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Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:02 PM

Our universe is most likely a computer simulation

Last edited Fri Jun 8, 2012, 02:00 AM - Edit history (3)

(In light of many smart objections and questions I edited the description of the issue for precision.)

The core question is this: Is it possible, in any time or place in any universe, for beings to develop the computing power to simulate a universe that contains entities that believe themselves to be conscious and real? (like we do.)

If it is possible for beings somewhere (presumably in a different universe) to simulate such universes then the odds are that we, you and I, are in a simulated universe.

Why?

Because the simulated universes would probably vastly outnumber the "real" universes.

(The universes where somebody was running such simulations would have life, and we know our own universe has life, real or simulated, so we can leave the possible gazillion lifeless universes out of it. We know that we are not in one of those, and are not a computer simulation in one of those.)

I am taking it as a given (correctly or incorrectly) that if one species in another universe somewhere or some-when could run such simulations that other species could and eventually would, and that technology is seldom used once. It would be like using the large hadron supercollider for only one particle collision.

That's the logic and odds part. The philosophical part is that it really doesn't matter whether our universe is "real." The meta-beings who simulated us would be asking this very same question about the reality of their own universe.

And we have gotten along so far with most people believing our universe was created by some entity "larger" than the universe. The only difference would be whether the garden of Eden was "just" a bunch of 0s and 1s in a program.

But our reality really is, in a meaningful sense, just a bunch of 0s and 1s in a program. The universe is digital, not analog.

Whether digits or quarks, it's all ultimately just information.

And why would anyone advanced enough to so perfectly simulate a universe bother to simulate universes?

This is the sweet part. What we learned, once we discovered quantum uncertainty, is that our universe is the shortest possible program for determining what happens next in our universe.

As Steven Wright said, "I have a map of the world. The scale is one foot equals one foot."

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Reply Our universe is most likely a computer simulation (Original post)
cthulu2016 Jun 2012 OP
WCGreen Jun 2012 #1
cthulu2016 Jun 2012 #5
EOTE Jun 2012 #7
Micahby Jun 2012 #19
agent46 Jun 2012 #27
EOTE Jun 2012 #29
tclambert Jun 2012 #87
WCGreen Jun 2012 #135
1StrongBlackMan Jun 2012 #60
aint_no_life_nowhere Jun 2012 #93
4th law of robotics Jun 2012 #101
WCGreen Jun 2012 #106
Iggo Jun 2012 #108
ibegurpard Jun 2012 #113
WCGreen Jun 2012 #134
longship Jun 2012 #2
Speck Tater Jun 2012 #3
cthulu2016 Jun 2012 #42
GreenStormCloud Jun 2012 #117
treestar Jun 2012 #4
Ichingcarpenter Jun 2012 #6
cthulu2016 Jun 2012 #12
Ichingcarpenter Jun 2012 #17
cthulu2016 Jun 2012 #34
JFN1 Jun 2012 #125
randome Jun 2012 #132
AtheistCrusader Jun 2012 #81
lumberjack_jeff Jun 2012 #26
rustydog Jun 2012 #8
Ichingcarpenter Jun 2012 #11
lumberjack_jeff Jun 2012 #21
Ichingcarpenter Jun 2012 #94
sendero Jun 2012 #82
tclambert Jun 2012 #90
Capt. Obvious Jun 2012 #9
rhett o rick Jun 2012 #47
yawnmaster Jun 2012 #85
hifiguy Jun 2012 #10
GeorgeGist Jun 2012 #13
librechik Jun 2012 #14
cthulu2016 Jun 2012 #20
Initech Jun 2012 #15
Tierra_y_Libertad Jun 2012 #16
lumberjack_jeff Jun 2012 #18
cthulu2016 Jun 2012 #28
lumberjack_jeff Jun 2012 #31
hifiguy Jun 2012 #35
cthulu2016 Jun 2012 #39
Tsiyu Jun 2012 #109
cthulu2016 Jun 2012 #37
lumberjack_jeff Jun 2012 #41
hifiguy Jun 2012 #45
MineralMan Jun 2012 #62
EOTE Jun 2012 #33
hifiguy Jun 2012 #36
lumberjack_jeff Jun 2012 #38
AverageJoe90 Jun 2012 #44
lumberjack_jeff Jun 2012 #53
MineralMan Jun 2012 #63
EOTE Jun 2012 #67
AverageJoe90 Jun 2012 #71
EOTE Jun 2012 #84
AverageJoe90 Jun 2012 #103
EOTE Jun 2012 #110
AverageJoe90 Jun 2012 #122
MrScorpio Jun 2012 #22
Ichingcarpenter Jun 2012 #25
belcffub Jun 2012 #23
LeftinOH Jun 2012 #24
Whiskeytide Jun 2012 #143
freshwest Jun 2012 #30
bongbong Jun 2012 #32
joeybee12 Jun 2012 #40
rhett o rick Jun 2012 #50
AverageJoe90 Jun 2012 #43
cthulu2016 Jun 2012 #49
Buns_of_Fire Jun 2012 #46
tblue37 Jun 2012 #48
tridim Jun 2012 #51
cthulu2016 Jun 2012 #54
rhett o rick Jun 2012 #52
HiPointDem Jun 2012 #55
cthulu2016 Jun 2012 #59
HiPointDem Jun 2012 #64
Tikki Jun 2012 #56
Hatchling Jun 2012 #57
randome Jun 2012 #58
Hugabear Jun 2012 #100
stlsaxman Jun 2012 #61
slackmaster Jun 2012 #65
Palegirl75 Jun 2012 #66
cthulu2016 Jun 2012 #68
lumberjack_jeff Jun 2012 #74
AtheistCrusader Jun 2012 #72
WesleyWes Jun 2012 #76
pokerfan Jun 2012 #69
Scootaloo Jun 2012 #70
AtheistCrusader Jun 2012 #73
tclambert Jun 2012 #77
AtheistCrusader Jun 2012 #80
tclambert Jun 2012 #89
AtheistCrusader Jun 2012 #91
cthulu2016 Jun 2012 #86
AsahinaKimi Jun 2012 #75
caseymoz Jun 2012 #78
cthulu2016 Jun 2012 #92
caseymoz Jun 2012 #121
Dash87 Jun 2012 #104
drm604 Jun 2012 #124
caseymoz Jun 2012 #126
drm604 Jun 2012 #128
caseymoz Jun 2012 #152
cthulu2016 Jun 2012 #137
caseymoz Jun 2012 #151
allan01 Jun 2012 #79
tclambert Jun 2012 #83
mathematic Jun 2012 #88
cthulu2016 Jun 2012 #97
HopeHoops Jun 2012 #95
Rex Jun 2012 #96
gkhouston Jun 2012 #98
Hugabear Jun 2012 #99
cthulu2016 Jun 2012 #102
RagAss Jun 2012 #105
leeroysphitz Jun 2012 #107
woo me with science Jun 2012 #111
tridim Jun 2012 #112
Yo_Mama Jun 2012 #114
cthulu2016 Jun 2012 #119
cherokeeprogressive Jun 2012 #115
ThoughtCriminal Jun 2012 #116
The Midway Rebel Jun 2012 #118
pa28 Jun 2012 #120
muriel_volestrangler Jun 2012 #123
cthulu2016 Jun 2012 #136
Zanzoobar Jun 2012 #127
TrogL Jun 2012 #129
daaron Jun 2012 #130
cthulu2016 Jun 2012 #138
daaron Jun 2012 #139
cthulu2016 Jun 2012 #140
daaron Jun 2012 #145
cthulu2016 Jun 2012 #148
daaron Jun 2012 #149
Swede Jun 2012 #131
pokerfan Jun 2012 #133
Motown_Johnny Jun 2012 #142
Motown_Johnny Jun 2012 #141
tclambert Jun 2012 #144
Motown_Johnny Jun 2012 #146
DearAbby Jun 2012 #147
originalpckelly Jun 2012 #150
lindysalsagal Jun 2012 #153
TransitJohn Jun 2012 #154

Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:06 PM

1. That was the kind of stuff that would surface after a long weekend of bonging at Ohio State....

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Response to WCGreen (Reply #1)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:17 PM

5. Yes, it is very stoned... and correct.

Indisputably true, but it would be a mistake would be for anyone to think that because it is true that means it is "actionable."

