back to article New information physics theory is evidence 'we're living in a simulation,' says author

Going by the fact that Elon Musk said there was only one in a billion chance that the world was not simulated, we might save ourselves a lot of time and assume that on this occasion, as on so many others, the 52-year-old rocket bro has made a beeline for the wrong end of the stick. Nonetheless, in the developing field of …

  1. Dr. G. Freeman

    But what are we a simulation of ?

    1. Doctor Trousers

      We're all NPCs in a satirical VR experience, set in an alternative timeline, where World President Harambe was shot and killed before the great breakthrough in human-gorilla communication of 2030

    2. Khaptain Silver badge

      We are probably the simulation of some kind of nasty virus attacking an astral body. IN the end the astral body will just shrug us off, sneeze or fart, and we will be no more.

    3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      But what are we a simulation of ?

      Some of the earliest video games have been god sims. We're just life, imitating art. Unlike Life, we haven't yet reached the boundaries, although black holes may just be memory leaks. And luckily whoever is playing us hasn't rage quit.. yet.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        We're just life, imitating art.

        If we're in a sim, aren't we art imitating art?

        (I'd make a Conway joke at this point, but that's a pun too far...)

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: We're just life, imitating art.

          If we're in a sim, aren't we art imitating art?

          That's just the observer paradox, and Paradox are, after all famous for their simulations. Their business model may also help explain the cost of living crisis and inflation.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: We're just life, imitating art.

            The cost of living crisis and inflation are more easily explained by printing money and profligate government spending.

            1. Alistair
              Windows

              Re: We're just life, imitating art.

              The cost of living crisis and inflation are most easily explained by greedy oil industry executives continuously increasing profitability in order to prove their financial worth to Wall Street, thus protecting their continued existence in the simulation.

      2. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

        So we live in a god sim being run by an 14 year old "edgelord" trying to see how bad he can make things?

        Actually, that makes a lot of sense, now that I think about it.

    4. Snake Silver badge

      RE: what are we a simulation of?

      Time for a mind-screw: we are a simulation...of life.

      Try this for size: all the sectarians believe in their god, and that their god is all powerful and created the universe. And, conveniently, their god is always...aged.

      How about the universe was created by a CHILD? That this "god" is nothing more than an advanced being, an adolescent by our methods of thinking, and he/she/it/they simply got BORED and created a universe in a snow globe. It doesn't know how lower life forms live so they created a universe where 'simple' life can live and die. And that's our "universe" because we're living in that globe.

      Ask them to prove otherwise. >:D

      1. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

        Re: RE: what are we a simulation of?

        Just go the Flying Spaghetti Monster route: the creator wasn't young, old, or bored, but hung over. It's a great explanation for all the mistakes in reality.

      2. Michael Strorm Silver badge

        Re: RE: what are we a simulation of?

        > [A child] created a universe in a snow globe

        As opposed to just a hospital in a 1980s drama series?

        1. ProfessorLarry
          Angel

          Re: RE: what are we a simulation of?

          True, I'm no saint, but I am elsewhere.

    5. jake Silver badge

      Not "what", rather "why?".

      Why would such a simulation be deemed necessary?

      Especially given the obvious insatiable power requirement.

      1. Snake Silver badge

        Re: power

        Power levels are relative to social development level. A super-advanced society would also have superior levels of power available - that is, what seems magic to us will be nothing to them.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: power

          But the question would be still there. Why an advanced civilization would spend enormous amount of energy just play video games that we know is wasting our youth and adults? May be to entertain its dead soul by taking them out of dead den and let them play for lifetime? If such advanced society that harness such vast energy I would think the would use it to bend space time and travel at will. Or even better minutirize their entire civilization into the microscopic world and only come out to our magnitude when they wish to do it.

          1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: power

            You answered your own question. A huge amount of the energy modern society consumes is used for entertainment. The SimUniverse we live in is probably for the entertainment of some couch potato in his mother's basement. And a zillion SimYears in our SimUniverse is probably 10 minutes in the Couch Potato's universe.

          2. Rol

            Re: power

            Technically advanced, yes, but has it the imagination to fathom the unknown? If all you know is what you can see/feel/smell/hear, you might want to question what more is there beyond my senses. And if you lack the imagination and the drive to experiment in directions common sense suggests is pointless, you will never stumble onto the truth.

            Here's where we come in useful. We have imagination in spades, and the stupidity to chase dreams. We are at the cutting edge of someone's attempt to investigate the unknown unknowns.

            1. Snake Silver badge

              Re: imagination

              It could be more than simple imagination. We, for example, have no real idea of how Homo erectus, never mind the Neanderthals, lived. They might have become post-human, or never were even humanoid at all, and want to see how a society of Homo sapiens would develop and function. It could be a educational simulation.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: imagination

                "We, for example, have no real idea of how Homo erectus, never mind the Neanderthals, lived."

                Not at a micro level, no. At a macro level, we have a pretty good idea.

                "They might have become post-human"

                There is no archeological evidence that even hints that this is a possibility.

                "or never were even humanoid at all"

                They were humanoid. We have the bones to prove it.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: power

            Video games and blockchain

          4. Doctor Trousers

            Re: power

            Maybe because an advanced civilization solves the problem of recreating the universe inside a simulation, long before it solves the potentially impossible problem of travelling thousands of light years across the universe?

            Right now, we can kind of imagine how a model of the universe could be recreated inside a simulation, but we only have some very vague ideas about how we could ever travel much further than the limits of our own solar system, and most of those rely on the idea that we could ever travel through wormholes.

            A model universe inside a simulation both allows us to observe any point in space-time, any potential point in space-time in any parallel universe, and possibly also demonstrates that it's impossible to ever solve the problem of long distance physical travel in the universe we inhabit?

            A simulated universe gives us the answer to any question we could ever have, and essentially makes us gods. I don't think it's hard to imagine why we would expend unbelievably vast amounts of energy on such a project.

            1. zuckzuckgo
              Gimp

              Re: power

              And besides they don't have to simulate the whole universe and 7 billion minds, they just have to simulate one. Mine of course.

          5. Plest Silver badge

            Re: power

            Each to their own.

            We already have this problem right now, people will happily spend 5-6 hours a day on their phones just doom-scrolling, that's a waste of time to some. People will sit and play video games for 5-6 hours every evening online, why? It's often the only social interaction some people can get. There's plenty of reasons people waste time, effort and money on things other people see as pointless. I take photos, I've driven 400 miles in a single day just get one landsscape photo I wanted, some would baulk at such a moronic thing to do but I felt a sense of achievement after doing it as I'd waited 4 years for the right opportunity, others will call me an idiot!

