We are not living in a simulation.


Elon Musk says that it is most likely that we are living in a simulation. His only way to support it is a philosophical paper written 15 years ago. The paper is all about probability, and it evaluates how out of all possible scenarios for mankind, the most likely is that we end up creating a simulation, and therefore we are most likely in a simulation. There are many problems I find with this:

- “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” - Carl Sagan. There is (to my knowledge) no scientific evidence to support the claim that we are living in a simulation, something needed in order to make the claim at least slightly believable.

- Using probability to reach the conclusion is not enough. Statistically, It is more probable that I, the person that created this post, is chinese (because of the amount of people from a certain country in the world), and yet you do not take it as a fact that I am, nor you take it as a fact that every internet stranger must be chinese.

EDIT: Yes, ok. The chinese example doesn't really work on reddit. The point about statistics and probability still stands though.

- What's the point of being so skeptical about our reality? I see no benefit to questioning our reality to this extent, in which we cannot completely prove, only speculate.


  • 🤔Changed Author's View
    2 years ago

    Rene Descartes examined this idea much earlier with his "Dream Hypothesis". It helps to examine the idea from his point of view. Namely, to look at the idea as a rationalist, rather than an empiricist.

    First we need to accept his claim that we come to know the world through our senses. And we also must accept his claim that our senses are occasionally wrong. This line of thinking eventually leads Descartes to his cogito "I think therefore I am", but that is a digression.

    So there you are reading my comment on Reddit. Who's to say that you are not, in fact, dreaming about reading my comment on reddit? Perhaps the dream is so vivid that it provides all your senses with enough detail to fully convince you that you are not dreaming, but in fact physically sitting in your chair. Taking this to a further extreme: Any information available in reality could, in fact, be provided to you by your dream. So there is no basis on which to draw any kind of conclusion.

    Take that whole paragraph with a grain of salt. I may not be doing the argument justice. And just to avoid some obvious counterpoints: Yes, you could try and do some kind of test to prove yourself in a dream. Like reading a book. Or you could run a physics experiment. It would probably be difficult to setup a large hadron collider in your dream. But this is how rational argument works, rather than empirical observation. It is logical to assume you may be in a dream, but it is not necessarily provable. And logically any answer available to you in the one true reality would be available in a dream that was a perfect copy of reality.

    Anyhow, the whole simulation argument is simply a sophisticated version of this thought experiment. Simply replace the mind with a computer simulation.

    Finally, I'd like to point out one sentence in your post.

    CMV: We are not living in a simulation.

    No, /u/mrfe333. We are not living in a simulation. You are the one in the simulation. I am simply an artificial construct, created solely to act before you. When you turn away from Reddit, I will, in most senses of the word, cease to exist. My state will be stored, and I will be shelved until such a time as you pick up this thread once more.

    edit: i haz clarification

    edit 2: i have changed my view on this topic thanks to some fantastic responses by /u/DashingLeech and /u/Bill_Swaggin_Gates

    • 🎤Author
      2 years ago

      ∆ , Ok, I agree that the only thing that I can know is real is myself, and nothing else.

      However, taking it back to it being a simulation, why should we take our skepticism to that level? What's the point?

    • 2 years ago

      Not to quibble the point, but how can you distinguish between a dream and a simulation? The brain is a physical system with various kinds of input. Your view of reality is a function all these inputs. Your senses create an impression of reality, and in that sense, your brain very much acts a simulation.

      As to why might we take skepticism to that level? Well Descartes used a thought experiment to question our personal experience of reality. He gained certain facts about the relation of the mind and the body.

      What is important here is the process, rather than the conclusion. In imagining the world to be a simulation, in developing hypothesis about the nature of reality, and in creating experiments to assert or disprove these things, we will likely understand more about the nature of reality itself.

      Why do those things? Because humans are innately curious. And some of us are more clever and adventurous than others. Think of the Vikings who jumped in a ridiculously unsafe longboat to push into what they imagined to be the entrance to their culture's instance of hell. Why did they try to find the very gates of hell? Just to see what was there. Maybe they'd find a +4 Sword of Truth. In short, they were doing it for XP and Loot.

  • 🤔Changed Author's View
    2 years ago

    The thing is, we know that we (our brains) are living one kind of simulation: the simulation that our brains reconstruct from the input from our very fallible senses.

    The notion that we are living in another kind of simulation is, as you say, kind of useless, because it doesn't matter. If we're living in a simulation (or "God's Brain", as the religious might say it), we're still living our lives, and our brains are still simulating our internal environments the same way they would if we were "real".

    However, I will say... as a computer programmer, I have thought about how I would go about simulating something as huge as a universe, using only the resources available in another universe... and I came to a few conclusions:

    1) It would be impossible to actually simulate every interaction of every particle with perfect determinism. Therefore:

    a) I would only simulate particle interactions once they were observed.

    b) I would only determine a general notion of the forces acting on a particle, and then choose randomly, weighted by the probability distributions implied by those forces.

    I.e. I would simulate something that works just exactly like how Quantum Mechanics appears to work in our universe.

    • 🎤Author
      2 years ago

      Hm, that might be the closest we can get to evidence ∆

  • 🤔Changed Author's View
    2 years ago

    Using probability to reach the conclusion is not enough. Statistically, It is more probable that I, the person that created this post, is chinese

    Except when it comes to simulation theory, once we can demonstrate that it is possible to simulate a universe - it is possible to simulate an infinite number of universes (i.e. that simulated universe can simulate another universe, ad infinitum). When it comes to the chances of any random person being Chinese the odds are ~20% (1.38 billion in 7.5 billion). With an infinite number of universes, the chances of yours being the "base" universe are ~0% (1 in ~∞).

