Possible Evidence That Our Universe Is A Computer Simulation

Are the various physical limits of our universe (e.g. the cutoff in the amount of energy a cosmic ray can have) evidence that our universe is the creation of technology with limited capabilities? Huffington Post explains:

A long-proposed thought experiment points out that any civilisation of sufficient intelligence would eventually create a simulation universe if such a thing were possible. Since there would therefore be many more simulations (within simulations, within simulations) than real universes, it is more likely than not that our world is artificial.

Now a team of researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany say they have evidence this may be true. They point out that simulations of the universe naturally put limits on physical laws. By just being a simulation, [a] computer would put limits on, for instance, the energy that particles can have within the program. These limits would be experienced by those living within the sim – and as it turns out, something which looks just like these limits do in fact exist.

For instance, something known as the Greisen-Zatsepin-Kuzmin, or GZK cut off, is an apparent boundary of the energy that cosmic ray particles can have. This is caused by interaction with cosmic background radiation. But Beane and co’s paper argues that the pattern of this rule mirrors what you might expect from a computer simulation.

78 Comments on "Possible Evidence That Our Universe Is A Computer Simulation"

  1. so what your saying is…Jesus = Tron? My only discomfort with this theory is that….the “GZK cutoff” is only now how it appears to us now, it may be part of a larger order that is in fact not in correlation with a computer program…or we may be wrong about it all together…..and why is it inferred that any advance society would “have to” “create a simulation”? But anyway it has been my short experience is this existence that absolutes really don’t exist and no one can prove to me that one does because every single tiny……down to the tiniest particle of “matter/energy” is in a constant state of “change” be it voluntary, involuntary or merely through the environment in which it inhabits. And who’s to say these “simulation” universes didn’t at some point become “self aware” and thus become “real” universes?

    • Have you ever seen every piece of matter constantly moving or were you told that? It’s impossible to truly know every fact your told and you have to rely on faith in the tellers just like people have faith in the big J. So who is to say your not some A.I. stored on a gigantic hard drive that simulates every particle in a constant state of change and when not observed they do nothing.

    • so would the fact that absolutes don’t exist be an absolute?

  2. Daniel Reasor | Oct 27, 2012 at 12:54 pm |

    So if the fact that the behavior of matter and energy can be expressed as mathematical laws is taken as proof that we’re in a computer simulation, what about the “real” universe where the computer is plugged in and running? That universe would have to be orderly enough to give rise to living people who can build working computers. Why does that hypothetical universe qualify as real, when ours supposedly does not? You get an infinite matryoshka doll of simulated universes because you’re pushing off the hard work of looking for real causes onto imaginary people in an imaginary universe where science is easier.

    All of which is too polite a way of dispensing with a rubbish attempt at college freshman level philosophy. If the cause of GZK cut off is in principle understood (“caused by interaction with cosmic background radiation”), then arguing that it could also just be what Singularity Jesus wanted isn’t actual research.

    • Good points. It’s not that the universe behaves like a simulation of a universe, it’s that simulations of universes are programmed to behave as actual universes. And that doesn’t mean the animals inside the simulation are actually conscious like we are, just that they are programmed to behave as such.

      I also don’t buy that “there would therefore be many more simulations (within simulations, within simulations) than real universes” necessarily follows from “any civilisation of sufficient intelligence would eventually create a simulation universe,” especially considering how big an if “if such a thing were possible” is. In order to contain all the information to simulate our universe, the universe in which the simulation would be running would necessarily be larger.

      Finally, if the limits of physical laws in this universe indicate that it is a simulation, then the universe the simulation is running in must either have limits or the simulation is not really accurate. And if that universe has limits, the same (faulty) logic would indicate it too is a simulation. Do we eventually get to a universe with unlimited laws (or no laws at all) and infinite boundaries, and yet with all that godlike potential, all it’s nested simulations are inaccurate? Or is it turtles all the way down into infinity?

      • UpAndOverIt | Oct 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm |

        Me thinks it is turtles all the way down…but who knows for sure. We are here, regardless…mine as well have fun and make the most of it, especially if “making the most of it” were to ever involve figuring out how to access the higher and lower universal levels. Now that could be fun…

      • UH duh the fifth dimension where Mr. Mxyzptlk is from.

      • Didn’t some scientist just recently discredit a supposed alien finding because ‘intelligent creatures wear clothing’ and it did not? That’s quite the claim. Only stupid creatures run around naked, y’know.

    • No one can be told what the matrix is Daniel you have to see it for yourself.

  3. Dying_Fetus | Oct 27, 2012 at 1:54 pm |

    Somebody hit the fucking reset button!!!

