The case For and Against
“It is possible that I am dreaming right now and that all of my perceptions are false.” — René Descartes
Are we living in a computer simulation? Well probably …or probably not-depending on which side of the argument you are on. The concept that all of us existing in some form of simulation has captivated philosophers for centuries. Here are some of the arguments (simplified for my benefit!) for and against this view. You judge for yourself?
THE CASE FOR
A variant of the simulation hypothesis was reputed to have been first suggested in a philosophical argument by René Descartes in the seventeenth century.
Nick Bostrom, a philosopher at the University of Oxford, developed a more in-depth case about the possibility of our world being a simulation in 2003. Unlike, in the film, “the Matrix” where the physical world is simulated but the thinking minds are not, Bostrom’s hypothesis is that human consciousness is yet another figment of the simulation.
In his paper, Nick Bostrom considered that at least one of three possibilities is true:
1) All human-like civilizations in the universe perish before they achieve the technological capacity to build virtual realities;
2) If some civilizations ever enter this stage of technological maturity, none of them would be interested in creating simulated worlds;
3) Advanced civilizations will have the technological capacity to create many, many simulations, implying that there are many more simulated worlds than non-simulated ones.
In conclusion, Bostrom considered that all three possibilities were feasible but he thought that the 3rd choice was the most likely option.
Two notable heavyweights have also thrown their hat in the ring for this notion. The prominent Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson stated in an interview with NBC News that the simulation hypothesis has a better than 50-50 chance of being right, as he could not find a powerful argument against it.
The other is the business giant, industrial designer, and engineer, Elon Musk, who considered the argument that we are living in a simulated reality as entirely possible when you considered our advancements with virtual reality and augmented reality in recent years.
Examples in favour of this hypotheses
The Mandela Effect
A glitch in the simulation? Nelson Mandela died in 2013 and was obvious world news. However, to this day, some continue to recall television coverage of Nelson Mandela’s death in the 1980s. This is known as the “Mandela Effect” and is evidence that whoever is in charge of our simulation is altering history. What is more bizarre is that this may be proof of alternative worlds, with several people crossing from one world, where Mandela died in the 1980s, to ours, where he lived to be 95 years old. Have some of us arrived here from an alternative universe?
Why are there no aliens? Or “The Fermi Paradox”
Named after the Italian-American physicist Enrico Fermi, is the apparent contradiction between the lack of evidence for extraterrestrial civilizations and the vastness of space and the billions of stars out there. Each star would have planets revolving around it, so it stands to reason that life outside our world must exist, right? Or is it simpler for the creators behind the simulation to simulate life in one place in the universe? This would explain why we have not made contact with alien life?
The strict laws of physic and the universe
The universe seems to operate within the laws that are absolutely mathematical and rigid. For example, we have established that it is not possible to travel faster than the speed of light for any particle. This is strong evidence that we are living in a simulation as it represents the maximum speed at which data can be transmitted within our simulation’s network.
THE CASE AGAINST
The case against this theory is more succinct and concise-so far!
To test out the theory that we live in a simulation, a group of mathematicians and physicists in 2017 decided to create some complex simulations on the best computers available.
They used what is known as Monte Carlo simulations (which is computations that produce probabilities) to study quantum objects moving in different dimensions and discovered that classical systems are unable to generate the mathematics needed to explain such events.
So, quite simply, scientists have discovered that it’s impossible to model the physics of our universe on even the biggest computer. The conclusion is that there is no proof that we are living in a computer simulation as classical computers most certainly aren’t in charge of our universe.
What do you think? We would love to hear from you. Leave a comment in the comment section below with your thoughts.