There’s a strong chance that the world around us is a complex simulation created to fool our senses, researchers have suggested. Since the early days of mankind, humans have inquired about our place in the Universe: Are we alone? Is there a higher power controlling our fate? Are there more universes?
Scientists are now reflecting on another pertinent question about our existence, whether or not we are living inside a simulation. The inquiry first appeared in the 2003 paper “Are We Living in a Computer Simulation?“ published by Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom.
So, Are We Living in a Computer Simulation?
The paper suggests a scenario in which a ‘posthuman’ civilization is operating a simulated universe to learn more about our evolutionary records. As per a new report in Scientific American, the chances of this being, in fact, true are close to 50/50.
Whether or not we live in a simulated reality depends on the technological capacity to create virtual consciousness. Back in 2003, Dr. Bostrom suggested three different scenarios for the ‘Simulation Theory,’ saying that at least one of them has to be true.
The first scenario states it is very probable the human species will die before it attains a ‘posthuman’ stage of development. The second scenario argues that any posthuman civilization is improbable to run a ‘significant number of simulation of its evolutionary history,’ while the third scenario says, ‘we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation.“
Dr. Bostrom noted in his paper: “It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we shall one day become posthumans who run ancestor‐simulations is false unless we are currently living in a simulation.“
A year later, he argued: “I find it hard to argue against that possibility, meaning you look at our computer power today, and you say, ‘I have the power to program a world inside of a computer.’ Well, imagine in the future where you have even more power than that, and you can create characters that have, for example, free will or their own perception of free will.“
“So this is a world, and I program in the laws that govern that world,” he added. “That world will have its own laws of physics, and chemistry, and biology. Now you’re a character in that world, and you think you have free will and say, ‘I want to invent a computer,’ so you do.”
“‘Hey, I want to create a world in my computer,’ and then that world creates a world in its computer, and then you have simulations all the way down. So now you lay out all these universes and throw a dart. Which of these universes are you most likely to hit? The original one that started it or the countless simulations, the daughter simulations that unfolded thereafter? You’re going to hit one of the simulations,” Dr. Bostrom explained.
The Odds of Us Living in a Simulated Universe
In 2008, the astrophysicist said the Simulation Theory has ‘better than 50/50 odds’ of existing, arguing: “I wish I could summon a strong argument against it, but I cannot find one.“
Later on, contrary to Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson’s arguments in favor of the Simulation Theory, Columbia University astronomer David Kipping thinks it is not probable that subsequent generations of simulations would generate their own worlds.
As per Scientific American, he said the odds of humans living in a simulated universe are close to even, slightly preferring base reality, which is a ‘true, foundation of existence.‘ Still, the researcher believes the chances will change massively when we develop the capacity to create consciousness within a simulated reality.
In other words, the process and theory could be as possible and as real as everything else around us.