- The pertinent question regarding the simulation hypothesis is: like so,... what? If we subscribe to a broadly Negative Utilitatrian ethics, then our imperative is to reduce suffering; both ours and others. If we give some weight to the simulation hypothesis however, and additionally consider a Sollipist interpretation, then it would surely follow that our posterior ethical imperative is to prioritise reducing our own suffering, with additional but proportionally smaller investment in reducing exterior suffering (60% of our time on our own suffering reduction, 40% on others' for example.)
Accepting a fundementally biochemical explanation for mental qualia--as those that subscribe to the Hedonistic Imperative do--requires that one subscribe to a biochemical explanation for all mental phenomena. Consider Susan Ertz: "Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.” It is my opinion that hedonistic utilitarians sometimes feel subsequently that they need to adjust their philosphy's conclusions to make them more pallatable. However, if: A - all human feelings have a biochemical substrate. B - those biochemical substrates can be modified. C - feelings of happiness are ethically good and thus desirable. Then, D - we can create eternally blissfull humans who never become bored (because boredom is itself a biochemical process and a product of Darwinian evolution) and also E - we should desire to actively produce D. It is not, following this logic, necessary to mitigate repulsion to "wireheading" by suggesting, as David Pearce does, that "humanity's future...is not... an eternity spent enraptured on elixirs of super-soma or tanked up on high-octane pleasure-machines." Pearce suggests that "an extrodinarily fertile range of purposeful and productive activities will most likely be pursued." I find this shies away from the obvious conclusion of such an ethics; i.e. that the wireheading situation, presuming both pleasure and lack of boredom with pleasure can be engineered, would be desirable in and of itself by definition. In other words, a future in which humanity was drugged up in vats of pleasure would indeed by ethically desirable, despite the current aesthetic objections.
Such qualifing statements like Pearce's seem to me to be a classic fallacy in the application of utilitariansm: that is, we tend to shy away from our moral theory's conclusions, and in doing so, find that we already have an innate sense of morality and thus what are we doing trying to propose an external ethical framework in the first place! Here's the epistemic question: is the purpose of an ethical theory to define in words a preexisting moral sensiblity, or to, through logic, articulate ethical conclusions that seem logically right but clash with current moral sensiblities? If we choose the latter, then we ought to trust our conclusions more, and give wireheading the credit it deserves.