Category: Journeys Hits: 1728
Tests could reveal whether we are part of a giant computer simulation — but the real question is if we want to know...
In the 1999 sci-fi film classic The Matrix, the protagonist, Neo, is stunned to see people defying the laws of physics, running up walls and vanishing suddenly. These superhuman violations of the rules of the universe are possible because, unbeknownst to him, Neo’s consciousness is embedded in the Matrix, a virtual-reality simulation created by sentient machines.
The action really begins when Neo is given a fateful choice: Take the blue pill and return to his oblivious, virtual existence, or take the red pill to learn the truth about the Matrix and find out “how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
Physicists can now offer us the same choice, the ability to test whether we live in our own virtual Matrix, by studying radiation from space. As fanciful as it sounds, some philosophers have long argued that we’re actually more likely to be artificial intelligences trapped in a fake universe than we are organic minds in the “real” one.
But if that were true, the very laws of physics that allow us to devise such reality-checking technology may have little to do with the fundamental rules that govern the meta-universe inhabited by our simulators. To us, these programmers would be gods, able to twist reality on a whim.
So should we say yes to the offer to take the red pill and learn the truth — or are the implications too disturbing?
Worlds in Our Grasp
The first serious attempt to find the truth about our universe came in 2001, when an effort to calculate the resources needed for a universe-size simulation made the prospect seem impossible.
Seth Lloyd, a quantum-mechanical engineer at MIT, estimated the number of “computer operations” our universe has performed since the Big Bang — basically, every event that has ever happened. To repeat them, and generate a perfect facsimile of reality down to the last atom, would take more energy than the universe has.
“The computer would have to be bigger than the universe, and time would tick more slowly in the program than in reality,” says Lloyd. “So why even bother building it?”
But others soon realized that making an imperfect copy of the universe that’s just good enough to fool its inhabitants would take far less computational power. In such a makeshift cosmos, the fine details of the microscopic world and the farthest stars might only be filled in by the programmers on the rare occasions that people study them with scientific equipment. As soon as no one was looking, they’d simply vanish.
In theory, we’d never detect these disappearing features, however, because each time the simulators noticed we were observing them again, they’d sketch them back in.
That realization makes creating virtual universes eerily possible, even for us. Today’s supercomputers already crudely model the early universe, simulating how infant galaxies grew and changed. Given the rapid technological advances we’ve witnessed over past decades — your cell phone has more processing power than NASA’s computers had during the moon landings — it’s not a huge leap to imagine that such simulations will eventually encompass intelligent life.
“We may be able to fit humans into our simulation boxes within a century,” says Silas Beane, a nuclear physicist at the University of Washington in Seattle. Beane develops simulations that re-create how elementary protons and neutrons joined together to form ever larger atoms in our young universe.
Legislation and social mores could soon be all that keeps us from creating a universe of artificial, but still feeling, humans — but our tech-savvy descendants may find the power to play God too tempting to resist.
They could create a plethora of pet universes, vastly outnumbering the real cosmos. This thought led philosopher Nick Bostrom at the University of Oxford to conclude in 2003 that it makes more sense to bet that we’re delusional silicon-based artificial intelligences in one of these many forgeries, rather than carbon-based organisms in the genuine universe. Since there seemed no way to tell the difference between the two possibilities, however, bookmakers did not have to lose sleep working out the precise odds.
Learning the Truth
That changed in 2007 when John D. Barrow, professor of mathematical sciences at Cambridge University, suggested that an imperfect simulation of reality would contain detectable glitches. Just like your computer, the universe’s operating system would need updates to keep working.
As the simulation degrades, Barrow suggested, we might see aspects of nature that are supposed to be static — such as the speed of light or the fine-structure constant that describes the strength of the electromagnetic force — inexplicably drift from their “constant” values.
Last year, Beane and colleagues suggested a more concrete test of the simulation hypothesis. Most physicists assume that space is smooth and extends out infinitely. But physicists modeling the early universe cannot easily re-create a perfectly smooth background to house their atoms, stars and galaxies. Instead, they build up their simulated space from a lattice, or grid, just as television images are made up from multiple pixels.
