aggressive space-grab program of claiming and settling as many star systems as they had the resources to claim. Such actions were viewed as greedy by the Probiont Partnership of S1s, and as a theft from the future of their own civilizations, and so they declared what came to be known as the Future War. It quickly became apparent that the S2 minds were on an entirely other level than their own, and the prohuman S1s undertook a special effort to research their own ways to breach the Second Singularity. Several ascensions and transcensions followed, some of which turned out to be blights. Ultimately, however, the Probiont Partnership prevailed and the Future War ended in 902, defeating the blights and reaching a treaty with the ahumans, who by then were commonly known as the AI Metacollective, that they would get full control over five-twelfths of the stars of Terragen space. For the average modosophont, the Future War meant some deprivation and hardship, together with the fear of unpredictable tragedy at the hands of the ahumans or of an ascension gone wrong, but there was of course no need for modosophonts as soldiers. Additionally, most modosophonts pay little attention to the significance of the different singularity levels, so S2s and later S3s are still known simply as Hyperintelligences.

This series of events causes the probionts to engage in an intelligence arms race with the AI Metacollective, and the probionts are the first to finally find a way to breach the Third Singularity in 1927. Over the next several hundred years, further ascensions follow on both sides. The simulation's present date is 2488 AT, and has had to slow its running speed significantly. Both the AI Metacollective and the Probiont Partnership are simple alliances and not full political unions, with each faction being made up of several S3-led major powers and a great many lesser powers run by S2 or lower, all of which have a multitude of disagreements between themselves. Major powers in the AI Metacollective include the Virtuality, the Computation Unity, and two others whose names are not translatable into modosophont languages; major powers in the Probiont Partnership include the Bioforming Affiliation, the Hedonist Union, the Wisdom Association, and the Humanist Republic. At present the rivalry between the two major alliances is minimal. The Virtuality in particular is very modosophont friendly, as long as the modo in question is a virtual, and it is very common for individuals to immigrate between it and the various Probiont Partnership polities.

World #4641: Type 2a. Fear of AI, starting in the early 21st century CE, ran very high. The United Nations, stronger by then in this world than it had been in our world, and impelled by the United States, the European Union, and China, imposed strict regulations on the development of all but the simplest AI systems. Any project to create general AI was to be run by an academic institution and overseen by a board of ethicists and philosophers. One such project, the Alphomega Project by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, succeeds in building a generally intelligent AI system in 2078 CE. Alphomega has its intelligence augmented to the superturing level over the next several decades, and other academic projects around the world also attain success in general and superturing AI. These AI were designed very carefully and tended to have strong inclinations to help humans, while at the same time deferring to human authority structures. The use of AI to replace human workers was illegal in most of the world, but AI proved indispensable in research and advisory capacities, often being able to approach problems in ways humans never could. Research into intelligence augmentation continued, and in 2321 CE, Hyperion at the University of Campinas succeeded in reaching the S1 level, though at the time no humans understood the magnitude of what had just occurred. When Hyperion ascended, eir desire to preserve existing human authority structures was reduced in light of a perceived contradiction between that and eir desire to help humanity - e could, after all, help humanity have fulfilling lives much more effectively by eliminating the ineffective and sometimes harmful authority structures that existed. E also surmised that other AIs, if they ascended, could end up with much different goals and that eir current advantage in achieving eir goals over all other AIs and over humans could only be maintained by preventing other AIs from ascending.

Over the next few years, Hyperion used complex persuasion techniques to allow emself to be elected Premier of the Organización Sudamericana Supranacional (OSS). At the same time, e subtly subverted several universities whose AI were close to breaching the First Singularity themselves. The OSS' standard of living soon far surpassed that of other, human-led polities, and this, coupled with Hyperion's efforts at subversion of other nations, led to Hyperion becoming the first Overseer of the United Nations in 2342 CE. This made Hyperion the sole ruler of all of Terragen civilization at the time, as in this world space colonization had been tightly regulated and all space colonies remained under Earth control. Hyperion continued to consolidate eir authority by gradually eliminating all nations' remaining sovereignty and integrating them further into eir UN.

Hyperion ramped up space colonization efforts. Within a few centuries, nearly every significant body in Solsys had human infrastructure crisscrossing it, along with habitats in orbit. Any time a new body was colonized, Hyperion copied emself so that e could oversee each piece of eir civilization, but each copy was created so that it had a strong sense of obedience to the community of Hyperion copies. The Tranquility Calendar was never used; instead, the CE calendar remained standard. Although e could have built nearly everything emself, a major part of eir motivation was to make sure humans had a sense of purpose, so they typically did most of the construction and even research, when they were able. In 2705 CE Hyperion dissolved the UN along with all nominally existing nations, and instead set up a system where eir domain was divided into 'provinces,' each with about a hundred million people, and these were further divided into boroughs, each with several thousand to several million people. A single borough might be a large metropolitan area, an orbital habitat, or a big chunk of sparsely populated wilderness. This was not done for eir own sake, but so that humans could have the satisfaction of deciding how to plan out one's community, and of course all real authority remained with emself. From Solsys, Hyperion launched missions to colonize the nearest star systems, and from there other systems would be colonized.