  4. If its a simulation, I’m enjoying it.

  5. Where can I download a Trainer? I need infinite Ammo.

    Thanks in advance

  6. Simiantongue | Oct 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm |

    Up up down down B A B A start…

    Damn that’s not it.

    Up up down down B A B B start…

    Nope, crap.

    Up up down down B A…

    Go ahead and laugh! I’ll figure out the code someday and when I do heads will roll.

    Up up down down…

    • Hadrian999 | Oct 27, 2012 at 6:30 pm |

      damn it it’s Up Up down down left right left right B A B A start

      • Hadrian999 | Oct 27, 2012 at 6:30 pm |

        crap now I have to go play Contra

        • Simiantongue | Oct 27, 2012 at 7:30 pm |

          I’ll get to “left and rights” eventually. So far everywhere I look I see life bars hanging above peoples heads and in my lower right field of vision it appears I have some achievements unlocked.

          The last unlock I achieved by running around my house opening and closing windows and doors over and over. Apparently this has some value in our metagame reality that I’m not able to entirely explain, but I’m sure has some connection with my final destiny. I needed to get it to continue on to other tasks…

          … Okay, okay it’s a light armor. Windows and doors gives you light armor. How does that make any sense whatsoever? Who the hell wrote this reality anyway?

        • Real men do it without the code.

    • Stop it you fools! The sooner you beat the game the sooner the player has had enough of us and turns off the cosmic Nintendo. You’ll doom us all to an eternity of poorly made end credit music and a game over screen!

    • i believe its up up down down left right left right A B A B start WORD¡¡¡

  7. In our experience, simulations break at “edge cases” where the software is inadequately characterized or the hardware runs out of CPU power and weird stuff instead of expected stuff happens. Whether the scientists are looking at the right edge case or not remains to be seen. I expect that the number of ways to test for the “are we in a simulation” question will increase with time.

    I don’t think the question can ever be definitively answered in the negative, but as increasing numbers of ways to ask this question are found, if the answers do turn up negative, we will have an increasing level of confidence that we don’t live in a simulation.

    Don’t really have a personal preference here, the good news about “real” is that it can’t be arbitrarily shut off, the upside of simulation is that it gives us a chance to break out of the “sandbox” (isolated area to run processes, like Java uses) and literally hack “natural laws” which are inconvenient to us, back up code (like our own) or our universe as a whole.

    • A back up is still just a copy. “You” wouldn’t experience it if the back up were restored, only someone who thinks just like you did at the time of the back up.

      Also, “real” CAN be arbitrarily shut off by both entropy and the horrific, but unproven notion of quantum collapse. Any structure has weak points and is subject to mechanical failure. Also, we have no idea what’s going on “outside” the universe beyond the fever dreams of theoretical physics. If outside forces were at work in the big bang, it’s plausible those forces could happen again.

      Simulations are actually far more stable! If this is a simulation, there is a reasonable expectation that whatever built us WANTED to build us. Our universe runs because it desired it and put an effort into it. It’s probably not going to simply arbitrarily pull the plug.

      We just have to hope that the purposes of the simulation aren’t to test unpleasant cirumstances.

      • You’re making the assumption that a simulation of our universe is running on hardware which requires a substantial social investment to construct / design / operate… as opposed to the equivalent of Sim City running on the equivalent of a video game console in a civilization that’s even 1000 years ahead of us in technology. Hope that kid doesn’t trip over the power cord or get bored.

  8. DeepCough | Oct 27, 2012 at 5:25 pm |

    Hmm…. This would explain why I keep seeing the same man in a black suit following me……

    • Adam's Shadow | Oct 28, 2012 at 3:22 pm |

      That’s not a Man In Black trying to undermine your fleeting realization that we are all part of a holistic universal digital dream, that’s just some Wall St. asshole looking to squeeze more money out of y-
      Oh wait, same thing.

  9. BuzzCoastin | Oct 27, 2012 at 7:48 pm |

    if the universe is a simulation
    then wee are the programers

    • Hadrian999 | Oct 27, 2012 at 9:20 pm |

      Into Peter Carroll?

      • BuzzCoastin | Oct 27, 2012 at 10:15 pm |

        thanks for the tip
        I wasn’t aware of his work
        but a cursory glance indicates similar interests
        the building blocks of reality

  10. Hadrian999 | Oct 27, 2012 at 8:17 pm |

    so was the new world like DLC or an expansion pack?

  11. According to Seth Lloyd of Quantum Physics and Computer Programming prof at MIT (Programming the Universe). He stated that it is impossible to determine if the universe IS a computer. BUT at this point, we can state that it appears to operate exactly LIKE a computer. BIG difference in logistics. Our computers are logical machines exploiting the physics/rules of the universe itself. All of physics and Information Theory points in this direction. But to say that the universe IS a computer is semantically and logically incorrect due to the inability to prove it given that we are within the universe.

