Is computer simulation the simplest explanation of our universe?

  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

I've just started thinking about this and haven't read much about the "simulation argument" yet, but is there anything unreasonable about using computational/information theoretic/Occam's razor arguments to argue that the simplest explanation for the universe is that everything is being simulated in real time for the benefit of conscious beings (in particular, us)? When we look at new areas of the universe, are we in effect looking deeper into a "Mandelbrot set" that is using simple algorithms to generate the territory as needed? In this model consciousness is a fundamental part of the machinery of the universe -- maybe we are its algorithms becoming self-aware?

This idea seems totally reasonable to me, perhaps more than believing that there is an objective universe so incredibly large, doing so much computation "for no reason". I understand that Steven Wolfram has a similar idea, and I just wonder if this could be a new paradigm that explains a lot of deep mysteries better than our current models (the Fermi Paradox, for example).
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
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Like most of these arguments it's not really possible to disprove them, if you are part of the Matrix then you will be part of a system whose algorithms will make everything consistent with the program, and will dismiss irregularities as momentary mental lapses, or sanity issues.

It would take someone outside of the Matrix to offer you a red pill or blue pill to prove the Matrix existed. Likewise it would take a perspective outside of our reality to know that it didn't.

Does there have to be a reason for anything, or is that just your bias encroaching in on things? Couldn't things quite easily just be? The same questions about existence lead to religion, which we seem naturally programmed to some extent to follow, at least in terms of having a penchant to explore questions of purpose and existence. Now a days we call it something else without the gods, but it is really still the same basic drive to understand why.

Hey!?

I just saw a black cat walk past...

And then it did it again?

Crap!
 
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  • #3
Pythagorean
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it sounds rather anthropocentric to me...
 
  • #4
berkeman
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Thread closed briefly for Moderation...
 
  • #5
Math Is Hard
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I don't think Occam's Razor will do you any favors here. It is simpler to suppose that I am just having an experience, rather than something is creating an experience for me.

Other than that, the opening post isn't a good fit with the guidelines:

https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=47294

https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=459350

so I will leave it locked.

The topic needs to be more fleshed out, with more information on the particular "simulation argument" you have in mind. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulation_hypothesis" [Broken]
It would also have been helpful if you could have pointed us to the Stephen Wolfram idea that you mentioned.
 
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