          6. Dr Dan Holdsworth
            Boffin

            Re: power

            The post-human civilisation that is running the sim is probably living in a utopia of some description, which whilst being optimal for living in is also really rather boring. Mind-numbingly tedious, in fact. So, to maintain interest in being alive, sims like the one we are in are run so that these utopians can once again live in a risky, exciting sort of world.

            Of course, whilst we die they simply do the utopian equivalent of sticking another 50p into the arcade machine if or when they croak it, to have another go.

            The sim is of course going to be heavily and fairly cheaply optimised, which explains a lot of paranormal phenomena quite nicely.

            Past-life memories, for instance. This is the sim recycling the code needed to run a human mind and specifically the link to a utopian mind; this is probably quite difficult to do from scratch so the sim will recycle as much as possible and take as many shortcuts as it can, including not filtering information flows. This will lead to info from one simulated human life leaking back down the link to another human life from the utopian in his bedroom remembering one life after it has ended.

            UFOs: glitching aircraft object code. Poltergeists: glitching object movement code and probably something that is going to be fixed properly in the next major release. Similarly ghosts of all manner of stuff; simply memory garbage collection not running as well as it should run.

            So, try not to look for and poke the holes in reality, because it isn't at all well built and you might just cause the whole kaboodle to dump core and end.

      2. Frank Bitterlich

        Re: Not "what", rather "why?".

        Something to do with blockchain, I think.

    6. Groo The Wanderer Silver badge

      Based on overall humanity's behaviour, I can only conclude most people are just mindless NPCs with the occasional truly evil character thrown into the mix for the player to battle...

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's pretty clear we're in a stub being controlled by klept.

    8. MyffyW Silver badge

      I suspect human civilisation is a massive chunk of not-quite-beta-release-quality code on some nerdy teenagers computing platform in a dimension that is unimaginable to us. Somewhere around 2014 - 2016 said teenager decided to make a crazy mod pack (code name: ORANGE-VLAD-SHITGIBBON) to see if it would break the sim. I'm still unconvinced as to whether it will crash and burn.

    9. Michael Strorm Silver badge

      You're clever, young man, very clever, but...

      It's simulations all the way down

    10. Meeker Morgan

      We are in a simulation of a *real* universe ...

      ... itself a simulation in an *even* *realer* universe, and so on. And why assume we are on the bottom of the sequence? That's akin to geocentrism.

      The open question is whether this is truly infinite or merely wraps around.

      Alternate hypothesis: The experts are f*cking with us.

  2. cookieMonster Silver badge
    Joke

    Bollox

    “— and "resembles the process of a computer deleting or compressing waste code to save storage space and optimize power consumption. And as a result supports the idea that we're living in a simulation—“

    Proof we are not, name one computer/OS where this actually happens????

    In fact in every instance I can think of over the past 50 years its the exact opposite

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge

      Re: Bollox

      I have noted the joke icon, but I would like to disagree.

      There are two aspects imo:

      The first is that we live in a world where the low cost of compute power means it's not economical to pay people to optimise code to a mirror shine. If a theoretical computer is able to efficiently self-optimise its own code to that mirror shine, then it would absolutely make sense for that to happen.

      The second is that a simulation, while its running would have a static featureset, which does enable a position where you can optimise code to that mirror shine.

      Over the past 50 years we've encountered feature bloat to a huge degree, enabled by conventions like Moore's law. If Moore's law were not true, then featuresets would have expanded considerably more slowly as compute power would remain expensive relative to developer time so paying for the code to be polished within an inch of its life would be worthwhile in processing-heavy tasks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Gotta disagree with that second point

        No reason that any particular static conditions should be assumed. There wouldn't be technical constraints at the scale and advancement where it was even a possibility to simulate the universe, and we can infer or assume motive or intent based on our observations.

        Hypothetically no reason one couldn't self optimize, and it is reasonable to expect it would in a myriad of ways purely for the sake of efficiency. That has little to do with the chance that we ARE in a simulation, a horse which has been flogged ad nauseam.

        For those that choose to believe in the absence of fact or reason, I hope the idea makes you happy. If not consider god as an alternative, the arguments will seem familiar, and is similarly both hard to conclusively disprove and lacking any tangible evidence. Like the author of this supposed "law" it presumes your capacity for self delusion and imagination have primacy over the universe. If you are a brain in a jar you may be right. In an objective world when you look out the window at how the world outside works, it provides ample counter examples.

        1. ArrZarr Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Gotta disagree with that second point

          To be clear, I'm not arguing for or against the Simulation thing, just disagreeing with the development style points.

          I would say that the software *should* have a static featureset to keep as many variables static as possible during the test.

      2. ravenviz Silver badge

        Moore’s Law

        It’s only Moore’s Law because Moore said something that happened before it happened without any a priori knowledge, wisdom, or any workings out to show how it could be upheld. Like Fermat’s Last Theorem, Fermat could not have proved his own theorem, he was just the one that said it, and was eventually proved right, not because he knew he was, but just because he said he was.

    2. robinsonb5

      Re: Bollox

      Stand by, the universe is being defragged.

      (Actually, that explains a lot!)

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Bollox

        Entropy says no. The universe is tending towards fragmentation.

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Bollox

          Unlike the City of Portsmouth - the University appears to be taking over every bit of vacant space - buildings here there and everywhere - at least that's what it felt like on my drive down to the Isle of Wight ferry, and on the way back, took the long way back out of town

        2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: Bollox

          Nit-pick, but no. The second law does not apply to the universe as a whole.

          It applies to a "closed system", which in thermodynamics is one that is open to transfers of energy from an infinite heat bath. The universe as a whole is, by definition, not open in that way and no sizeable fraction of the universe is either because the "rest of the universe" is not infinite by comparison.

      2. Omnipresent Bronze badge

        Re: Bollox

        Actually yes, that's what this "law" states however, entropy states the opposite.

        "The basis of the theory is analogous to the second law of thermodynamics, which includes the idea that the disorder within an isolated system will increase unless it is acted on by some external force or condition."

        "For a closed thermodynamic system, a quantitative measure of the amount of thermal energy not available to do work.

        A measure of the disorder or randomness in a closed system.

        A measure of the loss of information in a transmitted message."

        If the amount of energy exerted on the universe "is a constant or less", it would not be "expanding at an ever expanding rate".

