Physicists say we’re not living in a computer simulation
Web Log: New research disproves Nick Bostrom’s hypothesis from over 10 years ago
Nick Bostrom proposed over a decade ago that there is a high likelihood that we are living in a computer simulation, similar to that depicted in The Matrix
Over a decade ago Nick Bostrom, techno-philosopher and founding director of the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford, developed what is known as the Simulation Hypothesis.
In a nutshell, it proposes that there is a high likelihood that we are living in a computer simulation, similar to that depicted in The Matrix, ie no one would realise that it is a simulation because it “feels” real to everyone. The only difference is that it is a simulation created by our ancestors rather than evil, life-sucking AIs.
New research from theoretical physicists and fellow Oxford scholars Zohar Ringel and Dmitry Kovrizhi appears to disprove this hypothesis in relation to quantum mechanics. In a paper that pretty much no one but other theoretical physicists will understand, the duo “show that constructing a computer simulation of a particular quantum phenomenon that occurs in metals is impossible – not just practically, but in principle,” explains science writer Andrew Masterson.
In other words, the universe – at a quantum level – is far too complex to simulate and would require an impossible level of computing power. Not that we could tell the difference if we were in a version of The Matrix – cogito ergo sum an’ all that.