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mopc
2004-Jul-28, 04:57 PM
What if the universe is one big computer simulaton? What if there's a "cheat password" to break natural laws?

I mean, if we were in a computer simulation, would there be a way to tell? After all, reality is the part of illusiion we all agree upon...

Bozola
2004-Jul-28, 05:14 PM
What if the universe is one big computer simulaton? What if there's a "cheat password" to break natural laws?

I mean, if we were in a computer simulation, would there be a way to tell? After all, reality is the part of illusiion we all agree upon...

Have you tried "xyzzy"?

Trinity
2004-Jul-28, 05:32 PM
Try "rosebud" too, if you want quick money. Then try ;!;!;!;!;!;!;!;!;!;!;! for even more money!! Get rich quick!!

Where's the master keyboard, anyway?

ToSeek
2004-Jul-28, 06:14 PM
There was a science-fiction short story along these lines where all the Voyager-type space probes started failing beyond a certain distance because that was as far as the sim went.

Extravoice
2004-Jul-28, 06:49 PM
"42"

eburacum45
2004-Jul-28, 07:24 PM
Is there a way to find out if we are in a sim or not?

Possibly.

My plan is this;

To simulate the universe to a sufficiently high resolution to fool a human being would take a large, but finite amount of processing power; probably less than you think. You don't need to model everything to the same standard of resolution- only the things the human subject is actually looking at/touching/smelling/tasting/within earshot of.

Outside that range the simulation can be much more basic.

So what we need to do is to increase our capacity to sense the universe; telescopes and microscopes are good, but still rely on the human sensorium to interpret the results.
To really test the resolution of the universe we need to build a few artificially intelligent machines, each with artificial senses themselves; expand the sensory abilities of these AI machines till they overload the simulation program.

If running a billion AI machines each with a billion electronic eyes does not cause the simulation to overload, the we could start running a few virtual simulations ourselves; convert the mass of all the planets, moons and asteroids into computer substrate to run the biggest number of simulations we can.

Eventually we will exceed the capacity of any simulation we may be running on ; the microcircuit breakers out there in the real world will trip, and our simulation, and all the smaller simulations we may have built inside that simulation, will come to a full stop.

We are duty bound to build the biggest AI we can, to find out if we are actually trapped within a Matrix virch by some other AI somewhere.

eburacum45
2004-Jul-28, 07:30 PM
Or perhaps not; if we do overload the program, we will simply stop like the programs we are.

Additionally, there is the possibility that the simulation is running on a computer substrate in a universe more complex than our own; if we are inside a 4 dimensional computer; or any other higher dimensional construct, we would never overload the machine even if we turned the universe into a vast computer and ran it as fast as we could.

aurora
2004-Jul-28, 08:05 PM
What if the universe is one big computer simulaton? What if there's a "cheat password" to break natural laws?

I mean, if we were in a computer simulation, would there be a way to tell? After all, reality is the part of illusiion we all agree upon...

Have you tried "xyzzy"?

"Nothing happens here."

Bozola
2004-Jul-28, 09:59 PM
"Nothing happens here."

*snicker*

TrAI
2004-Jul-28, 10:25 PM
....

Eventually we will exceed the capacity of any simulation we may be running on ; the microcircuit breakers out there in the real world will trip, and our simulation, and all the smaller simulations we may have built inside that simulation, will come to a full stop.
....


Not really likely, the breakers would probably be rated to the maximal power need of the circuit it protects, and a processing device can not go beyond 100% load... It is more likely that a lack of computing power would cause each simulation step to need more time, but as each step would be the fundamental time increment of the simulated universe, someone inside the simulation would not notice anything different no matter how long each step took to compute. It is a little like watching a computer generated movie, the frame rate of the playback is not dependant on the rendering time of each frame, though it is not a perfect analogy...

freddo
2004-Jul-28, 11:56 PM
iddqd

toolazytotypemyname
2004-Jul-29, 04:26 AM
To simulate the universe to a sufficiently high resolution to fool a human being would take a large, but finite amount of processing power; probably less than you think.

Not necessarily. We're part of the sim too. So it might not take much to fool us at all.

skeptED56
2004-Jul-29, 05:12 AM
Well, if we are part of a "simulator." Then all the laws of physics we know could simply be ones that are made up by the "simulator" and not represent the external "reality" at all. They only have to be consistent (or seem consistent!).

