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How one scientist wants to prove we live in a simulation

Published Nov 27th, 2022 9:08AM EST
simulation theory, earth is a simulation
Image: Dave / Adobe

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The simulation theory is an old belief that everything we know and love is just part of a computer-run simulation. It’s a belief that relies on everything we know being part of an advanced virtual world – that our universe is a hologram. Now, a theoretical physicist wants to put that theory to the test and hopefully prove whether it’s fact or fiction.

According to a post by Melvin Vopson, a senior lecturer in Physics at the University of Portsmouth, on The Conversation, a common belief is that our universe is all just a simulation, from beginning to end. This simulation theory posits that everything happens as a result of that algorithms and computer equations.

The theory, while it might sound crazy, is actually supported by its own branch of science known as information physics. This branch suggests that space-time and matter are not fundamental phenomena, but instead are just bits of information that make up our physical world. In simulation theory, this information is responsible for what we perceive.

That can include not only the physical world but also things like temperature, our understanding of the world around it, etc. It’s an intriguing idea, and one that has been around since at least the 1980s when John Archibald suggested that the universe is fundamentally information. If simulation theory is correct, though, how would we prove such a thing?

data on a computer screen
Simulation theory suggests that the world is just a stream of data. Image source: knowhowfootage/Adobe

Well, according to Vopson, some experiments we could do include looking for a fifth type of matter. This fifth type is what Vopson says the bits of information that make up our reality would fill. There is also the belief that scientists have already disproven this theory back in 2017. Unfortunately, though, simulation theory wasn’t completely disproven back then.

Further, Vopson suggests that we could look for computational errors that would build up over time. Errors that could help point towards the possibility of the simulation theory being fact, not fiction.

It’s a long shot either way, but if scientists working in information physics can prove such a thing, it would change how we view the world entirely, and that’s a pretty terrifying thing to think about.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.