Are we living in a comuter simulation?
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02-02-2011, 01:52 PM
Lightbulb Are we living in a comuter simulation?
I was just thinking about this:


This universe contains an enormous amount of starts, therefore planets. Any given planet has only a slight poteintial to become inhabited by any intelligent life form. Any given intelligent life form has only a slight chance of becoming capeable of creating a complex simulation of a universe. But if only two such life forms develop into a universe creating life form ( I think this number should be much more than 2 in reality), the "syntetic" universes would outnumber "real" ones two to one. So the chance of living in a simulation is greater than living in "reality".

The argument is only valid, if it is possible to create such a simulation. I think it is. If we could feed the basic constants of our universe (mass of particles, characteristics of forces) and the 'rules' it works by, into computer with enough capactity, we could run our own universe in cyber space. Of course this requires a complete understanding of how this universe works, and a veryveryvery mighty processor. I hope it is just a matter of time.

Another point is that such a creator has every tool to become a god. He could alter the laws of physics in his own universe. I'm not advocating any existing religion here of course.

What do you think of this? Can we live in 'Matrix'? Will it have any impact on our lives if it somehow becomes prooved?

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02-02-2011, 02:19 PM
 
RE: Are we living in a comuter simulation?
I've heard of this theory. The basic constituent elements of the universe (elementary particles, or even strings, if they do indeed exist) act as pixels.

Also, in a video game (a primitive form of what this would be), the environment around you does not exist until you observe it, and so living in a computer simulation could possibly imply that the space directly behind you isn't there until you turn around and observe it, or another observer is present. The universe in some ways does not exist outside of the observer already, with space and time being relevant.

But, even if we did, what difference does it make? And who is to say that our creators aren't living in a computer simulation of their own, and so on and so forth? It is like a deistic god. It doesn't interfere with natural science or everything we know, but it can never be known to be true unless the deistic god is encountered. If the "simulation" is identical to reality, than unless we somehow demonstrably escape the simulation, whether or not it exists is irrelevant.

So far, the laws of physics have remained invariable throughout the history of the universe, so it is unlikely that if we do have "creators" they give half a shit about us (again, the deistic god whose existence doesn't really matter either way). Certainly, if we were proven to live in a simulation, our insignificance would become even more profound, and it would completely destroy any tangible structure upon which the notion of reality resided. And then again one runs into the challenge as to whether our simulators are merely a simulation. Believing in an afterlife helps comfort the fear of death, and in similar ways (don't take my analogy too literally), believing in a rational, scientifically quantifiable, and non-computer simulation or some other illusion-like universe helps comfort the fear of the strangeness of existence (I can't really find words to describe it).

When you get down to it, existence is just fucking weird. Thinking about things like this just makes you hit that wall where the human brain is not capable of producing a visual or logical structure that can describe what you are trying to think of. It is like comprehending nothing, whether it be after your death, or before the Big Bang.
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02-02-2011, 04:03 PM
 
RE: Are we living in a comuter simulation?
Amusing thread title typo aside.

I would adore that. I always want to meet concepts so far outside what i can understand. that's why i'm a scientist. but science tends to ruin the mystery by figuring things out Tongue

so yes the idea of us as a simulation is great, because reality outside the simulation literally posits a situation that is beyond the power of anyone within the simulation to understand. even if we earnestly try to do so.

A bit like religion claims to do. except where religion falls apart as falsehood before determined inquiriy the world outside our simulation should produce undeniable evidence of its factualness, yet be beyond our understanding by definition. ie: theold saw about a simulation needing to be a more complicated system than the one it is simulating.
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02-02-2011, 06:31 PM
RE: Are we living in a comuter simulation?
I once had a dream where I was killed and sort of came to sat in a special chair in a world vastly different and so much more real than the real world. From what I could tell I was running simulations where I'd sit in the chair for a week or so and live out an entire life time in a universe and species of my choosing.

In this dream too God was real. He was my PC xD

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02-02-2011, 08:18 PM
 
RE: Are we living in a comuter simulation?
The idea is a theoretical possibility but we would never be able to know whether it was so or not since to be able to discern the real world from the synthetic one you would need more then just the knowledge of how thinks work inside the synthetic world, you would need an outside perspective.

As long as we would only get to know the synthetic universe (from birth to death) there would be no way to realize whether we were in one or not.

