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"% chance that we are living in a simulation?" Topic

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Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP04 Apr 2021 8:33 p.m. PST

As in the current belief championed by numerous scientists & philosophers.

Wiki definition:

Try to make your estimate rounded to the nearest zero or five (5%, 20%, etc…).

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP04 Apr 2021 8:47 p.m. PST

0. Does it matter?

Personal logo The Nigerian Lead Minister Supporting Member of TMP04 Apr 2021 9:04 p.m. PST


Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP04 Apr 2021 10:09 p.m. PST

Ah. Philosophers.
As Maude, the unemployment clerk, said in History of the World, Part 1, to an unemployed stand up philosopher.
"Ah. A bullBleeped text artist."
"Did you bull Bleeped text this week?"
"Did you try to bull Bleeped text this week?"

Now, if you're a stand up philosopher, and are offended, go pound sand. In college, I had to take 4 philosophy courses. Buzz off.

Also, define "numerous". I'm curious as to the real percentage.

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP04 Apr 2021 10:57 p.m. PST

"0. Does it matter?"

Youve just been programmed to say that!

Personal logo Wolfshanza Supporting Member of TMP04 Apr 2021 11:00 p.m. PST

we're prolly some uber 3rd graders homework project ? <sigh> <lol>

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP04 Apr 2021 11:06 p.m. PST

John, I couldn't give you any solid numbers. Watching videos on YouTube can make it the number seem skewed I'm sure.

The ideas been around for almost 4 decades if you consider it a relation of Hologram theory.

Porthos05 Apr 2021 2:20 a.m. PST

Uesugi Kenshin: those who are curious are interested in philosophy. Those who are not interested in philosoiphy are not curious. That is simply a difference with no meaning of "good" or "not good". I personally feel calling "philosophy" Bleeped text (or bullbleep ? ;-)) silly which does not mean I would call John "silly". It is an opinion that does not harm others. Personally I like the comparison of our hobby (especially the simulation part) with the simulation mentioned in the linked article that I have read with interest.

Dagwood05 Apr 2021 2:51 a.m. PST

Is there not a statistical law that says you can't draw any conclusions from a sample of one ? So it's all pointless speculation, or as John says …

Cerdic05 Apr 2021 3:23 a.m. PST

Deep Thought…mice…42…

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP05 Apr 2021 4:40 a.m. PST


Personal logo PzGeneral Supporting Member of TMP05 Apr 2021 5:05 a.m. PST

Cerdic +1

Doug MSC Supporting Member of TMP05 Apr 2021 5:49 a.m. PST

Sounds like some new religion trying to capture followers.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP05 Apr 2021 6:45 a.m. PST

If we are, it's still in beta.

USAFpilot Supporting Member of TMP05 Apr 2021 7:33 a.m. PST

If one can feel pain in the simulation what practical difference does it make?

Anyway, can anyone truly define what reality is? All we each have is our own perception of reality based upon our own sensory inputs from our own extremely tiny corner of the universe. My reality is very different than the reality of someone living in Tibet or Timbuktu; or Betelgeuse.

Texaswalker05 Apr 2021 7:55 a.m. PST

0%, but I would have said that there was a 0% chance of time dilation and object foreshortening in a moving frame of reference too, so what do I know?
John, I think the real philosophers are now mathematicians and physicists.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP05 Apr 2021 8:56 a.m. PST


the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.
Definitions from Oxford Languages

Personal logo John the Greater Supporting Member of TMP05 Apr 2021 9:35 a.m. PST

Maybe it is like Schrodinger's Cat. The answer to the question is 100% and 0% at the same time. But once you open the box it is one or the other. I vote we don't open the box.

mildbill05 Apr 2021 10:09 a.m. PST

0 Now way anyone would create this big of mess .

Arjuna05 Apr 2021 10:30 a.m. PST

Hey guys, would you please just don't ruin the experimental parameters, or I'll have to start from scratch again.

Just saying…

Allthough it could be interesting to keep the thing running and see wether you start your own world simulation…

Hm, I don't know, my supervisor would not be thrilled when he sees the lab bill.
Simulations are expensive and this one wasn't build for you to shoff off, ya know?

So, lets shut it down.
Sorry folks, it's all over now

Van Morrison – It's all over now on Youtube

Oh, you think I'm kidding?
No I am completely serious about the comedic approach above.

