Simulation Theory suggests that everything we perceive as real, including human beings, may only be part of an artificial simulation.
To put it in simple terms, the simulation theory suggests that humans are sims in an advanced supercomputer by an extraterrestrial being. The idea was first put forward by British philosopher Nicholas Bostrom in 2003.
He believed that “reality” was a concept to define our perception of what happens to us around us. In summation, it covers the entire human history and, of course, the future too. He proposed the universe is a sort of artificial simulation in parallel with a high-resolution video game. The simulation theory assumes that simulation, if true, is a very complex framework that makes up molecular interactions at subatomic levels up to the definitions of biological systems. It extends to cosmic activities of the planets – more like a cosmic computer. With technology moving to higher levels of apparent realism, research has suggested that this gives it more credence. It is left to imagine the possibility of humans creating complex simulations where sims can believe they exist in reality. It is somewhat a loop of reality existing in another reality. The theory further opines that the organisms in this simulation could question their own reality as one existing in another.
Physics may seem to suggest a measure of resolution to our reality just like the TV screen, we can term it a cosmic resolution. Thus, any resolution humans create will be lower than the cosmic resolution. The implication of this proposition is that, if humans are in a simulation, then the higher-level reality has equal or greater resolution than ours. This would imply that the creators of the simulation are of higher intelligence than us.
Simulations need to have variable levels of complexity to be easily managed and a projection of true reality. This is so done with intelligent beings and gives the possibility of recreation of the full complexity of physics. Here, our simulators would have their hands forced to employ more computing power if we explore physics at microscopic levels through experiments. According to Alexandre Bibeau-Delisle and Gilles Brassard FRS in a research published in March 2021, “the fact that we have not detected any evidence for the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations may be considered as the most convincing argument in favor of the theory according to which we live in a simulation. Note that while a similar argument could be made for regions of the Earth that interact little with humans (deep-sea ecosystems, for instance), they remain coupled with us much more strongly than things outside our solar system and their simulated complexity could not be cut down nearly as much without significantly affecting the progression of the simulation”
Another implication of this theory, if true, is we are watched by these intelligent beings. This can be something to worry about in that they could decide to stop the simulation, intentionally or out of error. While humans cannot do anything about this, we can only let them continue observing us. This probability will be greater than half if classical computing powers the simulation of our universe. This phenomenon would enable the simulators to obtain information without being detected. This is just like what happens in video games or in our scientific experiments (physics). (Bibeau-Delisle Alexandre and Brassard FRS Gilles, 2021)
This simulation can be good in a way. Perfection is nearly impossible, but it isn’t the same with the simulation. In video games created by humans, error in computing can have an effect on the simulation creating incoherence and thus the artificiality of the simulated world is evident. The assumption of perfectly programmed physics in simulation does not create a perfect system, because it can be impacted by the environment. Some research proposes that the simulator’s abilities may not just be mere random activities. They may have the ability to eavesdrop on our minds and have knowledge of our thoughts if our minds are fully classical. Alexandre Bibeau-Delisle and Gilles Brassard FRS believe that modern science supports only the view where the human mind is fully classical, and present several arguments to this effect. With the ability of these possible simulators, information would be readily available to them and thus difficult to hide. They proposed in their research that, “If we develop the technological means to project ourselves into the worlds we simulate, we could thus hope to escape the control of our own simulators (apart from their continued ability to end our existence at will by resetting their computing system)”
Another possible implication of the theory is the inference of purpose. The simulation hypothesis proposes that there is a possibility of multiple simulations as a result of the ease of creating one. Every one of them has a purpose and ours could be a sort of study.
We could view another one in terms of religion. Many religions teach that God created the world and the humans in it. If the simulation is true according to the simulation theory, then probably we are the simulation of the original creation by God.
We could be subjects of an experiment designed by an unknown life form with a higher quality of intelligence. Alternatively, we may have created the simulation for our purpose of extending the survival of the species. Having done so in the distant future, we lack any means to understand it; maybe something went wrong. Quantum computing is evolving at a great pace, and soon, its processing power will be able to perform real-time simulations. Nowadays, virtualization is used to run virtual processing units on a physical machine, so why not believe that we live inside a digital Noah’s Ark?In addition, unknown intelligence may have elaborated a controlled environment for our existence. There is evidence in our cultural records that supports this hypothesis. Countless myths recount the stories of guardians or protectors of life, there are also tales about oracles and divine messengers, we could be living under the control of higher intelligence, calling it God would not be wrong, and God’s plan could well be our free will. Whether or not we are in a simulation, isn’t the desire to control the nature of highly intelligent species? We, as humans, have developed the tendency to recreate natural environments for animals of lower or unknown intellect; we have caged mice at home and in laboratories. Why shouldn’t we be the mice of superior life form?
Another new concept of Simulation Theory is known as ” Simulation Creationism“, which suggests that the purpose of a simulated reality with conscious life living in it would be to examine the individual’s emotional reaction to events and happenings…
Each time we attempt to grasp the Simulation Theory, we might be getting closer to the Creators’ ultimate goal; in our next articles, we will discuss in-depth different aspects of this hypothesis.