Do We Live in a Simulation? Chances Are about 50–50

16 Replies, 1424 Views

Do We Live in a Simulation? Chances Are about 50–50

Anil Ananthaswamy


Quote:For Owhadi, the most promising way to look for potential paradoxes created by such computing shortcuts is through quantum physics experiments. Quantum systems can exist in a superposition of states, and this superposition is described by a mathematical abstraction called the wave function. In standard quantum mechanics, the act of observation causes this wave function to randomly collapse to one of many possible states. Physicists are divided over whether the process of collapse is something real or just reflects a change in our knowledge about the system. “If it is just a pure simulation, there is no collapse,” Owhadi says. “Everything is decided when you look at it. The rest is just simulation, like when you’re playing these video games.”

To this end, Owhadi and his colleagues have worked on five conceptual variations of the double-slit experiment, each designed to trip up a simulation. But he acknowledges that it is impossible to know, at this stage, if such experiments could work. “Those five experiments are just conjectures,” Owhadi says.



Quote:All of these factors have led Davoudi to speculate about the simulation hypothesis. If our reality is a simulation, then the simulator is likely also discretizing spacetime to save on computing resources (assuming, of course, that it is using the same mechanisms as our physicists for that simulation). Signatures of such discrete spacetime could potentially be seen in the directions high-energy cosmic rays arrive from: they would have a preferred direction in the sky because of the breaking of so-called rotational symmetry.

Telescopes “haven’t observed any deviation from that rotational invariance yet,” Davoudi says. And even if such an effect were to be seen, it would not constitute unequivocal evidence that we live in a simulation. Base reality itself could have similar properties.


It's interesting that the Simulation Argument, like the Multiverse, is gaining ground as acceptable.

For those materialists in STEM academia this all likely seems like good ways to get around thorny issues like the afterlife or ID, but I wonder if they understand the way the public reads this kind of stuff. It isn't hard to go think of the Programmer as God, and if we are in a simulation there's nothing stopping us from going into an afterlife. It's arguably easier to explain in terms of a 3d VR game than souls-as-extra-dimensional-energy.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


[-] The following 2 users Like Sciborg_S_Patel's post:
  • Silence, OmniVersalNexus
(2020-10-15, 07:49 AM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: It isn't hard to go think of the Programmer as God, and if we are in a simulation there's nothing stopping us from going into an afterlife. It's arguably easier to explain in terms of a 3d VR game than souls-as-extra-dimensional-energy.
I agree. That's something that always confused me. I remember chatting with someone online briefly who was a firm believer in the Simulation Theory. They claimed it was due to their DMT trip. They said they believed in extra-dimensional beings but not God, and I asked them what's the difference between the creator of this simulation and God, especially of the deistic variety? They never responded iirc :/
[-] The following 2 users Like OmniVersalNexus's post:
  • nbtruthman, Sciborg_S_Patel
I dislike the naming. A simulation usually implies a representation of something else, which is real. For example we can simulate road traffic flows or nuclear reactions. But those simulations have real counterparts. I'm always baffled as to what is the implied real counterpart of the so-called simulation theories.
[-] The following 4 users Like Typoz's post:
  • stephenw, nbtruthman, Sciborg_S_Patel, Larry
(2020-10-15, 10:25 AM)Typoz Wrote: I dislike the naming. A simulation usually implies a representation of something else, which is real. For example we can simulate road traffic flows or nuclear reactions. But those simulations have real counterparts. I'm always baffled as to what is the implied real counterpart of the so-called simulation theories.

The usual presumption is that what is being "simulated" is a brilliantly imagined artificial virtual reality with little correspondence with the higher reality of the simulation programmers. The model for this idea is of course the virtual reality video game technology prevalent today in our own world. What is supposedly common between the simulators' world and ours is some sort of basically iterative computation of world states (the idea modeled on supercomputer simulations in our own world) involving absolute minimum time and distance and other parameter intervals, and drastic simplifications or optimizations to save in the higher existence hyper-computer processor time, such as, not computing in detail what is going on continuously in the background when it is not being observed by us. 

Of course, most of the virtual reality simulation hypotheses assume the totally invalid materialist neuroscience position that human consciousness is algorithmic and totally based on data processing in the physical brain, so we ourselves are supposedly being generated by this hyper-computer processing, which is in effect simulating our consciousness. There are a few world simulation hypotheses that recognize the deep problems with this (which includes the "Hard Problem") and propose that we are instead the "users" or participators in this simulated virtual reality, and that accordingly our own true reality is ultimately the reality of the virtual reality simulators. I think Marcus Arvan's proposed P2P virtual reality simulation is one of these approaches.
(This post was last modified: 2020-10-15, 05:41 PM by nbtruthman.)
[-] The following 2 users Like nbtruthman's post:
  • Sciborg_S_Patel, Typoz
(2020-10-15, 10:25 AM)Typoz Wrote: I dislike the naming. A simulation usually implies a representation of something else, which is real. For example we can simulate road traffic flows or nuclear reactions. But those simulations have real counterparts. I'm always baffled as to what is the implied real counterpart of the so-called simulation theories.

It seems what would lie beyond the Simulation is an "ideal" world, a physicalist reality without pesky things like quantum behaviors & temporal relavitism.