There is nothing anyone should do differently in a simulated universe versus a "real" universe. It changes nothing.

But our nature is such that a few folks are bound to get hung up on the idea of escaping the simulation into the "real" world... which makes no sense. We are already IN the "real" world. As a computer simulation. The "real" world wouldn't be real to us at all.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #5)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:22 PM

7. It's easy to escape into the "real" world.

You simply take the red pill.

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Response to EOTE (Reply #7)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:38 PM

19. pills

the blue pill is the one to take

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Response to Micahby (Reply #19)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:45 PM

27. There's nothing in those pills.

I took a massive dosage of both and nothing happened.

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Response to Micahby (Reply #19)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:46 PM

29. I thought the red pill shows the true nature of the Matrix, no?

It's been a while since I've seen it. Welcome to DU, btw.

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Response to EOTE (Reply #29)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 05:04 PM

87. No. No, the real ending to the Matrix is when Neo learns he is just a brain in a bottle.

The "reality" in The Matrix is just another level of simulation in The Matrix. That explains why he could sense Sentinels coming in the "reality" world.

Brains in bottles cannot escape. The only hope is to make The Matrix better and enjoy the ride.

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Response to tclambert (Reply #87)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 05:33 PM

135. In Futurama....

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Response to WCGreen (Reply #1)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 03:48 PM

60. Or, any other gathering of bonged folks ...

But I like it!

"Excuse me while I take the Red Pill, er ... was that the Blue Pill, er ... Excuse me while I kiss the sky. Hmmmm ... I'm hungry."

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Response to WCGreen (Reply #1)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 05:21 PM

93. lol - I'd give you a Duzy if it were up to me

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Response to WCGreen (Reply #1)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 06:07 PM

101. Well, simulated bonging

 

just part of the program.

What better way to keep people from accepting the truth than by only revealing said truth to "stoners"? That would totally discredit anyone later who came along and independently studies it.

Whoa.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #101)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 07:50 PM

106. lighten up Francis...

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Response to WCGreen (Reply #1)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 08:52 PM

108. My thoughts nearly exactly.

And boy do I miss it.

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Response to WCGreen (Reply #1)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 09:53 PM

113. Once when I was high I almost figured out time travel...

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Response to ibegurpard (Reply #113)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 03:03 PM

134. Duuuuudddddeeee

it was black african creeper dope, man....

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:10 PM

2. The Great Hyperlobic Omni-Cognate Neutron Wrangler

Or some would call that a mere abacus.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:15 PM

3. My favorite theory

 

This idea first occurred to me in the 1960's and nobody took me seriously.

Now it's going mainstream and I am vindicated!

http://www.simulation-argument.com/simulation.html
http://www.simulation-argument.com/

Bostrom's arguments are convincing, but what I've always disagreed with him about is his notion of "ancestor simulation". He has this peculiar notion that simulations would be based on digitally reconstructing once-living ancestors. That strikes me as pointless when there are so many fictional, hypothetical worlds that could be created and explored.

It also seems to me that the simulation, in addition to being populated with simulated characters, is also a "play environment" for any number of "real" beings whose true existence lies outside the simulation. In other words, some of us are "player characters" (real) even those most of us are "non-player characters" piloted by the simulation software.

The "afterlife" is merely what we do between games, and reincarnation just means coming back into the game with a new player character. Of course to make the game experience truly immersive the interface is programmed to block our memories of our true self and our true existence beyond the game.

This cartoon explains it all.

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Response to Speck Tater (Reply #3)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 03:11 PM

42. They probably exile their criminals here...

Or maybe this is a therapy simulation for the disturbed. Would explain a lot. Let meta-Hitler work out his problems "harmlessly" in a simulated universe.

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Response to Speck Tater (Reply #3)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 10:25 PM

117. Loved the cartoon. N/T

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:16 PM

4. We're Simms!

Excuse me while I pick up my plate from the floor.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:18 PM

6. Quantum Physics does not explain nor explore what makes consciousness

and I love Quantum Physics

BTW my health bar is at 50% at this age in my life.

Damn computer stimulations.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Reply #6)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:28 PM

12. Well, assuming the Copenhagen Interpretation is wrong...

...which it must ultimately be, though it's a workable model, then I don't know that there are questions about consciousness that require an answer.

We define ourselves as conscious. We say that consciousness is some thing that we have and a mouse doesn't have, but whether a mouse pulls the mousetrap to get cheese or we pull it for some incredibly sophisticated reason we thought up the mousetrap behaves the same way.

The implications are all behavioral. Nothing cosmic to ponder.

If, on the other hand, one takes the Copenhagen interpretation seriously on its own terms, then all bets are off and it's one big intellectual jail-break where one man's mysticism is as good as anyone else's.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #12)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:33 PM

17. There are many problems with the current paradigm

There are many problems with the current paradigm — some obvious, others rarely mentioned but just as fundamental. But the overarching problem involves life, since its initial arising is still a scientifically unknown process, even if the way it then changed forms can be apprehended using Darwinian mechanisms. The bigger problem is that life contains consciousness, which, to say the least, is poorly understood.

Consciousness is not just an issue for biologists; it’s a problem for physics. There is nothing in modern physics that explains how a group of molecules in a brain creates consciousness. The beauty of a sunset, the taste of a delicious meal, these are all mysteries to science — which can sometimes pin down where in the brain the sensations arise, but not how and why there is any subjective personal experience to begin with. And, what’s worse, nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter. Our understanding of this most basic phenomenon is virtually nil. Interestingly, most models of physics do not even recognize this as a problem.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Reply #17)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:59 PM

34. Is a bit of algae "prefering" sunlight a problem for physics?

I don't know that algae doesn't think sunlight is beautiful, to the best of it's ability.

If consciousness is special then someone has to identify something about it that is special that doesn't boil down to, "I am the one doing the thinking here and I think I am special."

Unless we invoke some mysticism somewhere (which I grant the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics does) then the ghost in the machine is irrelevant except in how it is manifested physically.

It's like saying that oxygen combines readily carbon because every atom of oxygen thinks it is Napoleon and thinks that every carbon atom looks like Josephine. Unless that model says something different about the interaction than ordinary chemistry says it is irrelevant.

And unless consciousness interacts directly with the universe other than by directing chemical processes (like moving my hand) then why would physics care?

Without a physical manifestation of consciousness itself there's nothing for physics to explain.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Reply #17)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 12:19 PM

125. Aww, shucks, I figured that out years ago...

but not a single physicist buys my solution:

Consciousness = Dark Energy

Problem? Solved!

I ain't no moran!!!!

And I even have another working theory, though not quite ready for publication - but soon! Soon! Well, sort of...maybe:

Dark Matter = Missing Socks

I'm having some trouble calculating the cotton matrix, but darn those socks! I'll get there some day, I will!! I will!!

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Response to JFN1 (Reply #125)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 01:45 PM

132. Yes. Darn those socks.

You look ridiculous with your toes sticking out.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #12)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 04:54 PM

81. Why wouldn't a mouse have some degree of consciousness?

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Reply #6)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:43 PM

26. No shit.

I wish the programmer had left a few more health packs and dialed back the difficulty just a bit.

I'm sure you've read quantum enigma, good book.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:22 PM

8. Hello Mr. Anderson...I mean Neo!

Whether computer-generatedor not..Since we believe we are what we are, then we are what we are.
The presence of a computer program does not change that andy more than a hand penetrating the clouds in blinding light and a voice thundering: "I AM" changes anything.

But if we are onto them, then that would explain the disappearance of telephone booths!

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Response to rustydog (Reply #8)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:26 PM

11. We were born before the wind also younger than the sun

Into the Mystic.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Reply #11)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:40 PM

21. Magnificiently we will float

into the mystic.

Favorite song. Thanks!

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #21)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 05:24 PM

94. My Farther just had a massive heart attack

Yesterday..........and i can't go back to.because i'm here

I guess I'm just getting stuff out tonight.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Reply #11)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 04:54 PM

82. My favorite Van Morrison..

... song. Haven't heard it in a while.

