If you come to my blog often you know that I have quite a few posts about the simulation argument. I think it is super fascinating and love to talk and speculate about it. You can check out my other posts here, here, and here, but take a second and watch this video.
While I think this video is certainly a good one they do not go into much detail or any real deep aspects of the theory. But it is a great place to just get the basis of the theory and start to scratch the surface of what the simulation argument means.
A few things I would like to understand more from the video are that the narrator says that a computer simulating another computer would never be able to completely replicate the original, or something to that extent. I am very curious about that and why that is not possible. It would seem to me that if the simulation computer had the same hardware and the like, I do not see why it could not replicate the original computer. But perhaps therein lies the problem as if you have two computers that are the same then they are the same and could do the same thing. The point we are trying to make is that taking something that is completely different and trying to pass it off as the original, so in that sense I could kind of see that the simulated computer may not be able to simulate the original.
The only argument against that was alluded to in the video, is that computing power is constantly improving and getting better. I also recently read that CNT’s may be the answer we are looking for to create smaller transistors, but there are still a few kinks to get worked out. Anyways, the point is that if we continue to exponentially increase our computing power it would seem that in theory at some point we could create a computer simulation that would be similar to reality. Or at least to what we think is reality, remember we still are not sure we live in the “real world.”
The other aspect of this that I think is interesting is the number game that comes with this. Again this was talked about in the video and I have mentioned it in other posts linked above, but given that a super intelligent civilization could run a simulation capable of almost or near perfect real world realism the odds are certainly greater that we are in one of these rather than the real world. This may sound strange but think about it. How many universes have we known to come into existence in the last 13.5 billion years, the answer is 1, ours. Now there are other theories about the multiverse and such, but let’s just put those to the side for a second. So we only know of 1 for sure universe. Now if there is a non-zero chance that any civilization that ever existed has created and run a real world simulation, and even if that non-zero number is infinitely small, they could have run thousands, millions or possibly billions of simulations. So if that is the case there is a much much greater chance that we are currently in one of those simulations, as the simulated universes far out number the “real” universes.
I hope that makes sense, it essentially says that even if one civilization out there does any sort of simulation the odds are very high that they will run more than one. So if that is the case and they can easily and cheaply, in terms of resources and computing power, run these simulations there are, in theory, far more simulated universes than real ones. Because as we know, or think we know, a real, or what we think is a real, universe takes 13.5 billion years to mature and give rise to the possibility of intelligent life, it would seem that it is far more likely that we are in a simulated universe.
Think of it like this. Let’s say that scientists have evidence that there are two other universes, totaling 3 including the one we are in. But they also have evidence that 2 or the 3 are computer simulated universes. For some strange reason we don’t have the technology to figure out which is which. The odds are greater that we are in a simulated one as opposed to the real one. Now it could be that we really are in the real one, but until we have proof its hard to go against the odds.
The last issues that the video talks about are the shortcuts that the programmers of a simulation could or would put into a simulation to help save computing power. Much like in an open world video game where there is an end to the map where the characters cannot go beyond, the theory is that those same principles will be in our own simulation and we could potentially find them. There are a lot of very strange physical properties that we have found in our universe and some of these could be shortcuts the programmers installed. We are still looking for these and while we have not found any definitive proof, there are some things that make us really question our reality.
Check out this article for some further reading on the subject. As I stated in another post of mine I think there is a 55% chance we are living in a simulated reality. I think part of me wants this to be true because, to me, it would make our existence much more exciting as there are so many more questions associated with a simulated reality as opposed to the real one. Who created the simulation, or what did, and why? What is the real world like? Can we leave the simulation? The questions are literally endless…