The reality of a simulation

By Alice Looney

   Reality is what we perceive; it is what we can comprehend using our five senses. However, physicists and philosophers argue that statement with a theory called the “Simulation Theory.” The theory states that we as “humans” are living in computer controlled by an omniscient programmer; stating, that we are living in a sim-like world. There has been talk of people “living” in a computer or being cloned into a computer in movies and tv shows. However, this theory talks of the human population only being created to live in this computer world. One of the most popular movies that has discussed this theory is Matrix. The 1991 Sci-Fi Classic shares the tale of Neo as he is given two choices; the blue pill to go back to his “normal world” and stay ignorant, or by taking the red pill he is agreeing to see what’s beyond the Matrix. If we live in a sim-like world then we could easily bend the rules of physics, however, philosopher and physicists then go on to state that the “programmer entity” could easily set rules and laws. Which are what we know to be today as the Laws of Physics.  

   Although this theory sounds like something out of Sci-fi movie, it’s a “legitimate scientific hypothesis,” according to the Clara Moskowitz, Senior Editor at Scientific American. This possibility has raised some questions regarding spirituality. It opens the door to questions on “eternal life and resurrection,” states Moskowitz. Vulture put together an article titled “15 Irrefutable Reasons We Might be Living in a Simulation;” this article touches on things such as “The Mandala Effect.” The idea that we live in a computer simulation sounds like the beginning of dystopian movie, that we aren’t actually free beings but programs being controlled by alien race. Nonetheless, mathematicians, physicists and philosophers have rebutted the “Simulation Argument.” Theoretical physicist Dmitry L. Kovrizhin states in a Fast Company article that in order for a Simulation big enough to hold our entire Universe you would have to “simulate a quantum mechanical system, one would in general, have to diagonalize this matrix on a computer which is a computationally difficult task when the size of the matrix becomes large,” in other words, it would be very difficult.

   This theory has believers all over the spectrum of belief, some people just think it could be a possibility whereas people like NYU philosopher David Chalmers doubt that there is even a way to prove that we’re not in a simulation “because any evidence could be simulated,” says Chalmers. This theory is something that humans have hypothesized for years but as of right now, it is just a theory that is used to stretch minds beyond what we know. 


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