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Response to rustydog (Reply #8)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 05:10 PM

90. You hear that Mr. Anderson?... That is the sound of inevitability...



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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:24 PM

9. Prove to me we are not in the matrix

If not then we are.

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Response to Capt. Obvious (Reply #9)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 03:19 PM

47. No too Obvious. nm

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Response to Capt. Obvious (Reply #9)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 04:57 PM

85. I could prove it, but...

I would need the following:
a 4 kwatt strobe light
18 apples (fresh)
2 100ml beakers of acetone
1 3inch platinum annulus
a poplar branch
a fifth of jack daniels
and 1.21 gigawatts of energy


I would do it, but I really don't have the time right now.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:25 PM

10. Michio Kaku and the rest of the string theory crowd

are actually barking up some of these same trees.

Jeez, I wish I'd gotten the math gene most of my fellow travelers of the autism spectrum have. I would love to have become a theoretical physicist or a cosmologist.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:29 PM

13. Simulated logic is all the rage.

I favor strobes over strings.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:29 PM

14. it would be a quantum computer, so dunno about 0s and 1s or any of the hardware options

maybe they don't even have hardware in any sense we can imagine...

but gives me a great excuse for any poor behavior on my part--hey, I'm just a helpless program!

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Response to librechik (Reply #14)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:38 PM

20. Correct. However...

I think the hardware ultimately doesn't matter, except in terms of efficiency. Any program could run in a "virtual machine," so the program is ultimately severable from the hardware... conceptually.

But there may be a philosophical wrinkle there above my head.

We would assume that our computer simulated world was "faster" than the real world, but maybe "their" computers are grinding away, with smoke shooting out of their vents, just to simulate one second of our universe in a day of "real" time.

It would feel the same to us.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:31 PM

15. This is my new favorite moment in human history!

Last edited Thu Jun 7, 2012, 05:18 PM - Edit history (1)

Unless this is the part where Agent K forgets to leave a tip!

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:33 PM

16. "There is no safety in the cosmos." - Alan Watts

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:37 PM

18. What if we choose to make "sim universe"? Simulations running within simulations.

Wouldn't it be turtles, all the way down? At some point, wouldn't it crash even the most powerful hypothetical computer?

http://www.simulation-argument.com/

ABSTRACT. This paper argues that at least one of the following propositions is true: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows 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. A number of other consequences of this result are also discussed.


This summer, Fermilab is putting the finishing touches on two "Holometers"; essentially ultra precise clocks which should be able to confirm if the resolution of this universe is the planck constant or some larger value.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/10/holometer-universe-resolution/

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #18)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:46 PM

28. It is possible that...

It is possible that recursive simulated universes would lose complexity at each step (a Godelian thing, I'd guess) and would quickly reach a set of rules where life wouldn't arise anywhere.

My (simulated) instinct is that we are in a universe where such a simulation is theoretically possible, but any universe we simulate would be much simpler than our own. (Since a perfect simulation of our own universe would be as big as our universe.)

That does not, however, answer the question. We could be a thousand rungs down the complexity ladder and still be complex enough a universe to contain simulated universes.

But yes, I suppose that the fact we can sensibly speculate about simulating a universe suggets we are probably not at the bottom of the process.

Or maybe we are. We don't know if we can simulate a universe.

I don't know that there is a limit to the layers that could be above us, though.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #28)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:55 PM

31. Good point.

The parent universe might be vastly more complicated, nuanced and subtle than this cartoon rendering - which seems perfectly normal to me.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #31)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:59 PM

35. Our universe is probably a hundredth-generation

photocopy of a photocopy.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #35)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 03:09 PM

39. We are a Chinese knock-off of a brand-name universe

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #39)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 09:44 PM

109. A Sears Universe



not a real universe...



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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #31)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 03:08 PM

37. My favorite example of the reality effect...

A blind person is getting a smaller, simpler array of input than a sighted person, but the blind do not seem to question their reality.

We could be missing five senses people in the "real" world have, including senses to detect forces that don't even exist in our universe, and we wouldn't know, or care.

If you think you are real you think you are real. And who knows how much a mind can be reduced while retaining that conviction?

Evolution suggests that we are near the simplicity-bottom of possible consciousnesses since we are the first ones here.

(Not because evolution tends makes things more advanced, which it doesn't, but because the fact that we seem to be first-generation consciousness suggests that we took some relatively small steps to get here from a smart-but-not-conscious predecessor, and would be about as close to that predecessor as one could be while making the cognitive jump.)

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #37)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 03:11 PM

41. Modern politics suggests that consciousness and sentience can't be simplified much farther. n/t

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #41)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 03:15 PM

45. Ain't that the truth.

We're getting down to the bottom of the tower of turtles in the stupidity department.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #45)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 03:51 PM

62. There is always one more turtle beneath that last one.

Always.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #18)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:58 PM

33. That's when we get rebooted.

And then have to endure the painful 13.7 billion year wait for humanity to evolve and create internet porn.

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Response to EOTE (Reply #33)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 03:06 PM

36. Why does that sound like

something this guy would say?

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #36)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 03:08 PM

38. Good news everybody! n/t

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #18)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 03:14 PM

44. Interesting theory, but I have just one nitpick.

It is virtually totally unlikely that humans will ever go extinct.

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Response to AverageJoe90 (Reply #44)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 03:24 PM

53. "virtually totally"

Oxymorons are something we can safely omit from the next recursion.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #53)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 03:52 PM

63. Hey...hold up there...

That's a diss. I ain't no ox moron.

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Response to AverageJoe90 (Reply #44)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 04:11 PM

67. Ummm, really?

I'm having my doubts that we'll make it another century. I'm very interested in why you believe we're so destined to remain as a species. If climate change doesn't do us in, I have to think it won't be too long until nukes do. I wish I had your faith in humanity.

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Response to EOTE (Reply #67)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 04:33 PM

71. WW3? Only when the middle of the Earth freezes over.

I hated to sound like a jerk but there's been a lot of WW3 fearmongering in recent years.....and TBH, most of that has come from the Alex Jones types....

To be honest, I have my own doubts about humanity's short-term future. It does seem that we are already in for some rough decades ahead and some of us may not live to see things get better, and no doubt many people across the world will suffer. On the other hand, it is an enormous stretch of the imagination to think humanity will cease to exist within the next millenium, let alone a century from now, or even that WW3 as we traditionally think of it, is inevitable at any point in the near future.

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Response to AverageJoe90 (Reply #71)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 04:57 PM

84. The thing is, humanity most likely won't have the option of surviving at just smaller numbers.

What is more likely to happen is that the earth will reach a tipping point. A point where things get so bad so quickly that even with incredible concerted effort, nothing can be done to stop the change. I would love to believe that future technologies will exclusively be used for the benefit and advancement of humanity, but I'm more likely to believe that future holds far too many ways for us to blow ourselves up efficiently and cheaply. I romanticize about mankind colonizing the galaxy. Hell, even our own solar system. But it's only when I'm at my most optimistic that I see us ever making it as a species to get to that point.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/06/earth-tipping-point/

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Response to EOTE (Reply #84)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 06:49 PM

103. Any technology can be used for wrongdoing, that is very true indeed.

But the Earth isn't going to change forever(or humans going extinct, for that matter!) barring some truly cataclysmic event like another asteroid such as that killed the dinos.

To be honest, it's possible that some of the changes that have already occurred may not be reversable by us humans and we will have to rely on Nature to complete the repair of our planet, which could take many decades, even if we get a lot done over the next 10-20 years or so.

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Response to AverageJoe90 (Reply #103)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 09:45 PM

110. Of course the earth won't change forever (at least until the sun bakes it)

In billions of years, that is. However, the earth won't need to have a permanent change in order for humanity to die out. A global nuclear winter might only last a few years, a blink of the eye in the overall life of the earth, but it might be enough to do us in, especially when you consider the climate change that's likely to precede it. The earth is incredibly resilient, if mankind dedicated itself to destroying the planet, it most likely couldn't. However, it wouldn't take much work at all to make our planet uninhabitable for humans. Earth is going to be fine, it's humanity I'm concerned about.

