The captivating idea that we might be living in 3 dimensional holographic simulation has been put forward by various scientists.
We will explore this mind-boggling idea further and examine some intriguing questions.
If we suspect that we are programmed beings living inside a simulation is there any way for us to find out if this is true?
Is it possible to change the outcome of this virtual game?
Who could have created this matrix and for what reason? What are ancestor simulations?
Do we live in a computer stimulation?
Our whole world and our universe, might be a virtual reality matrix, programmed by the super-computer of a civilization of beings more advanced than we can possibly imagine.
Physicist Alain Aspect conducted a most remarkable experiment demonstrating that the web of subatomic particles that composes our physical universe – the so-called “fabric of reality itself” – possesses what appears to be an undeniable “holographic” property.
According to a recently theory proposed by Robert Lanza, author of “Biocentrism” – How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe, death might not even be real!
We might think that we are an advanced species, but we possess limited knowledge of the world around us.
We are moved by moved by neurophysiological signals and subject to a variety of biological, psychological and sociological influences over which we have limited control and little understanding.
Suppose for a minute that we do live in a matrix and our reality is nothing but an illusion.
What is the simulation argument?
Nick Bostrom, Professor in the Faculty of Philosophy at Oxford University and founding Director of the Future of Humanity Institute and of the Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology within the Oxford Martin School presented his so-called simulation argument some years ago, and the theory is still widely debated among many scientists.
We could be holograms inside an ancestor stimulation.
If we omit the mathematical part of the argument, it starts with “the assumption that future civilisations will have enough computing power and programming skills to be able to create what I call “ancestor simulations”.
These would be detailed simulations of the simulators’ predecessors – detailed enough for the simulated minds to be conscious and have the same kinds of experiences we have.
Think of an ancestor simulation as a very realistic virtual reality environment, but one where the brains inhabiting the world are themselves part of the simulation.
The simulation argument makes no assumption about how long it will take to develop this capacity. Some futurologists think it will happen within the next 50 years. But even if it takes10 million years, it makes no difference to the argument,” writes Bostrom in his paper “Do we live in a computer simulation?”
Bostrom says the conclusion is that at least one of the following three propositions must be true:
Almost all civilisations at our level of development become extinct before becoming technologically mature.
The fraction of technologically mature civilisations that are interested in creating ancestor simulations is almost zero.
You are almost certainly living in a computer simulation.
If we suppose that the first and second suggestion are false, then we can assume that a “signification fraction of these civilizations run ancestor stimulations.”
“If we work out the numbers, we find that there would be vastly many more simulated minds than non-simulated minds.
“If real is what you can feel, smell, taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain,” Morpheus – The Matrix movie
We assume that technologically mature civilisations would have access to enormous amounts of computing power.
So enormous, in fact, that by devoting even a tiny fraction to ancestor simulations, they would be able to implement billions of simulations, each containing as many people as have ever existed. In other words, almost all minds like yours would be simulated.
Therefore, by a very weak principle of indifference, you would have to assume that you are probably one of these simulated minds rather than one of the ones that are not simulated,” Bostrom explains.
Bostrom also point out that his simulation argument does not prove that we are really living inside a stimulation, because we possess too little information to determine which one of the three is either true or false.
We cannot hope that the first assumption is false. Proposition number 2 requires convergence among all advanced civilisations, such that almost none of them are interested in running ancestor simulations.
“If this were true, it would be an interesting constraint on the future evolution of intelligent life,” Bostrom says.
To many of us, option number two seems an unlikely scenario considering the vastness of the Universe and the number of advanced extraterrestrials species we could encounter if we had the means to travel among the stars.
Assumption number three is without doubt the most intriguing one. We could really be living in a computer simulation created by some advanced extraterrestrial civilization.
Is it possible to escape the matrix? Image from movie The Thirteenth Floor
“What Copernicus and Darwin and latter-day scientists have been discovering are the laws and workings of the simulated reality. These laws might or might not be identical to those operating at the more fundamental level of reality where the computer that is running our simulation exists (which, of course, may itself be a simulation). In a way, our place in the world would be even humbler than we thought,” Bostrom explains.
Why would an advanced civilization create a virtual world?
“If each advanced civilization created many Matrices of their own history, then most people like us, who live in a technologically more primitive age, would live inside Matrices rather than outside,” Bostrom says.
We could be scientific experiment that is closely monitored by those alien beings who programmed the stimulation.
Even worse, we could be nothing more than a virtual game to our creators, in the same way we enjoy playing computer games. It is really impossible to tell.
How can we know if we are really living in a matrix?
If the simulators don’t want us to find out, we probably never will. But if they choose to reveal themselves, they could certainly do so.
If the architects of this virtual reality want us to know we a holographic being living in a matrix, they can simply make a window pop up in our visual field with the text “YOU ARE LIVING IN A MATRIX. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION”.
“Another event that would let us conclude with a high degree of confidence that we are in a simulation is if we ever reach a point when we are about to switch on our own ancestor simulations. That would be very strong evidence against the first two propositions, leaving us only with the third, Bostrom says.
How should we live in a matrix?
“If we knew the Architects’ motives for designing Matrices then the hypothesis that we live in one might have major practical consequences. But in fact we know almost nothing about what these motives might be. We would run experiments, discover regularities, build models, and extrapolate from past events.
In other words, we would apply the scientific method and common sense in the same way as if we knew that we were not in a Matrix. To a first approximation, therefore, the answer to how you should live if you are in a Matrix is that you should live the same way as if you are not in a Matrix.” Bostrom says.
It would seem there is no way to escape the matrix… Even you think that you really managed to escape the matrix, how will you know it was not just a simulated escape?