Life As A Computer Simulation (Simulation Hypothesis)

OrsonSwells

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After the first Matrix film came out I cynically went looking for the book or story it was based on, doubting it had come fully formed out of the minds of the Wachowski brothers/sisters.
The nearest I came on various forgotten forums to a possible inspiration, was a story concerning a world run by big businesses. Problem there was that the Markets were saturated and it was becoming more difficult and expensive for the staff in advertising (main thrust of the economy) to convince the consumer population to buy even more stuff. It was decided to design and run a programme to simulate real life where the effectiveness of advertising strategies could be tried out in a virtual setting, before rolling them out on the real world. Once the programme was running, it became clear that the 'real world' was itself a computer-simulation. Does this ring any bells with anyone ?

Sounds very Phil K Dick. He was doing the reality isn't reality thing decades before the Matrix.
 

EnolaGaia

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... The nearest I came on various forgotten forums to a possible inspiration, was a story concerning a world run by big businesses. Problem there was that the Markets were saturated and it was becoming more difficult and expensive for the staff in advertising (main thrust of the economy) to convince the consumer population to buy even more stuff. It was decided to design and run a programme to simulate real life where the effectiveness of advertising strategies could be tried out in a virtual setting, before rolling them out on the real world. Once the programme was running, it became clear that the 'real world' was itself a computer-simulation. Does this ring any bells with anyone ?

This may be going farther back in time than whatever it was you read, but ...

The twin themes of businesses controlling the world and simulation in service of advertising were prevalent in the works of Golden Age writer Frederick Pohl. The theme of civilization being subordinated to business / marketing points to The Space Merchants (Pohl & Kornbluth; 1952):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Space_Merchants

The theme of a character discovering he's merely a player in a simulation operated for testing advertising techniques sounds like Pohl's 1955 short story "The Tunnel under the World":

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tunnel_under_the_World
 

GNC

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Don't forget Doctor Who gave the computer simulation thing a go in the mid-1970s with The Deadly Assassin. They even called the simulation The Matrix.
 

Moth Twiceborn

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After the first Matrix film came out I cynically went looking for the book or story it was based on, doubting it had come fully formed out of the minds of the Wachowski brothers/sisters.
The nearest I came on various forgotten forums to a possible inspiration, was a story concerning a world run by big businesses. Problem there was that the Markets were saturated and it was becoming more difficult and expensive for the staff in advertising (main thrust of the economy) to convince the consumer population to buy even more stuff. It was decided to design and run a programme to simulate real life where the effectiveness of advertising strategies could be tried out in a virtual setting, before rolling them out on the real world. Once the programme was running, it became clear that the 'real world' was itself a computer-simulation. Does this ring any bells with anyone ?
Although there is this old chestnut... I would still like to read her original story to satisfy my curiousity...
https://newsfeed.time.com/2013/11/2...t-one-of-the-internets-most-pervasive-hoaxes/
 

EnolaGaia

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In this The Conversation article a physicist reviews the case for our universe being a simulation and suggests experimental approaches to proving it.
How to test if we’re living in a computer simulation

Published: November 21, 2022 10.54am EST
Melvin M. Vopson, Senior Lecturer in Physics, University of Portsmouth

Physicists have long struggled to explain why the universe started out with conditions suitable for life to evolve. Why do the physical laws and constants take the very specific values that allow stars, planets and ultimately life to develop? The expansive force of the universe, dark energy, for example, is much weaker than theory suggests it should be – allowing matter to clump together rather than being ripped apart.

A common answer is that we live in an infinite multiverse of universes, so we shouldn’t be surprised that at least one universe has turned out as ours. But another is that our universe is a computer simulation, with someone (perhaps an advanced alien species) fine-tuning the conditions.

The latter option is supported by a branch of science called information physics, which suggests that space-time and matter are not fundamental phenomena. Instead, the physical reality is fundamentally made up of bits of information, from which our experience of space-time emerges. By comparison, temperature “emerges” from the collective movement of atoms. No single atom fundamentally has temperature. ...

This leads to the extraordinary possibility that our entire universe might in fact be a computer simulation. The idea is not that new. In 1989, the legendary physicist, John Archibald Wheeler, suggested that the universe is fundamentally mathematical and it can be seen as emerging from information. ...