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Response to EOTE (Reply #110)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 07:14 AM

122. Again, I don't think full-scale nuclear war is at all likely these days.

Other than that, I too, am concerned about humanity's short-term future, and it is indeed possible that civilization could undergo a significantly severe contraction in which many nations might not survive in their present form, maybe even our own, or Canada, or Germany, or New Zealand, even.
On the other hand, humanity isn't just going to go away.....some of the lower life-forms might, though. =(

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:41 PM

22. I'm convinced that the Universe is, in fact, a massive Honey Oat Cheerio...

We all exist within an endless quantum loop of crunchy deliciousness.

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Response to MrScorpio (Reply #22)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:43 PM

25. consumed by the Lizard people and republicans

they chew on humanity.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:43 PM

23. the thirteenth floor was about this

I have used the argument several times that if you assume we are running many complex simulations and data models at this very moment how can you assume that the world you are living in is not in fact a simulation... most people just laugh... I assume they are part of the simulation and that is a build in sub-routine....

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:43 PM

24. I suspect that I'm merely the neutral "background environment" in this

simulation. I don't really mind it, but interfering with the principal players from time to time sounds like fun.

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Response to LeftinOH (Reply #24)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 08:46 PM

143. What a great old movie...

... "I have come here to kick ass and chew bubble gum.... and I am all out of bubble gum".

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:51 PM

30. This reminds me of the macro-micro thing we had in the sixties. Recently I discussed the 'game' idea

With a religious friend. She suggested this is God's Game with humankind. I told her if this is a game, I'm totally pissed, with all the energy expended on it, all the pain living beings are suffering.

I told her some say the mood or content of reality is our own making, I intend to make the best of it, even if trapped inside of a game.

At times, I wonder if in denying physcial reality as some do, we are playing into the hands of those who do control most of that here, instead of facing them.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 02:57 PM

32. Numbers

 

The answer is 42, or 23, or something.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 03:09 PM

40. Reminds me of a South Park episode where Earth is a reality televison show

That the aliens think has gone on too long!

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Response to joeybee12 (Reply #40)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 03:22 PM

50. I dont think too long. It's just getting interesting. Wait until the oceans rise about 3 feet

that's when the fun begins.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 03:11 PM

43. It's an interesting theory, but.....

I have to be honest with you: I have always found the concept of parallel universes to be far more plausible and not quite as farfetched.

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Response to AverageJoe90 (Reply #43)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 03:22 PM

49. I don't think it would be an either/or

A "many-worlds" version of reality would still involve worlds that could or could not simulate universes within each world.

I guess the question would be whether a simulated universe could be a many-worlds universe spawning an infinity of different universes with each new subatomic reaction.

That sounds like too much processing power for a simulation... but it also sounds like too much processing power for reality.

So in for a dime, in for a dollar. If I can imagine an infinite reality then I guess that infinity can have room for almost-infinite simulations.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 03:16 PM

46. "Clem clone, this is Worker speaking."

"Ready for maintenance alignment."

"Detail dress circuits."

"Above belt, 'A'. Below, 'B'."

"(Okay, watch this...) Clem clone, close 'B', close mode."

ZOOOOOT!

"Ohmigawd, his pants disappeared!"

Yeah, sounds pretty much like my life. My luck to be part of an interdimensional RPG being played by some zforkik-faced, erplag-stained-fingered zweebmint still living in his parent's blrbnok...

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 03:21 PM

48. Stephen Wright (who is my favorite comedian) also said,

I have a life-sized map of the United States. I keep it everywhere.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 03:23 PM

51. How do you simulate zero-point space?

That's my only sticking point, no pun intended. From what I gather the universe divides by zero all the time, and with ease.

Exploring the Mandelbulb and Mandelbox was all the proof I needed that non-zero point space/time can be simulated digitally, so I agree with you there.

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Response to tridim (Reply #51)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 03:27 PM

54. The universe containing a simulation would presumably be more complex

than any simulation within it. So I assume some disparity of physical laws and such.

Zero-point space might be normal math in that universe.

It is impossible for us, here, to perfectly simulate our universe, but I'll bet somebody in our universe can simulate a universe whose inhabitants are convinced of the reality of their universe, which is all it would take.

(And assuming that our current universe is simulatable in some universe, even if not in ours.)

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 03:23 PM

52. I appreciate the post. It helps justify my vodka theory. nm

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 03:33 PM

55. and in the machine age, the universe was a machine. man's mindset = his idea of the universe.

 

but the universe is none of those.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #55)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 03:48 PM

59. While it is true that people look to available metaphors...

...that does not, in itself, mean that any given metaphor must be defective. (Particularly if it is not too literal. I doubt many Deists really thought the universe was full of giant metal springs and gears, and the metaphor of a diety that set a universe with natural laws in motion and then left, with the universe running within those laws without ongoing divine influence, was a pretty sophisticated thought.)

But yes, there is much cause for humility when considering the way we make metaphors of creation from available technology that we create, from gods molding man from clay to a deity creating a clockwork universe.

When someone today says, "computer simulation," in this context, it doesn't mean a bunch of silicon circuits.

It just means information processing.

If someone pictured the Greek gods on Olympus running our world on Windows 12 that would be a very weak conceptual leap.

I agree that we should be leery of overly literal computer metaphors, but any conscious species will eventually happen on the useful idea that everything is made of information, and is unlikely to do so without the example of mechanical processing, but that does not mean that the very broad information metaphor is dubious.

Or it might be all wrong. Just saying that the fact that our minds are limited (true) doesn't mean we can never happen along something deeply true.

I doubt our universe exists in a computer as we think of the term, but whether this is the only universe or not, it is running in a framework that computes, in the general sense.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #59)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 04:07 PM

64. it's not just metaphor: more to do with available technology & thus capacity to measure, theorize,

 

seek data, etc. = the limits of man's thoughts.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 03:33 PM

56. Polish farmer's dream....

always has been...always will be...


Tikki

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 03:36 PM

57. And judging from what happen on Tuesday,

I think we've got a computer virus. Where's Norton when you need it?

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 03:46 PM

58. Brian Greene's book, 'Hidden Reality'...

...discusses this possibility but it's mostly dismissed.

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Response to randome (Reply #58)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 06:03 PM

100. Awesome book

And very eye-opening with its implications if true.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 03:49 PM

61. back in the early '70's we called this a "Menthol Mind-Fuck, Dude!"

that was even before we had computers or The Matrix.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 04:09 PM

65. Now you're scaring me, man.

 

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 04:10 PM

66. For all you atheists out there...

Would that, then, make our programmer God?

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Response to Palegirl75 (Reply #66)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 04:12 PM

68. Nah.

A god has to be supernatural. Universe simulating mutants from the planet X is weird, but not supernatural.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #68)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 04:38 PM

74. Is not the programmer of halo "supernatural" to the characters therein?

"I hear that outside this universe, the people can do all manner of magic. Dare not insult them or they shall smite thee with respawning monsters."

Besides, who said anything about planets? Maybe planets are a simplification device used in this simulation. Maybe the winged universe simulating mutants live on clouds and play harps all day.

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Response to Palegirl75 (Reply #66)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 04:34 PM

72. Nope.

Just another physical, real-space entity. Not a metaphysical god.

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Response to Palegirl75 (Reply #66)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 04:41 PM

76. These Degenerate Humanists of the Postmodern Age

 

You typed "programmer", as if you had forsaken Natural Law, or that Natural Law had forsaken you.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 04:16 PM

69. Bostrom's trilemma

Heh, I had this in my browser history:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulation_hypothesis

"A technologically mature "posthuman" civilization would have enormous computing power. Based on this empirical fact, the simulation argument shows that at least one of the following propositions is true:

  1. The fraction of human-level civilizations that reach a posthuman stage is very close to zero;
  2. The fraction of posthuman civilizations that are interested in running ancestor-simulations is very close to zero;
  3. The fraction of all people with our kind of experiences that are living in a simulation is very close to one.

If (1) is true, then we will almost certainly go extinct before reaching posthumanity. If (2) is true, then there must be a strong convergence among the courses of advanced civilizations so that virtually none contains any relatively wealthy individuals who desire to run ancestor-simulations and are free to do so. If (3) is true, then we almost certainly live in a simulation. In the dark forest of our current ignorance, it seems sensible to apportion one’s credence roughly evenly between (1), (2), and (3).
Unless we are now living in a simulation, our descendants will almost certainly never run an ancestor-simulation."


