Do we live in a computer simulation? Researchers say idea can be tested

Dec 10, 2012
The conical (red) surface shows the relationship between energy and momentum in special relativity, a fundamental theory concerning space and time developed by Albert Einstein, and is the expected result if our universe is not a simulation. The flat (blue) surface illustrates the relationship between energy and momentum that would be expected if the universe is a simulation with an underlying cubic lattice. Credit: Martin Savage

A decade ago, a British philosopher put forth the notion that the universe we live in might in fact be a computer simulation run by our descendants. While that seems far-fetched, perhaps even incomprehensible, a team of physicists at the University of Washington has come up with a potential test to see if the idea holds water.

The concept that current humanity could possibly be living in a computer comes from a 2003 paper published in Philosophical Quarterly by Nick Bostrom, a philosophy professor at the University of Oxford. In the paper, he argued that at least one of three possibilities is true:

  • The is likely to go extinct before reaching a "posthuman" stage.
  • Any posthuman civilization is very unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of its .
  • We are almost certainly living in a computer simulation.
He also held that "the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor simulations is false, unless we are currently living in a simulation."

With current limitations and trends in computing, it will be decades before researchers will be able to run even primitive simulations of the . But the UW team has suggested tests that can be performed now, or in the near future, that are sensitive to constraints imposed on future simulations by .

Currently, supercomputers using a technique called lattice quantum chromodynamics and starting from the fundamental physical laws that govern the universe can simulate only a very small portion of the universe, on the scale of one 100-trillionth of a meter, a little larger than the nucleus of an atom, said Martin Savage, a UW physics professor.

Eventually, more powerful simulations will be able to model on the scale of a molecule, then a cell and even a human being. But it will take many generations of growth in to be able to simulate a large enough chunk of the universe to understand the constraints on physical processes that would indicate we are living in a computer model.

However, Savage said, there are signatures of resource constraints in present-day simulations that are likely to exist as well in simulations in the distant future, including the imprint of an underlying lattice if one is used to model the space-time continuum.

The supercomputers performing lattice quantum chromodynamics calculations essentially divide space-time into a four-dimensional grid. That allows researchers to examine what is called the strong force, one of the four fundamental forces of nature and the one that binds subatomic particles called quarks and gluons together into neutrons and protons at the core of atoms.

"If you make the simulations big enough, something like our universe should emerge," Savage said. Then it would be a matter of looking for a "signature" in our universe that has an analog in the current small-scale simulations.

Savage and colleagues Silas Beane of the University of New Hampshire, who collaborated while at the UW's Institute for Nuclear Theory, and Zohreh Davoudi, a UW physics graduate student, suggest that the signature could show up as a limitation in the energy of cosmic rays.

In a paper they have posted on arXiv, an online archive for preprints of scientific papers in a number of fields, including physics, they say that the highest-energy cosmic rays would not travel along the edges of the lattice in the model but would travel diagonally, and they would not interact equally in all directions as they otherwise would be expected to do.

"This is the first testable signature of such an idea," Savage said.

If such a concept turned out to be reality, it would raise other possibilities as well. For example, Davoudi suggests that if our universe is a simulation, then those running it could be running other simulations as well, essentially creating other universes parallel to our own.

"Then the question is, 'Can you communicate with those other universes if they are running on the same platform?'" she said.

Explore further: IHEP in China has ambitions for Higgs factory

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cosmological simulations key to understanding the universe

Feb 17, 2009

Tiziana Di Matteo, associate professor of physics at Carnegie Mellon University is harnessing the power of supercomputing to recreate how galaxies are born, how they develop over time and, ultimately, how they collapse.

Carbon, carbon everywhere, but not from the Big Bang

May 11, 2011

As Star Trek is so fond of reminding us, we're carbon-based life forms. But the event that jump-started the universe, the Big Bang, didn't actually produce any carbon, so where the heck did it – and we – come from? ...

Recreating a slice of the universe

Aug 15, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) and their colleagues at the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) have invented a new computational approach ...

Recommended for you

New approach to form non-equilibrium structures

3 hours ago

Although most natural and synthetic processes prefer to settle into equilibrium—a state of unchanging balance without potential or energy—it is within the realm of non-equilibrium conditions where new possibilities lie. ...

