Whether We Live in a Computer Simulation is Testable, Say Scientists

Scientists at the University of Washington speculate that the goal of a super-intelligent civilization would be to create computer programs simulating other universes—ones such as ours. 

What's the Latest Development?


Scientists at the University of Washington say they can potentially test whether we are living in a computer simulation known as the The Lattice. The concept of such a simulation, proposed in 2003 by the British philosopher Nick Bostrom, posits that our far-evolved distant descendants might construct such a program to simulate the past and recreate how their remote ancestors lived. "He felt that such an experiment was inevitable for a supercivilization. If it didn't happen by now, then in meant that humanity never evolved that far and we're doomed to a short lifespan as a species, he argued."

What's the Big Idea?

The University of Washington team agrees with Bostrom that super-intelligent civilizations would seek to test all numerical possibilities underlying the quantum vacuum through universe simulations. "If we are living in such a program, there could be telltale evidence for the underlying lattice used in modeling the space-time continuum, say the researchers. This signature could show up as a limitation in the energy of cosmic rays." If they were part of a simulation, the rays would travel diagonally across the model universe, not interacting equally in all directions as they would be expected to.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com


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