A paper in 2003 by philosopher Nick Bostrom throws the light on the argument that we are in a simulation. Everything around us is a part of a simulation. We, human beings, are the programs set out in a computer, and we are operating as per its command. The world of us is a simulation hypothesis.
Nick Bostrom considers that future human beings will be so advanced that they would visualize their ancestors in the simulation world.
The founder and the Chief of SpaceX also support this statement of Nick Bostrom. He has also given his perception of simulation. Also, many prominent personalities support this statement of Nick Bostrom.
It becomes near impossible to prove that this world is a simulation. We all are living in a virtual world. It is being simulated on a computer, and we all are just part of it. We are characters of the computer game that are allowed to interact.
A movie that was released in 1999 named “The Matrix” depicts the idea of a simulation world. For a machine to machinate our reality, taking the whole life with all events of his life span into consideration, requires it to be superbly powerful. So, it would keep track of an infinite number of activities (over the billions of humans exist on the planet) made throughout their lifespan. It would operate them effectively.
The interaction among people and interactions among animals, plants, bacteria, micro-organisms, planetary-bodies, and approximately 8.7 million species on the earth constitutes the reality and a part of this world. It was comprising all that would require massive data, almost unimaginable. It is nearly inconceivable to coordinate the enormous amount of data.
So, one can now have an idea and imagine how much data is being discussed and how would a machine work?
The Swedish-born philosopher Nick Bostrom (who works at the University of Oxford and known for his work on artificial intelligence and anthropic principle etc.,) wrote in a paper in 2003, favoring the statement “We are living in a simulation.”
He discussed the power and vision of future human beings. He argues that future humans will most likely have powerful computers to create simulated creations of their ancestors. These future simulated humans would be so sure that they are leading their lives in reality.
Bostrom further said that If we don’t believe “we are in a simulation,” then we can not claim that our descendants would run a simulated world of their “ancestors.” Therefore, if you accept one point (your descendants would be able to simulate their ancestors), you must acknowledge that you are also in a simulation.
Further, in favor of his argument, Nick Bostrom states that an artificial system with the right kind of computational processes and structures can be made to have conscious experiences. It may be overconfidence to assume that only experiences within a carbon-based biological neural network inside your brain can give rise to consciousness. The silicon processors can imitate the same thing on the computer.
Now with the advancement in technology, we can assume the rate of progress in upcoming decades. This can be imagined that the rapid rise in technology can lead civilization to run their simulation world. They can create their programs and hypothetically operate the beings as per their commands. Also, we know the restrictions imposed by the physical laws can lead to civilization to come up with such machines discussed above. It may even turn planets and stars into giant computers. These could be either quantum or nuclear, whatever they would be, but these machines would run the detailed simulation.
Nick Bostrom gives the number to represent the sort of power needed to compute a human’s brain function. Nick gives ranges of several operations per second. If this range is matched, it could be possible to run a human brain within a machine.
Bostrom considers that simulating the whole universe down to the quantum level, including all the details, needs more computer power to point out that it may be impracticable. On the other hand, it is also considered that it may not be necessary that all the future humans would run simulations of human experiences. Further, post-human would need to make sure that simulated minds do not pick up anything which is not consistent and irregular. The things happening on the microscopic ground that human minds could not observe generally would not require to be recreated.
It is not necessary to represent everything going among the distant planetary bodies. There is no need to get into details of them, at least not at this point. All that is required for a machine to do is the perfect job. They would fill in the essential details as per demand, as they would keep the record of what all the simulated minds think. Meanwhile, if any error takes place, they would be able to edit.
Nick Bostrom also provides the number of operations for simulating human history. Based on what we already know regarding their working system, the above limit of operations program would be the goal for sophisticated virtual reality. Philosopher Nick Bostrom thinks that it’s just the one computer with a mass of the planet that can pull off such a task by using less than one-millionth of its processing power for a second. The infinite numbers of such machines can be built by superbly advanced civilizations of upcoming decades.
The great philosopher Nick Bostrom states in his paper the possibility that humanity will be devastated either by itself or by an outside event like a giant meteor before it reaches the post-human simulated world. Since the future is unpredictable and uncertain, anything can happen. There are several ways in which humanity could be stuck in the seminal stages and never create a virtual world of simulation. He also focuses on the extinction of the human species before reaching this highly advanced hypothetical world of Simulation Creationism, where the computer programs would set everything.
Another controversial point is post-human would not be allowed to create such programs or hypothetical computers to make simulated minds. He also considers that it is not likely that the practice of running the simulated minds would be assumed widely to be immoral and that it would be prohibited everywhere. As far as human nature is concerned, it would not be wrong to say that someone would not find this project fascinating. This is the sort of project we are up for today, and if we could, we would like to continue it further.
Chances are, “if we are not living in a simulation,” our descendants will also not be likely simulating their ancestors.
An exciting conclusion is that we also don’t know the reality exactly? Is our existence a reality, or set in a super-powerful computer, and we all live a simulated life? We don’t have any way to find out the truth. Only a small proportion of the “totality of physical existence” is accessed by our minds. All we think about it is we may be run on virtual machines which are controlled by some other simulators. Post-humans simulating us could themselves be simulated by different simulators. There would be many levels of simulation in simulation: Nick Bostrom concludes. As far as you introspect about the world of simulation and the reality of our existence, so deep you got yourself indulged in this thought. There would be many levels about which we can not even justify.
This uncertainty gives rise to universal morality. We have to behave better like we are the children of God if we do not know the reality of our origin. Human beings are still unaware of the fact and are willing to conclude the truth. They want to figure out whether we live in a simulation and we are just like a game on a computer.
Nick Bostrom further focuses that if we think we are indeed in a virtual world or a simulation, it will not affect our behavior much. Even with such massive knowledge and advanced technology, we are unaware of the future humans’ purpose behind creating simulation minds.
Their morality level may be entirely different.
Bostrom is not the only philosopher who put forward his perceptions; some scientists and physicists favor Bostrom and represent their ideas. We may be like video games on the computer. We may be in the simulation. In essence, our existence may not rely on real sense; it may all be computer-based programs operated by other simulators. We may be simulated on the computer rather than existing.
Here is the Nick Bostrom’s TED talk on superintelligencies