    3. jake Silver badge

      Re: Bollox

      Computers do indeed delete temp files and compress log and other files to save on storage space ... and I suppose one could make a case that reading a large compressed file from storage and then decompressing it in memory to be used, reversing the process when done might save some energy over having to read in the entire decompressed file. Maybe. In some cases. Perhaps. Such as in the case of punch cards or paper tape.

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Bollox

      "Proof we are not, name one computer/OS where this actually happens????"

      Shirley that is proof that we are in a simulation since by definition a simulation is not 100% accurate, just an approximation.

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    This "law". What tests have been made of it? Let's get the essentials done before we start thinking of anything fancy.

    1. jonathan keith

      "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

      1. Anonymous Cowpilot

        Indeed, it is at best a theorem. However, theorems are intended to describe the world around us. If your theorem requires you make new assertions about our world its probably wrong. Charitably we could call this a conjecture.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          No, at best it's a hypothesis. He needs to make predictions which cannot be satisfied by any other hypothesis and which are falsifiable.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Nothing new.

      Most (all?) religions have "laws" that are untestable.

      1. Anonymous Cowpilot

        Re: Nothing new.

        Religions have edicts.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Nothing new.

          That, too.

      2. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Re: Nothing new.

        Metaphysics are not science, because they are not falsifiable as said Mr. Popper.

        1. Bebu Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: Nothing new.

          《Mr. Popper.》

          Sir Karl surely. :)

    3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Joke

      Whatever the law is, rest assured it will be broken in a "specific and limited way" by the government

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-54073836

    4. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      It's not a "law". It's a wild idea which a nobody at a third rate institution has pulled out of his arse. Might be OK for social science but irrelevant to reality.

  4. xyz Silver badge

    IMHO...

    Yup, the universe appears to be some computer system (some sort of DB and code munged together) with built in auditing. Defo artificial though. It's not complicated, you just need a shit load of power and had/has 2 main flaws; the first of which was sorted by creating "our" dimensions and the second fix was creating matter to firm up "flabby expansion" issues. BTW, anti-matter is just slightly in the future which is why it's so hard to see it unless you give matter a good yank.

    Anyway, you can tell I've got nothing to do of an evening.

    I watched The Matrix the other night. There were things called telephone boxes in it and old cars which are cool. Old Nokias not so much.

  5. heyrick Silver badge

    If this is a simulation...

    ...I want my money back. The continuity is pathetic and the plotlines are ridiculous. About the only thing they got right was the rendering quality, though I do note that they're only really capable of doing half the planet at a time. It's night on the opposite side to where it's day as a cheap and lame attempt to reduce the bandwidth requirements.

    Plus, there's a distinct lack of power ups, God mode, or the ability to disable clipping. But pain, cancer, and suffering are in plentiful supply.

    Plus, we spend a third of the time "dormant", what the hell is with that?

    Generally, therefore, this simulation is the lacklustre creation of sadistic bastards and I'm not impressed.

    1. robinsonb5

      Re: If this is a simulation...

      If you haven't already seen it, I can highly recommend the Tom Scott video on youtube: "Welcome to Life: the singularity, ruined by lawyers".

    2. Kane
      Joke

      Re: If this is a simulation...

      I went Outside once.

      The graphics were great, but the storyline sucked.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: If this is a simulation...

      There were constant brown outs in 2020-2021 and the lizard people who are in charge of the simulation had to make us all stay in our homes as rendering long distances and interactions between simulants takes a lot of energy.

    4. jake Silver badge

      Re: If this is a simulation...

      "I want my money back."

      I'm absolutely certain you'll get back every penny that you paid.

    5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: If this is a simulation...

      "About the only thing they got right was the rendering quality,"

      As the simulated "intelligences" advance through the program, my experience is that the render quality starts to reduce with added blur effects and the action tends to slow down a lot. Possibly another power saving feature.

    6. mevets

      Re: If this is a simulation...

      Sure, here is your simulated money : https://www.coinbase.com/

    7. Plest Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: If this is a simulation...

      "Better Than Life"

      Your simulation is your own making, it's your desires and wills that are driving it so don't complain 'cos I just work here mate!

  6. Forget It
    Coffee/keyboard

    Information is not knowledge...

    Knowledge is not wisdom...

    Wisdom is not truth...

    F.Zappa

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Information is not knowledge...

      "Our criminal institutions are full of little creeps like you" —The Central Scrutinizer

  7. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Critical Questions

    [1] Who manages the updates?

    [2] When is the EoL?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Critical Questions

      [1] God

      [2] He announced that there will be one, but deliberately did not say when. Always be ready for shutdown and post-execution analysis.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Critical Questions

      [1] Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? It's turtles all the way down.

      [2] Heat death of the Universe.

    3. Alumoi Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Critical Questions

      1. Seeing how crap those updates are, I'd say Microsoft.

      2. Same year as the year of Linux on desktop.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Critical Questions

        I've had Linux on my desktop for 30+ years. Now what?

        1. Andy_bolt

          Re: Critical Questions

          The point of that aphorism isn’t that Linux isn’t possible on a desktop. It is that it is incredibly rare. A quick google put it under 5%. If you count non desktop, Android probably counts as some form of Linux so the percentage rises but that’s not the metric in question

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Critical Questions

            I doubt Jake cares about that. neither do I, for similar reasons.

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: Critical Questions

            Having converted my entire family (except my sister), almost all my friends (except the odd gaming machine[0]), nearly every student I've ever taught (again except the gaming machines[0]), and every single one of my clients (except a couple CAD stations, and a handful of Macs), your incredible rarity is my near ubiquitousness. And has been, for a long time.

            Don't you wish you were in my shoes?

            "The journey of one thousand miles begins with but a single step." —Laozi, the Dao De Jing, Chap. 64

            [0] And even the gamers are using Linux more and more.

      2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Critical Questions

        1. Seeing how crap those updates are, I'd say Microsoft.

        I'd say a future merged Microsoft-Tesla hybrid. Neither let you wake from sleep without crashing.

    4. NickHolland
      Mushroom

      Re: Critical Questions

      Who manages the updates? God, of course, At least, God to the simulation.

      Except ... he didn't get around to doing them.

      When is EOL? Probably about 1950 years ago, except he lost the documentation to the configuration, and hasn't been able to migrate to the new platform, and since the updates were never done, it's really gonna be difficult.

      Any resemblance to any work environments is purely coincidental.