Nike krypton laser achieves spot in Guinness World Records

5 hours ago

A set of experiments conducted on the Nike krypton fluoride (KrF) laser at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) nearly five years ago has, at long last, earned the coveted Guinness World Records title for achieving "Highest ...

Chemist develops X-ray vision for quality assurance

9 hours ago

It is seldom sufficient to read the declaration of contents if you need to know precisely what substances a product contains. In fact, to do this you need to be a highly skilled chemist or to have genuine ...

The future of ultrashort laser pulses

9 hours ago

Rapid advances in techniques for the creation of ultra-short laser pulses promise to boost our knowledge of electron motions to an unprecedented level.

IHEP in China has ambitions for Higgs factory

Jul 23, 2014

Who will lay claim to having the world's largest particle smasher?. Could China become the collider capital of the world? Questions tease answers, following a news story in Nature on Tuesday. Proposals for ...

User comments : 63

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rubberman
2.6 / 5 (17) Dec 10, 2012
Yes, the matrix was a cool movie.
LariAnn
1.7 / 5 (11) Dec 10, 2012
Actually, "The Thirteenth Floor" is a more accurate representation of this idea.
rubberman
1.7 / 5 (12) Dec 10, 2012
WOW...had never heard of it! In Wiki they mention the matrix beat it for the saturn award but I agree, based on the description of the movie...this is more 13th floor. If this notion gets funding however, I would like to talk to the source of the funds....
Royale
1 / 5 (2) Dec 10, 2012
It sure is. Both movies came out before the paper in 2003.
dav_daddy
1.7 / 5 (12) Dec 10, 2012
This isn't the first time I have heard of this. The premise has been around for a long time. This is the first time I've heard of any way to test the theory. The results should be interesting to say the least.
rubberman
2.2 / 5 (13) Dec 10, 2012
I'll go out on a limb and say that we are "real" as we define it and not a simulation as the article does....
Royale
3.7 / 5 (6) Dec 10, 2012
What is real? How do you define it? If real is what you can see or taste or touch; real is simply electrical impulses interpreted by your brain.
:)
Tangent2
1.6 / 5 (12) Dec 10, 2012
"the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor simulations is false, unless we are currently living in a simulation."


This statement is false, as we currently attempt to understand our ancestry by running simulations. However, this does not mean that our ancestors that we are studying with simulation never existed in the physical sense and only exist as a simulation, since the idea to run the simulation must have come from a physical factor (that seems far unlikely to be a simulation within a simulation).

Any posthuman civilization is VERY likely to run a simulation if they don't have a complete picture of evolution and wanted to learn.
jibbles
2.5 / 5 (4) Dec 10, 2012
totally fascinatin. wondering, totally off the cuff, whether dark energy might be an artifact of some kind of compounded rounding "creep". after all, floating point accuracy is worst near zero and isn't space growing pretty much where the gravitational tidal force is near zero? i.e. in the great voids amidst the galactic cuperclusters ?
cantdrive85
2.5 / 5 (22) Dec 10, 2012
So the scientists are trying to prove intelligent design, it's not just the religionists.
El_Nose
3.9 / 5 (7) Dec 10, 2012
A decade ago, a British philosopher put forth the notion that the universe we live in might in fact be a computer simulation run by our descendants.


-- ancestors not descendants. Our descendants would be in the simulation as well... thus ... well you get the idea. Our ancestors could have made a simulation and placed us in it.
Donutz
3.9 / 5 (20) Dec 10, 2012
So the scientists are trying to prove intelligent design, it's not just the religionists.


The scientists are trying to test an hypothesis, something the theists never do. And if it doesn't pan out, the scientists will abandon the hypothesis, ANOTHER thing that theists never do.
megmaltese
1.4 / 5 (11) Dec 10, 2012
Wanted to rate Donutz 5 but Mistake on My tablet, Sorry.
Ben D
1 / 5 (5) Dec 10, 2012
One person's concept of a simulation is another's concept of farming. In the same way that humans farm the relative lower kingdoms,, posthumans farm the human kingdom.

Am looking forward to farming at the next level, it will be fun as harvest approaches to witness from that level the fuss and rumour among the mortals concerning prophecy handed down by their ancestors about an inevitable future mass slaughter of mankind by the gods.

