"We May be Living in a Massive Computer-Generated Universe" --Physicists Say Its Reality Can Now Be Tested
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December 15, 2012

"We May be Living in a Massive Computer-Generated Universe" --Physicists Say Its Reality Can Now Be Tested

 

 

           Heic1005a

 

The idea that we may be living in a computer generated universe that has been debated by the greats of philosphy, from Plato to Descartes, who speculated that the world we see around us could be generated by an 'evil demon'. Plato wrote that reality may be no more than shadows in a cave but the human species, having never left the cave, may not be aware of it.

More recently, the concept that current humanity could possibly be living in a computer simulation comes from a 2003 paper published in Philosophical Quarterly by Nick Bostrom, a philosophy professor at the University of Oxford. In the paper, he argued that at least one of three possibilities is true:

(1) The human species is likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage; (2) Any posthuman civilization is very unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of its evolutionary history. We are almost certainly living in a computer simulation; (3) “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.”

The conical (red) surface shows the relationship between energy and momentum in special relativity, a fundamental theory concerning space and time developed by Albert Einstein, and is the expected result if our universe is not a simulation. The flat (blue) surface illustrates the relationship between energy and momentum that would be expected if the universe is a simulation with an underlying cubic lattice.

 

           Universesimulation

With current limitations and trends in computing, it will be decades before researchers will be able to run even primitive simulations of the universe. But now a team of physicists at the University of Washington has come up with a potential test to see if the idea holds water. The team has suggested tests that can be performed now, or in the near future, that are sensitive to constraints imposed on future simulations by limited resources.

Currently, supercomputers using a technique called lattice quantum chromodynamics and starting from the fundamental physical laws that govern the universe can simulate only a very small portion of the universe, on the scale of one 100-trillionth of a meter, a little larger than the nucleus of an atom, said Martin Savage, a UW physics professor.

Eventually, more powerful simulations will be able to model on the scale of a molecule, then a cell and even a human being. But it will take many generations of growth in computing power to be able to simulate a large enough chunk of the universe to understand the constraints on physical processes that would indicate we are living in a computer model.

However, Savage said, there are signatures of resource constraints in present-day simulations that are likely to exist as well in simulations in the distant future, including the imprint of an underlying lattice if one is used to model the space-time continuum.

The supercomputers performing lattice quantum chromodynamics calculations essentially divide space-time into a four-dimensional grid. That allows researchers to examine what is called the strong force, one of the four fundamental forces of nature and the one that binds subatomic particles called quarks and gluons together into neutrons and protons at the core of atoms.

“If you make the simulations big enough, something like our universe should emerge,” Savage said. Then it would be a matter of looking for a “signature” in our universe that has an analog in the current small-scale simulations.

Savage and colleagues Silas Beane of the University of New Hampshire, who collaborated while at the UW’s Institute for Nuclear Theory, and Zohreh Davoudi, a UW physics graduate student, suggest that the signature could show up as a limitation in the energy of cosmic rays.

In a paper they have posted on arXiv, an online archive for preprints of scientific papers in a number of fields, including physics, they say that the highest-energy cosmic rays would not travel along the edges of the lattice in the model but would travel diagonally, and they would not interact equally in all directions as they otherwise would be expected to do.*“This is the first testable signature of such an idea,” Savage said.

If such a concept turned out to be reality, it would raise other possibilities as well. For example, Davoudi suggests that if our universe is a simulation, then those running it could be running other simulations as well, essentially creating other universes parallel to our own.

“Then the question is, ‘Can you communicate with those other universes if they are running on the same platform?’” she said. 

Elsewhere this fall, Professor Silas Beane, a theoretical physicist at the University of Bonn in Germany said that his group of scientists have developed a way to test the 'simulation hypothesis'. If the cosmos is a numerical simulation, there ought to be clues in the spectrum of high energy cosmic rays. Now more than two thousand years since Plato suggested that our senses provide only a weak reflection of objective reality, experts believe they have solved the riddle using mathetical models known as the lattice QCDapproach in an attempt to recreate - on a theoretical level - a simulated reality. Lattice QCD is a complex approach that that looks at how particles known as quarks and gluons relate in three dimensions.

"We consider ourselves on some level universe simulators because we calculate the interactions of particles by basically replacing space and time by a grid and putting it in a box," said Beane. "In doing that we face lots of problems for instance the box and the grid size breaks Einstein's special theory of relativity so we know how to fix this in order to get physical predictions that are meaningful."

"We thought that if we make the assumption that the so-called simulators face some of the same problems that we do in terms of finite resources and so on then, if they are doing a simulation and even though their box size of course is enormous and the grid size can be very small, as long as the resources are finite then the box size will be finite, the grid size will be finite," Beane added. "And therefore at some level for instance there would be violations of Einstein's special theory of relativity."

According to MIT's Technology Review, "using the world's most powerful supercomputers, physicists have only managed to simulate tiny corners of the cosmos just a few femtometers across (A femtometer is 10^-15 meters.) That may not sound like much but the significant point is that the simulation is essentially indistinguishable from the real thing (at least as far as we understand it)."

As Carl Sagan said, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

The image at the top of the page image shows a smoothed reconstruction of the total (mostly dark) matter distribution in the COSMOS field, created from data taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based telescopes. It was inferred from the weak gravitational lensing distortions that are imprinted onto the shapes of background galaxies. The colour coding indicates the distance of the foreground mass concentrations as gathered from the weak lensing effect. Structures shown in white, cyan, and green are typically closer to us than those indicated in orange and red. To improve the resolution of the map, data from galaxies both with and without redshift information were used.