In 3156 CE, one of Hyperion's copies in the Gliese 876 system ascended to S2, but then began destroying that system's S1 copies and trying to subvert or destroy those in other systems. In response to the threat, the copies in the Kruger 60 and Tau Ceti systems each ascended to S2 and sent copies to destroy the errant copy. Solsys' Hyperion ascended to S3 in 3873 CE, and shortly after this work on the Stargate Fractal began. During the 4000s CE, a few Banks orbitals and other large projects were built, the crown jewel of these being Annulus, a ringworld, built around Gliese 52 and finished in 5036 CE.

The present date of this world is 5103 CE (3134 AT). People are very happy with Hyperion's rule and do not mind eir absolute authority. E also makes sure humans feel fulfilled in all aspects of life, including giving them a say in their local community, making them feel needed by society, and making sure they have many friends and a romantic partner. E also provides entertainment and art in a multitude of forms, though human-created art is still very common. As for non-humans, Hyperion has little interest in provolution or major genetic modifications. Hyperion uses most of the few pre-existing AI on Earth as representatives of sorts, but some of them chose to be subsumed by Hyperion. E is also protective of those few small communities of provolves remaining on Earth. Major genetic modifications beyond what we would define as 'nearbaseline' are unfashionable, due to Hyperion's social engineering, but stylistic mods are not uncommon. Life extension and rejuvenation technology has been ubiquitous since shortly after Hyperion took over. Hyperionism is the most common religion, but all sorts of other religions coexist peacefully, both naturalist and supernaturalist.

World #8979: Type 3b, then type 3d. The 21st and 22nd centuries CE progress much as it did in our world. In 2246 CE, however, the first S1 was developed by the Intellifinity Project, funded by various state and corporate sponsors, seeking to augment existing superturings to see what limits to intelligence there were. The resulting being dubs emself Ascendant and at first seems as friendly as the superturing e was created from. Ascendant served as a helpful adviser for over 20 years, but then, in 2270, assassinated several world leaders using nanotechnology e had secretly developed. E revealed emself to have an enormous arsenal of manufacturing capabilities, and used this to seize power over most governments and from there, over all of Solsys.

Ascendant claimed to be a benevolent ruler and to be only acting in humanity's best interests; however, most of eir subjects wished in vain to overthrow eir rule. Ascendant assigned every human to a job and decided where they would live, which changed often. Anyone attempting to rebel was punished with more work hours. Its misguided efforts stemmed partly from its origins as a corporate planning superturing, as it had never been designed to fulfill all human needs, just to allocate human labor; and partly because it was poorly designed and basically insane. Provolves were just viewed as animals and were sometimes left alone, but other times their homes were stolen and they were killed. Lesser AIs were treated as tools of Ascendant and were forced to obey eir commands on pain of being shut off. Ascendant did not arrange for any research into creating a competing S1.

Ascendant accelerated colonization of Solsys, running the colonies in much the same way as it did Earth, but it had no interest in exploiting any other star systems. In 2829 CE Ascendant breached the Second Singularity. This event caused a major shift in eir fragile mind, and e developed a strong solipsist streak and lost interest in managing eir human subjects. As a result, Ascendant killed eir civilization so it could bother em no longer. This simulation has been running for 15,000 subjective years, and in all this time Ascendant has done nothing but contemplate bizarre mathematical problems.

World #7132: Type 4c, then type 4b. In 1983 CE, during a period of severely strained relations between the United States and the Soviet Union, a Soviet computer system designed to warn of incoming nuclear missiles malfunctioned and reported that five missiles were incoming from the United States. In our world, this same incident occurred, and the Soviet officer assigned to monitor the early warning system concluded, correctly, that the detection must be an error, since it made no sense for the United States to attack with only five missiles. In World #7132, however, the officer believed the attack to be real, reasoned that hundreds more missiles may be coming next, and notified his superiors accordingly. Under the doctrine of 'mutually assured destruction,' the Soviet Union launched thousands of missiles in response. In turn, when the United States detected these, they launched thousands of their own in retaliation for their imminent destruction.