    What's the point of being so skeptical about our reality?

    The quest for truth. We are driven to find the truth in all things, the answers to all questions, etc.

    I see no benefit to questioning our reality to this extent

    I somewhat agree with you: if we are living in a simulation, this is still our only perceived reality.

    which we cannot completely prove

    There are already some hypotheses on how to tell if we are living in a simulation.

    • 🎤Author
      2 years ago

      With an infinite number of universes, the chances of yours being the "base" universe are ~0% (1 in ~∞)

      We don't even know if simulating a reality is possible; it could be that computationally we cannot exactly emulate the physics of the universe, because the universe may be infinite (infinitely small and infinitely big). You are assuming that it is possible and that an infinite amount of universes.

      There are already some hypotheses on how to tell if we are living in a simulation.

      That was an interesting read. Sure, if we ever find this underlying lattice for physics then we are living in a simulation. The fact that it can be proven doesn't change much. Many things can be proven that never will be because they're not true.

    • 2 years ago

      We don't even know if simulating a reality is possible

      Provided there is any technological progress at all; it is only a matter of time.

      we cannot exactly emulate the physics of the universe, because the universe may be infinite

      Say we only simulate a fraction of it: the observable universe. To someone in this simulated Earth, how would they tell the difference? How would we?

  • 🤔Changed Author's View
    2 years ago

    I think this CMV is actually a bit confusing because of the way you've framed the question. It also has some contradictory comments that I'd like to flesh out, because it might help you see where the more interesting arguments are.

    People like Elon Musk aren't saying we are in a simulation, they're saying it's possible that we could be, which is an important distinction to make. Your main point of debate (that you can't prove we're in a simulation) is essentially arguing against a strawman that no one is making. No one is saying they can prove it, they've just suggested that it could be possible.

    Ignoring what I said above for a second, you're asking people to prove something that, at least currently, can't be proven. There isn't any good physical evidence (AFAIK) for the simulation hypothesis, but that doesn't mean the idea couldn't be right. The arguments (albeit purely theoretical) in favor of the idea are compelling because you only need to grant 1 assumption: that a perfect artificial reality is possible. This isn't a farfetched assumption to make, because we already have primitive AR. It's easily imaginable that this technology could reach a point (with enough computing power) where one can accurately simulate entire universes. Once it's possible to simulate entire universes, then the probability argument made by /u/_Hopped_ takes over from there.

    These are interesting questions, with a sound theoretical basis, that would - if true - have profound implications across the board. So when you say:

    Scientific evidence ... [is] needed in order to make the claim at least slightly believable

    I totally agree, but you can't gather that evidence without studying the problem, which is why your last comment is confusing:

    What's the point of being so skeptical about our reality? I see no benefit to questioning our reality to this extent, in which we cannot completely prove, only speculate

    It's something that we should certainly discuss, and study, because it would be cool to figure out the answer and actually prove it either way, and that's the whole point of doing science in the first place - to antagonize and skeptically look at the world in an attempt figure out how things actually work.

    • 🎤Author
      2 years ago

      People like Elon Musk aren't saying we are in a simulation, they're saying it's possible that we could be, which is an important distinction to make.

      Elon musk says that we are in a simulation, he uses the statistical evidence by nick bostrom that is being mentioned a bunch. I don't know where you read it from, but elon musk isn't only saying that it's "possible", he says that it is almost certainly the case. Elon Musk Says There’s a ‘One in Billions’ Chance Reality Is Not a Simulation

      So, to start that off, there is something that's being debated here and it is about how reliable can that statistic be, and if we should take it as the absolute truth.

      Your main point of debate (that you can't prove we're in a simulation) is essentially arguing against a strawman that no one is making. No one is saying they can prove it, they've just suggested that it could be possible. Most are saying that the statistical evidence is enough to prove that.

      Ignoring what I said above for a second, you're asking people to prove something that, at least currently, can't be proven. There isn't any good physical evidence (AFAIK) for the simulation hypothesis,

      Someone in this thread about how the behaviour of quantum physics is similar to how programmers optimize processing power. There are things that can be taken as evidence.

      you can't gather that evidence without studying the problem, which is why your last comment is confusing: What's the point of being so skeptical about our reality? I see no benefit to questioning our reality to this extent, in which we cannot completely prove, only speculate. It's something that we should certainly discuss, and study, because it would be cool to figure out the answer and actually prove it either way, and that's the whole point of doing science in the first place - to antagonize and skeptically look at the world in an attempt figure out how things actually work.

      That I agree with. It is slightly contradictory. So... you're right. If it is something that we can discuss then it is definitely something that we should study further, and therefore we should be skeptical to that extent. ∆

  • 2 years ago

    Statistically you are unlikely to be a Chinese national. We use all the evidence we possess when we generalize from statistics well. You are writing in English on Reddit, and should therefore be assumed to be a male American. I bet people assume this all the time here about you, no? It might be an "extraordinary claim" given the world's population but not given Reddit's population.

    Likewise when we look at simulated vs natural worlds we need all the evidence including how many simulated vs natural worlds would have intelligent life. That pushes our statistics much closer to supporting a simulation as our reality.