Infinion
2.5 / 5 (14) Dec 10, 2012


I'm confused, why would finding endpoints or edges in a fundamental lattice, and making the supposition that there is a limit on 'representable energy' of the particles that make up this lattice imply that the universe is simulated?

"Observable consequences of the hypothesis that the observed universe is a numerical simulation performed on a cubic space-time lattice or grid are explored."

"If you make the simulations big enough, something like our universe should emerge"

A simulation only models a system to imitate its observed behavior. This is making an audacious assumption that our understanding of nature and the behavior of all physical matter and energy governed by it is complete and lacks nothing. There is no chance that this is the case. Any claim that a 'signature' or analog can and will be found from this simulation will only stand to misinterpret that it is simply an artifact in the investigative procedures of the simulation or an indication of an incomplete knowledge
Raygunner
4 / 5 (4) Dec 10, 2012
Here is basically the same article from October 12:

http://phys.org/n...ion.html
GaryB
4 / 5 (4) Dec 10, 2012
It sure is. Both movies came out before the paper in 2003.

Both movies themselves exist in the current simulation -- sys op
Eikka
1.3 / 5 (9) Dec 10, 2012
There's a fly in the ointment:

The actual ancestors, if we are not them, would have argued for the same tests to see if they're not already in a simulation. The result they will had gotten would show that they're not in a simulation, which would force them to impose the same result on us to see what happens next. Whatever we do, they'd doctor the results to show us exactly the same thing.

Otherwise the mere knowledge of being in a simulation would make the simulation diverge from what actually happened, and it would be worthless. It's like telling the patients in a drug trial who's getting the placebo.

But that means we'll never find out if we actually are in a simulation, and neither can we, because the result must always show that we are not in a simulation. If we actually got a result that shows we are, it must be wrong.
Eikka
1.5 / 5 (8) Dec 10, 2012
Of course, if the point of the simulation is not to simulate us, but to make a simulation of the universe in general, then it hardly matters whether we realize it is one.

But it would be unlikely to need a simulation that goes to that level of detail on that massive scale, for studying only the physics of it.

Besides, the logic of why it would be likely to find ourselves in a simulation is a bit hazy. Surely the simulation would need to be faster and shorter than the actual universe to be of any use, because even a post-human society doesn't have forever to wait for the results. That means, for all the history of mankind, pick any moment and you're more likely to pick one where no such simulation exists.
Lurker2358
1.7 / 5 (11) Dec 10, 2012
Infinion:

N body problems are real, and yet they are too complicated for most people to even conceive of how to solve the math, which is one reason computer programs are used.

The real solutions to Newtonian Dynamics are actually not the same as over-simplified models. You actually need to simulate every atom in the system you want to model in order to get the correct results, which we are not capable of doing.

We don't even have a computer capable of modeling every star in a galaxy, wh ich is one reason they can't possibly predict whether Dark Matter is really a "thing" or whether it is an error in human understanding. In order to actually do Newton's equations accurately for the whole galaxy, at just the Stellar mass level, ignoring planets, comets, asteroids, and dust, would require a super computer with at least a billion billion times more RAM than anything we've made, and a billion billion of time more processing power, just for Milky Way Only/spiral galaxy only problems....
pauljpease
4.2 / 5 (5) Dec 10, 2012
There is one thing about this philosopher's paper that really bugs me. His argument makes it sound like a super advanced intelligent civilization capable of running these kinds of simulations would be simulating their PAST. But if they aren't just simulating their past, but also their future, then maybe they aren't our descendants but our ancestors. In fact, I think a super advanced intelligent civilization would be much more interested in simulating possible futures rather than pasts. After all, it is the ability to predict the future and act so as to bring about the desired future that is valuable (you can't change the past). The notion that we are in their past comes from the naive assumption that because WE don't have the technology to run the simulations, the civilization that has it must be in the future. For all we know, they are designing OUR Big Bang, and are just checking to make sure it turns out the way they want.
Lurker2358
1.4 / 5 (10) Dec 10, 2012
We don't even know how many stars are in the Milky Way. Estimates range from 200 billion to 600 billion stars in the Milky Way.