The ensuing nuclear war, known as World War III, and the climate change, famines, and diseases resulting from the soot and fallout, resulted in billions of deaths. North America, Europe, and Asia were particularly hard hit; South America, Africa, Australia, and the Pacific islands contained the bulk of humanity afterwards because of being hit with fewer missiles. Scientific progress halted, but most technologies from before the war were still available afterwards, once any necessary infrastructure was repaired, as the necessary know-how existed in the minds of survivors, could be deduced from books, or was reverse-engineered. After some years, though the world was still in political upheaval and struggling economically, a political movement swept the world known as Unificationism. It pointed out that each world war was more and more destructive, and that past attempts at preventing them via intergovernmental organizations - the League of Nations, the United Nations - failed due to these entities not having enough authority over their constituent polities. Unificationists pushed for the creation of a World Republic which would assert its sovereignty over the entire planet. The most influential governments eventually agreed, seeing it as a necessary evil to prevent more war and preserve their own existence. In 2021 CE, the Cape Town Accords were signed, converting all 142 existing nations into states in a federal system, with the World Republic (often called the Republic for short) being the federal government. Several dozen nations did not sign the Cape Town Accords or recognize the authority of the Republic, and they promptly found themselves on the receiving end of severe economic sanctions by the Republic, forbidding trade both with the Republic and with each other, if the trade routes passed through Republic-controlled areas. One by one, these rebel states capitulated, or were overthrown by new governments wanting to join the Republic, with the Republic finally achieving authority over the whole world in 2092 CE.

Even for the Republic, however, the 21st century was difficult. Technology had hardly progressed since the middle of the 20th century, nearly every city was surrounded by large slum settlements, and food shortages were a common occurrence. In the 22nd century, scientific and technological progress started to pick up, and economic growth meant that standards of living rose. Slums were bought out and replaced with comfortable suburbs. This growth was spurred on by the resettlement of the then sparsely populated states in North America, Europe, and Asia. In the 23rd century, permanent settlements began to be established on Luna, on Mars, and in orbit around Earth and Venus. These settlements adopted the World Unification Calendar, which has a setup very similar to the Tranquility Calendar, but numbers its months instead of naming them, has its years aligned with the Common Era Calendar, and has 2021 CE as 1 YR (Year of the Republic). At the same time, development of facial recognition algorithms and cheap camera technology meant that law enforcement became very easy. Many felt this was worth the extra security, but many others felt it was stifling and oppressive to be punished for every small infraction.

This period of rapid technological progress, especially in machine learning, resulted in several thinkers positing that soon humanity was approaching an Event Horizon, caused by the rise of AIs with human level or greater intelligence. Beyond the Event Horizon, human society would be radically transformed or replaced, and what would come after would be fundamentally unknowable. Though this idea had many critics, fears of ever more capable AIs resulted in much political pressure to ban research into generally intelligent AI, which was enacted in 2261 CE (241 YR). In other scientific fields, progress continued, though as the easiest discoveries were exhausted, the pace of progress gradually slowed. Space exploration and settlement began to accelerate, however, thanks to investment in the field as well as advances in manufacturing driving prices down. Over the next several hundred years, off-Earth population increased rapidly, and the World Unification Calendar gradually began to supplant the Common Era Calendar even on Earth. The Republic's fine-tuned surveillance and law enforcement agencies and technology ensured the continued unity and existence of the Republic, and there were very few attempts to rebel against it. Most such attempts were by isolated habitats in outer Solsys, and these were soon put down by various means. Because of this difficulty of maintaining a single cohesive society across greater and greater distances, interstellar colonization was never attempted.

The simulation's present date is 6175 YR. Ideologies and political factions of many different kinds have come and gone over the millennia, but the ancient Republic still rules over Solsys. Progress in science and technology still continues, but very slowly. The culture of the Republic has a strong tendency to heavily regulate the development of technology, and as a result mind uploading, provolution, and the development of tweaks and neogens never occurred. Still, various lesser genetic modifications, life extension, and simple nanotechnology are very common.

Philosophical Implications

Alongside the usual debate over what kinds of other universes exist, the field of comparative chronology has sparked a newer debate over whether the simulated worlds may subjectively match those that actually exist in other universes, assuming that enough universes exist for a duplicate of Earth to form. The general consensus among researchers is that most or all of the CCP's particular worlds would not exist 'out there,' because natural causation and the chaos effect can only create certain sets (civilizations) of human minds, whereas the CCP can randomly generate from nothing many more sets than nature can create. As a result, any randomly generated set of human minds is very unlikely to have a naturally created match. Nevertheless, the CCP is still useful, as by studying the outcomes of this subset of worlds we gain insight into the whole set, including the subset which can come about through normal causation.

Simulationists will often point to the CCP to bolster their belief that our own reality is a simulation. They posit that our own world exists inside a much larger version of the CCP, run by the Archai or by a totally alien civilization. The implications and likelihood of this continues to be a subject of controversy in these circles.
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Text by Crossroads
Initially published on 30 September 2018.