As to the implications. So what? So what if we are all simulations, the world is still out there, other people are still out there, and the universe is still the same exciting place it always was. There are still new things to discover, and new frontiers to be reached regardless.

The idea is also completely unfalsifiable (and thus some would conclude, worthless thinking about).

Lycus
2004-Jul-29, 05:41 AM
What if the universe is one big computer simulaton? What if there's a "cheat password" to break natural laws?
It has to be Zzyzx (http://wordways.com/zzyzx.jpg), the road that leads to the End of the World.

Musashi
2004-Jul-29, 06:06 AM
Heh, that road is on my way to Vegas.

Lycus
2004-Jul-29, 07:43 AM
Heh, that road is on my way to Vegas.
Yeah, I've passed by it several times. Whenever I do, for some reason I like to imagine that scene from The Thirteenth Floor. :)

eburacum45
2004-Jul-29, 08:59 AM
It is more likely that a lack of computing power would cause each simulation step to need more time, but as each step would be the fundamental time increment of the simulated universe, someone inside the simulation would not notice anything different no matter how long each step took to compute. It is a little like watching a computer generated movie, the frame rate of the playback is not dependant on the rendering time of each frame, though it is not a perfect analogy...

Yep; that is the solution the imaginary Panvirtuals have adopted in this little story/essay of mine;
http://www.orionsarm.com/clades/Mucoid_Empire.html

Swift
2004-Jul-29, 02:45 PM
What if the universe is one big computer simulaton? What if there's a "cheat password" to break natural laws?

I mean, if we were in a computer simulation, would there be a way to tell? After all, reality is the part of illusiion we all agree upon...

Have you tried "xyzzy"?
:lol:

You are in a Universe with 3 spatial dimensions and one time dimension.
You are on the surface of a planet in this universe. There is a door in front of you, a cave to the left, and an older, German scientist with a lot of fuzzy white hair to your right
a) Open the door
b) Enter the cave
c) Talk to the Scientist

dvb
2004-Jul-29, 02:58 PM
Well, if we are part of a "simulator." Then all the laws of physics we know could simply be ones that are made up by the "simulator" and not represent the external "reality" at all. They only have to be consistent (or seem consistent!).

I've often thought this myself. If all our physical laws are made up by the simulator, that would explain why the laws of physics break down at say, the big bang, or a black hole. It would explain a lot of other things that we can't explain about the universe. :-?

DoktorGreg
2004-Jul-29, 03:59 PM
Well, if we are part of a "simulator." Then all the laws of physics we know could simply be ones that are made up by the "simulator" and not represent the external "reality" at all. They only have to be consistent (or seem consistent!).

I've often thought this myself. If all our physical laws are made up by the simulator, that would explain why the laws of physics break down at say, the big bang, or a black hole. It would explain a lot of other things that we can't explain about the universe. :-?

The BB is just how we perceive the seeding subroutiene for an infinite cellular automa. It also seems to have a genetic algorithm as the test case for intercellular communication. I like it! It makes perfect sense now!

skeptED56
2004-Jul-29, 04:12 PM
Well, if we are part of a "simulator." Then all the laws of physics we know could simply be ones that are made up by the "simulator" and not represent the external "reality" at all. They only have to be consistent (or seem consistent!).

I've often thought this myself. If all our physical laws are made up by the simulator, that would explain why the laws of physics break down at say, the big bang, or a black hole. It would explain a lot of other things that we can't explain about the universe. :-?

I dunno, I think we'd just be adding another layer of explaining to do! Somewhere along the line there should be a universe that is entirely consistent, makes sense (well, maybe), and is explainable and supportable by the natural laws of that universe. For now, it might as well be our universe until we have evidence to the contrary (ockhams razor). *Thinks about simulator inside simulator inside simulator and shudders*

The "simulator" idea is an interesting one to think about, but again, definetly unfalsifiable. Also, I don't think anyone would be satisfied with: "things are the way they are because that's the nature of the simulator."

xbck1
2004-Jul-29, 06:38 PM
I was thinking about something kind of like this a couple of days ago.

