If you have ever watched movies like Matrix or 13th floor, both 1999 (Yes, that’s right, almost 20 years ago!), then you probably understand the concept of simulated universes: very powerful computers running a timed version of the universe that we see as real. There also are humans who have pseudo-consciousness, who follow their alien lives to each other in simultaneous and independent events with no idea that they are in a simulation.
The philosopher and mathematician Nick Bostron suggested in 2003 that the universe could be a simulation. This produced many alien quantum supercomputers, physicists, mathematicians and astrophysicists who have been looking for evidence of this hypothesis.
Infinite theories, principles and assumptions surfaced, but not all of them gained the authenticity tag. Have a look at the best known evidences and facts and the truth behind simulation theory.
1 HOW DID IT BEGIN
The beginning of all this philosophical speculation about simulation theory at the beginning of this century was Oxford University philosopher and mathematician Nick Bostrom. He created the concept of an independent substrate. It meant that consciousness and intelligence could be manifested through a variety of media, including a sentient supercomputer which would contain all the cosmic simulation. In other words, we would all be parts of a version of a role-playing cosmic as a World of Warcraft.
2 WHAT DID THE SIMULATION REVEAL
The simulation summarized the current five main evidences: The Anthropic Principle and the Fermi Paradox, Quantum Mechanics and Simulation Modelling, Pixelated Universe, Matrix Faults, Cosmic Rays and the Simulation Grid. This may seem a delusional discussion at first glance, but involves logic and numbers.
3 WHAT INSPIRED THE SIMULATION
The inspiration of course is the cinematic imagery of the Gnostic films. It is a discussion that can result in profound spiritual and religious consequences in our lives.
4 SPECULATIONS OF THE PAST
For millennia, philosophers like Plato have assumed that life as we know it may not be real. The advent of the computer age gave this idea got a boost. It gained popularity especially when the pop culture began to look into the issue coming to cinematic imagery in films like Inception, Dark City, 13 Floor and the Matrix trilogy by Wachowski.
5 SIMULATION REALITY OF UNIVERSE
The SIMULATION developed the argument of universe as a finite computational simulation from research at the University Of Bonn in Germany. A team of scientists tried to replace the idea of space-time by finding a cosmic signature: tiny cubic spaces similar to grids – pixels.
6 RICHARD TERILLE & HIS ARGUMENT
Richard Terrile was a researcher in NASA at the same time when simulation developed major arguments. He, on the basis of so-called Moore’s Law (that explains that computers double their capacity every two years), took seriously and tried to find on the possibility that the Universe might be some kind of trick of a computer cosmic. The main evidence is that we also try to repeat this through meta-simulations like games and virtual worlds as Second Life.
7 PUBLICATIONS OF THE HYPOTHESIS
In recent years, this hypothesis has been taken seriously in magazines such as New Scientist and several personal blogs of physicists, philosophers and scientists. What makes it common to all of them is the attempt to gather evidence to solve mysteries and paradoxes from the analogy with the operation of a digital computer.
It may be in the world of quantum mechanics or in our day-to-day empirical observations: pixelated reality, paradoxes of quantum waves, faults in the continuum of reality (ghosts, and Supernatural phenomena), anthropic principle, Fermi paradox etc.
8 EVIDENCE OF THE HYPOTHESIS
The simulation met five key evidences which strengthened the hypothesis that the universe could be a computer simulation. It could have been the evidence that seems to bring back the millennial Gnostic mythologies around the suspicion of the illusion of reality.
9 IMPLICATIONS OF TAKING THE EVIDENCES
a) The Anthropic Principle and the Fermi Paradox
It is surprising that there are human beings. For life to begin on this planet it was necessary for all factors to result in a happy coincidence: the perfect distance from the Sun, the atmosphere with the correct composition, and the force of gravity to the exact extent.
There may be many other planets with the above conditions, but the happiness of the emergence of life on Earth becomes even more striking by expanding the perspective beyond our planet. If some cosmic factor like dark energy were a little stronger, life would not exist.
Hence the question of the anthropic principle:
Why did these conditions converge so perfectly for us? The logical explanation would be that conditions were deliberately created with the intention of giving us life. Each factor would have been conveniently created in some vast experiment. The factors were only programmed in the Universe and the simulation started.
This principle would be linked to the so-called Fermi Paradox (the first physicist who produced controlled nuclear reaction) that could be summed up in a simple question posed by the physicist in the 1960s: “Where is everyone?” – There would be a contradiction between our growing Knowledge of the Universe and the absence of contact with any form of life existing elsewhere in the cosmos.
With billions of other galaxies out there, many of them billions of years older than ours, at least one could not have mastered space travel?
One answer would be the possibility of the existence of multiverses – other forms of life. But in other parallel universes each ignores the other. An argument that reinforces the simulation hypothesis – our universe would be another simulation within other simulations. All isolated in his virtual prison.
b) Quantum Mechanics and Simulation Modelling
An argument against the simulation hypothesis is that a computer with such processing and rendering capability would be impossible. Apart from the argument that current computers would certainly have been unthinkable for 100 years, there is a more interesting solution confirmed by quantum mechanics itself – the computer simulates only what it needs. This is something that really happens in today’s computer games.
It would not be necessary for this supercomputer to model all reality to a level where the simulation was indistinguishable from reality. Only the observed elements need to be modelled at a resolution level that matches the limitations of our observation or our measuring instruments.
A program could do this dynamically by generating incremental resolutions of various components as needed, such as when we put an object in a microscope. Perhaps the cosmic simulation is much smaller than we imagine.