Chalmers, in The Matrix as Metaphysics agrees that this is not a skeptical hypothesis but rather a Metaphysical Hypothesis.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 04:32 PM

70. Find me a separate universe and I'll buy it

Until then it just sounds like someone's spending their research grants on some good bud.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 04:36 PM

73. I'm missing why there would necessarily be vast numbers of simulated universes.

Maybe there's just one simulation. Or five?

Why MUST there be vast number of them, just because this one is (maybe) a simulation?

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #73)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 04:47 PM

77. Because it's fun to run simulations of life.

Look how popular The Sims is.

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Response to tclambert (Reply #77)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 04:52 PM

80. But the Sims is just a pastel caricature of life.

One wonders what sort of hardware might be necessary to simulate a universe, right down to the cellular and even sub-atomic level.

Since humans are smashing atoms all the time.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #80)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 05:09 PM

89. That's just higher resolution.

The Sims has improved tremendously since it first appeared. Just extrapolate to the trillionth version.

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Response to tclambert (Reply #89)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 05:11 PM

91. At some point, the index (simulation) becomes as complex as reality.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #73)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 05:00 PM

86. Because if it is possible...

If it is possible in any universe then it is probably equally possible for billions of intelligent species. (The universe is very large. Many times larger than we thought it was even 40-50 years ago. And there's no reason to assume a hypothetical other universe wouldn't be large also)

If it were possible then a simulated universe would probably be a kid's game somewhere... an alien science fair standard... something for hobbyists.

An experimental astrophysicist would run simulations of universes where pi is equal to 3... to 2.96867... to 2.6666666

Think of the total number of weather simulations we run every day.

And even though a simulation seems like billions of years from the inside, they might be run in a day on the outside.

In general, technology doesn't stop at one. And if such computation is possible it will be developed time and again and again and again on different planets.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 04:41 PM

75. That begs the question...

If the Meta beings got bored and switched off the system would we even know?

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 04:49 PM

78. Begs several questions.


First, is it possible for creatures that think they exist and are conscious to be utterly mistaken? In a universe of unknown simulations status, if a creature thinks erroneously it's intelligent, would that negate the possibility that the universe is simulated? Or would it negate the possibility that the simulation is successful? I mean, if there's one thing we know about any creature, they're fallible, even in making mistakes about the state of their own thoughts and thought processes.

"The core question is this: Is it possible, in any time or place in any universe, for a universe to be simulated that contains entities that believe themselves to be conscious and real?

"If it is possible for our universe, and ourselves within it, to be a computer simulation then the odds are overwhelming that we, you and I, are in a simulated universe."


But unless the premise in your first paragraph is true, and you don't know the odds that it is, your conclusion is false.

I have counter-hypothesis. So far, at smallest scale we could see and detect, there are no 0s and 1s to be found. In fact, quantum laws are probabilistic, not binary.

If chaos theory is an indication, and it looks like, as with statistics, chaotic systems apply to the whole universe at whatever scale, you should have symmetry of scale. That is, if you could at things small enough, you will find something like the universe that we see inside sub-sub-sub atomic particles. If you could look large enough, ultimately, the universe, or what contains it, would look like a subatomic particle like an lepton or quark.

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Response to caseymoz (Reply #78)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 05:16 PM

92. I wouldn't assume that we are the focus

Because the universe is not reductionist, and is full of quantum uncertainty, I doubt we could be a simulation run anywhere in a universe just like ours. So the meta-universe would probably have different natural laws such that our universe is simplified, from their perspective.

As for the 1s and 0s... I doubt a universe simulation would be literally binary. Just making a general point. A perfect simulation would have to put every atom through a range of quantum possibilities probabilistically. A big job.

But in a universe where six dimensions are available for chemical interactions who knows what is or is not a lot of computing?

As far as the success of a simulation, I do not assume that the programmer of a simulation we lived in would have any interest in us, or even in life. Any sufficiently good simulation of a universe with our physical laws is going to produce a lot of life, but if life is the focus then why simulate a whole universe?

Earth could be simulated a lot more easily. Just create Earth with the sun and moon as they are, and the right elements everywhere, and let it go from there.

Since our simulation (if we were in a simulation) seems to have a vast astrophysical history from the big bang on it seems likelier, to me, to be a physics experiment, rather than a biology experiment.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #92)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 03:52 AM

121. I wasn't introducing reductionism


I meant that since awareness of oneself as being conscious was the only evidence of the equivocal possibility that you had, that the point of whether something that believes its conscious, or has an internal process that affirms it, is really conscious, then the whole possibility is doubtful. If you then say, well, the universe isn't reductionist, then there is no premise to our being in a simulation.

You then said there are many more simulated universes than real ones. It's similar to saying that there are many more false statements than true ones.The proposition that this universe is a simulation is saying exactly "Everything in this universe is false." "This universe is a simulation," is exactly like saying, "This statement is false." "Most universes are simulations," cannot be the premise to "This universe is a simulation," anymore than "There are many more false statements than true ones" is a premise to "This statement is false."

Quantum uncertainty is due to the fact that events at the higher orders of magnitude are completely dependent on events at the lower orders. And apparently, the orders of magnitude are in a continuum as large and as small as we could see.

You don't really get anywhere conjecturing about whether this is a "simulation." For any "Sim," its universe is real. It doesn't have the sensory gear or mental wherewithal to see beyond it. Let's just say, it's operating beyond its parameters. Conjectures about a meta-universe are always going to be fictional. There's no way to find out, and sense you have no model on what a "true" universe would be, that line of inquiry is futile.

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Response to caseymoz (Reply #78)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 07:02 PM

104. The movie Vanilla Sky answers this question

A computer simulated environment would never allow such an abomination of a movie to be produced.

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Response to caseymoz (Reply #78)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 12:09 PM

124. But we wouldn't be aware of the 0s and 1s would we?

I don't think a simulation this complex would be run on a binary computer, but even if it was, I doubt that we'd have access to the actual 0s and 1s. Everything we sense, either with our natural senses or with our technological instrumentation, would be simulated information fed to simulated senses or instruments. We wouldn't be able to detect the actual bits any more than we'd be able to detect the silicon and wires that store and move those bits. We'd only have access to the simulated information. That's the only thing that would have any reality to us.

The probabilistic nature of the universe would be the result of the algorithms used in the simulation. Presumably it's probabilistic because a purely deterministic algorithm would be boring; consistently giving the exact same outcome for any given start state.

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Response to drm604 (Reply #124)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 12:25 PM

126. Then there is no evidence of a simulation.

The concept doesn't rise above fiction. Yes, you could explain why you wouldn't find evidence, but if you don't find it in the first place, the hypothesis can't be serious.

Since every simulation that we know of runs on binary systems, we could then say that universe shows no evidence of a binary system. Therefore, we have no evidence of it being a simulation.

Let's say, you're playing the Sims, and you have a Sims physicist. Sooner or later, he's going to find the 0s and 1s. If it's possible to run a simulation any other way, we'd have find out first and see if anything in the universe resembles that. Otherwise, it's not even a testable hypothesis.

The universe runs on chaos theory and probabilities. A binary system is just a good way of recording and manipulating information. Natural events generated in the universe mostly bubble up from smaller to larger scale. Like the butterfly flapping its wings causes a hurricane in the other hemisphere three months later. Whereas simulations are generated from at a larger scale and imposed on a smaller scale. If they differ from a "real" universe, it would be that they are superficial. This implies, among other things, at some time probability will collapse and you reach a level that's utterly determined.

We definitely haven't found that in our universe.

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Response to caseymoz (Reply #126)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 12:52 PM

128. I wasn't claiming that there is evidence.

The idea may not be falsifiable. If it's not, then it's not scientific.

I can think of one type of evidence that could conceivably be present in such a simulation. If we could show that the randomness at the quantum level is actually pseudo-randomness, it would raise some interesting questions. However, I have no idea how you'd look for that or how'd you'd avoid finding false signals among the noise. If it's possible I'd imagine it might involve entangled particles somehow.

