For a very long time, physicists have been baffled as to why the universe initially contained favorable circumstances for the evolution of life. Why do the fundamental laws and constants of physics require the precise particular values that lead to the formation of stars, planets, and ultimately life?
Dark energy, for instance, is much less powerful than theory predicts it should be, allowing matter to clump together rather than be torn apart.
One typical response is that since there are an endless number of universes, we shouldn’t be shocked that one of them has ended up being ours. Another possibility is that someone (perhaps an intelligent alien race) is tweaking the parameters of a computer simulation of our universe.
A field of research called information physics, which contends that neither space-time nor matter are fundamental phenomena, is in favor of the latter hypothesis. Instead, the fundamental components of physical reality—from which our perception of space-time derives—are bits of information.
Temperature, in contrast, “emerges” from the combined movement of atoms. Fundamentally, no one atom has a temperature.
This raises the remarkable possibility that the universe as we know it could be nothing more than a computer simulation.
The notion is not all that novel. John Archibald Wheeler, a renowned physicist, proposed in 1989 that the universe is fundamentally mathematical and that it may be thought of as arising from information. The famous proverb “it from bit” was created by him.
The simulation hypothesis was developed in 2003 by philosopher Nick Bostrom from Oxford University in the UK. This makes the case that the idea that we are living in a simulation is actually very likely.
That’s because a technologically evolved civilization should advance to the point where participants would not be able to tell they were in a simulation since it would be impossible for them to tell the difference between reality and it.
The simulation theory was advanced by physicist Seth Lloyd of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US, who proposed that the entire universe might function as a massive quantum computer.
There is some evidence that suggests our physical reality might be a virtual simulation as opposed to an objective place that exists apart from the observer.
Information processing will be the foundation of any virtual reality environment. This means that everything is ultimately reduced to bits, a unit of measurement that cannot be further divided.
According to the theory of quantum mechanics, which governs the world of atoms and particles, this appears to imitate our reality. The smallest discrete unit of energy, length, and time is said to exist.
Similar to how elementary particles are the tiniest form of matter and make up all of the visible matter in the universe. Our universe is, to put it simply, pixelated.
The rules of physics that apply to everything in the universe are analogous to the lines of computer code that a simulation would adhere to when running a program. Furthermore, the world seems to be fully composed of mathematical formulas, numbers, and geometric patterns.
The fact that the speed of light is the highest speed possible in our universe supports the simulation theory as well as another intriguing aspect of physics. This limit would be analogous to the processor’s speed or power limit in a virtual environment.
We are aware that a processor that is overloaded operates more slowly during simulations. Similar to this, the general relativity theory of Albert Einstein demonstrates that time slows down around black holes.
Quantum mechanics provides perhaps the strongest support for the simulation theory. This suggests that nature isn’t “real” since particles in precise locations or states don’t appear to exist unless you really see them or measure them. Instead, they are simultaneously in a variety of states. Similar to real life, events in virtual reality require an observer or programmer.
No matter how far away two particles are, quantum ” entanglement” enables them to be eerily coupled such that if you change one, you instantly and automatically change the other. This effect appears to be quicker than the speed of light, which is illogical.
However, this could also be explained by the fact that all “locations” (points) within a virtual reality code should be nearly equally distance from a central processor. Therefore, even if we may believe that two particles are millions of light years away, if they were produced in a simulation, they wouldn’t be.
Potential test methods
What kind of experiments, assuming the Universe is a simulation, could we run from within the simulation to demonstrate this?
It makes sense to imagine that an artificial universe would be filled with a ton of information bits all around us. The code itself is represented by these data bits. Therefore, finding these bits of information will demonstrate the simulation hypothesis.
Information bits must have a low mass according to the recently suggested mass-energy-information (M/E/I) equivalence principle, which suggests that mass can be described as energy or information or vice versa. This provides us a question to look into.
I have proposed that the fifth kind of matter in the universe is actually information. Even the anticipated information content for each elementary particle has been determined. A testable experimental technique was published in 2022 as a result of these findings.
In the experiment, elementary particles and their antiparticles—all particles have “anti” versions of themselves that are identical but have the opposite charge—are allowed to annihilate in a burst of energy, emitting “photons,” or light particles, in order to erase the information stored within them.
Based on information physics, I have predicted the precise range of anticipated frequencies for the resultant photons. With the resources we already have, the experiment is really doable, so we’ve started a crowdsourcing site to fund it.
There are further methods as well. A simulation would accumulate little computing faults, which the programmer would need to correct in order to keep it running, according to the late physicist John Barrow.
He proposed that we might encounter such events as the sudden appearance of contradictory experimental results or the alteration of the laws of nature. Therefore, another choice is to keep an eye on these constants’ values.
One of the greatest puzzles in existence is the nature of our reality. The likelihood that we will eventually confirm or refute the simulation hypothesis increases as we take it more seriously.