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Forum » SpaceEngine » Science and Astronomy Discussions » Is the universe a simulation? (Many physicists think this...)
Is the universe a simulation?
VoekoevakaDate: Saturday, 06.10.2012, 17:15 | Message # 16
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If you perfectly knew the laws of the universe and had unlimited computing power and unlimited knowledge of the exact conditions of all the matter/energy at a specific instant, then you could account for those obstacles.

Can you think that there will be an end to our understanding of our universe ? Maybe not.





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H2BroDate: Saturday, 06.10.2012, 17:22 | Message # 17
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Can you think that there will be an end to our understanding of our universe ? Maybe not.


Are there things about the universe that will forever be beyond our grasp?

Are there things about the universe that are... ungraspable? wink





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H2BroDate: Saturday, 06.10.2012, 17:28 | Message # 18
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I don't think so. There are two obstacles on the way. The first one is the importance of chaos....
Then the second obstacle is the quantic noise. The Heisenberg principle ....


Here you are saying that "we" cannot do these things because it is either computationally too difficult or technologically not understood how one would.

I would agree that, if we cannot do something, then it means that we are unable to do it. I do not agree that, if we cannot do something, it implies it is fundamentally un-doable.

My general point stands up, I believe. Which is this: physical systems are computational systems. The computational power necessary to compute physical systems is equivalent to the number of discrete states those systems can hold, which of course means any physical system can compute itself (this is nearly a tautology, so i apologize for that). The undefined quality of unobserved quantum systems, combined with the above points, means that the universe has computational capacity in excess of what is required to simulate the universe.

Edit: note that I am asserting the 'strong case' of this argument. A weaker and more defensible position would be, most matter inside a rock, for example, is mostly like it's neighbors. We can get very accurate approximations of the inside of a rock without storing the information about each particle part, but just a coarse-graining algorithm to assume neighbors are relatively similar.

In this weak form of the argument, the computational capacity of the universe if FAR FAR in excess of what would be required to simulate an extremely accurate approximation of the universe.





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Edited by H2Bro - Saturday, 06.10.2012, 17:31
 
Antza2Date: Saturday, 06.10.2012, 17:48 | Message # 19
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Quote (H2Bro)
Here you are saying that "we" cannot do these things because it is either computationally too difficult or technologically not understood how one would.

I would agree that, if we cannot do something, then it means that we are unable to do it. I do not agree that, if we cannot do something, it implies it is fundamentally un-doable.

My general point stands up, I believe. Which is this: physical systems are computational systems. The computational power necessary to compute physical systems is equivalent to the number of discrete states those systems can hold, which of course means any physical system can compute itself (this is nearly a tautology, so i apologize for that). The undefined quality of unobserved quantum systems, combined with the above points, means that the universe has computational capacity in excess of what is required to simulate the universe.

Edit: note that I am asserting the 'strong case' of this argument. A weaker and more defensible position would be, most matter inside a rock, for example, is mostly like it's neighbors. We can get very accurate approximations of the inside of a rock without storing the information about each particle part, but just a coarse-graining algorithm to assume neighbors are relatively similar.

In this weak form of the argument, the computational capacity of the universe if FAR FAR in excess of what would be required to simulate an extremely accurate approximation of the universe.

I'm not a moderator, but please, refrain from using multiple posts. You can always edit your last post.





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Edited by Antza2 - Saturday, 06.10.2012, 17:50
 
HarbingerDawnDate: Saturday, 06.10.2012, 18:24 | Message # 20
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I'm not a moderator, but please, refrain from using multiple posts. You can always edit your last post.

Yes.

H2Bro, I just told you about this 3 hours ago. Do not make multiple posts. Edit your previous post if you have something to add.





