But, of course, anything is possible, right? Let’s focus on our basic senses for a moment, shall we? Imagine the sand between your toes, warm and shifting, as you stand under the hot summer sun. You can hear the ocean waves whipping against the shore as swimmers toss to and fro in a funny frenzy. You’re on the beach, and you may even have a nice cool glass of lemonade in your hand... but are you really there? Could all these things be imagined, or rather created? The simulation theory believes these and even grander scales of life could just be part of a computerized creation. Instead of being on the beach, your consciousness could be somewhere else entirely. If you’ve ever viewed the movie, “The Matrix”, then you may understand what I mean by the simulation theory. In the film, the main character discovers that he is living in a simulated universe. Everything around him isn’t real, but his own consciousness remains intact. This gives you a taste of what simulation means. What if, however, even our own consciousness isn’t real and tangible? What if we aren’t really touching our face, running our fingers through our hair or scratching our arm? Just a thought, read on... It seems impossible that we may not be here now, as real and organic creatures, isn’t it? I mean, I can pinch myself and I feel real enough. But, I don’t think that’s actually the entire gist of it. In order to wrap our minds around this idea, we must try and imagine just how large this machine must be to keep all of creation inside. It would be a giant computer, right? Or rather, would it be some cosmic brain? Think of the grand scale, the calculations which must be present to house such an artificial existence. Yes, impossible does sound most likely, I am sure....but for some, it’s right the opposite. Elon Musk supports the simulation theory as well as philosopher Nick Bostrom, with his own simulation hypothesis. In 2003, at the University of Oxford, Bostrom explored the idea that the simulation theory didn’t so much as resemble the movie “Matrix” where only the environment was simulated, but his idea was that our entire being and all existence was simulated as well. This means everything down to the tiniest particles. Of course, a simulation of this magnitude would require a computer much bigger, obviously. A computer which could simulate enough of the brain to copy consciousness, not perfectly, but close enough. So, how much data must be conjured up to create a machine which could house us, the world around us, and also all heavenly bodies we perceive in space? The fact that scientists are coming up with viable numbers gives credit to the simulation theory, wouldn’t you say? Let’s say that we believe we are simulations, already posthumans. Well, if we are, then that means our descendants will be able to conjure up simulations of us, their ancestors. This also means that we will be able to use a conscious mind to interact with them far after our “supposed” death, so to speak. Unfortunately, if we do not believe we are simulations, then this can never happen for future generations. Just throwing that out there in case you hope you aren’t a simulation.
The theory of simulation isn’t all that bad in this case, huh. As there are arguments that say we are in a simulated universe, there are just as many doubts. Many of us just cannot imagine the idea that any of this science fiction theory could be real. In fact, scientists, Zohar Ringel and Dmitry Kovrizhi from the University of Oxford and the Hebrew University in Israel, calculated that there aren’t even enough atoms in the universe to store just a couple hundred electrons of information. Just think of all the information that exists and the magnitude. Yes, we’ve discussed it, but think of it again. Ringel and Kovrizhi also surmised that many phenomena couldn’t be simulated with this theory at all, like mathematical descriptions of the quantum system like gravitational anomalies. Basically, the number of atoms needed in a simulation is just so incomprehensible.
The thought of our organic brains being stored away in some vat is kind of spinetingling, to be honest. Makes me hope the simulation theory isn’t true. And it just may be all science fiction after all. But even physicists cannot say for certain that we are we aren’t simulations.
There are still those who “ride the fence”, for instance, Neil Degrasse Tyson, who has a 50/50 view on the theory. Although we may never come to the truth of this theory, until then, we shall continue to calculate and measure, speculate and ponder. Maybe one day, we shall have found the facts behind such an intriguing theory. What say you? How would you feel about being a simulation? R.
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