The team calculated that the motion of particles within their simulation, and thus their energy, is related to the distance between the points of the lattice: the smaller the grid size, the higher the energy particles can have. That means that if our universe is a simulation, we’ll observe a maximum energy amount for the fastest particles. And as it happens, astronomers have noticed that cosmic rays, high-speed particles that originate in far-flung galaxies, always arrive at Earth with a specific maximum energy of about 1020 electron volts.
The simulation’s lattice has another observable effect that astronomers could pick up. If space is continuous, then there is no underlying grid that guides the direction of cosmic rays — they should come in from every direction equally. If we live in a simulation based on a lattice, however, the team has calculated that we wouldn’t see this even distribution. If physicists do see an uneven distribution, it would be a tough result to explain if the cosmos were real.
Astronomers need much more cosmic ray data to answer this one way or another. For Beane, either outcome would be fine. “Learning we live in a simulation would make no more difference to my life than believing that the universe was seeded at the Big Bang,” he says. But that’s because Beane imagines the simulators as driven purely to understand the cosmos, with no desire to interfere with their simulations.
Unfortunately, our almighty simulators may instead have programmed us into a universe-size reality show — and are capable of manipulating the rules of the game, purely for their entertainment. In that case, maybe our best strategy is to lead lives that amuse our audience, in the hope that our simulator-gods will resurrect us in the afterlife of next-generation simulations.
The weird consequences would not end there. Our simulators may be simulations themselves — just one rabbit hole within a linked series, each with different fundamental physical laws. “If we’re indeed a simulation, then that would be a logical possibility, that what we’re measuring aren’t really the laws of nature, they’re some sort of attempt at some sort of artificial law that the simulators have come up with. That’s a depressing thought!” says Beane.
This cosmic ray test may help reveal whether we are just lines of code in an artificial Matrix, where the established rules of physics may be bent, or even broken. But if learning that truth means accepting that you may never know for sure what’s real — including yourself — would you want to know?
There is no turning back, Neo: Do you take the blue pill, or the red pill?
The Matrix Revealed
Tantalizingly, just weeks before The Matrix came out in 1999, astronomers analyzing the light from distant galaxies published hints that the universe’s “constants” might not be so constant. Specifically, they found that the value of the fine-structure constant — which determines how the galaxies’ light should appear — is one thousandth of a percent bigger today than it was 10 billion years ago.
Glitches caused by our simulation being patched up could also be at the root of truly bizarre results that defy the normal rules of physics. One such possible effect appeared in 2011, when physicists working on the OPERA experiment in Europe made headlines as they claimed to have measured subatomic particles called neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light, considered the universal speed limit.
Unfortunately, neither case proved a slam-dunk for a virtual universe. Independent tests could not back up the fine-structure constant data, and the speedy neutrinos turned out to be due to a faulty experimental setup. But there is a more fantastical explanation: These inconstant-constants may have instead been simulation glitches, glimpsed just before our programmers fixed them.
ॐ Namasté - Blessings!
© 2017 crystalwind.ca. All rights reserved.
Archive: Andels Journeys
- 2017 (41)
- December (1)
- November (5)
- October (2)
- September (3)
- August (5)
- July (3)
- June (8)
- • The Trap of Righteousness
- • The Commercialization of Spirituality - A Multi-Billion Dollar Corporate Takeover!
- • Loneliness
- • The Masks Are Coming Off - Unveiling False Teachers
- • The Dynamics Of Fear In Fear Inducing Times
- • 10 “Spiritual” Things People Do That Are Total Bullshit
- • Karma Teaches Jerks A Valuable Lesson In Life
- • Is The New Spirituality Just A Trend?
- May (4)
- April (2)
- March (2)
- February (3)
- January (3)
- 2016 (30)
- December (6)
- • This Woman Died of Stage 4 Cancer and Came Back From the Dead With a Shocking Message
- • Article Four: The Cast of Characters. AKA: The Wrecking Crew.