    • 2 years ago

      -“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

      You can not have evidence about something like this. It's all speculation and I don't believe anyone purports to be making a factual claim.

      Using probability to reach the conclusion is not enough.

      Again, I am not aware of anyone attempting to make factual claims here. All the discussion about it it little more than a new belief system like a religion. I don't think there are going to be any concrete consequences of people believing this. It's just mental masturbation.

      • 🎤Author
        2 years ago

        I am not aware of anyone attempting to make factual claims here.

        The Nobel prize winner of Physics believes we are living in simulation. He has a whole Ted talk about it.

    • 2 years ago

      “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

      What about alien life forms? There seems to be a general consensus that somewhere in our vast universe there MUST be some form of life. We have little to no proof (besides water found on other plants) to substantiate the claim, yet many come to the conclusion that earth being the only planet among 100 billion earth like planets to have life forms is ridiculous.

      I can't argue that we are living in a simulation, but statistics and probability should not be dismissed right away.

      • 🎤Author
        2 years ago

        What about alien life forms?

        Even with ailien lifeforms in the mix, and with the probability pointing to an infinite amount of universes being simulated, there is still no evidence to support it, just a thought experiment, and no reason to be so skeptical of our own reality.

        I can't argue that we are living in a simulation

        /thread

      • 2 years ago

        I was just offering some insight, not really trying to change your view :/

    • 2 years ago

      You are likewise making an extraordinary claim by saying firmly that we don't live in a simulation. Unless you have a way to prove this claim, you should remain agnostic and state that you don't know for sure whether we live in a simulation or not.

      Did Elon claim only that it is more probable that we live in a simulation, or did he claim that we do for sure? If the former, then he is taking the more logical stance.

      • 🎤Author
        2 years ago

        Unless you have a way to prove this claim, you should remain agnostic and state that you don't know for sure whether we live in a simulation or not.

        Occam's razor says that "the simplest explanation is usually the correct one". That has proven to be the case most of the time. The burden of proof is in the claim that we are in a simulation, not the other way around.

      • 2 years ago

        No, the burden of proof is on whoever makes the claim, period. Saying that we are not in a simulation is just as much a claim as saying we are in one.

        Sorry for bringing religion into this, but those who say "God absolutely does not exist" have a burden of proof just as much as those who say "God does exist". To be free of the burden of proof, you must not make a claim. Worth noting that a belief is not a claim of fact.

    • 2 years ago

      The entire premise of simulation theory according to some is to prove how disconnected from reality we truly are. We live in a simulation of what reality really is. Of course, like most philosophy, it's an extreme. However, the primary argument for an aspect of simulation philosophy is that media has disconnected us from what our perception of reality is, and has distorted our entire perspective on the world, leading to a simulated view of the world we are living in today. The media outlets that dictate our society create a simulated world based purely upon what they want us to see. Take Breitbart for example. It is the go to far right news source. It has been accused multiple times of distorting facts, skewing information, and even outright lying. They are dictating the world view of the far right, leading them to a simulated reality in which they only see the world from their very limited perspective. BuzzFeed can be seen as doing the same, just pandering to the far left. They skew the view of everything to better their own agenda. They publish articles not based on reality, but based on the reality they wish to public to believe. That simulated far left utopia that is being disrupted. The simulated far right perspective exposes the evils of the left, leading to another perception of a Trumpian utopia dictated by far right ideology and no other conflicting opinions. I'll directly address your points from here. You say there is no scientific evidence to support the simulation theory. There is scientific evidence of people trying to skew the perception of science itself. Take those 90s vaccines studies that attempted to connect vaccines to autism. Although they were eventually disproved, anti-vaccine advocates' perspective of the world with vaccines was altered. Their idea of a reality with vaccines was trumped by a simulation of their agenda being pursued by a proven link between something negative and vaccines. People hear what they want to hear, creating their own simulated reality in which they essentially live a lie. Next, you say using probability isn't enough. Sure, probability may point to you being Chinese, I'll give you that. However, probability also says that it is possible that you aren't Chinese. It genuinely just depends on my perspective of reality. A simulated reality can be seen by any outside looker, as proven by the media point I've brought up. We create the simulated reality around us by subscribing to agendas that skew the reality we live in. You being Chinese is a fact, not an opinionated agenda I can subscribe to. I'm not going to view everybody in the world as Chinese. I will view the world as a simulated reality, dictated by the agendas we subscribe to. Lastly, you say there is no point in being skeptical about reality. Without skeptics, we wouldn't be anywhere near where we are today. It is a productive way to view the world around us from a different perspective. It may not be for everybody, but it allows those who believe in simulation theory to have a way to look in on the world, on what we think is reality, in a totally different way.

      • 🎤Author
        2 years ago

        The entire premise of simulation theory according to some is to prove how disconnected from reality we truly are. We live in a simulation of what reality really is

        Um, although that sounds interesting I don't think that's necessarily related to what is being discussed here. What I'm talking about is the claims made by Elon Musk and Nick Bostrom, which are literal. They literally believe we are living in a simulation. Discussing our perception of the truth through the media is extratopical. I'd like to read up on it though. Do you have a source for that?

        you say there is no point in being skeptical about reality. Without skeptics, we wouldn't be anywhere near where we are today. It is a productive way to view the world around us from a different perspective. It may not be for everybody, but it allows those who believe in simulation theory to have a way to look in on the world, on what we think is reality, in a totally different way.

