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

That’s what I mean though. The whole simulation argument always feels like pointless sophistry to me.



Which isn’t to say pointless sophistry can’t be fun, but it shouldn’t be taken very seriously IMNSHO.


As one of the great thinkers of our age recently postulated, it is what it is.


That the chance of living in a simulation somehow depends on our technology level tells you something is up with how they use probability, which is never very well. If you look in this case it basically comes back from their Bayesian priors. I honestly believe this comic says enough on the subject.



I’m simulating right now.


“It’s arguably not testable as to whether we live in a simulation or not,”

I mean… It seems like every boing boing article I click on contains a quote that makes the headline a clickbait-y lie.


Do you find it disappointing?


This is all real. And if it ain’t, I want to file a lawsuit.

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Ask me that during a power outage. Or when the alien super being goes on vacation and “forgets to water the plants”


We better get cracking on the debigulator!


I see roughly three possibilities of the simulation option - that only I am being simulated, that only the Earth is being simulated, or that we are in a simulation where we are unknown to the people running the simulation. That last one is a little worrying, as the simulation might serve it’s purpose and be switched off at any minute (presumably the overlords have some sort of ethics approval process for scenarios 1 & 2).

It’s also worth considering (as an ethical question) that in simulations that we make in the near future, that we might inadvertently create life - simulations have been a great way to not have to deal with ethics panels, but this might be short sighted once simulations are sufficiently complex.

IMHO Vedanta and Buddhism had this shit figured out thousands of years ago (as well as the “Western” traditions incl. Pythagoras/Plato/Plotinus, and Jesus). It’s what all shamans and yogis and mystics know to be true. But it’s not a “simulation” as much as a “construct,” and when you get right down to it, all of relative creation IS that, and it is the interactive probabilistic algorithm sprung forth by The One.


I think it is important to note how dangerous this thinking really can be. If we start accepting this to be likely, then really we are back to a “creator/creation” situation. How long before people start praying to the creator of the simulation to tweak the scenario, stop this or that, reverse the effects of our past transgressions, or to send them to a utopian simulation when they die?

In a simulation the Universe could actually be only 6,000 years, or days, or hours, or seconds old. There could be dark algorithms created for the purpose of inserting chaos, who can affect our judgement, possess us and make us do things. The Matrix meets Constantine.

It’s all horseshit, in my opinion, but so is a global cabal of rich and powerful child traffickers operating out of the basement of a pizza restaurant. It’s horseshit like this, easily molded to theme, ready for the insertion of eons-old myth, that can affect the thinking of a lot of people. When it starts affecting the thinking of “important” people, crazy things can happen.


What are the levers that, if found, would reveal that there’s someone, or something, behind the curtain? Quantum mechanics / uncertainty. the cheap arse way to build a believable simulation.

Only if you take a dualistic view of it. I prefer nondualism’s approach, the one Schrödinger and other bright folks have come to – the creator and the created are One. It makes a lot more sense that way – including this “computational reality” aspect.

Btw, “digital physics” is totally a thing, and has been since Konrad Zuse (at least), not to mention Wheeler, et al.

I think there’s also a strong argument to be made that religious (really mystic) systems have been saying this all along, and just lacked the “technological computing” metaphor to describe it.


I don’t think the simulation is the worst, or most concrete, form of that possibility. That, for me, comes from the question: why do we observe an arrow of time, with a low entropy past and high entropy future? Because if the second law of thermodynamics holds throughout all of space and time, that means the initial conditions in the distant past were so astoundingly unlikely that it may actually be vastly more probable that I am a Boltzmann brain, spontaneously arising out of the max entropy post-heat-death universe, complete with fake memories of a coherent past and low entropy external reality. Serious researchers have actually tried to crunch numbers on things like this, but unfortunately if it is true, then it means we can never check our work or test it, because the entire process leading to the conclusion never happened.

The next time you see physicists and cosmologists talking about seemingly philosophical questions like “why is there something rather than nothing” or “what are space and time made of” or “does time exist,” it’s because those questions can actually have real implications for physics, and for our relationship to the world.


That’s the thing about headlines: They are necessarily short, and yet must contain the essence of the story. Unfortunately, the essence of anything is bound to displease. The solution? Lowering one’s expectations… and diving deep into the story rather than staring at the entrance sign to the pool. :slightly_smiling_face:


I’m a stay at home Dad. What does that say about my image of God? :grinning:


As much as I don’t want to encourage anyone to take this stuff seriously, there’s a fourth and more computationally efficient (provided the physics of the simulator obey the same rules of computational efficiency as those known to us) form a simulation might take. The thoughts of the some or all of Earth’s inhabitants alone might be simulated, with literally everything else, up to and including subconsciousness, existing only insofar as it’s represented in those thoughts. Even the perception of individuality could be nothing more than a function of the program. Which is why it’s a lot of unscientific naval gazing. The end result of taking it seriously is literally doubting the validity of empirical science.


Perhaps it’s actually the year 2682, and we are all NPCs in Donald Trump’s Hell Loop. That wouldn’t be so bad, would it?