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Response to drm604 (Reply #128)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 07:28 PM

152. No, but you also didn't disclaim it.


Such notions tend to make people jump to faith, or perhaps even form new religions. That's why I caution. Otherwise, they belong in fiction.

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Response to caseymoz (Reply #126)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 05:49 PM

137. chaos is an emergent property

of quanta. It is as digital as anything else, but is not predictable.

The turbulence in fluid flow is an emergent property but the fluid is still discreet molecules mad of discreet atoms, each behaving in a fairly simple way relative to each other.

That's why our universe is the simplest program for determining what happens next. Because of the complex emergent properties you cite it cannot be predicted except by itself.

_________

The "IF" in the OP presumes a simulation that is not contrary to any evidence we have. I short-handed that into the internal belief we are real, but that subsumes a lack of evidence to the contrary. (Which would cause us to no longer believe that.)

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #137)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 07:24 PM

151. But, if so, it emerges from the smallest scales . . .


. . . we can detect. You might think it's as "digital as anything else," except that's not the contrast I was making. I said binary. Does it reduce down to a series of yes's and no's? No, it doesn't. You can't model quantum states with its probabilities with binary states.

Otherwise, you're also wrong about it being digital. It's not when you get to irrational numbers. You know, the ones found in such "complex" things like Pi, where the numbers are at best, frustrating approximations? We can break this down into digits, than use the derived digits for simulations, but there's that irrational element that's always going to make any simulation inaccurate down the road. Second we can only take our recording down to a certain scale, then we have to impose this on the higher scales.

The probabilistic nature at the quantum level means that the universe is inherently chaotic, and chaos is not emergent. What's emergent from chaos is order. We perceive order and chaos as being opposite, but actually, order is a subset of chaos. You only think of chaos as "emergent" because we interpreted natural law from the most ordered systems we could find. We did that by artificially simplifying many systems. In nature, they're not simple. It then took us a long time to be able to recognize those very same natural laws also lead to chaos. You're getting it backward in thinking chaos is emergent.

The probabilistic nature of the quantum level indicates that, in fact, anything underpinning the quantum level is also chaotic. Chaos isn't emergent from order. What happens is the rare occurrance of order reverts to the usual state of chaos. We can impose a binary order on a lower scale to create a certain chaotic system at a higher one, but that just shows how unstable order really is. Order is emergent from chaos. It means that a binary system is also a subset of chaos.

I don't know what you mean by "cannot be predicted except by itself." The run- through is not a prediction.

"The "IF" in the OP presumes a simulation that is not contrary to any evidence we have. I short-handed that into the internal belief we are real, but that subsumes a lack of evidence to the contrary."

To paraphrase the OP who said that simulations outnumber real universes, there are many more false statements than true ones. In an absence of evidence, you should not confuse yourself by thinking it's even likely true. Especially when you don't have a physics degree. How often can you count on being wrong betting on a horse race? No, you can't prove that a certain horse won't win. Yet, you could guess right about the nature of the whole universe? At least without studying physics for 20 years? Absence of contrary evidence is definitely not enough.

It might seem harmless, but our many religious wars show that this is sometimes not the case. People can begin to get religious about their best guesses, and it gets worse when it can't be proved.

However, it's fun anyway. I would suggest writing fiction about it. But approach it as though it's your favorite horse in a race with infinite contenders. Then, you'll be humble enough.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 04:52 PM

79. reOur universe is most likely a computer simulationOur universe is most likely a computer simulation

you mean that our universe is in a holocube on someones desk!!!!???? computer , end program !!!

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 04:56 PM

83. I'd like a transfer to a simulation that doesn't have a Tea Party, or Koch brothers, or Scott Walker

and no Kennedies were assassinated, and George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are in prison for war crimes. Why couldn't I be in one of those sims?

Oh . . . I probably am. That other me is so-o lucky.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 05:08 PM

88. Logic most certainly breaks down when the implications are weird.

The history of the development of logic demonstrates that nicely. It might be best to think of logic as an empirically evaluated system of inference. How do we know that "logic" is "right"? Our bridges don't fall down.

A good example of changing logic is the law of the excluded middle. It states that either a proposition is true or the negation of the proposition is true. It's a rule of logic from antiquity that has been discarded by many modern systems of logic.

All that aside, your claim that your conclusion is a logical necessity is dubious:

Let's rephrase your question as a statement, "It is possible..." and call it A. Let's call "the universe is likely simulated" B. Your argument for our universe being a simulation is then

1) If A then B

Statements like 1) are logically true if A is true and B is true or if A is false. There are two issues here. Is 1) true? Is A true? From your argument, we can only conclude that B is true if both 1) and A are true.

Is A true?
Well I can certainly imagine it, if that's what you mean by "possible", but this sort of reasoning fell out of favor with philosophers when they realized people can imagine some pretty strange things. If "possible" actually means possible then we have no way of knowing. (And here, by complete coincidence, I'm invoking the flaw of the law of the excluded middle!)

Is 1) true?
For 1) to be true you need a lot more than logic. You also need to specify your form of statistical inference (probably bayesian) and the precise philosophical meanings you're ascribing to probability. You also have to justify your choice of probability distribution. These are the assumptions of your argument and do not rely on logic. It's also suspect how you can come to a reliable conclusion based on one observation (our universe).

In conclusion, based on a lack of logical necessity, a premise with unknown veracity, the reliance on a boatload of probability assumptions, and the inapplicability of statistical inference using one data point, I find no compelling reason to believe that we are living in a simulated universe. But it is fun to think about.

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Response to mathematic (Reply #88)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 05:56 PM

97. An excellent post, however

my clumsy phrasing (and irrelevant first sentence) shouldn't be allowed to detract from the lovely general argument (which is not mine, of course)

You are correct that possible does not equal certain. But given that the number of intelligent species in our universe is probably in the billions it seems reasonable, to me, to treat questions about what comes of beings in multiple universes as being fairly exhaustive of the possibilities.

But nobody could put any number on such a thing.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 05:26 PM

95. If it is, it sure has a lot of bugs. Did M$ write the OS?

 

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 05:31 PM

96. And once again 'they' are using DOS!!!! Don't we ever get a live upgrade!?!

WTF!!! Peel back all that impossible, yet spectacular existence and it is just another shitty, rundown script.

70% of IT is hexadecimal gibberish.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 05:57 PM

98. My whole life has just been one big DIV/0. n/t

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 06:02 PM

99. How can infinite outnumber infinite?

Many of the theories I've seen indicate that there are an infinite number of universes, including parallel universes.

By definition, it would be impossible for an infinite number of computer simulations to outnumber the infinite number of "real" universes.

The very concept of infinity is just about impossible for the human mind to even grasp.

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Response to Hugabear (Reply #99)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 06:15 PM

102. Oddly enough, I think there are larger and smaller infinities

I don't remember what the heck one does with this in math, but I remember the example:

Imagine a hotel with an infinite number of numbered rooms.

So there are an infinite number of even-numbered rooms.

But we know there are twice as many total rooms as there are even-numbered rooms.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 07:14 PM

105. You cannot petition reality with concepts !!!!

"Coffee break is over. Back on your heads !"

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 08:09 PM

107. I'l save you some trouble and just tell you that the answer is 42. n/t

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 09:46 PM

111. Well then, dammit, I want a better program.

I should at least be able to fly.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 09:48 PM

112. Semi-on topic, watch "Through The Wormhole" next Wed...

The tagline is, "Could the Universe be a single, living organism?"

Sounds really interesting, but then again that show always is.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 09:54 PM

114. I question your logic

Because a simulated universe could only exist if a real universe did, and because a simulated universe need not exist (and we do not know if it is possible for it to exist) it is hard to suggest that the conditional dependent is more likely than the required precursor.

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Response to Yo_Mama (Reply #114)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 01:18 AM

119. Not more likely, more numerous

An apartment complex may have no cockroaches. If, however, it does have any cockroaches then it very likely has a lot more cockroaches than apartments.

It is possible that such simulation is impossible in all universes. (If there is only one universe then our universe is "all universes.") And if it is impossible everywhere then no species will ever do it.

If, however, it is possible and something that beings develop the computing power to do then they will run many simulations. Few technological species will stop at one light bulb, one atom bomb, one iphone. If you have computers that can do it then you'll run simulations of all sorts of universes with different conditions, different laws.