        Of course some skepticism is good, but skepticism to this extent is useless, because nothing really changes even if it is true.

      • 2 years ago
      • 2 years ago

        The argument can still apply to people that literally believe we live in simulation. They believe we no longer live in a human reality, we live in a skewed perception of the world around us, and thus, a simulation of what we want reality to be. We are getting farther and father away from reality as the world progresses.

    • 2 years ago

      If it is a simulation, we have found several interesting quirks to it.

      Atoms would the equivalents of our voxels, with quarks making up the components of them.

      The speed of light and absolute zero are computational limits. Maybe the speed of light has to do with the maximum framerate on our server? Quantum physics and the EM-Drive look like possible floating point errors.

      If we are in a simulation, I do hope it has New Game+ once I'm done with this playthrough.

      • 2 years ago

        You can't definitively say that we are not living in a simulation any more than you could disprove the existence of god. If we are living in a simulation all your thoughts and observations are determined by the simulation. Trying to disprove the existence of the simulation through observations made in the simulation would be impossible since the simulation controls reality.

        For example, you could never find a 'glitch' in the physics of the simulation, because everything we 'know' about physics would be based on the simulation.

        There is ( to my knowledge ) no scientific evidence to support the claim that we are living in a simulation, something needed in order to make the claim at least slightly believable.

        And their never could be. In that scenario science is a subset of the simulation. Science would just be understanding what the 'code' is doing behind the scenes, so how could it ever prove or disprove itself?

        It's the same argument people make for the existence of God. The Big Bang and evolution do not disprove God, because he created those things as well.

        Take another example. What is the probability that you are insane? Any answer you could provide would be based on your own perception of reality, which, especially if you are insane, is not reality.

        For the record, I think the only reason his claim gets so much attention is because he is Elon Musk 'science-guy extraordinaire.' He obviously doesn't have any real authority on the subject, and again no one could ever prove or disprove it.

        • 2 years ago

          "Extraordinary claim require extraordinary evidence"

          Maybe but there is nothing truly extraordinary about this whole simulation thing. I don't see what's so outstanding. If we're able to create realistic simulation, there is nothing extraordinary about the claim that ourselves might be in one.

          Your point about probability is wrong on many level.

          Using probability to reach the conclusion is not enough...

          First of all, the probabilities are not even close, assuming a simulation is possible, there might be infinite simulations inside one another, which means the chances of us not being in a simulations are theorically 1/infinite, it's nothing like the probability of a post being in chineese which are most likely under half.

          Secondly you're using probabilities à posteriory. If someone has a lottery tickets and wins, don't you think it's be a bit stupid of him to say "well it is most probably that my ticket is a losing ticket, and yet you do not take it as fact that this is a losing tickek, do you?". Can you see where the reasoning is wrong? People who say that it is most probable that a random lottery ticket is losing are still right. Probabilties do allow us to say 'this is more likely than that" it's the whole point of probabilities.

          What's the point of being so skeptical about our reality?

          Really no point, do you really need to have a point into everything you do?

          • 🎤Author
            2 years ago

            there is nothing truly extraordinary about this whole simulation thing.

            seriously? If It's such a normal and ordinary thing then why isn't it the consensus?

            First of all, the probabilities are not even close, assuming a simulation is possible, there might be infinite simulations inside one another, which means the chances of us not being in a simulations are theorically 1/infinite, it's nothing like the probability of a post being in chineese which are most likely under half.

            Exactly! first you have to assume that simulations are even possible, then you have to assume that humanity would even get to that point, and lastly you would have to assume that one would make an infinite amount of simulations? Don't you understand how that lowers the probability? The theorist that spawned this whole thing, Nick Bostrom, estimates that there's around a 20% probability that we live in a simulation.

            Secondly you're using probabilities à posteriory. If someone has a lottery tickets and wins, don't you think it's be a bit stupid of him to say "well it is most probably that my ticket is a losing ticket, and yet you do not take it as fact that this is a losing tickek, do you?". Can you see where the reasoning is wrong? People who say that it is most probable that a random lottery ticket is losing are still right. Probabilties do allow us to say 'this is more likely than that" it's the whole point of probabilities.

            That's not what a posteriori is, I'm saying that that made up probability is not enough to prove that that is the case.

            Really no point, do you really need to have a point into everything you do?

            Firstly, you basically just granted that there is no point. And secondly, yes. At least scientifically, things need to have a point.

        • 2 years ago

          I do agree with you to the extent that has no good reasons to believe we're living in a simulation. However, that's not what you're arguing (in your title at least). Your title argues that there are good reasons to believe we're not living in a simulation, rather than arguing that there are no good reasons to believe that we are living in a simulation. (Sorry for that ugly sentence, I don't know how to phrase is more neatly.)

          I agree with neither side on this. It's simply unknowable at this moment, and possibly ever.

          • 2 years ago

            The simulations argument is pretty simple. If you believe humans will eventually be able to create simulations, and that they will do so, then lots of simulated humans will exist for every "real" one. If you accept the premises, then you are almost certainly a simulation.

            Now you can disagree with the premises. Personally I don't think humans will create simulated sentient beings. Especially ones that don't even know they are simulated. That seems unethical to me.

            But if you agree with the premises, then you must accept the conclusion. I don't understand your objections.

            What's the point of being so skeptical about our reality? I see no benefit to questioning our reality to this extent

            Don't you want to know the truth? Wouldn't it be incredibly interesting to know if we are simulated or not? What's the point of any philosophical questions?