      1. TimMaher Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: 1950

        What time is it on the Isle of White?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    how much it would take to simulate the human brain or, for that matter, 7 billion human brains

    well, can you prove to ME there ARE 7+ billion human brains out there, rather than a simulation that there are 7 billion human brains out there?

    1. Bill Gray

      Re: how much it would take to simulate the human brain or, for that matter, 7 billion human brains

      https://www.census.gov/popclock/world states that the current world population is a bit over eight billion, with some other sites going to 8.1 billion. So we have about eight billion humans, only 7 billion of whom have (real or simulated) brains... well, that does sometimes seem about right.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: how much it would take to simulate the human brain or, for that matter, 7 billion human brains

        Wrong way around. Shirley that would be 8 billion humans, maybe 1 billion brains, simulated or otherwise.

      2. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

        Re: how much it would take to simulate the human brain or, for that matter, 7 billion human brains

        I take issue with the reasoning that there are 7 billion simulated brains... I'd put the number a lot lower... a few thousand perhaps... a million at best.

        The rest are just poorly programmed AI NPC's with a very limited capacity for reasoning and response. Which does explain a lot of the world right now... They're the chatgpt of the simulation, tell it a lie often enough and they will spout it to everyone else as fact.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: how much it would take to simulate the human brain or, for that matter, 7 billion human brains

      I can't prove it for you, but you might be able to. It could take a while though. Follow the trail of bread crumbs through the Chinese Room and then figure out if you are talking to yourself. Probably still not enough to tell if you are a brain in a jar sadly.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another excuse to do as little as possible about climate change

  10. tiggity Silver badge

    Odd argument

    Organised complexity (& thus supposedly defying entropy rules) is a natural consequence of a living organism (otherwise it would never get to become a complex organism).

    Organisms don't live in an isolated system, there are various energy inputs (e.g. looks at shining sun which is good for producers.. and producers and/or other consumers, make an energy input for consumers)

    .. and. of course, over the long term an organism dies and its complexity decreases and its entropy changes considerably!

    Plenty of cases where increased organisation comes naturally e.g have a jar with oil and water (obv the 2 separate out into layers). add molecules with a hydrophillic "head" and a hydrophobic "tail", you will, after a while for the molecules to diffuse, get the molecules "organised" with their hydrophillic "head" in the water layer, and the hydrophobic "tails" in the oil layer .. and, if we just had a jar of water we would get molecules clumping such that heads "outside" (in the water) and tails inside (away from the water, potentially excluding it) *

    If he takes his flawed arguments to ridiculous extremes then life would never have happened so the simulator creators would never exist.

    * Yes, this ultra simple example is deliberately chosen because its these type of basic molecular properties that help things like cell membranes exist (and are useful in organism complexity )

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Odd argument

      "Organisms don't live in an isolated system"

      Organisms live in the isolated system we call "The Universe".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Swing and a miss

        It's an attempt at a turn of phrase, but it's really important not to take the piss with entropy and thermodynamics. Like time and relativity, trying to shoot from the hip for a rhetorical one liner about entropy and closed systems is a great way to stub your toe.

        The thermodynamics definitions of these things are super specific for a reason. The "universe" isn't closed or isolated in that frame of reference, though if cosmic inflation and time run their course those open bounds won't matter at some point and you still get a grim slow heat death of the universe. Any ordered structures or reactions exist attached to an entropic system "outside" and over time will reach thermodynamic equilibrium between those systems.

  11. Empire of the Pussycat
    Headmaster

    It only needs enough power to simulate one human brain, me.

    The rest is just a figment of my simulated imagination.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: It only needs enough power to simulate one human brain, me.

      "The rest is just a figment of my simulated imagination."

      You have got one fucking warped imagination matey!!!

      <shutdown -p now>

    2. Plest Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: It only needs enough power to simulate one human brain, me.

      Right then in that case I'm going to the management, 'cos this was not the acting gig I signed up for supporting your bloody awful world fantasy!

  12. David Nash

    simulating consciousness is not the same as being conscious

    ...until we prove that we are simulated, then we change our minds and actually it is!

    1. claimed Silver badge

      Re: simulating consciousness is not the same as being conscious

      Also it’s a philosophical argument up for debate.. if we simulate every damn neuron and chemical signal.,.. why is it not “real”? I would strongly question the ethical boundary of scanning a brain, simulating a work day, then rebooting the brain, but I’m pretty sure that is what Musk is up to with Neuralink etc.. Only way we’ll get to AI too, IMO

  13. Big_Boomer Silver badge
    Boffin

    All Hail

    I for one would like to to be the first to welcome our Simulator Overlords!

    8.1 Billion people and they ALL have brains, but many don't use what they have to a greater or lesser extent.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: All Hail

      Maybe our simulation overlords are running Seti@home on the spare processing cycles.

  14. Arty Effem

    It must be bugged.

    The first rule of writing an AI simulation: Simulated beings must not develop the suspicion that they're simulated.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It must be bugged.

      Why Rick? because it will interfere with your "free energy" scam?

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: It must be bugged.

        I knew Sanchez was behind it in some way. He always is.

    2. Primus Secundus Tertius

      Re: It must be bugged.

      "we are already living in a simulation created by a post-human society"

      Our invisible galactic overlords will not allow us to become too self-aware. 65 million years ago they bombed the dinosaurs into extinction because some of them were getting smarter than could be allowed. But the bombing was disguised as a meteor impact.

      Our overlords may be thinking that another 'zoological weeding' is due.

  15. John Hawkins
    Devil

    Meh

    Go too far down the quantum mechanics rabbit hole and everything starts to look to be part an emergent self-organising system|simulation - no need for any deities, alien system admins or heavenly deployment pipelines

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meh

      I'll meh your meh.

      The quantum layer will probably just reveal itself as another layer of physical laws who's impact will be a lot clearer in hindsight when the equations and mechanics are in hand. We first started to spot patterns and answers using some scary math that got us working answers without knowledge of all the hidden variables. It's likely we can tease whatever lies beneath the standard model apart, but it's likely to follow some combination of wave mechanics and a deeper layer of the nested doll of quarks, baryons, atoms, elements, molecules, etc etc that you climb over to get to the visible and familiar world of Newtonian physics.

      In reality, it's all and always just a ton of interactions happening down at the lowest level, and what we see is and ordered subset of whatever chaotic system roils beneath the standard model. Most of the spooky parts of the behavior of quantum systems show up at larger scales too, we just usually reach for other tools to understand them. Solitons in macro scale wave systems being one of many examples.