In order to do the vector sums for any temporal partition for Newtonian gravity requires Roughly N squared calculations per temporal partition, where N is the number of bodies involved.

For any body N, you need to take the vector some of all accelerations caused by all other bodies to determine what it's actual acceleration will be in that temporal partition.

An1 = Fn2 plus Fn3 plus Fn4...
An2 = Fn1 plus Fn3 plus Fn4...
.
.
.
N

Which is roughly N^2 calculations of the Newtonian gravity acceleration formula for EVERY temporal partition, and to get it as close to a continous curve as possible you want the smallest possible temporal partitions (nano-seconds or less possibly).

Our computer simulations currently don't even attempt this. They cheat and take short cuts that don't actually work at all, or just use a few stars instead of a realistic galaxy.
Lurker2358
1.7 / 5 (11) Dec 10, 2012
So in order to model 1 second worth of the "real" spiral Galaxy behavior with 400 billions stars with temporal partitions of 1 nano-second requires AT LEAST

16,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 calculations of the Newtonian Acceleration formula.

Again, that's for just one second modeled.

IN order to actually spot deviations from reality, if any exist, such as Dark Matter, you'd need to make several years or centuries worth of simulations.

The calculation currently used to determine gravitational acceleration at any given point in a galaxy is WRONG, because it treats all matter as being at the center of the galaxy, which is what produces most of the false "Dark Matter" footprint within galaxies.

If the real N-body equations were solved as outlined above, I predict the "Dark Matter Halo" phenomenon would disappear.

Other forms of "Dark Matter," if they remain after the real N-bodies are solved, may be explained by other mechanisms, but that's irrelevant.
Tachyon8491
1 / 5 (9) Dec 10, 2012
The question whether we are living in a simulation was first asked in a Scientific American Mag in the seventies - I remember this well. OF course this idea also pertinently revolves around what "reality" actually is - a very unsolved question - and also what the extended and ultimate meaning of the concept of "simulation" is. Some contributive formants here are Bohm's implicate domain; Quantal consciousness as in the quantum potential term added to the Schrodinger wave equation; Nassim Haramein's paper on the Schwarzschild Proton; the true nature of non-epiphenomenal consciousness; the effect of conscious intentionality on machine processes as researched by the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research program; Tiller's lab-space gauge metric modulation. Then, if we are running in a simulation that could also be an "nth-degree" simulated simulation of a simulation run by... Personally I feel reality as it's experienced is enough to cope with. Maybe it needs a selective off-switch..
Argiod
1.5 / 5 (14) Dec 10, 2012
LOL: what a concept! God as the Divine Programmer, and the Universe as His Holy Network, and Life as the Cosmic Fantasy Role Playing Game... I love it! I think I'll form a new religion around this idea. The Church of the Holy Bit. Our Mantra: Byte Me!
antialias_physorg
4.4 / 5 (8) Dec 10, 2012
including the imprint of an underlying lattice if one is used to model the space-time continuum.

This is the part of the argument I can't follow. A lattice is only used if you are running the simulation on a digital computer. But if you run it on something other (e.g. a quantum computer) then that limitation isn't present.

On a lighter note: As a programmer I'd add something to catch the
"simulated subjects test for lattice"-exception.

...and I don't see why posthumans should limit themselves to hardware/software architectures that we already see being replaced in the near to middling future.
tatiana_covington_7
1.5 / 5 (6) Dec 10, 2012
"All You Zombies" and "They", both by Heinlein.
FainAvis
3 / 5 (4) Dec 10, 2012
I'm confused.
Should we now look for a multi threaded multi core reality processing unit?
Or move this story to the onion?
Myno
5 / 5 (3) Dec 10, 2012
If they're smart enough to run such a simulation, they're smart enough to tweak the results of any experiment we might run to test whether they're doing it.
cyberCMDR
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 10, 2012
In the end, the simulation will provide the answer.... 42
verkle
1.9 / 5 (13) Dec 10, 2012
FainAvis, I vote to move tihs story to the Onion.
Then, it won't take up valuable space on the phys.org webpage.

