Thursday, August 13, 2015

Perfect simulation

It has long been speculated that the universe is a simulation and it is not real. The observed heavy fine tuning of its hypothesized ingredients – dark matter, dark energy, matter and anti-matter – supports this view. It is believed that an addition of even a gram of ordinary matter into the system could substantially alter its expected end state and its progression toward that. Both the initial conditions as well as the fundamental parameters of the laws of Physics, appear to have been so carefully selected for this simulation to work. Whatever be the case, these cannot be proved or disproved by the participants in the simulation as it will require an outside the system view and/or experiments that span multiple such simulations.

Perfection can come in only two ways – either there are infinite trials that produced a perfect outcome randomly or the experiment is designed carefully. Granted, in this context, the definition of perfection is somewhat arbitrary without data on alternative simulations that may lead to systems that are equally perfect. However, the possibility that we could be living in a simulation has many implications, the least of which is the approach we could take to search for life outside our corner in the universe.

If it is indeed a simulation, it is possible that it is focused on biological systems in a singular space-time that evolves over time. However, if our current understanding is correct (which is unlikely), the space-time window afforded to these very special biological entities is so narrow that the scope of the simulation (the universe itself) does not make sense. This leads to either rejecting the existence of the hard space-time constraint or not accepting that the only currently observed biological systems are special. An alternative is that the observed single occurrence of biology is an error and that such errors are unlikely in a system that is so well tuned. If it is an error, it would not make sense to seek such systems elsewhere as the objective function of the game does not include biology. Another possibility is that biology is a central theme of the simulation and the game evolves from an infinite separate occurrences of such features, across the universe. However, given that the participants of the simulation will have no control over the outcomes of such a pursuit, it seems less interesting.

In general, if the universe is a simulation, it does not make sense to seek intelligence elsewhere.