In 2003, philosopher Nick Bostrom from Oxford University in the UK formulated his simulation hypothesis. This argues that it is actually highly probable that we live in a simulation. ...

There is some evidence suggesting that our physical reality could be a simulated virtual reality rather than an objective world that exists independently of the observer. ...

Assuming that the universe is indeed a simulation, then what sort of experiments could we deploy from within the simulation to prove this?

It is reasonable to assume that a simulated universe would contain a lot of information bits everywhere around us. These information bits represent the code itself. Hence, detecting these information bits will prove the simulation hypothesis. ...

There are other approaches too. The late physicist John Barrow has argued that a simulation would build up minor computational errors which the programmer would need to fix in order to keep it going. He suggested we might experience such fixing as contradictory experimental results appearing suddenly, such as the constants of nature changing. ...
FULL STORY: https://theconversation.com/how-to-test-if-were-living-in-a-computer-simulation-194929
 

Ermintruder

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The proposition that the classic energy:mass equation (yes, that one which everyone knows) would also have an information equivalency is fascinating, and very-tempting to grab with both my (simulated) hands, but....I have all sorts of doubts.

From the authors' thesis summary https://aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/1.5123794

X-Screenshot 2022-11-23 082739.jpg

or, in words:
X-Screenshot 2022-11-23 082937.jpg

I really hope the above isn't based upon an ontological mis-match of functions (or a falsely-forced bi-directional intermapping) between information and that which contains/conveys/conducts information. A glass of water is a glass plus water; they are (for the purposes of this analogy) inter-dependent, but they are not directly equivalent to each-other: carrier is not content (with apologies to Marshall Mcluhan). I will keep fingers--crossed that the thesis is not hinged upon metaphysical false corollary, because it is such a persuasive concept.

And: let's hope their 'codding error' is accidental, and not a challenge flag :):

X-Screenshot 2022-11-23 083033.jpg
 
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Ermintruder

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....in the following thread but conciousness is also included
Interesting....

Original citation is from https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/document/cia-PSYCHOTRONICS RESEARCH IN JAPAN

(The final paragraph from which is rendered below)
On the basis of this conversion formula, consciousness can be converted to matter or energy. Conversely, he believes that matter and energy too can be converted and IM claims that what is known as consciousness can thereby be measured. He also explained the analogy between thermodynamics and information theory using the example to entropy. According to Inomata, in the information theory due to Shannon, information simply goes on disintegrating, and he emphasized that a new information theory is needed which incorporates the concept of consciousness so as to create information at the information source or to put in order disorganized external information at the receiving end. His discussion abounded in suggestions such as whether the problem-solving logic in computers and pattern recognition really adhere to conventional physicochemical theories. This lecture may be seen as a significant discussion with implications for information science in the twenty first century
 

MorningAngel

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Are huge coincidences an indicator that we are in a simulation? Surely it’s more likely than just at random.
 

ChasFink

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The Simulation Hypothesis is essentially meaningless.

We are far from understanding the full nature of our universe (or the multiverse it's in, if that's necessary). Even if we eventually show it behaves like a computer simulation, that only means it behaves like one, not that it really is one.

Not all computer simulated "universes" we create in this world accurately mimic our own - or are intended to. It could be the height of arrogance to believe that the "real" world above us would be essentially like ours. In all likelihood it would be far more complicated and probably incomprehensible to us. The very concept of "computer simulation" would likely be nonsense in that world; we would just be a "creation". For all we know it could be filled with clouds and contain YHWH and his angels. (A rabbinical student once told me that in some Jewish mysticism YHWH is two tiers down from the top, IIRC one of nine who are collectively one of three under THE one.)

What matters is that we we understand how the world we're in works, and if that leads to higher realities it doesn't mean we're any less real than we think we are.

Personally, I feel the whole of existence is something like turtles all the way down AND up.
 

Victory

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Are huge coincidences an indicator that we are in a simulation? Surely it’s more likely than just at random.
I'd say they very much suggest we are not in a simulation.

There is something too special about a coincidence, especially ones mentioned on this forum, for them to be created by human (or other) coders.
 
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