            But there are many practical concerns too. If we are in a simulation, how detailed is the simulation? Is it a complete reconstruction of physics down to the quark level, or is it much more approximated? This would have serious consequences in how our universe works and what we can do. Can we communicate with the simulators? Do they communicate with us? Is there a risk of them shutting us off? Can we create our own simulations? Etc, etc.

            Statistically, It is more probable that I, the person that created this post, is chinese (because of the amount of people from a certain country in the world)

            There's only about a 20% chance you are Chinese. And the percent of Chinese reddit users is pretty small. Probably because it's a mainly English language website. So that decreases the probability even further. It's very far from a certainty that you are any specific nationality because of how diverse reddit is.

            But imagine if you knew for a fact that there were 99999 simulated people for every "real" person. Then the probability that you are a non-simulated person is 1 in 10,000. That's tiny. It would be completely crazy to believe you weren't a simulation if you had that information.

            This is just basic probabilistic reasoning. You have two hypotheses. "The poster is Chinese" or "the poster is not Chinese". "I am simulated" or "I am not simulated". If there is no other evidence to take into account, you can only look at the base rates. "2% of reddit posters are Chinese" or "99.9999% of existing humans are simulated". Just from the base rates it's pretty clear you are probably not Chinese. But you are definitely simulated.

            There is ( to my knowledge ) no scientific evidence to support the claim that we are living in a simulation, something needed in order to make the claim at least slightly believable.

            Imagine I made a claim that next year Moore's law will stop, and transistor technology will stop improving. It's impossible to provide any evidence for such a claim, because it concerns the future. Unless you have a time machine, you can't look into the future and see if transistors improve or not. It's not like a scientific claim about physics that you can just test.

            But I could possibly provide an argument that is strong enough to convince you it is true anyway. Perhaps reason that the physics of transistors just can't be made any smaller. Some convincing argument that takes facts you already believe and derives a logical consequence from them. Assuming the premises are true, and the argument is sound, then you must accept the conclusion. Even if there isn't technically direct evidence for the claim.

            • 2 years ago

              Yeah, we do not live in a simulation, it's only you.

              • 2 years ago

                Your second point. The example given isn't very good; I assume you aren't Chinese because most Reddit users are not, and you're writing in very articulate English. If there were a randomly selected person on the planet, they are more likely to be from China than any other country. But a Reddit user, writing in good English, is not randomly selected form the world population. Also, this example doesn't show that statistics are insufficient to make a conclusion. Statistics are used all the time in business and politics; if probability was worse at making conclusions than something else, the businesses and politicians using it would lose to those who did not.

                Your third point. Yes, this claim cannot be disproved, because any evidence which disproves it can be explained as part of the simulation. However, if it were proved to be true, it would be a very useful discovery; not only would we learn about a reality higher than our own, but our sub-reality could be programmed however we wanted. It would be most useful discovery ever made.

                Your first point. Correct; there is no hard evidence to support the claim. The simulation hypothesis simply points to the contradiction between three commonly accepted beliefs: 1) Our universe is base reality ... 2) Our computer-simulated worlds will continue to improve ... 3) Not all intelligent life dies before making simulations. The simulation hypothesis isn't a scientific hypothesis, not of the sort which makes predictions and can be verified with reproducible experiments. It's an argument that one of those beliefs must be false, and uses probability as a mechanism for the argument.

                • 2 years ago

                  the example you gave about probability of being chinese doesn't quite work here. the paper had an almost 0 percent chance that our senses truly and accurately examine the world around us.

                  and we have evidence of that as it is. we know that our brain modifies the timing of certain incoming senses to better present them to our consciousness. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92837/

                  we know that if we flip our vision, after some prolonged amount of time, our brains will turn it back to normal.

                  https://www.theguardian.com/education/2012/nov/12/improbable-research-seeing-upside-down

                  there are many other ways our brain messes with what we sense and what we interpret from those senses. but these things we observe are limited to what our brain and body can comprehend. the probability in that paper just states that it is almost 100% likely that evolution would not evolve us to sense and comprehend reality as is but in such a way that is easier for us to use to our survival advantage.

                  and it's something we already kind of grasp. we are limited in our understanding of the universe because we only comprehend 3 dimensions when there are so much more. time, light, and subatomic physics don't really make much intuitive sense to us. but the numbers work out.

                  we're reaching a point in our understanding of the universe where numbers are kind of what we have to go by. like, why is it that the sum of all positive integers equal -1/12? the math checks out. without that knowledge, we won't have a lot of our advance technology like GPS on our phones. but we still don't comprehend why even though, again, the math checks out.

                  • 2 years ago

                    Let us establish that the mind is not bound to reality. A good example are amputees who feel phantom pain in non-existent limbs.

                    That is because limbs, or by extension reality is not what causes perception, electric charges in our brains do. Neurons fire them easily, as only 0.07 volts are required.

                    (This also goes the other way as Electric Brain Stimulus therapy proved, causing movement of limbs or speech via sending electric impulses to the brain)

                    .

                    So all that is required for us to live in a simulation is create one, then distribute its signals via electrical charges through our brains accordingly.

                    To that, there is Moore's kaw, which states computational power of a transistor doubles every two years. Sceptics may note that it did not live up to its expectations in the past decade but I disagree:

                    While the power of one transistor takes more years to double, companies have ever-increasing resources to compute with clusters of computers.