  12. Bernhardt | Oct 28, 2012 at 3:44 am |

    one word for it… Bullshit !

  13. Kevin Leonard | Oct 28, 2012 at 12:58 pm |

    What I see is parallels to the Christian bible, “So God created man in his own image” and to Vedantic wisdom that the world is maya – illusion, just stated in Star Trek terminology. The singularity is near.

  14. This is the most paranoid and ego-centric idea I’ve ever heard. Relieve yourself of this rubbish.
    P.S. God still loves you!

  15. Freeze your ass looking for mineral resources in Canada’s
    Northlands (Sasquatch – a nice French Canadian trapper) for a few
    years before making asinine statements like this – Part of the
    “Matrix” yeah sure! like U.S. astronauts riding former
    Soviet Union technologies to the “International Space Station”
    while the Chinese ride their own designs to their Space Station(s)
    and U.S. “secret military spy drones” drop from the air
    (magically?) into Iran? And: Aliens only speak American English and
    will save Black and White Americans from economic collapse and
    capitulation to their creditors, Japan and China? Whom-ever “wrote
    the program” sure had a hate on for you! Even Thorium Miracle
    LFTR style Reactors coming from China by 2017

    Mankind’s real dawning of the Nuclear Age after the upstart 200 year
    Coca Cola Reich brought mankind plutonium, a poison unknown to
    mankind before 1945, and splattered this humanocide with a half life
    of 100,000 years across the face of this planet? Blade runner? Last
    good American car on the road – Straight Eight Oldsmobile – none
    better from U.S. since. Asian invasion of 4 bangers proves the point.
    Soak your sorry ass in illusions if you must, but reality changes on,
    the Pan Eurasian Alliances form Empire status in real time, your jobs
    and riches, even the American worker’s stake in the Capital she
    raised the last two hundred years was stolen by her Capitalists,
    transferred to China, jobs and all – for a few shekels, goddammit,
    and China is so the Super Power America was – only three decades ago!
    Masters of the Matrix decided to make Detroit City a Third World
    entity? with three now, Californian cities following declaring
    bankruptcy in domino fashion? Hologramattical? Union card carrying,
    mortgage paying, church attending, American family men, the
    definition by Marx “proletariat”, reduced today in America to
    ‘precariat,’ then forced to full disenfranchisement, left to die
    without proper medical care, without proper nutrition, in
    ‘unemployables’ lines, shanties, tent cities, hiding in the bushes,
    the forests, to survive on the outskirts of their own nation? Still,
    “Thru the Looking Glass?” do you think? Romney lives on
    your side for sure.

  16. If this universe is a computer simulation, it’s got a serious virus screwing things up on a local area.

    • Correct wc, the virus is called sin. You know it’s hilarious that with all these “discoveries” of late the eggheads might just eventually discover God. Oh the horror. LOL.

      • You realize, god will be some computer nerd in a “higher” plane who masturbates to fetish porn and has hyper-cheeto dust all over his keyboard right?

  17. I got much more enjoyment from the comments on this one. BTW didn’t they cover this in LAST ACTION HERO!?

  18. Huffington Post is the source? Well, so much for credibility.

  19. Upset reader | Oct 29, 2012 at 1:44 am |

    This has no evidence. The title is a false statement.

    • Calypso_1 | Oct 29, 2012 at 8:52 am |

      Titles like that are used, in part, because the contents of the actual study won’t make sense to most people. Within the confines of the hypotheses and parameters used there is indeed evidence. Or more accurately, the already observed physical evidence fits within the theoretically modeled framework. That does not necessarily have any direct bearing on reality, only our understanding of it.

      But perhaps you understand it better in its original format?

      “observables that are considered are the muon g-2 and
      the current differences between determinations of alpha, but the most stringent
      bound on the inverse lattice spacing of the universe, b^(-1) >~ 10^(11) GeV, is
      derived from the high-energy cut off of the cosmic ray spectrum. The numerical
      simulation scenario could reveal itself in the distributions of the highest
      energy cosmic rays exhibiting a degree of rotational symmetry breaking that
      reflects the structure of the underlying lattice.”

  20. featherknife | Oct 29, 2012 at 6:30 am |

    The universe is a training simulation written by Donald Trump and Johnny Cash. Obviously.

