Philosophers have long proposed that given that any civilization of remarkable intelligence and size would likely create simulations of other universes, and likely a great number of simulations), it may be that there are more simulated universes than real, and consequently more simulated worlds than real.
And now, some physicists say, we just may have the evidence that our universe is just one such simulation.
A team of researchers led by Silas Beane at Germany’s University of Bonn, have just released a paper titled “Constraints on the Universe as a Numerical Simulation,” in which they make the argument that any such simulation of a universe must, by nature of a simulation, put limits on the physical laws of that universe.
As Technology Review explains, making the same point:
“…the problem with all simulations is that the laws of physics, which appear continuous, have to be superimposed onto a discrete three dimensional lattice which advances in steps of time…”
For example, if a simulation, there would be clear limits on the amount of energy particles within the program can contain. And, researchers say, there’s evidence of exactly such limits in our universe.
In particular, we can consider what is known as the Greisen-Zatsepin-Kuzmin, or GZK cut off – which is a clear limit to the energy an cosmic ray particle can hold. Scientists argue this is the result of interactions with cosmic background radiation. Beane’s research team, however, argues that it is also exactly what you would expect from a simulation’s limits.
Of course, you should read the paper yourself to get a better feel for the science – but the argument is certainly an interesting one, and will only fuel more philosophers’ arguments about the nature of our world.
For more, consider what Elon Musk has to say about the theory in the video below: