Simulation 1218

“Hey, I need you to look at simulation 1218.”

“Why? Did they figure out that it’s a simulation?”

“No. . . Well, I mean some people have guessed it, but they’ve largely been dismissed as conspiracy theorists.”

“Then what is it?”

“Just take a look.”

“Looks normal to me. Hey, that one group finally has a leader that isn’t white.”

“Yes. This was ten years ago, their time.”

“Okay . . .”

“Let me skip ahead . . . Here. This is what it looks like in their present.”

“What the . . . What am I looking at?”

“Their civilization appears to be regressing.”

“That’s impossible.”

“It should be, according to our theory. That’s why I brought it to your attention.”

“Did something happen? Some extra variable introduced into the code?”

“As far as I can tell, no. I haven’t found any evidence of tampering.”

“So they regressed organically?”

“That’s what it looks like.”

“Do you have any idea what this is going to mean for our funding?”

“Not good, I’m sure.”

“Indeed. Okay, let’s explore this a bit. Any idea how this happened? Was it backlash against progress?”

“That’s possible. I’d like to test that.”


“I want to copy this simulation and run different scenarios. Artificially make changes and try to isolate the cause.”

“That would be a good idea, but we don’t have the resources to run yet another simulation. Also, while I want to figure out what happened, we need to figure out what to do now, whether and how to help 1218. Do we intervene?”

“I’m a lab assistant. I can work on problems, but that decision is outside my expertise.”

“Have you fast-forwarded to see where all this is headed?”

“That exceeds my authority, too.”

“Okay, let me do it.”

“If you fast forward, aren’t you locking in that future? Shouldn’t you decide whether you’re going to intervene first?”

“You’re right. . . . I need to consult with someone. Until I get back, keep the simulation running at quarter speed. I don’t want them to get too far ahead.”

“Will do.”

“Ugh. Reactionaries. Messing up their own society as well as my research. I wish I could delete the whole thing.”

“But . . .”

“Don’t worry, I’m not going to do that. Not yet, anyway.”

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