Are we living in a computer simulation?
A question raised by high-profile physicists and philosophers- Are we living in a computer simulation? Are we real or virtual? This turned out to be a question of debate, so that is the reality? Since the Enlightenment period, whether we are living in a simulated universe became a hot topic of debate and there is no specific answer to it.
The theory of simulation hypothesis came from the University of Oxford philosopher in the year 2003 when Nick Bostrum suggested that members of an advanced civilization with an unbelievable computing power might decide to run simulations of their ancestors.
What are the other reasons to think that we are virtual? Yes, there are some. For example, the more we try to learn about the universe, the more it feels to be based on mathematical law. Of course, this may not be the fact but a function of the nature of the universe in which we are living.
A cosmologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) says- If I were a character in a computer game, I would also discover eventually that the rules seemed completely rigid and mathematical.
Put the odds at 50-50 that our entire existence is a program on someone else’s hard drive- Moderator Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the museum’s Hayden Planetarium. According to him, the likelihood may be very high.
He also took note of the gap between the intelligence of humans and chimpanzee and found that humans and chimpanzees share 98% of DNA.
Somewhere out there, could be someone who has a higher intelligence level. He said, if this is the case, then we all are the creation of someone else’s entity for their entertainment.
James Gates, a theoretical physicist at the University of Maryland says- he found this a very strange thing in the research.
Room for skepticism
With this reasoning, not everyone on the panel agreed. This can simply be the fad of the moment if you are finding some IT solutions for your problems.
Kind of like if you’re a hammer, every problem looks like a nail- said, Tyson.
So are we like Neo? Are we living in a Matrix-like simulation of reality created by highly advanced human beings?
This raises another question, is matrix real?
an Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrum argued that more likely than not, everyone on Earth today is living in a simulation.
What this movie centers around is the philosophical concept that our reality may not be real. The protagonist of the film finds out that his world is a vast simulation run by hyper-intelligent artificial intelligence. A large number of scientists and philosophers started to discuss the validity of the claim of this movie.
According to some philosophers, the idea that we are living in a simulation is something that can be believed. To some moviegoers, Neo’s gravity-defying, and bullet-dodging concepts in the movie The Matrix may seem perennial.
Nick Bostrom said he hadn’t seen The Matrix before publishing the paper, in his first draft of the paper, he suggested that a highly advanced super-computer with a mass on the order of a planet- would be capable of running a simulation on a humanity-size scale. This computer would be capable of doing 10(42) calculations per second, and it could simulate the entire history of humankind which will include all our thoughts, emotions, feelings, as well as memories by using less than one-millionth of its processing power for just one second.
The ultimate conclusion by him was- We are almost certainly characters living in a computer simulation.
Somewhere around 15 years later, Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX echoed Bostrum’s ideas. He said at a 2016 Recode conference that he thinks “The odds that we’re in base reality is one in billions.”
Today, Bostrum is still wondering and keeps on talking about the fraught relationship between computers and humans. At a TED conference, he said that humanity could destroy itself with the technology of its own creation.
He also suggested that mass surveillance using AI is the way to save us from ourselves.
Rizwan Virk, a computer scientist and the author of the new book “The Simulation Hypothesis,” told Vox- There’s a very good chance we are, in fact, living in a simulation.
Rizwan Virk calls it “The Great Simulation” and he imagines this as a video game of life.
Virk told Vox- You can think of it like a high resolution or high-fidelity video game in which we are all characters.
He agreed on the fact that, of course, that nobody can be completely confident that we are living in a simulation, but he also added that there are plenty of pieces of evidence that point in that direction.
Bostrum’s theory was tested by some researchers
After Bostrum’s paper came out, various academics have tried to test the idea that humanity is living in a simulation.
In 2017, a study in the journal Science Advances argued that one type of limited simulation couldn’t work due to hardware issues.
More importantly, the authors who did the study also suggested that classical computers don’t have enough memory to store the information and to simulate certain scenarios in our lives.
By studying cosmic rays, a group of physicists also gave an attempt to address these questions. the subatomic particles in it and physicists simulate space, using coordinates on a grid.
So, some colleagues with nuclear physicist Silas Beane pointed out in a 2014 paper that probably the mass simulation we may be living in would make use of that same coordinate system. As per their logic, if certain particles such as high-energy cosmic rays, always exhibit a maximum energy level (that is believed they do) then the constraints on their behavior may be due to the simulation’s underlying grid.
The authors mentioned in the paper that there always remains the possibility for the simulated to discover the simulators.
But, it is a mere fact that we may never know the reality!
Many scientists came to the conclusion that we will never be able to figure out whether we are living in a simulation.
A physicist and philosopher at Dartmouth College, Marcelo Gleiser told New Scientist that attempting to figure out Bostrum’s question according to our knowledge in the present as well as the capabilities in terms of technology is very hopeless.
The reason being, if we were really living in a simulation, scientists would not be having any clue about the laws of physics in the “real world” outside. In addition to this, they may also not know what types of computations would be possible outside the bounds of our simulation, said, Gleiser.
In terms of computing power or the laws of physics, everything that we think we know about what is possible could only be another aspect of the simulation.
Real-life or simulation, are we even alive? Or we are living in memories? Let’s raise another point.
Of course, we are living in a technologically advanced world, but there are endless questions that remain questions at the moment. Are they miracles? If yes, then what are miracles? And who is the one behind it doing this? If this is nature, then who created nature? Ultimately, where did all this started? There is a lot to mull over.
So, what do you think? Are we alive or living in memories?
At some point or another, we can find ourselves falling down from “X” height and we find ourselves dead, and the next moment, our eyes open and Good Morning! You’re still alive!
When you are conscious and still able to feel and live through moments, is this on the right track here, or we should get back to the point that we’re all living in a memory.
If we are living in a memory, so are we dead? How can someone be dead if still experiencing? Are we a ghost reliving memories?
If we are not alive and living in memories, then we must have been alive at some point in time experiencing all these things that we are living in our memories at the moment.
Assuming that we have been alive at some point, and living in memories, then what about the sequence? Are we living in our memories in the same sequence that we lived when we were alive?
Who is that alive or dead person?
What questions do strike in your mind?
Do you have any answers to these questions?
Let us know in the comments and we will have a great discussion about it.