      Feel free to meh my meh of your meh.

      Forget the turtles, it Mehs all the way down.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Meh

        So it's all the Meh-ta-verse?

        I believe it.

  16. call-me-mark

    Problem of evil?

    If our universe is a simulation, there's an awful lot of simulated suffering (which feels plenty real enough to the simulated inhabitants). Would a post-human society capable of creating a simulated universe be as unethical as to allow all this suffering?

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: Problem of evil?

      Why would the ethics of a post-human society match our current ethics? Hell, even our current ethics vary from person to person, never mind country to country. There's certainly no singular global set of ethics everyone follows. Even if many try to come close.

      If we are living in a simulation, maybe it's some teenager's science project looking at how their species developed. Or maybe a simulation of their universe, and we're just some random emergent property that wasn't anticipated, but we're interesting enough that the admin keeps us running.

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Problem of evil?

      Why should they care about the people being simulated, anymore than people playing The Sims were worried about their suffering?

      1. Alistair
        Windows

        Re: Problem of evil?

        ..... Pools, ladders, fences, what? I have no idea what you mean.

    3. StuartMcL

      Re: Problem of evil?

      > Would a post-human society capable of creating a simulated universe be as unethical as to allow all this suffering?

      You might just as easily say:

      Would a being capable of creating a universe be as unethical as to allow all this suffering?

      1. call-me-mark

        Re: Problem of evil?

        Indeed I might. Where do you think I got the idea?

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Problem of evil?

      "Would a post-human society capable of creating a simulated universe be as unethical as to allow all this suffering?"

      You never played Sim City? Introducing "natural disaster" or conjuring up Godzilla to help clear some old buildings for redevelopment was a useful and "fun" part of it.

    5. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

      Re: Problem of evil?

      You've never played 'the sims' it's all about the suffering... I would create a lothario who sleep with every single woman in the neighbourhood, get them all to come and live in my giant house and watch the fallout as they constantly catch me cheating on them with each other.

      Then if one of them looks like they're going to leave... get them to go for a swim and remove the ladder... or wait for a cooking fire and remove the doors.

      I think I might be a satan bot.

    6. Plest Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: Problem of evil?

      They tried to explain that away in "The Matrix" by saying that human beings are basically dirty little animals and we hate anything approaching perfection as we'll get bored and reject the simulation. We like to suffer and wallow in our own filth as it's the challenge of surviving such an existence is what gives life its meaning.

      Nothing like a bit of suffering and punishment! --->

    7. Filippo Silver badge

      Re: Problem of evil?

      Calling such a society "post-human" is very reductive, though. The parent universe where they live would need to be intrinsically much bigger and more complex than ours - and they would have the innate ability to live in it and interact with it. They'd be as far beyond us as we are beyond bacteria. More than that, even. They could be as far beyond us as we are beyond inanimate matter.

      You don't think that an atom moves away when pushed because it got offended. It goes away because of electrostatic repulsion. To a sufficiently advanced intelligence, we'd be like that. It's not real suffering, it's just math describing how a fast-moving bit of metal turns into a pressure wave in air. There's no sentience involved. To us, it's somebody screaming in pain after getting shot, but that's just because we lack perspective.

  17. probgoblin
    Coffee/keyboard

    I found the issue!

    Humans are pattern matching animals. It's a useful tool but one of the costs it imposes is that we tend to reach for the tools we're comfortable with. If you are a mechanic, everything starts looking like a small block V8 or coil over suspension. If you are a plumber, the world and everything in it are really just a series of tubes and valves. If you're a habitual computer toucher, like the good doctor this article is about, everything starts to look like a program. Do Planck time and Planck length look like clock cycles and pixels to me? Do highly ordered biological systems look like optimizations and iterations on previous releases? Yes, but I have spent too much time on the computer and it has ruined my brain.

    Computers: Not even once.

  18. Dizzy Dwarf Bronze badge

    "show a tendency towards declining disorder"

    The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics disagrees with you.

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: "show a tendency towards declining disorder"

      Perhaps view "information" as a quantum phenomenon, and thermodynamics as a macroscopic one? Then it's like trying to marry quantum dynamics with relativity. Both seem to be correct, but at wildly different scales, suggesting we're missing the bits in between that merge it all together. Maybe information theory and thermodynamics are also two sides of the same coin.

  19. steelpillow Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "According to thermodynamics, if we treat entropy as a measure of information in a system, then information tends always to increase."

    "But according to quantum information theory, information is neither created nor destroyed in any quantum interaction, though it may be transformed."

    "Or, er... right then. Ahem! In thermodynamics entropy represents a capacity to hold information. Thus, entropy can increase even though the information contained doesn't."

    "But according to astrophysics, the area of a black hole's event horizon is directly proportional to both its entropy and the information it has swallowed."

    "Oh, bollocks! Excuse me while I cook up a theory of information entropy and see if I can change the subject..."

    My crystal balls now suggest that soon, we will be told that the Integrated Information Theory of consciousness (IIT) should really be a theory of information entropy. Hey! maybe the decreasing entropy with age is why we get slower and stupider in old age? I claim my Nobel Prize!

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Yes, bit someone's brass balls will always be in oppositional defiance.

    2. veti Silver badge

      But... entropy doesn't represent "capacity to hold information". The reverse, if anything. You can't hold any information in a maximally entropic system, because every particle is indistinguishable from every other particle.

  20. jake Silver badge

    How many simulate consciousnesses ...

    can dance on the head of a pin?

    More to the point, what kind of intelligence would waste the necessary energy to make such a simulation? What would be the point?

    Methinks this is nothing more than an attempt at re-filling the grant money coffers. Philosophers gotta eat, too.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: How many simulate consciousnesses ...

      "Methinks this is nothing more than an attempt at re-filling the grant money coffers. Philosophers gotta eat, too."

      We need a bigger computer to identify what the actual question to "Life, The Universe and Everything" actually is. It might even need to be the size of a planet!

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: How many simulate consciousnesses ...

      "Philosophers gotta eat, too."

      Do you have a proof of that statement?

      1. jake Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: How many simulate consciousnesses ...

        "Do you have a proof of that statement?"

        To date, all the philosophers that I have met are human. All humans require nutrition to survive. Ergo, all philosophers gotta eat.

        Granted, the first part of that is a testimonial ...

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: How many simulate consciousnesses ...