This would clarify some paradoxes of quantum mechanics such as why the quantum state is digital, quite different from the continuous and analogue space-time design, or the so-called “observer effect” and the notion of “quantum entanglement.”
In the paradox of the observer, a subatomic particle is a wave of probability where several realities or alternatives co-exist simultaneously. Only when we see the particle it decays, collapsing the wave function by establishing the object properties.
In 2008, the Institute of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) in Vienna determined to a certainty of 80 orders of magnitude that the objective reality would not exist by itself. It did so only to exist when consciously observed.
c) The pixelated universe
If the simulation is now being performed by a quantum computer, the universe would not be continuous and endowed with an infinite resolution: it would be digital and fundamentally composed of information.
In 2008, the GEO 600, a gravitational wave detector in Hannover (Germany), captured an anomalous signal suggesting that space-time is pixelated. This is exactly what would be expected of a holographic universe where the 3D reality is actually a coded information projection on dimensional surface on the border of the universe (New Scientist, January 2009).
We live in a real world. We think that there are no pixels here and that we can move continuously from one point to another. We are not digitized beings. We think we are analogous beings who live in a fluid world without the pixilation of a computer screen.
Quantum mechanics seems to prove the contrary in the high resolution of the world of subatomic particle. It is as if we were moving so fast in a modern computer game that we overcame the graphics card’s ability to render scenarios. We are confronted with paradoxes, pixelated waves, yes / no binary quantum bits.
For this evidence, the resolution capability of any program would be analogous to the spatial resolution of our simulated reality, only on a different level.
d) Matrix Failures
Even advanced simulations may have flaws, right? In the classic trilogy Matrix by Wachowski is an example of déjà vu (the feeling of having experienced the present situation) as a failure in simulation: when something seems inexplicably familiar, the simulation could be jumping, like a scratched CD. Matrix suggests that these faults may also be represented by insomnia and mental disorders such as schizophrenia.
For this theory, supernatural elements like ghosts or miracles could also be flaws. People would actually witness these phenomena due to errors in the simulation code.
But even for a cosmic supercomputer, the memory, or the speed of modelling of reality and resolution could be crucial. Not to mention the possibility of being able to discover the simulated nature of the universe, since we entered the era of meta-simulation with games and the various simulated worlds offered online on the Internet.
Oblivion and death would be crucial for the simulation. It would allow the re-initialization of every character of the simulation. In addition, it would guarantee space for new memories – religions call this “reincarnation.”
But just like computers where files are never completely deleted from the hard drive, for a while the past memories can come back, creating Deja vu. In life, sleep would fulfill this role: that of forgetfulness. And insomnia would be the character struggle of the simulation against this recurring malaise.
Besides Matrix, Gnostics movies like Dark City explored this theme in a simulated world created by alien demiurges. During sleep the human simulation is repaired and identities are exchanged, keeping all in a perpetual state of oblivion. This continues until the protagonist awakens in the middle of one of these exchanges and discovers a sinister reality.
e) Cosmic Rays and the Simulation Grid
If we are living in a simulator, we would expect to find evidence of the existence of edges of the observable universe. At least that’s what Silas Beane team at the University of Bonn seek to find in the calculations published in an article published on arXiv.org – Cornell University Library – “Constraints on the Universe as a Numerical Simulation “.
Cosmic particles fly through the Universe, lose energy, change direction, and spread through a spectrum of energy values. There is a known limit to the amount of energy these particles have, but Beane and his team have calculated that this drop in the energy spectrum is consistent with the idea of a kind of boundary of the Universe. The investigation of the dispersion of these particles could reveal not only the boundaries of the simulation but also the structure of grid or trellis simulation.
10 HOW THE SIMULATION HYPOTHESIS AFFECTS OUR LIVES
a) Is God a programmer? – Is God a programmer leaning over a keyboard? Has the Divine Programmer codified within us the desire to worship him, a fundamental part of religions? Certainly this digitization of God is close to the notion of Demiurge of Gnosticism. On the one hand we want to worship it, but on the other it hides the true nature of the religious phenomenon: forgetting the simulation that imprisons us.
b) What is outside the simulation? – Another point of contact with Gnosticism. For millennia the Gnostics reject this world as false because it is an imperfect copy of the “Pleroma”, the Fullness that would exist outside the boundaries of this Cosmos. However, the simulation hypothesis forgets the vital element of Gnostic human conception. If on the one hand we have something that encodes and imprisons us, while on the other we have the “Spark of Light”, spiritual impulse would hear the call outside the simulation.
c) Reinterpretation of the spiritual, religious and psychic phenomena – If we accept the hypothesis of simulation, spiritual and religious phenomena as the belief in a Divine God as a kindly creator, and spiritual phenomena as meta-psychic or ethereal, we need to reconsider. The symptoms of faults in the Matrix could be traces of deleted memories following us, or ghosts, archetypes, or in psychoanalysis, traumas.
In Parapsychology, the ghosts could be the projections of certain environments saturated with psychic energy. On being given certain conditions, they materialize in an ephemeral way.
The fact is that esoteric religions and beliefs could be rational and just coded in the simulation to promote forgetting, making the simulation less heavy in terms of information.
d) Do not chase anything material – This may seem corny, but do not be so obsessed with money and wealth. In the first place, they are not even material things. You’re living in a simulation as unreal as that old 8-bit computer game. The obsession with making money in this simulation would be as foolish as collecting gold coins in any computer role-playing game.