- • Cognitive Dissonance made easy
- • The Principle of Mission
- • Article Three: Donald Trump’s Personality and Character Structure
- • Article Two: United States Elections 2016: Getting the Right Perspective
- November (3)
- October (3)
- August (1)
- June (1)
- May (1)
- April (3)
- March (3)
- February (3)
- January (6)
- • My Pleasure
- • Vancouver Man With Stomach Cancer Is Selling Unconditional Love On Craigslist For $0
- • Carefree People Don’t Have Attachments - Here Are 25 Reasons Why
- • Are Family Members Toxic? 10 Things to Remember
- • The World As We Know It Has Changed And There Is No Going Back To What We Were - 6 Predictions
- • How To Get More Energy: 8 New Secrets Backed By Research
- December (6)
- 2015 (50)
- December (4)
- November (6)
- • Neutrality — The Gateway To Transcend The Matrix
- • Soul and Personality
- • Dalai Lama on Paris & Syria – A Message for Peace
- • Know Yourself. Heal. Self-Liberate. Experiment. Build Community.
- • Groundbreaking Discovery: Man Solves Tesla’s Secret To Amplifying Power By Nearly 5000%
- • Johnny Depp Intends To Buy Site Of Wounded Knee Massacre And Gift It Back To The Native American People
- October (10)
- • Waking Up The Goddess: Where Men Meet Women
- • Why we cry
- • You’re Not Wrong
- • Canada’s New PM Issues Challenge to US – “We’re Ending Wars and Legalizing Pot”
- • Meet the USA's First School District to Serve 100% Organic Meals
- • Going Through Shadows: The Vortex Of Transformation.
- • The Rise of Lowsumerism
- • There is something extraordinary happening in the world
- • Three Ways Canadian Thanksgiving Differs From American Thanksgiving
- • Leonardo DiCaprio - Bring Down Big Oil Corporations
- September (3)
- August (2)
- July (2)
- June (6)
- May (5)
- April (2)
- March (1)
- February (5)
- January (4)
- 2014 (56)
- December (2)
- November (4)
- October (4)
- September (5)
- • Water on Earth predates Sun, meaning our life originated elsewhere – study
- • Buffalo Treaty: Native tribes sign bison revival plan in US and Canada
- • US to pay largest Native American nation $554 million in landmark settlement
- • Being Vegan and Raw Vegan Lifestyle
- • New Experiment Will Answer Some Mind-Bending Questions On Whether We Live In a Hologram
- August (3)
- July (3)
- June (4)
- May (2)
- April (3)
- March (7)
- • Spring Into the Adventure! How the Symbolism of Frogs Can Support Us Through Change
- • The Gateways Are As Open As You Are
- • Shifting Seasons And Time…..
- • Marching Forward
- • Stanford Physicist: Vast, Powerful Realm Between Particles Influenced by Human Consciousness
- • We Are Living In The Most Important Time In The History Of The Universe - Dolores Cannon Discusses Our Current Paradigm
- • Creating A Path Where There Is None
- February (9)
- • February Update
- • Finding Direction When You Feel Lost
- • How Our Narratives Inform Our Hopes for Change
- • Electromagnetic and Radio Frequency Mitigation
- • The Alchemy of Responsible Reflection
- • How You Attract Information In A Vibrational Universe
- • 'You shall not pass!' Native American groups vow to block Keystone XL pipeline
- • Architecture of the Light
- • Meeting Our Past Selves Outside Of Time
- January (10)
- • Journey to the Enchanted Forest – Your New Moon & New Year Power Animal Awaits
- • Year of the Horse is Upon Us – Ready, Set, Go!
- • The 118 Days of Creation
- • How Much Are You Filtering Your Truth? – Image Alterations Aren't Just For Big Media Anymore
- • Eight Signs You May Be Experiencing a Spiritual Awakening
- • 13 Signs You’re a Witch
- • How To Tell If You Had A Past Life In Atlantis
- • How Do I Know If It’s My Soul or My Ego Talking?
- • The Baby and the Bath Water
- • The Foundation for All Healing
- 2013 (104)
- December (12)
- • Activate Your Creative Power With Conscious Intention
- • Riding the Train of Life – Symbolism to Navigate the Tracks of Your Journey
- • Are We the Makers of Our Own Fate?