If you had a super-powerful computer and you made a universe like ours, then you focused in on one single planet and pressed the fast forward button, would you eventually see life evolve? Then what would happen? Would the computer build little cells that would eventually turn into intelligent beings over millions or billions of years? Would the computer have to handle all of the AI? It would, wouldn't it?

ToSeek
2004-Jul-29, 06:46 PM
I was thinking about something kind of like this a couple of days ago.

If you had a super-powerful computer and you made a universe like ours, then you focused in on one single planet and pressed the fast forward button, would you eventually see life evolve? Then what would happen? Would the computer build little cells that would eventually turn into intelligent beings over millions or billions of years? Would the computer have to handle all of the AI? It would, wouldn't it?

I'd be inclined to think that such a simulation would have problems with emergent properties like life and intelligence unless they were anticipated. Would it really be possible to simulate human history just based on the underlying physics?

Demigrog
2004-Jul-29, 06:48 PM
The storage requirements to hold the state of every particle in the universe would require... a whole universe. Heck, to simulate a mole of hydrogen would require more RAM than exists on earth. It is much easier to just... have a mole of hydrogen.

Demigrog
2004-Jul-29, 06:58 PM
Though now that I think about it, I see a possibility. Some BB theories have the whole universe derived from a few grams of proto-matter, or even nothing. So, if you merely set up the equations that govern physics and this small amount of matter, you have effectively created a simulation of the universe, with relatively minimal resources. Whether or not that universe actually “exists” without “executing” the simulation seems more of a philosophical issue. The mere definition of the equations is enough to “create” the universe as we know it, mathematically.

Suppose we managed to create this “proto” simulation. Would we ethically have the right to execute it, knowing we’d run out of RAM after only a few billionths of a second?

Anyhow, I should really be working…

eburacum45
2004-Jul-29, 09:10 PM
The storage requirements to hold the state of every particle in the universe would require... a whole universe. Heck, to simulate a mole of hydrogen would require more RAM than exists on earth. It is much easier to just... have a mole of hydrogen.

Unless hydrogen is an entirely theoretical construct in the universe the simulating computer is based in.

Most virtual unverses will be based around the point of view of the sentient observer, and would get progressivily more low resolution the further away from the POV you go. Human senses are remarkably crude but the mind compensates for any observational shortcomings very well.

However a detailed simulation would be required if. for instance, the lifeforms in the virtual scenario have to evolve realistically; the recombination of the DNA, expression of the proteins and the development of the genotype/phenotype would take a lot of computer power to model accurately.

SiriMurthy
2004-Jul-29, 09:15 PM
What if the universe is one big computer simulaton? What if there's a "cheat password" to break natural laws?

I mean, if we were in a computer simulation, would there be a way to tell? After all, reality is the part of illusiion we all agree upon...

Hey mopc, have you been watching too much of the Matrix trilogy? :P :D

OU812
2004-Jul-29, 09:17 PM
C'mon guys, you already know the password, it's "abba". We are clearly stuck in some version of Ikari Warriers.

dvb
2004-Jul-29, 11:31 PM
Computer technology is still in its infancy. To assume that computers won't be powerful enough in the future to simulate a universe is a little premature IMO. :)

Dgennero
2004-Jul-30, 02:05 AM
IF we were part of a simulation, this only would shift the reality problem one level up, because the "computer" we are running on could be part of another simulation... ad infinitum.
Whether we could determine we are simulated is doubtful - the simulation might be flawless, not like the Matrix ;)
But of course, it could be like the lady listening to a professor about the earth and stating "the earth is sitting on a turtle shell". Prof: "And what is the turtle sitting on?" Lady: "A turtle - it's turtles all the way down."

Kebsis
2004-Jul-30, 03:43 AM
That's silly. There's no way we're just a part of a big computer simulation.

...hey...what's this plug here in the corner of my room? I've never noticed it before. Hmm...it just runs out the window and into the ground.

I wonder what would happen if I unplugged it.....

.....


...........

mopc
2004-Jul-30, 04:53 AM
What I was assuming is that since the Big Bang it was all a computer simulation, not that in our reality someone put everybody into a simulation like in the Matrix.

