Simulation Hypothesis / Ancestor Simulation

Simulation Hypothesis / Ancestor Simulation

Updated Jul 18, 2023 at 03:07PM EDT by Don.

Added Jun 03, 2016 at 11:52AM EDT by Don.

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About

Simulation Hypothesis, also known as the Simulation Theory, is the hypothesis that the universe, its inhabitants and other aspects of the physical world are simulated by a computer to a degree that is indistinguishable from our current conception of everyday reality. The concept of simulated reality and "ancestor simulations" have been commonly used as plot devices in works of science fiction.

Origin

In 1977, science fiction author Philip K. Dick discussed the possibility of the universe being a computer simulation while speaking at a science fiction conference in Metz, France.

In 1998, robotics and artificial intelligence researcher Hans Moravec published a paper titled "Simulation, Consciousness, Existence," proposing that our reality might actually be a simulation created by another civilization. In 2003, philosopher Nick Bostrom released a paper titled "Are You Living in a Computer Simulation?",[4] which included three propositions for determining the likelihood of the universe being a simulated reality:

1. "The fraction of human-level civilizations that reach a posthuman stage (that is, one capable of running high-fidelity ancestor simulations) is very close to zero", or
2. "The fraction of posthuman civilizations that are interested in running ancestor-simulations is very close to zero", or
3. "The fraction of all people with our kind of experiences that are living in a simulation is very close to one"

Spread

In 1994, writer Roger Williams released the online novella The Metamorphosis of the Prime Intellect,[5] in which an artificial intelligence rewrites the code of the universe to place humanity in a simulated reality. On November 17th, 2008, Xkcd[6] released a comic titled "A Bunch of Rocks," in which a stick figure creates a simulated universe on a planet (shown below, left). In February 2012, the webcomic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal posted a comic featuring a woman who calculates that our universe is the 61st simulation from the bottom (shown below, right).[2]


SO I'M STUck IN THiS DESERT FOR ETERNITY. I DONT KNOW WHY. I JUST WOKE UFP HERE ONE DAY. I NEVER FEEL HUNGRY OR THIRSTY I JUST wALK. SAND AND RoCKS STRETCH TO INFINITY. AS BEST AS CAN TELU THERE'S PLENTY OF TME IVE REDERIVED FOR THINKING OUT HERE. MODERN MATH PHYSICS, TOO I WORKED OUT THE KINKS IN QUANTUM MECHANICS AND RELATIVITY IN THE SAND ToOK A LOT OF THINKING, BUT THIS PLACE HAS FEWER DISTRACTIONS THAN AN ETERNITY, REAY. AND THEN SOnE A SWI5S PATENT OFFIcE. WITH THE RIGHT SET OF RULES ANDBUILD A CoMpUTER ENOUGH SPACE, EACH NEW ROW I WAS PBLE TO ONE OAY I STARTED LAYING DOWN RONS oFFOLLOWED FROM THE LAST IN A SIMPLE PATTERN. | | . . :::| | STONES IS ENEr ITERATION OF THE SURE, ITS RocKs INSTEAD OF ELECTRICTY BUT ITS THE SAME AFTER A WHILE, T PROGRAMMED IT TO BE A PHYSICS SMU- LATOR. EVERY PIECE OF INFORMATION ABOUT A PARTICLE WAS ENCODED AS A STRING OF BITS WRITTEN IN THE STONES. WITH ENOUGH TIME AND SPACE, I COULD FULLY SIMULATE TWO PARTICLES INTERACTING 루 TURIN 5-COMPLETE ooiojoi0 BUT I HAVE INAINITE SO I DECIDED TO SIMULATE A UNIVERSE ME AND SPACE. THE EONS BLUR PAST AS I WALK DOWN A SINGLE Row THE ROwS BLUR PAST TO AND N THE ANOTHER INSTANT COMPUTE A SINGLE STEP SIMULATION TICKS BY. SO IF YOU SEE A MOTE OF DUST VANISH FRoM YOUR VISION IN A LITTLE FLASH OR SOMETHING IM SORRY. I MUOST HAVE MISPLACED A ROck っへ SOME ME IN THE LAST a FEW BILLIONS AND BILLIONS OF MILLENNIA IF YOU THINK THE MINUTES IN YOUR MORNING LECTURE ARE TAKING A LONG TIME TO PASS FOR YOU… OH, AND... DO YOU THINK THE REAL So, ARE THERE ANY SIMULATIONS ABOve US2 SIMULATEDWHETHER. WE REALITY? CAN SIMULATE REALITY HERE. WELw, FOR THAT WE'D JUST HAve To FIND SIGNS THAT WE'RE PTIMIZED FOR GO0D COMPUTATION AND IF THAT SIMULATION CAN CONTAIN ANOTHER SIMULATION THEN WE RE AT LEAST TWO FROM THE BOTTOM. IF WE CAN MAKE A SIMULATION, THEN WE RE NOT IN THE LEAST COMPLICATED LIKE MAYBE A MINIMUM TEMPERATURE OR A MAXIMUM SPEED OR A RULE THAT POSITION AND MOMENTUM ARE ONLY KNOWABLE To CERTAIN TOLERANCES REALITY F WE ASSUME EACH SIMULATION IS, AT MOST ONE THOUSANDTH THE SIZE OF THE 'UNIVeRse" OH MY GOD/ INM TUST A PROGRAM S IN, AND THAT THE SMALLEST POSSIBLE VOLWME FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF OUR UNIVERSE IS ONE PLANCK-VoLUMe, THEN WE ARE... AND IM NOT EVEN A GOOD ONE HEY NOw THAT'S NOT TRUE. cut FROM THE BOTTOM! THE UNIVERSE IS A PROGRAM. yoURE JUST A SUBROUTINE

