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Posted by on Dec 11, 2012 in Science, Technology |

Is the Universe a computer simulation?

Is the Universe a computer simulation?

Almost a decade ago, in 2003, a British philosopher spread the idea that the we live in a computer could be responsible for our descendants. Although today it may seem a joke and unlikely, and even incomprehensible, the proposal is tested through the creation of a test potential of a group of physicists at the University of Washington.

The notion that modern humanity could be living in a computer simulation was proposed by Nick Bostrom professor of philosophy in 2003. In their paper, the man claimed that at least one of these three possibilities is true:

  • The human species may become extinct before reaching a stage “post human”.
  • It is unlikely that any civilization “post human” be able to launch a significant number of computer simulations of their evolutionary history.
  • It is almost certain that we are living in a computer simulation.

According to the document said, Bostrom also argued that:

The belief that there is a significant possibility that one day we become human post do run ancestor-simulations is false, unless we are currently living in a simulation.

Due to current limitations would be decades before scientists were able to perform simulations of the Universe even primitive. But the team from the University of Washington suggests that currently can perform a series of tests, improved in the near future, which would be sensitive to the limitations imposed in future simulations, tests that would explain whether or not we live in a simulation Computer.

Today’s supercomputers use a technique called “quantum chromodynamics grid”, a technique that works from the physical laws governing the universe, capable of simulating some success with small portions of it on a scale of one billionth of meters, slightly larger than the nucleus of an atom.

For researchers simulations eventually be able to more potent in the scale model of a molecule, then a cell and even from humans. To say it will take several generations of increasingly powerful computers, therefore, that the Universe could simulate portions large enough to understand the limitations that would be subjected to known physical processes. These limitations would be proof that, as Bostrom says, we live in a computer simulation.

According to Martin Savage, author of the paper, there are now clear signs of the presence of these physical limitations in simulations today. Limitations that over time will become more apparent when the advance technology and equipment and can simulate larger pieces of Universe.

Savage speaks of the “baseline grid” given to model the space-time continuum where the universe evolves. In the same way that today, in the future our descendants will use to build simulations. In this way the author explains that with every test of these limitations in our universe, we show that we live in an artificially simulated space. According to Savage:

If we make a simulation large enough, it would emerge something like our universe. In that case, just a matter of looking at the universe we live in a “signature” analogous to the one we used in small-scale simulations. This is the first test that may (or may not) validate the theory Bostrom.

The idea proposed by Savage and colleagues suggests that this “signature” may appear as a limitation of the energy of cosmic rays. This proposal is based on the idea that the highest energy cosmic rays not travel along the edges of the artificial grid that simulates space-time in the simulation, but should travel in diagonal with unequal interactions in all directions.

For researchers, if this were true, if we lived in a universe simulated by computers, it might be possible that other simulations of other universes were launched at the same time, parallel universes to ours. Savage ends his study with a fascinating final idea:

If so, the question is clear: could then communicate with other universes if they were running on the same system?

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