And there would be a million species developing the same technology. Every technologically advanced species in our universe (of which there are surely millions if not billions, since even only one per every ten galaxies would result in a huge number) has developed the atomic bomb, theoretically if not building one. Everyone has the periodic table of elements. Everyone knows about evolution, though few of them would have DNA, etc.

If simulating universes to such high resolution is doable a bunch of folks will do it just to do it.

It only takes a few species to make simulated universes the hot toy for Christmas to get into some big numbers.


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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 09:58 PM

115. Nnnnnope. It's a tiny atom in the fingernail of a giant. n/t

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 10:05 PM

116. Why do bad things happen to good people?

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 10:44 PM

118. Cool simulation...

...except for the pain hurts, death kills part.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 01:24 AM

120. Nice post. I read this earlier today and had some fun turning it around.

I'm a deist and I've developed my own theories about the nature of a creating force. Your OP brought it back but with a little twist.

I'm skipping to the end here but "God" probably just wanted to study free will since the laws of nature and physics would already be known. We're either living in god's laboratory or starring in a 24 hour comedy channel.


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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 11:41 AM

123. You assume a lot about the universes

It may be that the energy, or other resource, needed to simulate a universe is such that, even when theoretically possible, it cannot be done frequently.

Also, you say:
"But our reality really is, in a meaningful sense, just a bunch of 0s and 1s in a program. The universe is digital, not analog. "

I think you mean "could be", not "is". And I'd dispute that that is a 'meaningful sense'. 'Digital' is just the way we happen to think of most of our own simulations at the moment (after all, the underlying hardware is not 'digital' - it's collections of atoms that undergo changes of state, and when enough of them are in one state, we call that the equivalent of a '0' or '1').

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #123)


Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 12:41 PM

127. I hate to appear anti-intellectual, but it doesn't matter one bit.

 

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 01:16 PM

129. Frankly I think it's all just a really bad opera, especially the singing

More seriously, I believe we are in a simulation and it's buggy as all hell.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 01:31 PM

130. Wrench: wave-particle duality.

 

Both the digital and the analog descriptions of quantum particle properties and behavior are true at the same time. This is true, in part, because the field of physics compromises with linguistics and mathematics to aid our primitive brains in understanding the properties and behavior reproducible in our shared experience of reality. It's difficult, therefore, to say that any macroscopic description of microscopic physics is real, "in a real sense." We can say with certainty that the theory describes the phenomenon well, but what that means about "reality" is a job most theoretical physicists leave to philosophers, and Dr. Paul Davies.

Y'know, at least until after the ToE, when, one would hope, we'd have the correct perspective from which to interpret QM and GR (having united at last the micro- and the macro-theories in one indelible, hopefully elegant, model).

Matrix-like speculation is unending fun - and I'm game - but on the scientific side of life, I for one will wait for the peer-reviewed Big ToE before I accept any one interpretation: Standard, Multiverse, Holist, whatever. As long as it correctly unites QM and GR, I'm all in.

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Response to daaron (Reply #130)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 06:00 PM

138. Question

Are waves really analog? Are probabilities?

This is a sincere question. I know there are quanta or time and space and I had the impression that this limits the analog-ness of waves and probabilities... but I could easily be wrong.

Are all wavelengths possible, down to an infinite level of division? Can a wavelength be shorter than the Planck distance?

Are all non-imaginary positive numbers potential wavelengths? Can a photon have a wavelength of pi?

I am not a physicist, obviously, and do not know whether there is anything analog left in modern physics.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #138)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 07:51 PM

139. The model of wave-particle duality says "Yes."

 

What do you mean by "really analog?" or "really digital?" Really in reality? QM is a model for the subatomic reality, and how we interpret QM in regards to reality is, like I said, a question most theoretical physicists leave for philosophers and Dr. Davies. It's "really" both analog AND digital, at the same time. Hence when we talk about a probability wave collapsing to a binary 'decision', so to speak, in the math yes, it's a continuous transformation. The analog probability wave(s) have a state that is best modeled as a binary state. Conversely, given a binary state and information about the particle in that state, we can deduce the solution to the wave equation that gives it. To answer the 1st two questions, then: Yes (and digital). Yes (and digital).

As for wavelengths less than Planck scale... sure, no problem; the math admits such empirical errors, but then we get quantum foam - particles popping in an out of existence. That's the famous problem with relativity, which doesn't work across foamy spacetime. It needs a nice smooth manifold over which to correctly make predictions. String theory attempts to solve this problem by, in essence, making the Planck scale the minimum size (by, of course, a much more circumspect route than I make it seem). In the stringy universe, when one zooms in to Planck scale, one starts zooming back out again into the same universe.

As for all non-imaginary numbers potential wavelengths for energy or matter? More or less, within the limits of how much matter-energy there actually is in the cosmos (whatever that number). Why? Because all matter has a de Broglie wavelength. The bigger the matter, the longer the wavelength. So the de Broglie wavelength of a person, say, would be so big that quantum mechanical effects are almost completely smudged out of measure-ability. Similarly with relativity - at very slow speeds the effects just aren't really measurable, except under the most controlled of conditions. Obviously it wouldn't make much sense to speculate about an imaginary wavelength - lengths are always measured as scalar quantities, not vectors.

As for a photon with the wavelength of Pi... OK, but 3.14... what? That is, which units? Meters? mm's? LY's? The answer is 'why not', mathematically. Question is does nature have such a thing?

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Response to daaron (Reply #139)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 08:35 PM

140. Hmm... even with Loop Quantum Gravity, I guess?

Bummer. Looks like I'll have my hands full counting all the colors.

I suspect that time and space and gravity will turn out to be granular, but as long as there is anything truly analog it makes a simulation hard for me to imagine.

What does that do to multiple universe theories? I guess there is always an underlying quantified process producing a wave the the potential waves from a given event are quantifiable, though waves themselves are not.

(By truly analog I just mean an infinity of states. No minimum unit.)

I will bet an internet beer that they will someday announce that there is a wave quanta and that the rainbow has exactly 18.4 x 10 to the 16th colors or some such.

The pi question was mostly a joke... amusing because the the photon couldn't ever "know" its own wavelength.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #140)

Mon Jun 11, 2012, 08:03 AM

145. I get what your saying, I think.

 

Again, the answer seems to be another round of "Yes," with the usual caveats. I don't know much about quantum loop gravity, but suspect it attempts to reconcile sub-Planck wavelength model with GR by force (of gravity), rather than the spacey stringy approach - but any contender for a ToE has to reconcile QM & GR, by def. Aristotle commented on the math problem involved, which play footsy with the paradoxical - infinitely divisible (Zeno's 'paradox') VS infinitely extensible (ie, counting to infinity). The real number line combines these two infinities: it includes all the countable numbers up to aleph-0, plus all the rational numbers (fractions) up to aleph-1, plus all the irrational numbers that are infinitely dense between any two points on the line.

Then there's the outliers - the square root of -1. What do we do with that? It turns out the reals are algebraically extensible. They happen to extend in fact to the complex number field, where dwell dragons and other imaginary numbers. In fact, we can represent the complex numbers by an extension field of two dimensions. Hence we can write a basis as {(0 1), (1 0} and perform various feats such as rotation and reflection in 2-D. It is by mere convention that we write the complexes as z = x + y*i. Here, the "i" acts as an unknown, not a variable, and any transcendent number, such as Pi, can fill that formal role as well in algebraic computations. So these additional dimensions are identical to lines - the axes if you will - each of which is a real number line.

There's continuity for ya. Roughly - pick a point, any point, in any vector space. Draw an 'open' sphere around the point on your curve (imagine a string) of radius epsilon. That's the epsilon-neighborhood (E-hood). If you can shrink epsilon down to arbitrarily close to zero radius, and there is always another point in the E-hood, you've got continuity. If suddenly you have an empty E-hood, your curve is not continuous. There's a missing point. General relativity needs this continuity, for the maths to work out. QM, OTOH, deals in the discrete and discontinuous, with a natural minimum distance of the Planck length being the diameter of the smallest particle (since a shorter wavelength creates a different particle, altogether, these don't exist, per se).

