New research: There's a 50-50 chance we're living in a simulation and here's how to find out

If the mechanism by which you calculate you’re part of a simulation is itself part of the simulation, how can you trust the outcomes?

Is this something actually measurable? We have no “organic” universes to test ours against. How do we know that universes don’t just form like ours?

The assumption that the simulation would require some form of limitation to its power is an assumption. We end up with “It’s 50% if the computer has a limitation of it’s power, and it’s who-the-hell-knows if it doesn’t.”

This is why I prefer research into the actual universe or cosmos that we know is real.


I’ll hold out for the Omega Point singularity, thank you, so I can live forever. So many things I’d do over.


Theists have believed we live in a simulation created by a higher authority for centuries. How is this any different? Why should we believe this any more than we believe any other version?





If it’s not falsifiable, then by definition it isn’t science.


So… If we’re living in a simulation, that simulation is ‘running on a computer’, right? Please explore the outside of this simulation. Is it also a simulation? Is it simulators, all the way down?


No. At some point you hit turtles.


Can someone out there check out the eyerolling algorithm and throw the necessary changes on the defect backlog? Whatever the fuck is going on with my baby blues cannot be by design.

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This is why you can’t leave the mathematicians alone in a room for too long. Just because you can think of a thing, and then can’t disprove that said thing is possible, doesn’t mean there is any evidence said thing is real or even likely. There has to be a basic plausibility of mechanism behind a hypothesis for it to be worth exploring. Otherwise it’s just religion.

This is Bertrand Russell’s teapot orbiting Mars, or Carl Sagan’s invisible dragon in his garage. Go home mathematicians, you’re drunk.


Yeah, this actually checks out …



Or in Sagan’s case, and admitted drug user who’s said he wouldn’t have been able to come up with a lot of his thought experiments otherwise :slight_smile:

Seriously, though. If some “higher intelligence” was able to create a simulation like this, I imagine they would be developing exponentially faster than us intellectually, and hence would be able to stick a break-point wherever they wanted and go back to it if anything ruins whatever kind of experiment they’re trying to run they just flush the caches and start again from there without the entities that became simulation-self-aware.

And are we an emulation or a simulation? I.E. are we some physical thing in a lab somewhere, or are we just 1’s and 0’s or quantum states, or whatever this higher intelligence uses for data management?

Okay, back to writing code.


The outside of the simulation is the equivalent of bored teenagers haphazardly cobbling something together for middle school science week.


me@universe ~ $ sudo shutdown -r now

Oh, so very tempting … this is probably why I don’t have root access. I’m in no way a nihilist, but some problems really do clear up much easier on a reboot.

(Edit: s/su/sudo)

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Obligatory SMBC:


Quantum whoosandwhatsits being what it is, it’s complicated (duh) but the short answer is that outside of Fritjof Capra, nobody in the biz thinks it requires a human or similarly thinky observer. Consciousness itself as a quantum phenomenon isn’t totally down for the count, but hyper-anthropocentric definitions of “observer” pretty much are.

The debate is (very) roughly about whether “observation” means “interacts in even the most trivial way with other elements in the universe, such that a stray photon hitting Schrodinger’s cat is enough to collapse the waveform” or something slightly (but not much) more involved.


Pretty shitty simulation. Good job devs.

There is no need for a conscious observer in any quantum phenomena - the universe worked the same way before humans evolved, and before any other life evolved. It will continue to function in the same way when life on Earth is gone.

And any naturally occurring examples of the double slit phenomenon will continue to function in the same way no matter what happens to humans.

The myth that we are necessary for the universe to function grew out of the observation that we can’t identify both the position and speed of an electron or anything else at that small scale - we can make either measurement, but one precludes the other. That is a comment about measurement, not about human consciousness, though. Or any kind of consciousness.

The moon is not a wave function that only collapses into a physical moon when someone sees it - and yes, I have heard people make that claim.

And, on topic - the outcome of bayesian statistical analysis depends on your assumptions going into it. The probabilities you assign to different parts of the analysis, in this case, are arbitrary. We can’t, literally, conceive of what an intelligence capable of simulating the observable universe would be like. Our brains are not sufficiently complex (by many orders of magnitude) to do that. The “research” authors are applying human 21st century concepts and assumptions to a potential situation that is more complex than we can ever come close to understanding.

Contemplate the last segment of your right little finger. Biologists and physicists are a long, long way away from fully understanding what goes on in that small part of your body over the course of your life - or even from one instant to the next. It contains a multitude of mysteries that we currently can’t even identify, much less unravel; just creating the tools capable of doing so will take decades of tool building iteration. At our current primitive technological stage, good luck trying to prove we are or aren’t in a simulation of the universe.

While human arrogance is nearly infinite, our intelligence is very limited.


I think they need this:

There was an old joke that university administrators liked the mathematics department much better than the Chemistry or Physics departments, because while the physical scientists needed loads of expensive equipment and lab space, all the mathematicians needed was a stack of paper and a waste basket.

This appears to be what happens when they cut back on the waste paper basket


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