Our world is a simulation; it is part of an exhibition in a science museum in an alien dimension.

Lately, visitors to the museum have become bored with the exploits of the inhabitants of the sim. It costs money to run and attendance has fallen. The museum's director is seriously thinking of pulling the plug.

The problems

All we do, as members of this sim, is

(a) procreate

(b) make media that is either trashy or about the sim we live in.

(c) argue about religion

(d) make war

(e) Invent technology that is far behind that of the alien race that visits the museum to see us


What can the human race do that is different from what we have always done and that will make us a viable exhibit once more and prevent ourselves being switched off and replaced by something more interesting?

  • $\begingroup$ What do the aliens find entertaining? How risk-averse are they? Are these the kinds of aliens who would view our attempts to hack the sim as a reason to lunge for the power cord or as something amusing to watch? What are their views on art? $\endgroup$ – Murphy Oct 5 '15 at 9:52
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    $\begingroup$ make more cat videos? $\endgroup$ – ratchet freak Oct 5 '15 at 10:02
  • $\begingroup$ Similar to what Murphy mentioned, this really is a matter of Blue and Orange morality; we have no way of knowing what interesting means in the eyes of an alien race, especially given we have no feedback mechanism. If there was a sliding scale of 'power' given to our simulation, maybe we could know (like details disappearing when we're less interesting), but as it is, it seems like a long shot to guess at what a completely foreign culture/civilization defines as interesting. $\endgroup$ – Reliable Source Oct 5 '15 at 10:15
  • $\begingroup$ @ReliableSource - You have pointed out a weakness. I haven't explained how we know that we are a sim and that we are about to be unplugged. I'll have to think about this. In the meantime, we know the director is getting fed up when there are natural disasters. It isn't personal but, if we don't do anything interesting he throws us a disaster to make us more interesting viewing. 'Interesting' means 'different'. We just need to do something different that we haven't already done down the millennia. Particularly items c, d and e in the list I gave. We need to be less predictable/boring. $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Oct 5 '15 at 10:24
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    $\begingroup$ Due to the many opened questions and the fact that no indication is given as to what would be expected of an answer, I am voting to close as too broad. $\endgroup$ – clem steredenn Oct 5 '15 at 11:43

Perhaps total turnaround - try to keep peace?

Lets assume we can substitute all teachers and try to teach younglings in enclaves new way of life no violence etc. - something like The Giver movie, but perhaps less extreme. For some time they would be fed with new children from all around the world, older people would surely revolt, but some strong peace-keaping force without regard for life of those people (with strong knowledge that those younglings are last hope of humanity) would protect enclaves. Whatever the result of our actions, it should be interesting enough to keep publicity from pulling the plug.


We could try to create a person that could transcend boundaries of this sim environment. If we are part of simulations, we could assume that we can cheat. Try to teach a person cheating and make it leave sim to alien's network. Make himself a rockstar there. It is risky because aliens could be scared of that kind of action and try to pull the plug, but the person that left the sim boundaries would confer with aliens, becoming popular with them could influence viewers so they would boycott pulling the plug. They could give him robotic body (since it's simply AI (I assume simulated humans are intelligent)) and other outstanding people would be given this 'transcendence'.

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    $\begingroup$ I think you underestimate the relative intelligence of a race that can simulate an entire universe. Appealing to such a race would be the metaphorical equivalent of an amoeba releasing a chemical in an attempt to communicate with us. In the scheme of things, I doubt very much that they would notice, much less get the respect in order to gain an audience. $\endgroup$ – Neil Oct 5 '15 at 13:16
  • $\begingroup$ Then they wouldn't perceive us as entertainment. Are amoebas entertaining? Surely some would say 'yes' but that's 'no' for most of the population. And there are many cases of very popular animals that can't communicate with us at all. Like that Paul the octopus that drew teams that would win in 2010 world cup. $\endgroup$ – Piotr Kamoda Oct 5 '15 at 13:27
  • $\begingroup$ And being intelligent programs we could most likely use whatever interface they have for communication, we wouldn't have to invent it, just learn to use it. $\endgroup$ – Piotr Kamoda Oct 5 '15 at 13:28
  • $\begingroup$ Amoebas aren't entertaining anymore than ants are entertaining, though you still might want to see a massive ant colony in glass. $\endgroup$ – Neil Oct 5 '15 at 14:24
  • $\begingroup$ Well, but it's certainly a hobby for few. And human world's simulation isn't, since it is in a museum. Don't understand me wrong, if ant could choose between football teams it would surely be famous too - meaning it is not matter of scale, but how one approaches subject of becoming rockstar for alien species. However uninteresting a species might seem there can always be a singularity which would be more interesting then most. $\endgroup$ – Piotr Kamoda Oct 5 '15 at 14:28

Tell a story

We know what stories humans like to read, watch on tv. A good story has a main character with which the viewers can identify, and it has a conflict to be overcome.

If we assume that aliens are similar to humans (if they are not, we have no chance), we would need to find a personality that is outstanding from the rest of the humans. Outstanding in a way the aliens could recognize and identify with.

We could create some form of Frankenstein/ X-men/..., and let him face the challenges of being an outsider in the world.

We could artificially create (or paint) a human race with red/blue/... skin, that would stand out from the mass. Maybe the aliens can identify with them...

Other ideas

If they do not like war anymore, how about peace. If we direct all our money, energies at a goal, maybe we can be peaceful together. We could use ALL resources of the world to build the highest tower ever. (10.000km).


We need to give them one point in the mass of events on earth where they can focus their attention.

  • $\begingroup$ Building would not be interesting because they all would be 'Been there done that'. Keeping peace is a way I think, but it should be spectacular. And while watching a drama with few billion characters in it it is safe to assume that single, outstanding even character could be easily and quickly forgotten. Not the long-term shot. Perhaps a society, but it is not said that people can be anything more then people (so boring). I suppose that focusing on a society with great change in it's social standards would be better. $\endgroup$ – Piotr Kamoda Oct 5 '15 at 11:59

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