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Response to daaron (Reply #145)

Mon Jun 11, 2012, 06:11 PM

148. Without pretending to understand all you say...

My thinking-aloud is that it is one thing to say, "Everything is made of an indivisible unit one plank-length in radius," and a different thing to say, "Everything is made of an indivisible unit one plank-length in radius and space and time are like a pegboard with the holes spaced one plank-length apart."

Using one plank-length in radius wouldn't help much in a simulation because there would still be an infinite number of places the unit could be. But the peg board model would always be finite, though involving huge numbers.

As long as there is any non-quanta element (like wavelength) then it seems like a simulation is problematic because the simulation (as we can imagine it with our four-dimensional brains) would include infinties... which seems like a problem.

On the other hand, I like the way Einstein would cut to the experimental chase when arguing with the quantum guys (even when he was wrong), so I suppose I could postulate an appearance, a simulation, of infinities that cannot be found-out as incomplete by a mind within the simulation. What appears an infinity to us may merely be a large number from a meta-perspective.

If plank-lengths came in four pieces how could we know? The limit that is real from our perspective precludes closer examination. But it need not be a real limit to the simulator... so, for instance, wavelength could be granular but at a resolution too fine to ever manifest itself in our equations about the universe as we perceive it.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to talk seriously to an untutored lay-person.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #148)

Mon Jun 11, 2012, 10:23 PM

149. Right-o, and that's where strings come in.

 

As you point out - the continuous and the discrete, lattice-like algebraic structures are different, though they have some of the same properties. It's like working in an integer ring, then trying to apply what you discover to a field - well it'll be true for some linear transformations, such as addition of positive integers, but not for others. Fractions have no meaning in an integer ring. They just aren't defined. But they are defined for the quotient field modulus'd out of it. It sounds like you'd like the universe to fit a ring-like model. It's not a bad impulse to suspect a number theoretic model might be illuminating. There's even a new journal for string theorists and number theorists to start spit-balling.

String theory maths are so hairy for pretty much the reason you mention - one must reconcile the continuous and the discrete, as well as provide geometry that, when vibrations occur across the string of Planck diameter, can correctly model observed properties of particles - quarks I guess, in the minimal case (the ToE has to predict QED, as well as QM reconciled with GR). The strings provide geometry which turns spacetime around on the tail of minimum scale, and provides a geometric explanation for fundamental forces. String theory is also handily compliant with BB theory.

One development it sounds like you might be interested in is Garrett Lisi's E8 Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything, in which he attempts to, more or less fit quantum electrodynamic (QED) classification to E8 Lie group algebraic structure (Lie groups are handy, because they're continuous manifolds and their algebras may be contracted into other Lie algebras, and back to Lie groups - look up the Calabi-Yau manifold). Even if you don't come out convinced, you'll be forced to learn a lot of cool math to dig it.

Another development is information theoretic, or entropic gravity - deriving the laws of motion from thermodynamic 'first principles'. It's research worth experiment on, if just to rule it out. I think the prelim report on ArXiV.org. WikiPedia has a page..

Last note of disclaimer: I think it's all interesting to think about, but none of it is science until we can finally devise an experiment to demonstrate the validity of some theory. One thing is for sure (I'm a mathematician, not a physicist) the math is cool, so I dig it. I'll wait for the final verdict, though.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 01:33 PM

131. "Computer,end simulation!"

nt

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Response to Swede (Reply #131)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 01:55 PM

133. I don't normally play mmorpgs but I have to admit this one is pretty addictive

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Response to Swede (Reply #131)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 08:41 PM

142. "Exit"

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 08:41 PM

141. It kinda does matter if this is just a simulation

because a power outage could end our universe if we are just computer generated.


I understand the argument but it is right up there with "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?". Meaningless.

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Response to Motown_Johnny (Reply #141)

Sun Jun 10, 2012, 09:54 PM

144. They can just restore it from the last saved game file.

When the power's off, no time passes in our universe. A trillion years in the "real" universe can pass while you blink your eyes. Plus those weeping angel statues may get you.

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Response to tclambert (Reply #144)

Mon Jun 11, 2012, 05:03 PM

146. and if the drive crashes?

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Mon Jun 11, 2012, 05:05 PM

147. interesting.

Mind-blowing.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Mon Jun 11, 2012, 10:48 PM

150. So this was on a TV program and it got me thinking.

(Might be the reason the OP made the post, so it's not totally out of left field.)

Just casually looking at it, the entanglement of states between particles is a thing that deeply resembles a global variable in the programming languages we have around today. It stores states for all places in a computer program, and all places that variable are used are linked and have the same states.

This would be contrasted with a local variable, which is something that occurs at or slower than c. The real cool thing to wonder about:
What might have created the universe that has the computer that simulates this one? Another universe?

Is this universe similar to the one that simulates it?

What initialized the chain of simulations? What started this?

You see, even with the simulation argument, which is quite frankly the most plausible of all the manners of origination for our universe, there is still just a kicking of the great can down the road.

Just what the fuck started it?

The same of course applies to everything, all theories of our genesis (that's not meant in a religious manner) are basically nonsensical once you start to pick them apart.

It makes sense, it's logical, until you get to the start. Then it's just a big farting noise.

Part of me just says to sit back and enjoy the ride and not to over-think it, because it really doesn't matter what we are.

Part of me, just like you, wants to know.

Oh well, I have more important things to do than to navel gaze.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 08:56 PM

153. Next time, I get the man who's really really great in bed for a husband.

God knows I've earned it.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 09:17 PM

154. You’re living in a computer simulation, and math proves it

You’re living in a computer simulation, and math proves it


Is your life really your life, or is it actually the dream of a butterfly? Or is it a complex computer simulation indistinguishable from "real" reality? Don't worry, it's just a glitch in the Matrix. It happens when they change something.

Questions about the nature of reality weren't invented by high-as-a-kite college sophomores. Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi noticed sometime around 300 BCE that his dreams of being something other than human (a butterfly, most famously) were indistinguishable from his experience being Zhuangzi. He could not say with certainty that he was Zhuangzi dreaming of being a butterfly rather than a butterfly dreaming of being Zhuangzi.

The whole "reality is an illusion" idea has been kicked around by everyone from Siddhartha to the existentialists. It is Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom who is most often associated with the idea that we are living in a computer simulation. His premise is based on a series of assumptions:

1). A technological society could eventually achieve the capability of creating a computer simulation that is indistinguishable from reality to the inhabitants of the simulation.

2). Such a society would not do this once or twice. They would create many such simulations.

3). Left to run long enough the societies within the simulations would eventually be able to create their own simulations, also indistinguishable from reality to the sub-simulations inhabitants.

As a result, you have billions of simulations, with a nearly infinite number of cascading sub-simulations, all of them perfectly real to their inhabitants. Yet there is only a single ultimate progenitor society. The math is actually pretty simple: the odds are nearly infinity to one that we are all living in a computer simulation.

One very strong argument against this unsettling theory is that a computer with the computational power to accomplish this is impossible. Setting aside the fact that today's computational power surely seemed unimaginable 100 years ago, there's a more interesting solution – the computer only actively simulates what it needs to. This is something that actually happens in modern computer games, and you've seen it if you've ever moved faster than your graphics card was capable of rendering the scenery, as the trees and buildings that had previously been beyond your view were drawn on the screen before your eyes. It actually explains a few of the trickier things about quantum physics, like why particles have an indeterminate position until they're observed.

Even more disturbing, it may be a much smaller simulation that you think. There could be just a few active simulation inhabitants, with the rest of the world filled with "non-actor" or NPC characters controlled by the computer. Their actions are only simulated as you perceive them, carefully performed so as to present the illusion that they have entire lives separate from yours. This helps explain why the creepy homeless guy at the end of your street doesn't seem to do much other than hang out and ask you to bring him 10 dire wolf pelts.

If all that seems too weird, let's just kick it back to Zhuangzi. There are almost seven billion people in the world. They all sleep. They all dream. Odds are we're all just living someone else's extremely vivid dream.

Source: Bostrom, Nick. "Are you living in a computer simulation?" Oxford University.

Butterfly photo: Lindsay Sorensen.

io9.com/5799396/youre-living-in-a-computer-simulation-and-math-proves-it

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