Worried the world is a computer simulation?A classic philosophical debate question is whether the world as we know it is a simulation. People have been positing that for years, first a world held in the mind of a god then, later, in the memory of an incredibly complicated computer.
The question is a sticky one because it would be almost impossible for us to know if we were in a simulation. But scientists think they might have found a way. And it borrows a page from 'The Matrix.'
The theory is simple: if this is all a simulation, then it won't be completely normal. There will be glitches, things that don't make logical sense or follow precisely. Basically, we'd look for the black cat somewhere out in the cosmos.
Actually looking for the evidence, however, is much more difficult. The first proposal for looking makes a few assumptions. Namely: computers simulate the world discretely. Nothing is continuous in a computer's memory; this point is distinct from that one, and each is its own entity. Sure, you can go really, really small, but the two points are still separate. This means that the physics of the simulation will be dependent on the grid used. After all, nothing could ever really be smaller than one grid cell, putting a cap on energy and size of the particles. Which, coincidentally, seems to match the real world.
There's a lot more too it than that, though. Cosmic rays would want to move along the edges of the lattice, for example so we should see a cubic pattern to it.
Of course, we're basing computing on concepts we know now. A machine capable of simulating an entire universe probably would be based on something beyond our understanding, and thus foreign to us.
Regardless, though, it's a fun thought experiment.
Photo by : NASA