As to whether we are living in one, i don't think so. The reason being Occam's razor = when you have two competing hypothesis it is better to select the hypothesis that makes the fewest new assumptions. The only assumption made with the idea that we are not living in a synthetic universe is that life arose and evolved into intelligent beings (us). The assumption needed for the synthetic universe idea is that life arose and evolved into intelligent life which then created a synthetic world.
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03-02-2011, 05:38 AM (This post was last modified: 03-02-2011 06:06 AM by Observer.)
RE: Are we living in a comuter simulation?
I'd like to call such ideas "Philosophical toys" (this is meant as a positive term). Wink
They're fun to play with, they keep your mind of the daily boring stuff, and they are also fun to share with friends. But for this moment they don't have much practical use and they collide with much of the naturalistic world-view I have as an agnostic atheist. Perhaps a few 1000 years later, your toy can have value, in a sense a 3000 year old Mayan doll has a new purpose today. The value lies in the fact that it is often good to "jog your mind".
I have some of my own wish I will post later just for fun.

I feel your idea COULD be possible but much in the same way an all controlling god is possible. It is just very unlikely. Think about the MASSIVE amount of energy it would take to create a processing unit so big it could run all the processes required to simulate all situations simultaneously. Big Grin

Observer

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Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
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03-02-2011, 03:39 PM
 
RE: Are we living in a comuter simulation?
(03-02-2011 05:38 AM)The_observer Wrote:  I feel your idea COULD be possible but much in the same way an all controlling god is possible. It is just very unlikely. Think about the MASSIVE amount of energy it would take to create a processing unit so big it could run all the processes required to simulate all situations simultaneously. Big Grin

But, just as in a video game where only the part of the map you are currently exploring is loaded, one would only have to simulate the parts of this universe being observed, and would only have to simulate the complexities at both the macro and micro scale when observers in that universe (possibly just us humans) decide to explore at that level of detail. To insure the illusion, all one has to deal with are Newtonian mechanics and other simpler physics that occur at everyday levels.

Besides, at the rate of increase in the computing powers of machines, I don't see this to be so far off. The main issue would be creating a photo-realistic environment, but imagine this-

We compare simulations that WE make to the our existence and more specifically, our eyes's perception of our existence as the basis for photorealism. Who is to say that this reality itself cannot be easily created from another universe where the laws of physics are different, and the standard for photo realism is different because of the differing anatomy of our creators?

Also, a species that is advanced enough to create a computer simulation so sophisticated will undoubtedly have moved on beyond our current level of civilization and would be a Class 1 or Class 2 civilization, so energy requirements shouldn't be an issue.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kardashev_scale
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03-02-2011, 05:08 PM
RE: Are we living in a comuter simulation?
(02-02-2011 01:52 PM)TheSelfishGene Wrote:  Any given planet has only a slight poteintial to become inhabited by any intelligent life form. Any given intelligent life form has only a slight chance of becoming capeable of creating a complex simulation of a universe. But if only two such life forms develop into a universe creating life form

Unjustified leap here.

Beings capable of creating a simulation of a universe does not equal beings capable of creating a universe.

It's an important distinction, because a simulation of a universe is not the same thing as an actual universe. In a simulation, there must be some kind of situation where the universe does not act as if it is real.

Until we find such a situation, the only reasonable conclusion we can draw is "no". To the best of our knowledge, the universe behaves in all situations exactly as though it is not a simulation.

Quote:The argument is only valid, if it is possible to create such a simulation. I think it is. If we could feed the basic constants of our universe (mass of particles, characteristics of forces) and the 'rules' it works by, into computer with enough capactity, we could run our own universe in cyber space.

No, we couldn't. We could run either a simplified version of our universe or an incomplete version of our universe in cyberspace. It would not be identical. It is impossible for any simulation of the universe we create to actually be identical to the universe. If it were, it wouldn't be a simulation. It would actually be a universe.

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04-02-2011, 12:32 AM
RE: Are we living in a comuter simulation?
Yes we are living in a computer simulation, so don't one push your delete button or we'll all die.

When I find myself in times of trouble, Richard Dawkins comes to me, speaking words of reason, now I see, now I see.
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04-02-2011, 07:11 AM
RE: Are we living in a comuter simulation?
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"Sometimes it is better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness."
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