          I'm disappointed. I'd hoped someone would come along to say they had but the margins weren't wide enough to fit it in.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How many simulate consciousnesses ... / What would be the point?

      try to explain to bacteria why you're running your experiments on them, and when you succeed, you'll see the point.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: How many simulate consciousnesses ... / What would be the point?

        "try to explain to bacteria"

        Perhaps it's hubris, but I refuse to allow this line of argument. It assumes far too much, none of which has been entered into evidence.

    4. Plest Silver badge

      Re: How many simulate consciousnesses ...

      We do it now! You ever wasted a day, an afternoon playing video games? I certainly have. That's wasted electricity I'm sure my wife would have preferred me to use working in the garden or fixing the bathroom. Millions of people playing simulations of real life or fantasies, all over the planet right now with no redeeming feature other than passing time in the pursuit of pure entertainment. Entertainment achieves little other than making us feel good, seems pretty pointless as one little thing goes wrong and we're right back to moaning about everything again, so why do we waste so much time escaping and entertaining ourselves? That's energy, time and money that could be better spent on trying to stop climate change, kids being abused, people starving but we're still out there spending $300bn a year on video games!

  21. Tron Silver badge

    A simple analogy.

    Draw a circle and put your pen in the middle. Now pick a direction, North, South, East or West, and move one unit in that direction at random. Your initial movements will make more of a difference as to where you end up than later movements as you get near to the edge of the circle.

    Or: The big changes come early, for example in evolution. Once you are a fish, you are likely to evolve into a slightly different fish.

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Re: A simple analogy.

      Except that's not how evolution has actually worked. For example, whales are descended from the same land based ancestor as sheep. Some proto-sheep decided to foresake grass / legs / wool / bleating for the very different attraction of crill / flippers / blubber / ocean-spanning song. And, that proto sheep itself had an ancestor that'd decided "to hell with living in the sea, let's see what's beyond the beach".

      If one goes looking for micro-evolutionary changes, one will find them. If one goes looking for macro-evolutionary changes, one will find them too, but one has to look harder. It's all about what evolutionary opportunities existed in the environment. Even within just mammals, there's a vast variety that exploded out into the world following the demise of the dinos.

      1. Toni the terrible Bronze badge

        Re: A simple analogy.

        They had the ability to decide?

  22. trevorde Silver badge

    Definitely a simulation

    How else do you explain:

    * Bitcoin

    * NFTs

    * Brexit

    * Boris Johnson

    * Elon Musk

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Definitely a simulation

      The same way you explain religion and other scams for the unwary.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What?

    Dr Vopson, who spent some of his career at disk drive giant Seagate, has developed the second law of infodynamics, which says that the entropy – or disorder – within information stays the same or decreases over time

    This person is not in the same universe - simulated or otherwise - as me.

  24. Just A Quick Comment

    This could be an option...

    Could the thing being simulated and reality be the same thing?

    In other words, this could be a real simulation we are living/existing in, not a simulated simultion.

    I'm off for a lie down, my head hurts...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This could be an option...

      May be a Douglas Adams quote but it was probably derived from a section in "1066 and all that" on how Gladstone tried to answer the "Irish question" but whenever he seemed to be close to an answer they secretly changed the question.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: This could be an option...

        And about 1,400 years earlier than that, the Romans had a similar issue with Britain(nia).

        Insert a few boring, but quite historical, groans about the picts and scots (or was that the irish?) ...

  25. Just A Quick Comment

    What was the Douglas Adams quote?

    I remember something about if the purpose of the universe is discovered then that universe will be replaced with something even more bizarre. There are signs this may already have happened.

    I know this is not accurate but that's the gist as I remember it...

  26. mevets

    Physics nerds.

    They couldn't grasp the concept of recreational pharmaceuticals in secondary school along with the cool kids.

    They traipse along their meagre existence until they catch up to their pubescent contemporaries

    And finally decide that what was bleedingly obvious to all

    Reality is a facade

    great news.

    1. Alistair
      Windows

      Re: Physics nerds.

      couldn't grasp the concept of recreational pharmaceuticals in secondary school

      You clearly went to the wrong school. I still remember the parties with the rest of the geeks including the physics nerds.

      But, then, we were all nerds at my school.

  27. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

    Karl Popper says

    The full expansion of this story is:

    Observation has failed to refute the hypothesis that we are living in a simulation. If this hypothesis is true, however, the design of the simulation has thus far failed to give the game away by demonstrating a repeatable programming error that manifests as a hard contradiction, rather than a weird quirk of existence. No one has yet worked out how one might tell these two apart.

  28. ecofeco Silver badge

    I'm just a dude...

    ..playing dude who is playing another dude.

  29. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

    Not evidence

    The theory doesn't prove we're living in a simulation, it merely holds open the possibility that we are. Frankly, I believe it's nonsense, but that's just me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not evidence

      I have a theory too. It's that all brontosauruses are thin at one end, much, much thicker in the middle, and then thin again at the far end

      1. Alistair
        Windows

        Re: Not evidence

        I claim my $5 Anne Elk!

  30. veti Silver badge

    Melvin Vopson

    I don't want to be judgmental about names of all things, but if I were named Melvin Vopson, I'd probably think I was someone else's avatar too.

    Seriously? Mr and Mrs Vopson, what were you thinking?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Works at the University of Portsmouth, PhD from Central Lancashire? Hmm.

  32. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

    An advanced race is playing 'First Life'

    There's an old early 2000's reference for you... people who invested heavily in the game 2nd life now realising they're in the life simulation game called First Life.

    My user is obviously a teenager based on some of the crap it gets me to spew forth from my face hole... the puerile, meme laden, pop culture laced conversations as a 44yr old has no business being that 'with it' as the young people no longer call it... and you'll be 'with it' too one day, but by then what's it will be something different and you'll feel old whilst spouting 15yr old drivel that amuses them.

    At the end of the day, we are all just simulated meat sacks with an expiration date.

    Fingers crossed my next user creates a more well rounded character.

  33. Steve Kerr

    Sounds like a really am a figment of my own imagination!

  34. SailorSteve

    Will the real reality please stand up?

    So, do we live in a simulation? My position is that it is intrinsically unprovable. Being such, there is really no point in not believing the universe is real. Where to begin…..let’s start with evil demons and Rene Descartes.