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WatsisnameDate: Saturday, 06.10.2012, 22:14 | Message # 21
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I get the sense that your whole argument here depends on the idea that the exact properties of matter are undefined (unknown) unless observed. But I don't see what difference this makes. Doesn't the matter have exact properties that exist, and are just undefined to the observer since they are unknown to them? A piece of matter may be simultaneously in two states from a standpoint of statistical probability, and so need to be considered to have both of those states, but I know of no empirical data that suggests that it really does simultaneously have both states (though I admit that my knowledge and understanding of quantum mechanics is limited).


It is not so much that they have both/all states simultaneously; rather there is simply no way to determine what they are outside of measurement, which is problematic because in many cases the act of observation fundamentally changes the system. What is interesting is if we then ask "Well isn't there some underlying physics (aka, 'hidden variables') that determine the states of particles when we're not looking? Can't we predict it somehow?"

Mind bendingly, the answer to that question is no, because of Bell's Theorem. Bell's Theorem shows that the universe does not operate under local hidden variables.

To further warp the mind, this also means we have to either dismiss locality ("events are not influenced from outside of the light-travel-time interval") or realism ("the moon exists even when not being observed"). Either of these is rather hard to swallow. wacko





 
VoekoevakaDate: Saturday, 06.10.2012, 22:43 | Message # 22
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By making the hypothesis that the universe is deterministic and it obeys to a set of laws, and assuming that the "computer" simulating it have no bugs if it exists, I think this is not a meaningful problem to know if the universe is a simulation, because we would never know it. The tho visions (the "natural" universe and the "simulated" universe) are equivalent.
It is like programming the same game (exactly the same) in two different languages : the character in the game can't guess if his world is written in Java or C++ (I admit first that this videogame is cheated and the character is aware of himself...).





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H2BroDate: Saturday, 06.10.2012, 23:29 | Message # 23
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H2Bro, I just told you about this 3 hours ago. Do not make multiple posts. Edit your previous post if you have something to add.


I don't think you did.... regardless the double post was a mistake owing to a browser refresh, and I didn't see options to delete one of my own posts. Anyway, this forum isn't exactly buzzing with activity so if you want to crack down on someone trying to start a thought provoking conversation, go ahead.

Quote (Watsisname)
It is not so much that they have both/all states simultaneously; rather there is simply no way to determine what they are outside of measurement


I realize my initial posting was pretty sloppy with regards to keeping things strictly correct. Of course, they do not take on any all values, and also, systems are not 100% deterministic.

I think where I was running with this is that the unknowable / undefined status of unobserved systems means that in this hypothetical 'universe simulation', they are not actively drawing resources by needing to be simulated/rendered. But, those particles still exist, and are capable of carrying out computations like any physical system.

Quote (Voekoevaka)
I think this is not a meaningful problem to know if the universe is a simulation, because we would never know it


Not necessarily true. If we suppose things are simulated we might try looking for hints, for example, environments generated by algorithmic processes (creating some isotropic homogenous large-scale picture), or a fine structure that does not have continuous gradations (if gradations were to remain continuous at infinite depth, it would require infinite computational capacity), or alternatively physical systems that are not defined until a 'player' looks at them....

Of course, we observe all this things when we do go and investigate matters. That isn't conclusive proof of anything, really, but it does mean that proposing a 'simulated reality' is in some ways a viable interpretation or theory of the facts at hand. Whether this theory can go on to produce testable hypothesis is something I don't know yet - ask me in 7 years when I have my physics phD in hand.

Quote (Watsisname)
To further warp the mind, this also means we have to either dismiss locality ("events are not influenced from outside of the light-travel-time interval") or realism ("the moon exists even when not being observed"). Either of these is rather hard to swallow.


non-locality isn't really that mind bending, only to someone who thinks GR and SR are exact specifications of reality and not mathematical approximations. From what I've read, non-locality is a non-issue when considering higher dimensional field interactions for the reason such interactions ARE local in the de sitter space they take place in (I may have that wrong in part, apologies if so).