TheKnowItAll
1.4 / 5 (11) Dec 11, 2012
I just hope they're not using the tax payer's money to get drunk and research this nonsense.
perrycomo
1.3 / 5 (13) Dec 11, 2012
Funny that those who simulate the universe for millions of years simulated all kind of dinosaurs too . What is the use to model those dinos , it is completely absurd . And simulating someone like adolf hitler ? I am sorry but lol . This story is of an intense stupidity , because it assumes that a system(the universe around us) can be simulated which in fact is in a state of chaos . The reason for that is that it will never be possible to model the first state . There is only chaos-theory and therefore unmeasurable .
roldor
1 / 5 (3) Dec 11, 2012
Time is relative:
1 second = 16,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 calculations of the Newtonian Acceleration formula.
roldor
1 / 5 (2) Dec 11, 2012
It has only to be simulated what you see. When you see a house,
only the view of the house has to be simulated. When you view
a grain of the house under an electron-microscope, then only this
view had to be simulated for you. When you make a quantum-experiment, only this had to be simulated.
So i think, that it cannot be proved. Maybe the computer is GOD!?
Ryan1981
5 / 5 (1) Dec 11, 2012
For all those interested I recommend watching the Discovery Channel DVD set: Trough The Wormhole. I think it handles quite some comments here.

Regards,

Ryan
Royale
1 / 5 (1) Dec 11, 2012
it's sad. These rankings used to mean something.. Then someone comes in and spoils it by downvoting everything exept what their sockpuppets write.. dick.
Rdavid
not rated yet Dec 11, 2012
"Currently, supercomputers using a technique called lattice quantum chromodynamics and starting from the fundamental physical laws that govern the universe can simulate only a very small portion of the universe, on the scale of one 100-trillionth of a meter, a little larger than the nucleus of an atom..."

So if we are both being simulated and simulating, we have chinese boxes of simulation.

Royale
1 / 5 (2) Dec 11, 2012
Funny that those who simulate the universe for millions of years simulated all kind of dinosaurs too . What is the use to model those dinos , it is completely absurd . And simulating someone like adolf hitler ? I am sorry but lol . This story is of an intense stupidity , because it assumes that a system(the universe around us) can be simulated which in fact is in a state of chaos . The reason for that is that it will never be possible to model the first state . There is only chaos-theory and therefore unmeasurable .


Perry, While it is clear that Papa loves mambo, this is something I have fun with. I'll show you. And for the record, yes I think this is silly too, but enjoyable to ponder.

If it is like others have suggested, actually our ancestors rather than decedents, dinosaurs and Hitler would be just fine and no reason to stop the simulation. Do you turn off a video game because the villain just blew up a school? Probably not. And chaos theory?
Royale
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 11, 2012
As for chaos theory, I'd imagine that their hardware degrades over time, just as ours does. Why couldn't that degradation be what causes the chaos that we call chaos theory?
Once again. I agree with Stephen Hawking. "Philosophy is dead". But things like this are fun to think about.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Dec 11, 2012
Funny that those who simulate the universe for millions of years simulated all kind of dinosaurs too...

Not to mention all kinds of ephemeral structures like dark energy and dark matter (i.e. 95 percent or more that doesn't really affect the supposed point of the experiment itself)
...Plus all the huge empty spaces and faraways places (some of which are already beyond the interaction horizon)
...Plus a universe in which life isn't possible for the initial period and isn't possible after a few hundred billion years for the rest of eternity...

So yeah, I see what you mean: For a simulation it's one that is eminently wasteful in terms of getting to the point.
Lurker2358
1.4 / 5 (11) Dec 11, 2012
Certain aspects of quantum theory could be explained as bit errors in math.

i.e. being forced to take either the floor or ceiling for numbers would produce quantum energy states, example electrons benig only allowed in certain places, spectral lines, etc, etc.

Superposition of spin states might even be shown to be a mis-perception on our part.

Perhaps "spin up" and "spin down" are two unrelated properties which merely appear to be related. If that is the case then they would be simulated as follows.

"00" equals no spin.
"10" equals spin up and not down.
"01" equals spin down and not up.
"11" equals spin up and down.

Not so hard. Maybe this is how reality is after all.

One other thing.

We need not be the computer's ancestors at all.

We could be a secondary reality. A work of the creator's imagination, having no "prior" archetypes or past history.

God did it!

But what is the "computer" made out of?!