I mean, reality is indistiguishable from a computer reality.We cant even talk about a simulation, since it doesnt have to simulate any "real" reality. It's just that the Programmer (which cannot be God, since he himself would have to have been created) one day wrote:

.


And from there she created all things. Like, why do atoms have to have electrons around protons, instead of a ring of sixteen components? Why is E equal to m times c2 instead of c3? Why is the rate of attraction of bodies inversely proportional to the square of their masses, instead of directly proportonal? Why do we have gravity, strong & weak forces, electromag, instead of having only three major forces? Why doesnt McDonald's offer hotdogs?

All this stuff could be just arbitrary decisions made by a conscious Programmer. Once we fugure out the source code, we could stop merely discovering science facts and actually understanding why. Not to mention changing the rules....

Swift
2004-Jul-30, 06:11 PM
This is a very old philosophic debate, sometimes called the brain-in-the-box. How do I know any of you exist, maybe I'm just a brain in a box and someone is feeding it electronic signals so that I think the universe exists? Or maybe I'm not even a physical brain, but a computer program? Ultimately their is no answer; there is no proof that can be supplied to prove the universe exists and is not some perfect simulation. It has to be a basic assumption for living, assume existence.

Captain Kidd
2004-Jul-30, 07:10 PM
This is a very old philosophic debate, sometimes called the brain-in-the-box. How do I know any of you exist, maybe I'm just a brain in a box and someone is feeding it electronic signals so that I think the universe exists? Or maybe I'm not even a physical brain, but a computer program? Ultimately their is no answer; there is no proof that can be supplied to prove the universe exists and is not some perfect simulation. It has to be a basic assumption for living, assume existence.If I'm just a brain in a box, then somebody has a very sadistic sense of humor and I want somebody else controlling the inputs.

Human
2004-Jul-30, 08:17 PM
What if the universe is one big computer simulaton? What if there's a "cheat password" to break natural laws?

I mean, if we were in a computer simulation, would there be a way to tell? After all, reality is the part of illusiion we all agree upon...

I am very interested in the same subject.
Here are some interesting links:

http://jamaica.u.arizona.edu/%7Echalmers/papers/matrix.html

http://www.simulation-argument.com/simulation.html

mopc
2004-Jul-30, 08:32 PM
This is a very old philosophic debate, sometimes called the brain-in-the-box. How do I know any of you exist, maybe I'm just a brain in a box and someone is feeding it electronic signals so that I think the universe exists? Or maybe I'm not even a physical brain, but a computer program? Ultimately their is no answer; there is no proof that can be supplied to prove the universe exists and is not some perfect simulation. It has to be a basic assumption for living, assume existence.

But the point I'm trying to make is: there is no difference. Existing and being a simulation is the same thing. Or not?

Swift
2004-Jul-30, 08:42 PM
This is a very old philosophic debate, sometimes called the brain-in-the-box. How do I know any of you exist, maybe I'm just a brain in a box and someone is feeding it electronic signals so that I think the universe exists? Or maybe I'm not even a physical brain, but a computer program? Ultimately their is no answer; there is no proof that can be supplied to prove the universe exists and is not some perfect simulation. It has to be a basic assumption for living, assume existence.

But the point I'm trying to make is: there is no difference. Existing and being a simulation is the same thing. Or not?
It is the same in that there is no test or measure that you can do to tell the difference. If you want to live your life believing you're in a simulation, have fun. Are you going to behave differently given that belief?

Bozola
2004-Jul-31, 02:41 PM
I thought it said "Are we the Simpsons"?

Yes, we are all Bart.

Marki
2004-Jul-31, 08:19 PM
Interesting read about the simulation of the Universe by Neil J Boucher:


http://www.mathstar.com.au/linkedstuff/simuniverse.htm

mopc
2004-Jul-31, 08:38 PM
Wasnt something similar on the Scientific American magazine? I remember a Brazilian edition of it with a cover that said "is the universe a computer?" or something.


But anyhow what I was thinking about when I started this topic was that we may think of our reality the same way we think about virtual reality: the rules of nature are not absolutes, but were set this way. We can't go through a wall for the same reason Pac Man can't....

Master258
2004-Aug-01, 05:12 AM
if we are we maybe will never know. Me for one don't care. It doesn't change the fact that this is a life. Sim or not