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H2BroDate: Saturday, 06.10.2012, 23:35 | Message # 24
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Apologies beforehand for the double post, I genuinely do not see an edit option as I did before.

What I would have edited in is to make my last post a bit less arrogant. Sorry to come off that way, if I did.





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HarbingerDawnDate: Saturday, 06.10.2012, 23:36 | Message # 25
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I don't think you did....

http://en.spaceengine.org/forum/23-1105-12494-16-1349533360
I did.

Quote (H2Bro)
if you want to crack down on someone trying to start a thought provoking conversation, go ahead.

I have no problem with people who want to start conversations. I only have a problem with people who violate the forum rules. That is my function as a moderator: to enforce the forum rules and maintain order on the forum. I'm not coming down on anyone because I'm petty, I do it because it's my job.

If I say "Don't do X", then just say okay and move on and don't do it again. That's all.

Quote (H2Bro)
Apologies beforehand for the double post, I genuinely do not see an edit option as I did before.

There seems to be an issue with users being unable to edit now. Don't worry about it.

Quote (H2Bro)
What I would have edited in is to make my last post a bit less arrogant. Sorry to come off that way, if I did.

No problem.





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Edited by HarbingerDawn - Saturday, 06.10.2012, 23:37
 
H2BroDate: Sunday, 07.10.2012, 00:09 | Message # 26
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I only have a problem with people who violate the forum rules...


fair enough. that red font you use is just strikes me as so accusatory and intimidating





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HarbingerDawnDate: Sunday, 07.10.2012, 00:17 | Message # 27
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fair enough. that red font you use is just strikes me as so accusatory and intimidating

The red font is to indicate a moderator warning, to draw attention to the notice that a rule has been broken and that attention needs to be paid to the text. This system has been in place longer than I have been a member of this forum; I did not invent it.

It was originally common practice to imbed the warning in the offender's post like this, but there is less of a chance of it being seen that way so I usually make a new post for it.





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Edited by HarbingerDawn - Sunday, 07.10.2012, 00:21
 
WatsisnameDate: Sunday, 07.10.2012, 02:40 | Message # 28
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non-locality isn't really that mind bending, only to someone who thinks GR and SR are exact specifications of reality and not mathematical approximations.


Have you actually studied relativity? (Not being condescending, just curious what your level of knowledge on the topic is.) smile





 
VoekoevakaDate: Sunday, 07.10.2012, 10:22 | Message # 29
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Whether this theory can go on to produce testable hypothesis is something I don't know yet.

That I meaned earlier is that we can make a simulation where this hypothesis isn't testable.

After that, it is possible that the "programmer" has left some ways to "get out" of the simulation (like, in a game example, the "player" can join the internet in a multiplayer mode).
Another important fact is to know if the universe is fundamentally discrete or continuous...





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H2BroDate: Sunday, 07.10.2012, 12:06 | Message # 30
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Have you actually studied relativity?


I have not studied it formally, also I do not have the requisite background in tensor calculus to really dig into it.

So yes, I am an 'imposter' when it comes to talking about it. From what I have read, though, there are mathematical frameworks that treat non-local interactions as being localized in a higher dimensional field interaction. De Sitter is not this, of course, as it is a solution with GR.

I would say I'm at an awkward cross between technical and popular levels of knowledge. I can comprehend a lot of what I read in journal articles, but I'm not familiar using the methods within them. On the other hand, most popular treatments of the subject I find really shallow. Its like science purgatory.

Quote (Voekoevaka)
Another important fact is to know if the universe is fundamentally discrete or continuous...

I put a link to an article saying that a gravitational wave detector showed support for holographic principle, which would imply there is a level of granularity to spacetime. When I read a bit more into that particular publishing, though, it sounds like the author was jumping on not-the-best data to support his opinion.





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Edited by H2Bro - Sunday, 07.10.2012, 12:09
 
Forum » SpaceEngine » Science and Astronomy Discussions » Is the universe a simulation? (Many physicists think this...)
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