    The story goes that there is an evil (not really necessary to term it evil) sitting between you and world. The demon intercepts all the data coming from the world and can control it, changing it how it wants to. This means that you can not know anything, absolutely, about the world. The demon controls all you see, hear, smell, etc… about the world. So, let’s make this less medieval and more sciencey sounding. I know, let change the word demon for computer simulation and presto, you can’t know anything about the world because the computer controls what your sense receive. But, you say, I have theories, experiments and data to back my conclusion. Nonsense. The simulation controls the your experiments and the data they produce. Heck, the computer controls your though on the subject (well, all subjects) and your decision on what experiments to run. You will get whatever results the simulation wants you to have as well as it controlling your understand of said results. Ok, is it possible that it has not changing anything? Sure, but how do you know? The only way you could learn the truth would be to put an observer outside the universe/simulation. Then you would finally be free from the demon’s/computer’s sphere of influence, thus able to report exactly what is occurring. Now the tricky part; putting an observer outside the universe. I’m going roll the dice on this one and say that can’t be done. So, you can’t know anything about the universe if it isn’t real. Any hint of simulation precludes the ability to tell real information from false.

    Second, let’s say it is a simulation. So? What do you plan to do with this information? Escape? How? You are a product of the computer simulation; you have no existence outside of it. Master Chief can’t jump out Halo, so why should you be able to escape the simulation? And even if you could, why would the real universe be anything like the simulation? Our simulations are generally always fantasies. Magic, super-soldiers, portals, FTL, the list goes on. Why would whatever created the simulation, just do their universe in miniature? So, if it is a simulation, you can’t escape and you still don’t know anything about the real universe.

    In fact, believing the universe is a simulation might be quite harmful. You and I are just bits of computer code; does it really matter what we do? It relieves us of responsible for who and what we are. Just a bit of computer fantasy that can be turned off at any moment. Moral choices and ethical decisions; just an invention of choice the computer provided. No. The universe is real. I am responsible for who I am and what I become. It is my duty, no matter how small, to leave the world a better place than when I was brought into it. The idea of a simulation is harmful me, you and everyone around us because it absolves us of responsibility.

  35. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Re: "But why would a simulation create El Reg? Mmm... pizza" .... Lindsay Clark

    :-) An easier question to answer with the usual avalanche of smart and SMARTR respondent commentary would be .... Why would a simulation not entertain and host El Regers? ...... for such are as vital blood transfusions are to severely wounded, and in dire straits need of vital blood transfusions, patients.

    And is it just a coincidence that the subject of alternate virtual realities, albeit with it being cloaked in some obfuscating ambiguity/strange and stealthy narrative, was touched upon earlier, and rather appropriately, on El Reg's, TheNextPlatform.

    amanfromMars 1 says:

    OCTOBER 9, 2023 AT 12:51 PM [2310091751]....... replying on https://www.nextplatform.com/2023/10/06/openai-to-join-the-custom-ai-chip-club/

    [Your comment is awaiting moderation. This is a preview; your comment will be visible after it has been approved.]

    “Can any part of life be larger than life?” one asks.

    Well Yes, of course, ...... they be all of those parts self-actuated to practically remotely realise with physical abandon, virtualisable phorms, absolutely fabulous dreams and rogue renegade nightmares in reciprocal agreement with both Einstein and Rushian thoughts, and without the worryisome fear of unwarranted doubt forbidding and preventing total information awareness access providing ITs AWEsome Utility for Enhancing Abilities ...... "I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world, and all there ever will be to know and understand” [Einstein] ...... "And the knowledge that they fear is a weapon to be used against them .... And the things that he fears are a weapon to be held against him" [Rush]

    And the future really holds no fears for masters and mistresses of ultimate weapons with almighty arsenals of smart ammunition and even smarter intelligence leads and feeds.

    :-) Naturally though, will many a soul imagine all of that to be completely wrong .... and miss out catastrophically on all of the available fun. That be their great loss, Timothy Prickett Morgan. And of that there is no shadow of doubt.

    Bravo, El Reg, and take a Well Earned and Fully Deserved Bow ..... Forging Novel Paths many SMARTR Jumps and Quantum Leaps Way Up Ahead and Leading Failed Intellectually Bankrupt Competition and Petrified Terrifying Opposition Boots and Reboots into the Future.

    And I'd bet there's not many global outfits/virtual publications able to publish truly live future information and additional advanced intelligence worthy of following, or denying, on that situation.

  36. mpi Silver badge

    It's not a simulation, it's an MMORPG

    The graphics are amazing, but the NPCs AI is beyond ridiculous.

    Also, admins refuse to do anything about rampant trolling, or constant cheating that is ruining the ingame economy.

    Quests are boring, grindy and repetitive af. After level 27 you have basically seen all the content, and are just doing daily quests. You can't avoid them however due to the inflated prices to satisfy the constantly naggig stat system. Ingame housing is well done in theory, but the requirements for even a modest hovel are so imbalanced that many players have no chance to experience what would otherwhise be a really enjoyable feature. Sorry, but that is just inexcusably bad design, period.

    The faction-conflict system is completely illogical, with randomly erupting violence with no warning, and zero logical reason given. Not fun. All it does is disrupt normal people who are just trying to enjoy the game.

    I will admit though, that the pet-minigame system is really nice.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    it would explain a lot

    If we were a simulation, there probably some pimply teen "bro" alien in his mom's basement who's getting off on trolling us by creating Trump, Musk etc.

  38. Conundrum1885

    Fermi paradox

    Could thus explain the lack of actual verified alien signals.

    I have often wondered if there is alien life out there but if so did they make the same mistakes we did? Did their 'Cuban Missile Crisis' or another close call end in mutually assured destruction?

    Perhaps they learned the hard way, abandoning nuclear energy in favour of a more potent energy source?

    There is more potential energy locked in a kilo of 40K or 176Lu than uranium, if we could only harness it. Isomer power would take us to the nearest stars, eventually.

  39. Sceptic Tank Silver badge
    Angel

    Jesus saves and so should you.

    Beware of the BSOD. Don't go touching anything that looks out of place and make sure your pointers are valid.

  40. albaleo

    Just an experiment

    We may be just one of God's many experiments trying to answer its fundamental question of, "How the fuck did I get here?"

  41. Bebu Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Perhaps sort of right.

    If you think of minutest fragment of space and time as having what we call the laws of physics embedded in it then one might imagine space-time as being an (almost?) infinite distributed (data flow?) computer evaluating some sort of declarative code (physics.)