I don't think we're in a simulation, though I do think modern technology has enabled us to think analogously when considering stuff like the oddities in Survival literature. Myers had an idea like this, that the apparitions of the dead are akin to characters played in a video game - but he lacked the technology around him to really crystallize his thoughts.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(2020-10-15, 09:43 AM)OmniVersalNexus Wrote: I agree. That's something that always confused me. I remember chatting with someone online briefly who was a firm believer in the Simulation Theory. They claimed it was due to their DMT trip. They said they believed in extra-dimensional beings but not God, and I asked them what's the difference between the creator of this simulation and God, especially of the deistic variety? They never responded iirc :/

Supposedly the creator of this world simulation, since the concept is based on our own supercomputer simulation technology, has definite limits that he must incorporate into his hyper-computer system "software and hardware" whatever it corresponds to in his higher level of reality. These would be fundamental lower limits to computational intervals in parameters like time, distance, energy levels, velocities, and so on, to limit expenditure of hyper-processor execution time (the hyper-processor would be incredibly fast but not infinitely so) . Other measures would also have to be implemented to limit expenditure of hyper-processor execution time, like only computing the world state in detail for areas that are actually being observed.

God, being omnipotent and omniscient would have no such limitations. His creation could be truly continuous to an indefinite extent, with no limits to velocities for instance. Which then brings to mind the existence in our world of a definite absolute limit to velocities - namely the velocity of light. This might be a clue.
[-] The following 2 users Like nbtruthman's post:
  • OmniVersalNexus, Sciborg_S_Patel
It's all a bit of a mish-mash of concepts. On the one hand, a simulation hypothesis would mean intelligent design, and some sort of god-like creators. Where it places ourselves as conscious beings seems to vary anywhere from being simulated too, having no real existence all the way to being the users or perhaps even the programmers of this thing.

It may also amount to a form of giant conspiracy theory, somewhat larger in scope than the usual Skeptiko fare, and technically out of bounds for normal discussion on this forum.

As usual, I have to feel there is a tendency to over-value ideas based upon the technology of the day, just as god was described as a giant watchmaker in an earlier age. These fads and fashions repel me greatly, it always seems to me that far from expressing some great insight, such ideas come from those lacking the ability to see beyond the end of their own noses.

And yet - sometimes there are those last words of the dying, sometimes baffling or tantalising, "I am surprised; it is very beautiful over there". I recall at least one case where the person suddenly announced that this world was an illusion or a hoax, something of that kind. There are clues that there is something not quite complete and whole about this current reality, it is somewhat dreamlike despite our all taking it so very very seriously.
[-] The following 3 users Like Typoz's post:
  • Valmar, nbtruthman, Sciborg_S_Patel
(2020-10-15, 07:19 PM)Typoz Wrote: And yet - sometimes there are those last words of the dying, sometimes baffling or tantalising, "I am surprised; it is very beautiful over there". I recall at least one case where the person suddenly announced that this world was an illusion or a hoax, something of that kind. There are clues that there is something not quite complete and whole about this current reality, it is somewhat dreamlike despite our all taking it so very very seriously.

It was Roger Ebert, as described by his wife:

Quote:Roger looked beautiful. He looked really beautiful. I don't know how to describe it, but he looked peaceful, and he looked young.

The one thing people might be surprised about—Roger said that he didn't know if he could believe in God. He had his doubts. But toward the end, something really interesting happened. That week before Roger passed away, I would see him and he would talk about having visited this other place. I thought he was hallucinating. I thought they were giving him too much medication. But the day before he passed away, he wrote me a note: "This is all an elaborate hoax." I asked him, "What's a hoax?" And he was talking about this world, this place. He said it was all an illusion. I thought he was just confused. But he was not confused. He wasn't visiting heaven, not the way we think of heaven. He described it as a vastness that you can't even imagine. It was a place where the past, present, and future were happening all at once.

It's hard to put it into words. I just loved him. I loved him so much, I think I thought he was invincible. To tell you the truth, I'm still waiting for things to unfold. I have this feeling that we're not finished. Roger's not finished. To me, Roger was magic. He was just magic. And I still feel that magic. I talk to him, and he talks back. —AS TOLD TO CHRIS JONES
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


[-] The following 2 users Like Sciborg_S_Patel's post:
  • Typoz, OmniVersalNexus
(2020-10-15, 07:36 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: It was Roger Ebert, as described by his wife:

Maybe Lisa would be a good interview.  http://www.finalwordsproject.org/press-release.html

Quote: Linguist Lisa Smartt changed all that with the Final Words Project, which she established in conjunction with world-renowned afterlife expert Raymond Moody. The project chronicles the linguistic patterns and themes behind the words people speak as they leave this world behind. 
 
Smartt’s research was initially inspired by what she saw and heard in the three weeks her father spent dying from complications related to radiation therapy for prostate cancer. Within four years, she had collected hundreds of utterances analyzed for their linguistic patterns and themes. The enclosed advance reading copy of Words at the Threshold: What We Say as We’re Nearing Death (New World Library, March 15, 2017) shares the findings of her research into this unchartered territory.

I saw Lisa and Ray Moody present on "Final Words".  It is research that needs much wider exposure.
[-] The following 1 user Likes stephenw's post:
  • Sciborg_S_Patel
(2020-10-15, 07:51 PM)stephenw Wrote: Maybe Lisa would be a good interview.  http://www.finalwordsproject.org/press-release.html


I saw Lisa and Ray Moody present on "Final Words".  It is research that needs much wider exposure.

Thanks for this, the convo between J Dilla and ODB is an interesting one with the warning not to get on the wrong colored bus.

IIRC there was a CS Lewis story about a bus to Hell? But more relevant to the topic it does sound like a game where having another player guide you is helpful.

I think most of us would not want the afterlife to be a Kafka-esque [series] of gaming challenges like that, but there does seem to be something to the whole "game" idea I can't let go of.

"You've become lost in a game disguised as Everything.

  Try to Remember."
   -Grant Morrison, Invisibles.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2020-10-17, 12:40 AM by Sciborg_S_Patel.)
[-] The following 1 user Likes Sciborg_S_Patel's post:
  • stephenw

  • View a Printable Version
Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)