Beside since it is a 'simulation' there must be someone with an interest in and the ressources to simulating a part of HIS world for a reason, be it religious, scientific or for pleasure.
So the simulation must be of a corresponding, perhaps same structure as his world, to satisfy his interests.
Even if the simulation is just some childish Cargo Cult.
But then again, it would be some kind of dreaming idiot god playing around, not a simulation.
You can't call that a simulation, can't you?

So that 'simulator' must be as clueless about reality as us.
He/She/it probably asks him/her/itself if he/she/whatever lives in a simulation.
Infinite regress as they say.

I call that Matrioshka Philosophy.

So, my guess is zero percent.
Bostrom is an Oxfordian windbag.

And now be quiet, they can hear you!

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP05 Apr 2021 11:49 a.m. PST

So that 'simulator' must be as clueless about reality as us.

His name is Geoffrey and he lives in Spokane . He's debugging this thing as fast as he can, but there's some punk kid in Milwaukee that keeps hacking it.

Inch High Guy05 Apr 2021 1:53 p.m. PST

5%, simply because I can't disprove it logically and must admit there is a non-zero possibility. Also quantum physics are sufficiently weird and a simulation would put a bow on that!

But I don't think it is likely.

Arjuna05 Apr 2021 1:56 p.m. PST

Sure, that may well be.
Or this whole Shebang (#!) could be the equivalent of Terry Davis and his TempleOS.
Terry Davis and TempleOS on Wikipedia

Rest in peace Terry, you crazy diamond.
May the Master Control Programm execute your code for eternity.

After debugging, of course.

epturner Supporting Member of TMP05 Apr 2021 4:25 p.m. PST

I agree with the OFM.

You've got to be flipping kidding me with this poll.


Zephyr105 Apr 2021 9:14 p.m. PST

I've had vivid moments of deja vu, so I haven't discounted the possibility that we may repeat this existence more than once (if so, it would be nice to remember previous mistakes, and not repeat them…)

HMS Exeter05 Apr 2021 10:38 p.m. PST

If this is a simulation, how many experience points do I need to grind to upgrade up to new level where only 1/2 of all politicians are idiots.

Martin Rapier05 Apr 2021 11:14 p.m. PST

What John the OFM said.

Zero, nada, 0, none.

We are but motes in the eye of the universe who come and go in a flash. Some people find that hard to accept.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP06 Apr 2021 12:40 p.m. PST

Okay, serious response: It depends on what one means by "simulation."
Really, the whole concept is a metaphor, not a statement of fact. Indeed, much of physics and philosophy is couched more or less in metaphor merely as a way to comprehend, or at least present, the incredibly complex nature of the Universe.
Consider the following things:
One of the prime theories about the nature of the Universe is "field theory," which basically postulates that the entirety of the Universe, that is all forms of matter and energy and space and time is essentially one giant energy field— one "thing" if you will— of which its components are more or less "informational" variations in that field— a thing or a form of energy exists because the field itself operates at that precise spacetime coordinate in a very specific way which differs from other "things" which operate in other coordinates in other ways, like individual wrinkles in a tablecloth which are distinct in themselves but are nevertheless all just part of the tablecloth.
So even the fundamental sub-atomic particles of matter and the base forms of energy are all just precise, distinct changes in a single all-encompassing "thing" which is the Universe itself. Furthermore, this also means that all of these things are, at some level, indistinguishable from other things— an electron in that atom is utterly indistinguishable and ultimately interchangeable with an electron in another atom, regardless of distance or even temporal difference apart. Swap the two, and no observable or even real change would occur— even the information regarding each remains unaltered. Essentially, one would have done an incredible thing and not actually done it at all.
Now, go beyond that and recognize that if each subatomic particle is fundamentally identical, indistinguishable, and interchangeable with any other subatomic particle of the same type, and you begin to realize that indeed all things are essentially just information— analogous to computer code— that tells the Universe what to be at precise "locations" if you will. You are you because the Universe holds the information that is you within itself for the time and place that you are… and that goes for everyone else and everything else.
And then take it a step further and realize that if the information which is you could somehow be altered in the Universe then subatomic particles somewhere else would be completely rearranged to be you, only at a different region of spacetime. Nothing is fundamentally changed in either location— merely the information of how that location is structured has changed. So, essentially, the Universe would have been "reprogrammed" to a different state, even in a small degree.
So, if the Universe is essentially a combination of complex information, then it could indeed be said to function as a "simulation", or at least in the same manner as one. This information interacts with that information to produce new information, and so on. But the term itself is largely a metaphor, though a metaphor with fascinating implications.
So my answer is yes, 100% the Universe is a simulation, and no, 0%, it is not really a simulation at all.