On February 21st, 2013, YouTuber Adam Ford uploaded an interview with Bostrom in which he explains his simulation argument (shown below, left). On August 5th, YouTuber Computerphile uploaded a video titled "What if the Universe is a Computer Simulation?", featuring physicist Phil Moriarty discussing the history of the simulation hypothesis (shown below, right).



On August 29th, 2015, YouTuber spumwack uploaded an animation based on the short story I Don't Know, Timmy, Being God is a Big Responsibility[3] (shown below). On October 6th, YouTuber Fair Wind Film uploaded a short documentary on the simulation hypothesis.



On February 19th, 2016, YouTuber LEMMiNO uploaded a video titled "Simulated Reality," in which a narrator explains various ideas related to the simulation hypothesis (shown below). Within five months, the video gained over 1.05 million views and 13,000 comments.



In 1999, the science fiction film The Matrix was released, featuring a computer hacker discovers much of humanity is living in a simulated reality while being held captive by robots in the real world (shown below, left). In 2001, the film Vanilla Sky was released, starring Tom Cruise as a man who enters a simulated reality after horribly scarring his face (shown below, right).



On January 13th, 2014, Season 1 Episode 4 "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!" of the show Rick and Morty was broadcast, in which a group of space aliens hold the characters Rick Sanchez and Jerry Smith as captives in a simulated reality (shown below). Additionally, similar themes have been explored in the films Inception and Tron, the comedy novels The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and various television series including Star Trek, The X-Files and Doctor Who.

Elon Musk's Code Conference Statements

On June 1st, 2016, the Recode YouTube channel uploaded a clip of Elon Musk discussing the simulation hypothesis during a question and answer session at the Code Conference, in which he revealed that he believes humanity is likely living in a simulated reality (shown below).



"The strongest argument for us being in a simulation probably is the following. Forty years ago we had pong. Like, two rectangles and a dot. That was what games were. Now, 40 years later, we have photorealistic, 3D simulations with millions of people playing simultaneously, and it's getting better every year. Soon we'll have virtual reality, augmented reality. If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then the games will become indistinguishable from reality, even if that rate of advancement drops by a thousand from what it is now. Then you just say, okay, let's imagine it's 10,000 years in the future, which is nothing on the evolutionary scale. So given that we're clearly on a trajectory to have games that are indistinguishable from reality, and those games could be played on any set-top box or on a PC or whatever, and there would probably be billions of such computers or set-top boxes, it would seem to follow that the odds that we're in base reality is one in billions. Tell me what's wrong with that argument. Is there a flaw in that argument?"

Search Interest

External References

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Top Comments

Ulysses
Ulysses

The simulated realities we create (games, movies, etc.) are all way more exciting than our own. So if we're a simulated reality, then the real world outside of ours must be boring as fuck. No thank you.

+59

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