    Of course I guess this poses another metaphysical(?) question of how the universe came into being and why does it have the physical laws it does have rather than something else anthropic principle notwithstanding. Personally I wonder how small does a chunk of space-time have to be as not to be able contain all of physics ie how far down the pile of turtles or tortoises before they start missing bits like a leg or a flipper? ;)

    Still if Musk reckons 'tis so its then one can be certain 'taint so beyond even unreasonable doubt.

    The glider gun in Conway's life is probably its version of Musk. :)

    All in all I think Douglas Adams did a much more amusing job on pontificating on the question of life, the universe and everything.

  42. lidgaca-2

    'He said the fact that physical systems show a tendency towards declining disorder showed "excess information is removed" and "resembles the process of a computer deleting or compressing waste code to save storage space and optimize power consumption. And as a result supports the idea that we're living in a simulation." '

    Sounds (smells ?) like dingoes kidneys to me ...

  43. Mike 137 Silver badge

    " 'we're living in a simulation,' says author"

    Oh no! Not recursion again!!!!!

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: " 'we're living in a simulation,' says author"

      It's deja vu all over again!

  44. waldo kitty
    Boffin

    But why would a simulation create El Reg? Mmm... pizza

    But why would a simulation create El Reg? Mmm... pizza

    even the Sims have their daily news and pizza shops...

    why can't we be a simulation?

  45. DJO Silver badge

    Missing the point of a simulation

    Many things to consider such as:

    Granularity - how detailed does a simulation need to be? Why does a simulation need to simulate down to quark level?

    Predictability - Is the simulated universe deterministic or random? If random it's pointless, nothing of value can be found. If it's deterministic it's just as pointless as it does not reflect reality.

    Capacity - There is a physical limit to how small memory can be - I suppose the final limit is using electrons to store a 1 or 0 by spin or some other property. To simulate 7 billion people each with 100 trillion synapses as well as an close to infinite number of other animals and plants as well as the climate and issues from space or from inside the Earth and then repeat all that for every other planet would require a computer memory module of planetary dimensions - just not practical.

    And so on, at every point the question "Simulation or Reality" breaks down as a simulation either does not fit with the observed universe or is impossible using any form of computational device.

    All good fun to argue over but ultimately as important and soluble as debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

  46. Eclectic Man Silver badge
    Alien

    A worrying thought

    If the universe is a simulation, then maybe life, including us, is not merely an accident, but unknown to our 'creator', who is more interested in watching the pretty stars and nebulae shine and galaxies interact.

    e.g. https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap231011.html

    I don't know how much processing power it takes to run us here on planet Earth, but I guess that compared to the REST OF THE UNIVERSE, it is not much.

    Maybe we should redouble our attempts to contact extra-terrestrial civilisations in the hope our overlord(s) notice and take pity on us?

  47. Baximelter

    The weirdness of quantum physics is just where lack of detail sets in because of limited storage and computing power. Thus quantum physics effectively proves we are a simulation.

    1. Watashi

      Nope

      Quite the opposite. Quantum mechanics proves we are NOT in a computer simulation, because why would you even bother programming something as funky as QM into a simulation?

  48. Erik Beall

    So he explains it all using something else he can't explain, entropy, nice card trick. Seriously though I'm sure he doesn't see the irony. The thing that gets me about simulations is if indeed we are being simulated with fidelity even within twenty orders of magnitude of reality, the simulation hardware would consume many universes. So we must be a low res simulation or we're actually inside a much much bigger universe (or it has different laws of physics). Fluency in computational complexity should be required for more physicists (although I didn't learn much about it until over a decade in).

  49. Craig 2

    World of World of Warcraft

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rw8gE3lnpLQ

  50. Lomax
    Holmes

    Maybe...

    ...but where are the wires?

    Based on my own experience working as a programmer in various projects, it seems to me that systems do get more disorganised over time, and that they invariably bloat and sprawl and become less predictable. I'm thinking that predictability can be seen as a measure of order, in that the more ordered a system is the more predictable it is. Size seems to be an important factor; bigger projects appear to gain more entropy per unit of time than smaller ones. Some approach black hole levels of chaos attraction, where the only way to avoid having every hour of the day sucked into the crushing hell at its core is the rewrite that the beancounters won't let us have. And so we go back to work, trying to distil some semblance of order from our mess of wires - knowing full well it's a losing battle.

  51. Exact Circus
    Pint

    Vopson, Bostrom - an eerie similarity…

    Is one a simulation of the other ?

  52. Winkypop Silver badge
    Trollface

    Some simulation

    Pineapple on pizza?

    No way that’s natural.

  53. Mike 137 Silver badge
    FAIL

    Hold your horses for a moment

    Having at last managed to plough through the incredibly turgid paper, the only direct reference to the universe as a simulation is in the conclusions:

    "A super complex universe like ours, if it were a simulation, would require a built-in data optimization and compression mechanism in order to reduce the computational power and the data storage requirements. This is exactly what we are observing via empirical evidence all around us, including digital data, biological systems, atomistic systems, symmetries, and the entire universe."

    That's actually a hopelessly weak argument, not least because it assumes that the empirical evidence can be supportive of no alternative hypothesis than the one proposed. Ergo, not even bad science -- in fact not really science at all. And, ironically, quite a bit of the supposed 'evidence' was apparently derived from guess what? Simulations.

  54. Mike 137 Silver badge
    Stop

    Hold yet another horse!

    The paper references a book by the author: M M Vopson PhD, Reality Reloaded: The Scientific Case for a Simulated Universe, IPI Publishing Hampshire, UK, 2023

    So I thought I'd look it up.

    The publisher lists its contact details solely as Information Physics Institute, Gosport, Hampshire, United Kingdom with an email address of information.physics.institute@gmail.com

    People can join the institute as 'research fellows' just by subscribing £20, and the web site states "All proceeds from the membership contributions will be used to finance the experimental testing of the M-E-I equivalence principle, confirming that information is the fifth state of matter and the simulation hypothesis."

    Conducting experiments to confirm a hypothesis does not constitute objective scientific research (particularly when the hypothesis is so bizarre as this one).

    BTW, the privileges of being a 'research fellow' include "access to the IPI blog, allowing to post unlimited articles on the IPI site / blog, to promote or sell your books, software or relevant products and to access freely all our events including live talks. Research Fellows are also encouraged to participate in the IPI research projects and to publish in our online magazine, IPI Letters).". So for twenty smackers you too can get published on theoretical physics, without the need to go though all those years of boring preparatory study.

  55. TimMaher Silver badge
    Coat

    Slartibartfast

    Won an award for his fjord design on the first planet earth.

    Now, where are the little white mice?

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