  21. Illiterate portuguese | Oct 29, 2012 at 6:49 am |

    I am not a mathematician or a scientist but i understood fractal geometry the first time it was explained to me. Because i already suspected that the universe is so much like itself happening forever eternally. That is where you get your “deja vus” and such. the reality you are living now will be here forever in this place in time (coordinate). Like someone said earlier, it´s all about turtles beneath turtles. When you look up into the sky, the same you in a different perspective is looking down making the same exact question, is there anybody out there besides myself? So that is it folks, all about perspective of this interminable infinite fractal universe because the only thing you can ever feel evolving is your true self and it´s the only thing that really exists and has evolved as far as i am concerned.

    • That’s a solipsism, and I’ve been thinking the same damned thing, myself. So if that’s the case, how can you be telling me about that? Unless your existence is just to reinforce my own thinking. What a mind fuck.

  22. I Can See the Other Side, Man | Oct 29, 2012 at 8:38 am |

    “Dude, *cough cough*, I just had the gnarliest thought.”
    (bong noises) “…”
    “What if, like, what if THIS universe was, like, what if this is the simulation, and like, the OTHER universe is the real universe?”

    Another $45,000 in yearly college tuition well spent.

  23. Dave Rich | Oct 29, 2012 at 9:52 am |

    It’s official. We’re living in “The Matrix”.

  24. What’s the cheat for God Mode in this game? Anyone? Oh, also, unlimited currency if there’s one for that would be nice. Thanks in advance 🙂

  25. todd southern | Oct 29, 2012 at 3:37 pm |

    Surprised not to see a reference to the movie that came out the same time as the Matrix. The Thirteenth Floor explored this very idea quite close to as it is written.

  26. Jbrushaber | Oct 29, 2012 at 4:00 pm |

    So the Matrix is real then

  27. Life is but a game.

  28. This could explain reincarnation, in that, each time you are ‘reborn,’ you actually enter a different SIM to have a different experience. So our consciousness might be the actual consciousness of the creators of the SIM/s entering the SIM. This could also explain parallel universes as parallel SIMs…

  29. Closer to a hologram really. We know of 11 dimensions, personally I think there are 12-one yet to be discovered. Chuck Missler has been explaining this theory for at least a decade. Old news to those of us who have been paying attention.

  30. Roger Mexico | Nov 2, 2012 at 1:46 am |

    This isn’t evidence

  31. Want an answer? Figure out what the end goal of the simulation is. Or try to force glitches.

  32. I saw the words possible evidence. but all I saw was something about thought experiments and GZK…how is that possible evidence? sounds more like a theory.

  33. Simultaneous vector running sub @ watt hertz?

  34. Simia, ur energy event will b deflected by a fractal radome dew 2 m/m mirror reflection.

  35. Malegrith | Nov 6, 2012 at 3:28 pm |

    Didn’t Douglas Adams already firmly establish this?

  36. The movie The Thirteenth Floor is about this exact article. I wrote a book about this topic entitled “Simulation Theory”. It is available on amazon.

  37. I’ve jokes for years that I am a figment of someone’s imagination, but truly, I agree with you. To my logic, it is more plausible that the universe we know is a simulation, rather than a random event. Statistically, the conditions necessary for the establishment of genetic material to form in the rare environments which could support such life are so unlikely, that if we really look at the numbers, we’d likely be the only living planet in the universe. Yet, we have discovered evidence of bacterial life on meteors, moon rocks, and Mars. These bacteria are not genetically similar to life on earth, either. That’s almost statistically impossible. If life formed in a natural manner, and evolved, we’d still see evidence of such evolution ongoing. We’d see new genetics arising constantly. We wouldn’t share the same basic mitochondrial DNA as every other multicellular lifeform on earth. There would be drastic variations and new variations constantly being introduced. This lends much credence to creationism, but not necessarily by some supernatural being in the mystical sense. Instead, it is logical to assume that a higher intelligence did create life for reasons we can only guess. In turn, that being was created by another, which may seem just as omnipotent, etc, until we come to the greater acceptance that there is no real beginning. Somehow, an intelligence formed that saw it fit to create life, and that process continues. Just as our creator(s) created us, we strive to create artificial intelligence. When we do, and our race reaches it’s genetic self-destruct, when the centromeres in our DNA fail to function in replication, perhaps our AI will survive and ask, how did silicon-based life begin?

  38. If the universe is a simulation, all we need to do is figure
    out how to manipulate the program and all of our worldly problems will be gone.
    Sounds easy to me.

  39. Sometime when you don’t have anything better to do, I would recommend you go to Netflix and check out the movie entitled “THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR”… that will give you a good idea of a simulation within a simulation within a simulation, then ask yourself, “Is it really possible that we are actually a simulation within a simulation, and if we are, then where exactly is the real computer plugged in?

  40. Bernhardt | Nov 30, 2012 at 1:55 am |

    Rubbish of the finest art… If stupidity hurt many scientists would scream like hell !

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