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We’re not living in a computer simulation...unfortunately

Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:31 pm

My hopes are dashed...

Physicists find we’re not living in a computer simulation

The sci-fi trope might now be put to rest after scientists find the suggestion that reality is computer generated is in principle impossible,

Just in case it’s been weighing on your mind, you can relax now. A team of theoretical physicists from Oxford University in the UK has shown that life and reality cannot be merely simulations generated by a massive extraterrestrial computer.

The finding – an unexpectedly definite one – arose from the discovery of a novel link between gravitational anomalies and computational complexity.

In a paper published in the journal Science Advances, Zohar Ringel and Dmitry Kovrizhi show that constructing a computer simulation of a particular quantum phenomenon that occurs in metals is impossible – not just practically, but in principle.

The pair initially set out to see whether it was possible to use a technique known as quantum Monte Carlo to study the quantum Hall effect – a phenomenon in physical systems that exhibit strong magnetic fields and very low temperatures, and manifests as an energy current that runs across the temperature gradient. The phenomenon indicates an anomaly in the underlying space-time geometry.

Quantum Monte Carlo methods use random sampling to analyse many-body quantum problems where the equations involved cannot be solved directly.

Ringel and Kovrizhi showed that attempts to use quantum Monte Carlo to model systems exhibiting anomalies, such as the quantum Hall effect, will always become unworkable.

They discovered that the complexity of the simulation increased exponentially with the number of particles being simulated.

If the complexity grew linearly with the number of particles being simulated, then doubling the number of partices would mean doubling the computing power required. If, however, the complexity grows on an exponential scale – where the amount of computing power has to double every time a single particle is added – then the task quickly becomes impossible...

https://cosmosmagazine.com/physics/phys ... simulation
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Re: We’re not living in a computer simulation...unfortunately

Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:33 pm

The above is true only if two other things are true: that the quantum Monte Carlo method is the only way to simulate large chaotic systems, and if it is truly impossible to create a computer or computer-like construct that can handle infinite computations. And, as usual, God gets spared the axe because you can't prove a negative.
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Re: We’re not living in a computer simulation...unfortunately

Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:21 pm

We live in a universe that strongly appears to exhibit an extreme level of fine tuning, and the idea that the universe was designed by a higher intelligence is quite reasonable. It's logical to ask whether such a "higher intelligence" might have been a very advanced civilization that desired to create a simulation, or whether an eternal, high-dimensional being (that is, God) created our universe. Of course, if one leans toward the simulation idea, then there still remains the question of origins for the civilization that created the simulation. An eternal being would by definition not have an origin or beginning; this being would essentially be the "base reality", or that which underlies all other aspects of reality. While I will always have questions and doubts, I find that belief in a creator God offers the best possible explanatory power.

I suppose another theory is that an infinity of universes exists, and that new universes with different properties are continually being created. Essentially, the idea is that "base reality" is an eternal universe generating machine, and that we happen to live in a universe that won the lottery in terms of having the properties necessary for advanced life. I don't find that any less "magical" than the idea that there's a God.

Elon Musk and others who float the idea of a simulation seem to have been turned off by the millennia of human baggage associated with God. I hope they can learn to overlook human frailties, and rationally evaluate the case for an eternal, intelligent creator underlying our reality.
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