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A huge row is brewing in theoretical physics circles about the possibility that this universe is not truly the base reality and whether humanity exists in a computer simulation.
The simulation hypothesis was first proposed in 2003 by the Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom, who is based at the University of Oxford. He said that he was almost certain that human beings were nothing more than characters in a computer simulation created by our own future descendants. This philosophical idea caught on among certain figures in theoretical physics, including Elon Musk who has said; “the odds that we’re in base reality is one in billions”.
Theoretical physicists are duking it out over the simulation hypothesis
In the past few years, there have been some indications from other physics researchers which have lent credence to the simulation philosophy. Max Tegmark from MIT said that he had come to think that “If I were a character in a computer game, I would also discover eventually that the rules seemed completely rigid and mathematical, ” and pointed out that computer code is very similar to the hard and fast rules of physics.
James Gates, a theoretical physicist at the University of Maryland, said that he had also discovered a clue which suggested that the simulation hypothesis was not as outlandish as it first may appear. He said; “In my research, I found this very strange thing. I was driven to error-correcting codes – they’re what make browsers work. So why were they in the equations I was studying about quarks and electrons and supersymmetry?” He said that this brought him to the realisation that there might be something in the simulation hypothesis.
However, one figure in theoretical physics is not taken with the simulation hypothesis at all. Lisa Randall said that this theory has one major flaw – human beings are not as interesting as they think that they are. According to Randall, it is extremely arrogant to assume that a highly advanced simulation would be so interested in humanity that they would take the time to set up simulations of our world. “It’s just not based on well-defined probabilities. The argument says you’d have lots of things that want to simulate us. I actually have a problem with that, “she said, “We mostly are interested in ourselves. I don’t know why this higher species would want to simulate us.”