                    Anecdotical evidence for this: In 2010, the movie Clash of the Titans unleashed the Kraken which consisted of impressive ten million polygons. In 2011, Transformers 3 had a creature with thirty million polygons.

                    And this is just with transistors. What if they get the quantum computer to work, or a completely new invention which is in computational power to the quantum computer the same scope a quantum computer is to an abacus.

                    In sum, this proves that living in a simulation is a real possibility. I do not know the likelihood or probabilities of this though, and only have speculations to offer as to why so let us not indulge in that.

                    • 2 years ago

                      Well throughout recent years we have been constantly striving to create as real as possible of a simulation. With virtual reality we saw a real jump from the life-like graphics in games like crysis to it being a, well, virtual reality. If this trend continues we will one day undoubtedly create a simulation perfectly identical in every way to our own world/ universe. When this happens, how will anything in the actual simulation know that it's a simulation if it is identical in every way to our universe. It won't. That's basically where we are. There is no possible way to tell, it's just extremely likely. Since it's likely any other vastly intelligent race would do the same it's not hard to believe that a sentient species "above" is created a simulation and our lives and everything that exists is a product of it. It breaks the rule on why we don't believe in last thursdayism because it actually is extremely likely. Similar to fermi's paradox it is nearly mathematically impossible to assume that some species somewhere in the universe wouldn't create such a simulation. We MIGHT be the real universe, but such a thought is nearly obnoxious. That's like believing in yourself as the protagonist of the universe just because your POV is all you'll ever have. To think our existence is anything special is really quite foolish. And for the reason it actually makes a lot of sense for us to be a simulation. Especially considering that more simulations exists than real universes. We could quite possibly be a simulation in a simulation, etc. Hope this helps

                      • 2 years ago

                        Bostrom's trilemma doesn't require you to believe that we are probably living in a computer simulation. It requires you to believe at least one of the following propositions:

                        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"

                        When Musk says "we are probably living in a computer simulation," he's actually saying that he believes propositions 1 and 2 to be false. He believes our ancestors will be able to (and will want to) make simulations that are indistinguishable from reality. And because he believes 1 and 2 to be false, he must believe 3 is true or else he will contradict himself.

                        So, as you see, the idea that we are most likely living in a computer simulation is logically necessary if you also believe that we will be able to create such simulations. If you think we will never be able to do so, there's no reason to believe in 3.

                        Evidence is not needed at all.

                        It's all about whether or not you believe that we won't be able to (and, again, want to) create these kinds of simulations. If you believe it will be possible at a given point in the future, it would be irrational to believe that you are not living in a simulation right now.

                        • 2 years ago

                          It's not falsifiable, so you can't say with certainty that we aren't living in a simulation.

                          You can say that we most likely aren't. You can be 99% sure. You just can't ever be 100% sure.

                          • 2 years ago
                            1. There is a little evidence, but mostly it boils down to 'oh hey, this is weird, and if the universe were simulated, it would make sense'. Stuff like minima (Planck length) and maxima (the speed of light), or constants that just seem to be facts of life would fit with our observations of how we currently simulate things.

                            2. This is my biggest problem with your view. I do not agree that probability is 'not enough'. If something is more 'probable' than an alternative, we should accept this. For example, you have never seen a dodo. However, it is more probable that a bird known as a dodo existed than the alternative - that evidence has been fabricated to create the illusion of a bird existing called a dodo. I'm happy to concede that the assumptions made in reaching the conclusions Musk has reached stretch beyond a simple interpretation of probability. It is a big assumption that we will ever be able to simulate the universe. It may or may not be possible. If it is possible to simulate the universe, then the balance of probabilities Musk espouses come into play, but outright dismissing probability as a way of reaching conclusions is a road to madness.

                            3. I agree on this point. Fundamentally, would the fact that we are living in a simulation (if proven) change our lives in any meaningful sense? Probably not.

                            • 2 years ago

                              While I, too, am sceptic of the theory that we live in a simulation, it shouldn't be immediately denied. Much like astronomy back in the renaissance, research into this topic will not immediately yield anything useful for us. However, it may very well be the first step to redefining the universe we live in, given other technological breakthroughs.

                              By the way, judging by the Alexa statistics on Reddit users by nationality, you're actually most likely a US citizen. It all depends what kind of factors you consider in a probability claim like this - and the same applies to Elon Musk's claim, of course, which is the main reason I'm so sceptic of it.

                              • 2 years ago

                                I think OP could have clarified his position better:

                                The assumption that we are living in a simulation is an explanation in need of a question. Assuming we live in a simulation does not improve any viewing point, does not explain any problem and does not improve our understanding of the world. Apart from being an interesting philosophical exercise, it just replaces the unknown with another unknown of probably higher order. Because we have no evidence whatsoever for it, it can be also easily dismissed without evidence and should therefore not be given as much attention as it gets, also because it often gets thrown into philosophical discussions as a red herring to blur the lines. Very often it is used by postmodernists to justify total relativism even towards scientific facts and laws of nature, which in itself is an exercise in futility. In short, while it is fun to speculate about it for a while, it is time to get over it and move on because it is a philosophical cul-de-sac.

                                • 2 years ago

                                  I'm going to quote an intriguing The Atlantic article I read yesterday that dealt with exactly this. You asked for empiric evidence, and it made an argument based on quantum physics that is both empiric evidence-based and at least to me, a non-physicist, quite compelling, even if it doesn't completely convince me by itself:

                                  Quantum systems don’t seem to be definite objects localized in space until we come along to observe them. Experiment after experiment has shown—defying common sense—that if we assume that the particles that make up ordinary objects have an objective, observer-independent existence, we get the wrong answers. The central lesson of quantum physics is clear: There are no public objects sitting out there in some preexisting space.