The Daily Galaxy via http://www.washington.edu/newsNew Scientist and  http://www.technologyreview.com

 

Comments

There is MUCH more sophisticated paper by Brian Withworth on this.

“I AM.” – GOD”

” I Think, Therefore I am.” -Descartes

” I yam what I yam, and that’s all what I yam.” – Popeye

I Love this assumption, it fits perfect for the growing insensibility we have accustomed our selves to use, practice and pass alone to our next generation, all of which has and is been done for the good of Man and not for the good of Humanity. Its easy to see our selves as Humans and denie the true reality that we where create to the Image of God and his Human essences, but still we are just man/woman and Humanity is trully a race born in Heaven. we have to be very carefull that with our acctions we guide man for the true path into a more Human and Humanistic conscience, and not become selfish with the knowledge we have received from God, and adjusted to our own, man like anbitions, because we will deceived man, and object to their own transition from man to Humans.

I'll admit it. I don't get it. Looking for constraints? Doesn’t reality impose its own constraints? ie. the speed of light, how much energy can be gained from mass, and about a billion other things? How is a computer simulation supposed to find one that is proof that we are ourselves in a computer simulation? Wouldn't it be more likely that it is just a limitation of the program that we created? I don't want to sound like I think I'm smarter than the PHDs doing this, I'm simply saying I’m not smart enough to understand it.

Fellow Xepharpians, the humans in Universe Simulation SPWX-1844729 have just discovered that they are living in a simulation. Time to terminate said simulation.

"Time to terminate said simulation."

Yes, please. End the debacle.

I did have an usually large FPS today.

I feel sad for Francisco and how naive and uneducated his comments are. Really?? A fairy-tale magical being blinked his eyes and wiggled his nose to create all of time and space? Lol. That's funny, Someone told me the same story at a tea party I had with Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, and the Easter bunny.

If this really is a computer simulation then it wouldn't be hard for the designers of this system to make it impossible to determine the truth. All they would need to do is ensure that the system returns false results when they run the tests to check if it is a simulation.

And a "simulation" is "unreal"??

I always thought existentialism was complete rubbish.

...and the simulation spawns its own paths and evolves many trajectories of possibility. The reason why the real world starts to look like an ambitious super-simulation is because we have, for decades, been trying to shoe-horn reality into our computer models and A.I. systems. It's no wonder that the real thing starts to look like the man-made thing. But make no mistake, the former preceded the latter.

We are here just to know how to love.....it is a hight energy named tachyon. And when a men
is in contact with its frequency without burn himself........altruism
BIG BANG he turns a god creator again ! Saint Germain

If we are living in a simulation, let's just hack it...

Absolutely fascinating--and horrifying! We assess this subject in light of these new findings in our article about the simulated universe.

The Ghost Diaries

It does seem as though a posthuman civilization creating a simulation would make it impossible to unravel the mystery. But perhaps that's why we're encountering so many paradoxes and complications at the quantum level. As well as dark matter.

Ah the red pill. I knew you would take it! Now jump in the nebakanezer and let's get out of here.

If we pursuit the idea that we are living in a simulated universe…………it,like any other research for reality……… brings about the very disturbing thought to me of infinite regressions……..

I mean in regards to this article……….what is to stop us from thinking that if we are simulated by a being, entity or consciousness mind from another universe that the one they exist in…….. is not simulated as well?...............and on and on…………..without ever knowing the deep reality of existence?
For the deist and some theists, it would be like asking who created God. And then who created the God creator……..etc., etc.

Somewhat similar to wondering if a whole universe exists within the hidden dimension of a gluon or some other particle?

Cough, cough…(ahem)…..I better stop smoking this fatty for the moment and get a grip on things…………..

This can't be true! Then why am I paying taxes?

Nothing, but a bunch of air heads! Then each brain must be a simulation?

Some people watch way too much Matrix

Three things to reflect upon:
1. Plato's cave was a comment about life and society. If people believe one thing don't try to tell them something else. Just ask Socrates - people in power don't like it when the apple cart is rocked; we can't have the masses thinking for themselves.
2. DeCates nearly got it right - but he should have said "I am, I think...therefore?" Seems that would fit in nicely with the simulators.
3. If post humans are so much smarter then we simulations, wouldn't they have built a system beyond our reckoning. Perhaps we will have to wait until we become post simulations to discover the real truth (et tu Mulder!)

Have to agree, if you're going to run a simulation of your own ancestors, and you're going to let the simulation run until they start producing the kind of computing you are using yourselves, you absolutely would be engineering your simulation to keep the truth of that simulation hidden.

Unless we're in a simulated universe that was designed by post-humans that are also in a simulated universe who want to leave the same flaws in place.

Regardless, how does such a finding change how any of us live our lives, or how we research the workings of the universe? How do you distinguish a measurement proving our universe is simulated from a measurement proving there is a flaw in our theories of how the universe works? What if the universe is gridded on a Planck-length scale? Why must this grid be an artifact of simulation?

well, a truly smart being one day will escape from this universe. we just figure how to upgrade our brain like nature does in millions of years. and it could be done in a few decades.

mission: "escape from this universe or die tryin".
BUT, i think only a simulated thing can die (like we do).


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