19th October 2018

speech portfolio piece

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Blake Hartley

Are we living in a Simulation

Look around, does this seem real to you? Touch the table in front of you, does it feel real to you? Take a breath in, are you really breathing air? Would you believe that there is quite a high possibility that we are just lines of code, a simulation built by futuristic beings. This essay will inform you on the two perspectives of the simulation argument, either that its complete rubbish or that it is quite likely we live in a simulation.

Since the birth of humankind we have had an obsession to understand the universe and what our point is in it, the odds of our existence seem so narrow it seems impossible, and as we have discovered more and more we have began to realize that the language of the universe is math. The universe can be coded by lines of math, do you know what else is made of math? Video games, virtual worlds where parabolas and equations code for the laws of physics and the movements of objects and beings inside the game. By putting two and two together, philosophers and scientists have realized an extraordinary possibility: are we in a simulation? Are we just some video game coded by some greater beings, or is this whole argument complete rubbish?

The theory is, one day in the future, humans, or some other advanced beings, might get so advanced that they have almost unlimited computing power. With that amount of computing abilities they would be able to run some very real simulations, in fact even a couple million or more, where the people inside of them might believe they are real. If this is the case, that the beings inside the simulations have consciousness and think they are real and that there are millions of these simulations, then it would seem that the vast majority of consciousness minds, like us, would most likely be living in a simulation. In other words, it would be rational to think that we are more likely among the simulated minds rather than among the original biological ones. If this is the case then it is statistically likely that we live in a simulation.

There is not a lot of evidence for us living in a simulation, because any good simulation would not allow the simulated beings to find out they are living in a simulation, so we can mainly only speculate, I know this sounds like a poor excuse but it is pretty much impossible to prove we are or aren’t living in a simulation. Any evidence that we get that says we are or are not in a simulation could just as easily been simulated into our minds. It’s simply too hard to prove or even impossible to prove if we live in a simulation or not. Some scientists claim to have discovered evidence saying that gravitational anomalies in our universe are simply too hard to simulate, saying that it would take more atoms than there are atoms in the visible universe to build and simulate our universe. This would mean that our creators simply wouldn’t be able to create such simulations. However, they have forgotten the biggest fact. That our creators may not be like us or follow the same laws of physics as us, meaning that our simulation, if we live in one, could be as simple to them as coding a game like snake or pong to us.

We can mainly only conduct thought experiments about if we live in a simulation or not. The main one to ask is why would these advanced beings want to simulate us. This is the main question we have to ask; It does seem kind of pointless for some future beings to simulate billions of conscious minds. But I imagine we would do it if we had that sort of computing power. It would help us understand our history, we could see evolution in the making, we could fast forward and slow down any point in time and study how and why we are what we are today. It would be a very useful tool to understand our past. Or the simulation we could be in, could be just some futuristic beings video game, like sims. Either way it would be quite likely for these advanced beings to have the idea and make simulations of their past where the beings inside a conscious, either for science or recreational use.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter, whether we’re in a simulation or not, it doesn’t change the outlook on our life, it’s still the same. It doesn’t matter if we’re lines of code or made of atoms, it will still feel the same and be the same. Some people may find it daunting that we could be just a simulation controlled by greater beings, and that they could just unplug us at anytime, but I find it kind of comforting, it means that we could be useful for something. My tip is keep doing interesting things, keep advancing as a human race, and maybe they will keep us alive, whether we’re a simulation of the past or the first conscious beings in this universe, life will be the same.

Respond now!