Arjuna07 Apr 2021 9:29 a.m. PST


I beg to differ because I think you are mixing up two things there.

The simulation hypothesis referenced in the Wikipedia article above defines simulation as a scenario (sic) in which our world, or at least our perception of it, is artificial in the sense that it is a substructure of a comprehensive system, with the purpose of appearing to its inhabitants or entities that experience it as a world in and of itself.
Think Simulacron-3, 13th Floor, Matrix and the like.

What you are describing is the interpretation of our reality as not only computable in the sense of computability theory, but even computing itself as its form of existence.

I guess your account is based on Wheeler's informational theory?

Hector Zenil wrote a good overview account of the state of the debate before 2012.
No heavy mathematical apparatus but not popular science either.
Zenil, Hector, A Computable Universe: Understanding And Exploring Nature As Computation, World Scientific 2012.
Recommended for people with a deeper interest in that topic and some prior knowledge, but expensive, so you better have a look at it beforehand.
Computable Universe, A: Understanding And Exploring Nature As Computation at Google Books

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP07 Apr 2021 12:53 p.m. PST

"You've got to be flipping kidding me with this poll.


It's just a poll Buddy, don't take it so ha4d, lol.

USAFpilot Supporting Member of TMP07 Apr 2021 2:02 p.m. PST

The answer of zero, or 0% chance is illogical. If you are living in a simulation, how would you know, ie the entire premise of the movie "The Matrix". None of us are all knowing, so there is always a chance of anything, no matter how small it is.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP07 Apr 2021 2:11 p.m. PST

@ Arjuna,

To some extent I am making my own statement on the question. The idea that we are part of an actual computer simulation is absurd, and inherently unprovable. It's also a bit too obviously the result of actually having computers ourselves and creating complex simulations ourselves— sort of digimorphisizing the Universe, if you will accept the coining of the term (though in many ways the OFM is on the mark with the comment on solipsism.) We see in the Universe what we have put into it, as it were.
However, it can indeed be said that the state of existence of anything, and the Universe itself, can indeed be interpreted as a collection of defining information— this part of the Universe is organized in this way, producing these effects— and, if the Universe is indeed "all One Big Thing" then in a sense the variations within in it are functions of information, in the end. It is quite amazing to be able to recognize that possibility— an interesting development in a very, very, very minute portion of the Universe, to recognize and perceive of the Universe in such a manner (and, interestingly, it could be argued that with that perception, the Universe itself perceives itself).

As for Wheeler, no I have not read his theory— interesting, now that I see it, but no, not my source (as far as I am aware).

Arjuna07 Apr 2021 8:16 p.m. PST


The implication the simulation hypothesis is solipsism is not correct.
In solipsism there is no outer system in form of a body or a world that are supporting the mind.
There is just the mind generating itself out of nothing for unknowable reasons.
And nobody cares to explain why exactly the solipsistic mind fills itself with the contents it is filled with.
Which is a statement that is said, can't be proved nor disproved.
Which I personally find at least debatable, because there are obviously a lot of logical flaws in it.
Which itself proves she could be disprovable.
Of course to defend solipsism is an infinite battle of retreat, but infinite none the less.
Infinite regress.
But if you accept Popper's falibility principle, it is simply not scientific and you're done with it.

The simulation hypothesis on the other hand clearly states, there is an outer world our inner world is based on.
Which in a way is absolutely right, because what else is our mind but a smorgasboard of models of the outside world?
And even models of models possibly ad infinitum.
Infinite regress.

But, these ARE the vehicle to question the world.

Matrioshka Philosophy.

Digimorphisizing is quite an interesting term.
Yes, a modern form of the older mechanical world view that depicts the world as a clockwork, the Clockwork Universe.

It is quite amazing to be able to recognize that possibility— an interesting development in a very, very, very minute portion of the Universe, to recognize and perceive of the Universe in such a manner (and, interestingly, it could be argued that with that perception, the Universe itself perceives itself).

Indeed, it is.
'Interesting' is something surprising.
'Surprising' is something that has more, especially new information.
You can connect that from the term entropy in informational theory to that in thermodynamics.
An idea which was made possible by exactly those models we view the world through at this moment of history.
A digimorphized world view.

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