Computable Minds -

How would be our universe if it would be generated by Matrix?

Posted on: Sep, 7th 2010
Cover of the movie The Matrix
The hypothesis of that we are in a universe simulated by big supercomputer can't be proven because, if true, never will could see outside of the simulation, although is a funny mental experiment do speculation about this.

In this post I'm going to expose some ideas of several scientific papers. The most importan the thesis "The universe is a computer" of 1967, by Konrad Zuse (inventor of one of the first computers) and his book of 1969 "Rechnender Raum" that means calculating the space.

In first place, at the same as Matrix and the book of Zuse, I'm going to assume that the big supercomputer that would be generating our universe, use a technology similar to our computers, is that to say, is digital and have limited resources.

If we know how is a computer, there are some characteristics that would have to accomplish our universe in order to be simulated inside the Matrix. None of these characteristics has been demonstrated, and although will demonstrate that all are true, this wouldn't implies that would be inside of a simulation.

Characteristics of the simulated universe:

- Computable: If all is a simulation of a program, all the things that generates, can be explained with mathematics and algorithms that can be execute in a computer in a finite time. There isn't any evidence that demonstrated that this is false.

- Deterministic: This is consequence of the prior point. If our universe is computable must be deterministic but, according to the quantum mechanics, our universe isn't deterministic, is that to say, we can't predict all because there are random events, if this occurs, the universe can't be generated by a computer, because this have to follow a determinate rules. This theory isn't proven because the random observed could obey to an underlying deterministic rules. As Einstein said about this topic: "God, doesn't play dice".

- With limited information: There isn't a way to demonstrate it, but if we are in a simulation made by a computer with a finite memory, the quantity of information inside of the universe must have also a maximum.

- Discrete: If the computer that creates the simulation of the Universe is digital (same as our computers), couldn't simulate anything analogical, all must be discretized. For instance, doesn't exist any binary numbering system that can represent the infinite values that there are between 0.1 and 0.2, inside a computer, but there are numbering systems, as the IEEE754, that allows represent several of the intermediate values of that interval in a discrete way.

Therefore, the evidence of any physical magnitude analogical would rule out that our universe is a simulation of a digital computer. According to a lot of physics, at the Planck scale, the space-time is discrete. If it was not, we would follow seeing it as something continuous because we would be seeing it a macroscopic scale. Is the same as when we see a photo in a computer. Seem that the image is continuous, however, if we expand it, we will see the image discretized by a lot of pixels.

Although in the quantum theory assumes that the space-time is continuous, for a lot of, the logic is to think in a space-time discrete because, if it were continuous, to pass from one point to another would have to cross infinite intermediate points and would not arrive never to the other point (this is know as the Zeno's paradox).

As consequence of live in a universe of discrete space-time if we move fast wil seem that we are teleporting. There are a videogame called Asteroids that show very well this effect. In that game appears a space ship that if we move forward begin to displacing every time more fast until appears that goes jumping, as would occur in our universe if a space ship could move to a speed close to the speed of light.

But still remains a lot of to see if the space-time is discrete or not. The smallest unit of time measured to date is the femtosecond 10 -15 s and according to Planck the smallest scale should be approximately 10-44 s. Could be this the speed o the clock ticks of the computer that simulate our universe?

What do you think? Are we in a simulation?

According to the philosophical principle of the Occam's razor, the most simple hypothesis is the most probably certain. As is more simple to think that our universe was created from the nothing, that think, that is a simulation make it by a supercomputer, that it could appear from nothing or be created by other beings that have appeared from the nothing, the most probable hypothesis in this case is that is not a simulation, although that doesn't mean that it is the correct.

In the case of be in a simulation, Are we part of the simulation or we exists outside the machine that simulates our universe? If we arrive to the limits of the universe we will appear in the other side, as in some videogames? Let's go! Write something that is free.

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