Living in Code

January 27th, 2008 § 0 comments

God said, “Cancel Program GENESIS.” The universe ceased to exist.

Arthur C. Clarke

The Universe as a virtual machine or a simulation is a very old idea. Even outside of science, many culture have thought of the material existence as the dream of a god.

Christianity has always dealt introspectively with questions about the relationship of God and the Universe. For example, if only God existed before time and space, where is the Universe in relation to God, and whether the Divinity had to limit Himself when He created the Universe.

More recently, with the rise of favorable conditions, many people have started to devote more time to this kind of exploration–which is a very natural curiosity I may add, considering we all want to know how and why we are here, in this particular time and state.

So it’s no surprise that a recent article, The Physical World as a Virtual Reality, attempts to frame the virtual reality question in light of modern physics. The article is the result of a scientist’s exploration about the implications of a virtual Universe within our current physics framework.

It’s a fascinating reading although no conclusion is given, and no attempt is made to create any mathematical models around the questions present–something I doubt is possible now, and which, in fact, may not be ever possible. Of course, if we were able to prove that the Universe is a simulation, the implications would be civilization-changing (Simulacron-3 / The 13th Floor are very good fictional explorations of those themes).

But more interesting than that would be attempts to hack the code of the Universe, changing and introducing new laws. One could imagine an infinite series of Universes, each running their own giant simulations and experiments.

Of course, that begs the ultimate questions: if we are in a simulation, which form do take blue screens of death?

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