Are we living in a simulation?
Updated: May 7
We live in a vast universe, on a small planet, where billions of years ago life forms evolved into an incredible ray of complex life forms. Everything in this universe, from something as small as an atom to someone as large as stars, are governed by few sets of complex mathematics rules. And this opens up a question: If the universe is completely governed by these laws, couldn’t a powerful enough computer simulate it exactly? Could our reality actually be an incredibly detailed simulation set in place by a much more advanced civilization? There are two worlds, two realities. The primary world which is where the simulation is being run and the secondary world, the simulated universe we occupy which to us, is the only one. Think about games like the sims or the grand theft auto. Now characters in video games are bound by a set of rules, a set of defining laws. In GTA you can’t walk through a solid wall, even though it isn’t actually solid it is just lines of code that dictate what is or is not solid but it is called a wall. Now think of our own world. This is a collection of atoms that together form an object that we call a wall. It’s been anatomically programmed to form a specific shape. We are left with something that looks like, that feels like a wall. We don’t see the microscopic pieces that build it, just like we don’t see the code in a game. We just expect it to act a certain way because of how our world is designed. Think of VR. If you are looking in front of you, what is behind you isn’t necessarily rendered, it hasn’t become real. It isn’t until you turn your head that it comes into existence and what was just in front of you, is now gone. So the question becomes, how do you know anything exists when you’re not looking at it? It’s the technological version of Solipsism. The idea that only your own mind is certain to exist. Everything outside of this frame, might not exist outside of my own mind. So, let’s say we are in a simulation...why would someone or something do it to this scale. Some ideas propose that it could be an ancestor simulation. A civilization wanting to see what those before them had done. Like a history book but one that is being acted out instead of being read. Or we could just be characters in an incredibly advanced video game. In our Simuverse we would be The Sims, and in this universe we even get to play our own very rudimentary version of simulation games on computers and consoles, thinking we are in control. Something like the movie “Ready player one”. Maybe the voice in our head is the person behind the screen controlling us. Now how could we come on a conclusion that yes we are actually living in a simulated world. Every computer programme has some or the other glitches at times. So where might we look for those glitches? As a simulation runs, it might accumulate errors over time. Certain constants we’ve measured with accuracies have stayed steady for decades, so any drift would have to be on an even smaller scale. But as we gain more precision in our measurements of these constants, we might detect slight changes over time. Even though the odds of this theory being real are extremely low, still, it's worth thinking about our existence. Whatever it is, I just hope my simulator does not get bored of my and delete me.