                                  Source: The Atlantic

                                  The behavior of quantum systems sounds to me like the behavior of a lot of video games that only render environments and objects when they are within view of the player, in order to save system resources.

                                  • 2 years ago

                                    Musk misunderstands this argument. The point is not that we are probably living in a simulation. The point is to demonstrate how easy it is to construct probabilistic arguments given very few assumptions. I could for instance use the same logic to suggest that it is more likely that we are not in a digital simulation, because far after that is possible, advances will empower us to form physical worlds and universes with little effort, an infinity of new physical worlds, some portion of which will just by chance mimic the histories of earth. Is it not far more likely that in the longer term, civilizations will move on from simulations, to physical dimensions and make far more of those? If you shift the assumptions around like this, you can argue for anything.

                                    • 2 years ago

                                      You're going for a degree of proof higher than musk. He wants to weigh the possibilities and arrive at the most likely outcome and it is most likely that we are a simulation. This is not meant to be scientific evidence that we live in a simulation. Other comments have dealt with why it is most likely that we are in a simulation pretty well so I won't go into that. As to why it's necessary to ask these questions, it's for the sake of advancing our knowledge. If we aren't in a simulation then what caused the Big Bang? Is there a way that could be repeated? Would repeating it destroy our universe? Is there even a cause to the Big Bang? A simulation sort of answers some of these questions, or at least we can imagine answers.

                                      • 🎤Author
                                        2 years ago

                                        You're going for a degree of proof higher than musk. He wants to weigh the possibilities and arrive at the most likely outcome and it is most likely that we are a simulation.

                                        Am I?. One in a billion is pretty close to an affirmation.

                                      • 2 years ago

                                        He's getting at that number by saying that humans are likely to progress to the point that we can simulate a universe and since we could do that then it is likely there are infinite universes that did the same and it is a one in a billion chance that we are the first. Even so, he's not acting like this is proof. It's just his interpretation of the odds.

                                    • 2 years ago

                                      This isn't an extraordinary claim. In fact, it is an inconsequential claim; whether this is true or not has no effect on predictions of how the world works.

                                      It has deep philosophical implications, but regarding physical things, there is very little we can conclude from the claim. You could strengthen the claim by saying for example "And quatum mechanics is the result of rounding in the simulation", "And those running the simulation might intervene so we must please them", or "So we can change the laws of physics by finding exploits in the code running us". However, those are much stronger claims than "we live in a simulation". Those claims would certainly require very strong evidence.

                                      • 2 years ago

                                        You even state that elon musk (and others) say we're most likely living in a simulation, but your entire post is arguing against the idea that we are definitely living in a simulation. your chinese example only proves that just because the odds say something is likely, doesn't mean it's inevitable. but no one is declaring that we are definitely, without a doubt, living in a simulation. Just that it's more likely that we are than not.

                                        Similarly, yes, it is most likely that any given person is Chinese, but that doesn't mean everyone is Chinese.

                                        And whether or not it's useful to question our reality has absolutely nothing to do with it. That's a complete tangent.

                                        • 2 years ago

                                          I'm going to explain from my mechanical engineering background and knowledge of statistical physics why this idea is a lovely interpretation of religion but is extremely imperfect. Basically, the premise here deals with a framework of assumptions that Elon is making (similar to any school of thought). These assumptions cannot be proven and thus this is simple a hypothesis on how things work. Having said that, basically its a convoluted intelligent story that Elon made up to explain our existence that is really just a logical possibility but if we think of the micro-states of reality possible, this one is not any more likely than any other fair tale predicated in facts.

                                          • 2 years ago

                                            -What's the point of being so skeptical about our reality? I see no benefit to questioning our reality to this extent, in which we cannot completely prove, only speculate.

                                            How would we reach such a proof without speculation?

                                            Scientific speculation should not require an obvious immediate benefit. Take for example Maxwell's work with electromagnetism when he formulated the electromagnetic field equations he could see no use whatsoever for said equations. However they became one of the fundamental building blocks for modern telecommunications.

                                            • 2 years ago

                                              “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

                                              Nothing can exceed the speed of light.
                                              Not even light being emitted from the front of a ship doing 99.9% of the speed of light.

                                              I've heard this compared to the speed of light being the maximum tick rate of the server we are running on.
                                              Nothing can exceed it because that is the fastest the simulation runs.

                                              I can't support this mathematically but it disturbs me on a fundamental level.

                                              • 2 years ago

                                                I do not have time to make a truly thoughtful reply, but to address your final statement about "what is the point?" Well for some, including myself, simulation theory is the most logical argument for a creator of our universe. While we do not know the parameters of this "creator," to me it offers hope that the creator would behave ethically towards our care after our use in the simulation. Why do I assume this? Well, to me this "creator" would also have the awareness of the possibility that they are in a simulation as well... and would therefore treat their simulations in a manner in which they would like to be treated.

                                                I think this takes several more jumps in assumptions... but to address your final statement-what is the point in believing this?- is simply because it is a logical argument for a creator.

                                                • 2 years ago
                                                  • 🎤Author
                                                    2 years ago

                                                    Interesting. I said that there was no scientific evidence to my knowledge. Care to explain what else there is to simulism than the simulation hypothesis?