The universe is a self-computing computer.
sirchick
5 / 5 (1) Dec 12, 2012
If we are in a simulation, their graphics designer did a wonderful job. i hope he was paid well.
Ben D
4.3 / 5 (3) Dec 12, 2012
The universe is a self-computing computer.


Bingo, congratulations...and without a doubt in my mind, the source of the concept of omniscience. Though let's not go into that on this forum...
Ben D
4 / 5 (2) Dec 12, 2012
If we are in a simulation, their graphics designer did a wonderful job. i hope he was paid well.


Lol,..nah, does it for the art and love, could get a bit lonely being the Universe and all.
clay_ferguson
1 / 5 (11) Dec 12, 2012
Seems to me like all the 'Quantum Weirdness' like the famous slit experiment, relativistic time dilation and length contraction, as well as quantum entanglement, already suggest that there is a 'computing device' of some sort 'running' the universe. Even the fact that every particle in the universe has precisely the same properties as the others of it's type sort of seems like a simulation. Oh, and the speed of light itself. That speed limit sort of keeps galaxies separate for the most part. For example, the fact that time slows down when large masses are around, is possibly even programmed in (in the simulation that is) because there may actually BE limitations on the computational capacity of "Gods Computer", in terms of what we would call 'memory' and 'CPU speed'. I wrote a charged particle simulator in C once, and what did I have to do when two particles got so close that their attraction started approaching infinite ? Start taking smaller time increments!!! It worked!
Royale
1 / 5 (3) Dec 12, 2012
from natello's article:
"He argues that a close look at the notion of the cosmos as a computer reveals important problems. Wharton examines several. For example, a computation involves three steps. First, the physical world has to be mapped onto some mathematical state. Next, this state mathematically evolves into a new state. And finally, the new state is mapped back onto the physical world.

In quantum mechanics, this can only happen if this final step is probabilistic. As Wharton puts it: "Not even the universe knows which particular outcome will occur.""

I disagree. What Schrodinger found was that states happen after we observe them. If this was a simulation the computer could know well ahead of time what state it's going to 'show' the observer. And just because something seems random to us does not mean it is. I bet 256^1024-bit encryption would look pretty damn random to us, no?
KBK
1 / 5 (8) Dec 13, 2012
'The Edge Of Time"

By David Grinell, which I believe was a Donald A Wollheim' (DAW) pseudonym.

Instead of simulating, they made a confined version of a real universe,and worked from that.

1958, Library of congress, 58-12513.

It takes all the esoteric aspects and the scientific aspects and lays them out beautifully, into a perfectly dovetailed and connected system.

Which is what you'd expect from the greatest sci-fi editor of all time.
Quarky1
not rated yet Dec 13, 2012
I have a hard time believing that we, being working "parts" within the theoretical simulation, would even be able to conceive the fact that we dont really exist... wouldnt most programmers build fail-safes into us in order to keep our awarenes of such a fact from corrupting whatever data they were after? In such a situation would there really be any meaningful difference between simulation and reality from our perspective? Super Mario pontificating his own existence and whether MarioLand exists beyond the framework of the NES, and utilizing free will?Just a thought....
Quarky1
not rated yet Dec 13, 2012
'The Edge Of Time"

By David Grinell, which I believe was a Donald A Wollheim' (DAW) pseudonym.

Instead of simulating, they made a confined version of a real universe,and worked from that.

1958, Library of congress, 58-12513.

It takes all the esoteric aspects and the scientific aspects and lays them out beautifully, into a perfectly dovetailed and connected system.

Which is what you'd expect from the greatest sci-fi editor of all time.


There is a great short story by Philip K. Dick written in the late fifties or early sixties that touches on that concept... about a contest each year where folks design or grow their own little planets/galaxies/universes (I forget which), then when they're done they smash them for fun. Ends with their own universe meeting the same fate... worlds within worlds within worlds... very thought provoking I thought
Royale
1 / 5 (1) Dec 13, 2012
'The Circular Ruins' by Jorge Luis Borges delved into too. In this case subtitute dream with simulation.
http://www.acsu.b...uins.htm
(Everything is a Dream within a Dream)