- • Lighting Your Truth to Freedom, Passion & Inspired Leadership – Closing Chapter 2013 to Write Chapter 2014′s Lively & Instinctual Year of the Horse
- • The Power of a Poor Night’s Sleep
- • Why Entrepreneurship Is A Spiritual Expression Of Freedom
- • Death and Dying from a Shamanic Perspective
- • Sliding Home For Christmas
- • The Solstice Vibe
- • You’re Only As Strong As Your Weakest Link But As Wise As Your Strongest
- • The Speed of Infinity
- • World Aids Day – December 1st
- November (29)
- • The Courage To Live Box Less -- Getting Outside The Label Labyrinth
- • The Quantum Leap Ascension Process
- • Toronto Named Most Youth Friendly City
- • Thanksgiving Day Recalibration
- • Stop Looking And See
- • Getting the Doomsday Hunger?
- • What I Hope to Be Next Year
- • At The Point of No Return
- • The Faery Referral Network
- • Thoughts on Compassion and Detachment
- • Top Ten Myths About Being a Psychic/Healer
- • Tell the “Lords” of Karma That You Are Sovereign – No Longer a Lightworker Part 2
- • Where New JFK Evidence Points - 50 Years Later + Videos
- • 3 Reasons Why It’s Better to NOT Manifest a Soul Mate Relationship
- • 10 Tycoons Who Meditate Daily To Keep Up With Their Hectic Business Life
- • Why We Should Rethink What We've Been Told About Consciousness
- • The Value of “Sloth” – Expanding Our Perceptions for Greater Wisdom
- • Why Your Voice Matters and How To Get Heard
- • Breaking the Barriers of Belief
- • Stop Being "Positive" & Start Getting Real (Joy) In Your Life
- • Are We Living in the Matrix?
- • Is the Sharing Economy Here Yet?
- • Find Your Power in Self-Sufficiency
- • Heads Up
- • Plants Exhibit The Same Senses As Humans And See, Touch, Smell, Hear and Even Taste
- • Healing The Wound(s) Within The Heart Chakra
- • True or False? I Am Perfect Just As I Am
- • Indigenous Elders and Medicine Peoples Council Statement on Fukushima
- • A Phoenix Rising - A Recommended Read
- October (18)
- • 20 Good Reasons to Have Clear Personal Boundaries
- • Let Go of Who You Are to Become What You Might Be
- • How to Be Happy: The 10-Day Happiness Challenge
- • The Law of Assumption
- • A Message from the Faeries
- • New Device Stores Electricity On Silicon Chips
- • The NAME
- • 6 Big Excuses That Can Derail Your Life
- • A Clean Break
- • An Original Blueprint
- • Your Angry Voice Demolishes Your Brilliant Argument
- • Where the Action Is NOW– Relationships
- • Homo Luminous: The New Human
- • The Two New Humanities
- • How Do I Discern the Real from False?
- • Walking on Sacred Ground
- • Not All Have Halos
- • AGAIN, Remember Who You Are
- September (14)
- • Be Careful of How You Use Words!
- • Frequency Gates – What The Heck Are They?
- • Following Our Joy to Find Freedom
- • You`ve Been Warned: Why You Need To Be Ready for Total Grid Failure
- • Spirituality and Ethics in Business
- • Life – The Projection From Within
- • 10 Ways to Shift Your Consciousness
- • The Fall Inside
- • Fall Equinox-The Gate Closes
- • Self Honesty May Deepen the Bliss Into Actualization and Full Embodiment
- • Changing Dynamics of Relationships
- • Biophotons
- • Autumn Equinox 2013 Cosmic Weather Forecast
- • Autumn Equinox: The Archangel Michael Meditation
- August (4)
- July (4)
- June (3)
- May (12)
- • How Gratitude Can Help You Through Hard Times
- • The World of Opposites: A New Take
- • The God Gene
- • Souls of Animals
- • What If Television News Disappeared?
- • Every Warrior’s Achilles Heel
- • Building Your Spiritual Muscles
- • Transmuting Collective Human Consciousness By Channeling Light
- • Is DMT the Gateway to Hell?
- • The Psychological Crossroad of An Unhappy Life
- • Science Finds Fountain of Youth Brain Region That Slows Down Aging
- • Remember The Power Of The Voice
- April (6)
- March (1)
- February (1)
- December (12)
- 2012 (12)
- December (2)
- November (5)
- October (4)
- April (1)
- 2011 (2)
- June (1)
- January (1)