                                                    The only slightly reputable source you shared it the first one. The others seem honestly too informal and new-age to be taken seriously.

                                                • 2 years ago

                                                  Elon Musk and those who agree with him were inspired by this paper by philosopher Nick Bostrom: http://www.simulation-argument.com/simulation.html

                                                  In it he argues that at least one of three things must be true:

                                                  a) Humans never reach a 'posthuman' stage (one in which creating an ancestor simulation is possible)

                                                  b) Human civilizations in their 'posthuman' stage don't have any reason to run ancestor simulations

                                                  c) We are almost certainly living in a simulation.

                                                  If you believe that a) and b) are false as many like Elon Musk do, you are forced to accept the third option.

                                                  I will agree with you that this knowledge changes very little about how we live, though I think it is still important to search for truth.

                                                  • 2 years ago

                                                    What's the point of being so skeptical about our reality? I see no benefit to questioning our reality to this extent,

                                                    What if you wanted to understand reality instead of just living in it.

                                                    Also, note that just because the universe is probably a simulation that doesn't mean it's any less real.

                                                    • 2 years ago

                                                      I believe it is more likely than not that we exist in some sort of simulation. Here are a number of reasons why:

                                                      1) Consciousness affects reality

                                                      http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/11/11/consciousness-creates-reality-physicists-admit-the-universe-is-immaterial-mental-spiritual/

                                                      2) Many things we've learned about our world exist in agreement with how things get set up when we create our own (far more primitive) simulations.

                                                      • Error correcting code embedded in the building blocks of reality

                                                      https://www.sott.net/article/301611-Living-in-the-Matrix-Physicist-finds-computer-code-embedded-in-string-theory

                                                      • Constants and limitations suggest variables in some sort of program. (e.g. Planck length, speed of light)

                                                      https://www.wired.com/2014/11/planck-length/

                                                      3) This is more unconfirmed/theory, but there are certain aspects of this reality that feel 'unreal' or break the laws of physics completely in ways we can't explain.

                                                      • People that form close emotional and/or physical bonds experience unexplained phenomena e.g. Identical twins sensing when their counterpart is hurt or in danger

                                                      http://www.livescience.com/45405-twin-telepathy.html

                                                      • Other 'glitches' that seemingly break reality (e.g. ghosts, other inexplicable phenomena). These can be bugs or glitches in the code that are infrequent but experienced enough to be written of/spoken of by unconnected cultures throughout history.

                                                      All of these things can be dismissed by the skeptic, but I believe there's enough evidence out there (and I've personally experienced some of these myself), to show something is going on.

                                                      Personally, I believe we're more likely than not in a simulation, and not the top level of reality.

                                                      • 2 years ago

                                                        Could the Halting Problem or P vs NP be used to disprove the simulation theory?

                                                        • 2 years ago

                                                          This is essentially the philosophy of metaphysics. We have been able to prove that water can be programed, & influenced by Man(Dr.Masaru Emoto) We have been able to prove that Animals and vegetation respond to Man's (Cleve Backster) emotional energetic signature. We have been able to prove everything is energy, immiting a vibratory tone (Quantum Field). This offers a glimpse at the how.

                                                          People whom have real experiences on mind hacks such as Ayuesca or DMT are able to see these layers. The benefit& beauty in resolving this riddle is to know thyself. To know our roles, as Master creators.

                                                          Our purpose in this matrix is to learn how to create, to learn balance in duality, and to move into our power. Life is the preparation for death (division).

                                                          • 2 years ago

                                                            You can look at the alternate explanations given by science, for why we are here.

                                                            THE BIG BANG. Most common theory in the world.

                                                            Well then, The Big Bang, why is there no alien life found by us humans on other planets? The Big Bang suggests multiple clusters of life to be out in the universe. And yet, in all our fancy tech, massively overpowered telescopes and decade long research and hardcore scientists we haven't found a single bit of alien life. Not one. Nothing. We really know very little of our origins. Elon Musk might be onto something. We cannot disprove, not for a long time, what he said because our very understanding is still sorely lacking, despite our best efforts.

                                                            • 2 years ago

                                                              -“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” - Carl Sagan.There is ( to my knowledge ) no scientific evidence to support the claim that we are living in a simulation, something needed in order to make the claim at least slightly believable.

                                                              Where is the evidence that we are not living in a simulation? All I see is a mountain of phenomena (gravity, magnetism, quantum effects, discrete energy) discovered by scientists and a bunch of imaginary models (spacetime, force fields, quantum interpretations, particles) which have never been directly measured being invented to explain these phenomena, just as a character in a simulation would. These imaginary models are the extraordinary claims that require extraordinary evidence, because reality works the same whether or not you believe there is a force field between the sun and earth. The only reason to believe in it is because it makes you feel more comfortable in your belief in a physical reality.

                                                              • 2 years ago

                                                                Elon Musk is a fucking retard on this subject. The odds of us living in a simulation are pretty much zero.

                                                                -What's the point of being so skeptical about our reality? I see no benefit to questioning our reality to this extent, in which we cannot completely prove, only speculate.

                                                                Atheists/nerds need someone to "believe in," which is why people like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Star Wars, etc. (Note: I'm an atheist). It's the only way stupid ideas like this gain tranction as anything other than a philosophical thought experiment.

                                                                • 2 years ago

                                                                  Yeah well, that's just like, your opinion man.