And Quarky, I really like your idea about the fail-safes. However, I would counter with maybe there were fail-safes put in place,(Awe in 'God'\ Majesty?) that worked for millennia, until the program birthed society which put more 'minds' together than they initially planned for. These 'minds' were able to look past Omnipotence, but they don't want to or can't stop the simulation.
Perhaps because their 'machines' move so much quicker than they do just like us.
Imagine us running a simulation of our solar system, on a super computer. Add way more variables than we can do now. Eventually we'll be able to run through 100,000 years with people variables in what happens to us as less than a second.
Maybe as far as the sim designers are concerned our universe has only been running for 20s.
unknownorgin
1 / 5 (9) Dec 14, 2012
The problem with this and all other inteligent design ideas is that to work it requires an infinite set, I other words there has to be a creator that made the creator ect. ect to infinity because any other proccess invalidates the idea because it requires exsistance from nothing but space and time.
Spacefck
3 / 5 (2) Dec 15, 2012
The author of this article is clearly an Agent. Don't listen to a word of it.

Neo...I believe.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
not rated yet Dec 15, 2012
Finally, I was tired of waiting for this obvious test (if not obvious realization of it).

Meanwhile, eternal inflation at the simplest tree-level physics exclude similar Boltzmann Brains for physical reasons. They don't get the upper hand in an inflationary physics.

@Royale: Reality is build into and tested by all mechanics, as constrained reaction on constrained action. (Not everything goes, and generic outcomes are robust features.)

Here action-reaction of classical mechanics or observation-observables of quantum mechanics. See Deutsch's "The fabric of reality".

@cantdrive: No, it's just the creationists. Read the article again, no religious magic involved.

@Infinion: The test is well defined. It isn't depending on "complete ... understanding", nor can it be "misinterpret".

@Eikka: You are misunderstanding physics. The simplest theory is picked in a competition; your alternate theory isn't the simplest.
Eikka
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 16, 2012
@Eikka: You are misunderstanding physics. The simplest theory is picked in a competition; your alternate theory isn't the simplest.


That's not how it goes. Occam's razor says that out of two equally plausible theories, the one that assumes the least is probably the correct one. It means that if you have no reason to assume one way or the other, the simpler explaination is chosen.

But we have a reason to assume otherwise: If we are a simulation, then what value would the simulation be if we knew we are? Like I said, it would be like telling a patient in a drug trial that they're on placebo. It would mess up with the results.

The question is why would they run such a simulation in the first place? The answer is that they want to answer some questions about their own past, which is a past where they did not discover that they were in a simulation, so neither can we if the simulation is to run accurately.

Or maybe, as soon as we discover it, they end the experiment.
Alphonso
not rated yet Dec 16, 2012
Would a projection into our space-time from a hyperdimensional "real" universe on the boundary of a black hole appear the same in most respects as a "computer simulation"?
muggins
not rated yet Dec 16, 2012
Well computer simulation or not, cogito ergo sum.
FMM
1 / 5 (2) Dec 17, 2012
If we are in a simulated universe, why? Is it a research project or is it to provide a way we can experience true living rather than put up with paradise?
Royale
1 / 5 (2) Dec 18, 2012
http://www.smbc-c...24#comic

Excellent simulated universe comic.
armaguardkelowna
not rated yet Dec 19, 2012
At what point does a growing simulation actually become reality? About the same time as computers develop? human like mental health issues
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (7) Dec 19, 2012
BTW The behavior of vacuum foam is similar to numeric algorithms involving adaptive mesh in many extents. The finite elements methods are computing the values in lattice/grids, which are adjusted dynamically to the gradients of energy density, as it eliminates the rounding and approximation errors. Well, in AWT the vacuum is forming sorta foam which gets more dense, when the energy density increases. We can observe similar effect with dark matter structures at the cosmic scale. The above study considers, the simulated Universe should manifest itself with rectangular grid, but I think, the random grid based of Voronoi tessellation would be way more effective. That is to say, I don't believe, we are living in simulation, but the principles in which gradient driven reality is simulated at computers apparently converge.
Q-Star
1.4 / 5 (9) Dec 19, 2012
Blah, blah, blah


Zephyr, I couldn't have said it better. Wave on.
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (7) Dec 19, 2012
This is how the dark matter recurses in some galaxies. This is how the adaptive grid is used in simulations.