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Dec 12 2012

What if we all took the blue pill?

If you ever dealt with creationists sooner or later one will cough up Last Wednesdayism to explain the “apparent” age of the universe. Pushed to an extreme there’s no reason why the entire universe couldn’t have been created by divine magic last Wednesday, right down to your loose filling and the half eaten gallon of ice cream in the fridge. The problem is a perfect simulation isn’t testable — by definition it perfectly resembles a real universe — but an imperfect one might be.

Techhive — How do you determine that you’re inside a computer simulation? By making another computer simulation, of course. By creating another simulation that replicates the universe, physicists can look for patterns within the simulation itself that may correlate to how the computer manages to create the universe though artificial means and limited resources. Though such a simulated universe would not be nearly as complex as the “real” one, scientists hope to find similar signature of how they both work in order to prove the simulation theory.

What should we do if we find evidence we’re living in a matrix? For starters I’d like to have a word with the developers. There are serious glitches in this place, very sloppy work. Maybe we’re at the mercy of beings that have more in common with Aunt Clara from Bewitched, but if they’re halfway competent there could still be hope.

We can begin with major issues like the relatively slow speed of light and work our way down to more important matters, like the sports car I don’t have and the virtual balance showing in my checking account. I mean hey, if it’s just electrons in a wafer why not help a brother out?

Work Out girl adds she would like to have stern chat about the subroutines controlling default eye color and height. I’m hoping she was thinking of herself on both of those …

12 comments

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  1. 1
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    Actually, it’d be rather interesting…

    Though I’m gonna go out on a limb and say…

    No.

  2. 2
    Amphiox

    I remember reading a half-jesting article about the possibility of the universe being a simulation, and sharing some aspects of what one might expect in a simulation.

    For example:

    Quantum uncertainty, the way a particles exact properties are not defined until the moment of measurement, would be consistent with a simulation conserving computational resources, and not “plotting” a particle until the moment it is observed.

    The Planck length basically counts as a digitized minimum distance, ie one pixel, as might be seen in a digital simulation.

    The speed of light limit creates an observation horizon, much like a simulation would only calculate and draw a defined region around an observer, and not draw/create anything beyond that horizon until the observer moves into range.

  3. 3
    mikel

    I want “undo”. I mean even Microsoft products have that.

  4. 4
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    I read a SciFi book where this was the premise. Not exactly, but close; in the future, humans have discovered how to make our own bubble universes with their own physical laws, and how to go between them and our own. Then someone noticed that our universe showed the same characteristics… Very good book. WAlther Jon Williams Implied Spaces. (Please forgive me if this is less than coherent, I’m very tired.)

  5. 5
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    relatively slow speed of light

    Relative to what?

  6. 6
    timberwoof

    Relative to warp speed, of course. It would be nice to be able to get o 40 Eridani A in a couple of weeks.

  7. 7
    Stephen "DarkSyde" Andrew

    Undo and restore points would be interesting. History could become an experimental science! One funny thing about this, we humans tend to think it all has something to do with checking out human development. What if the devs came along and said “Opps, sorry humans, we thought we eliminated intelligence from this sim, we’ll fix that right now, hang on …”

    BTW, for a really interesting sci-fi short take on this, read Wang’s Carpets.

  8. 8
    comfychair

    Our universe is just a high-energy event occurring inside a supercollider belonging to a much more technologically advanced civilization, and on their timescale, from the big bang till now has only taken a scant few microseconds.

  9. 9
    Reginald Selkirk

    Heretic! Last Thursdayism is the one true religon. Last Wednesdayism devotees will burn in Hell.

  10. 10
    Reginald Selkirk

    Z: relatively slow speed of light
    SPHP: Relative to what?

    Relative to how fast he wishes spacecraft could go, I am guessing.

  11. 11
    Grumpy Cat

    fc d fds

  12. 12
    Theron Corse

    If it can be done, it has been done. And I suspect it can be done. If you think about how rapidly our computing power progresses, and just roll that forward, it’s just a matter of time. The likelihood that some intelligence somewhere is a product of a virtual universe approaches 1. Could it be us? Not really an outrageous thought at all.

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