I’ve just finished reading a paper I picked up over at BoingBoing titled “The physical world as a virtual reality”, by Brian Whitworth. It’s a very interesting read so I’m recommending it on here. It’s not a long read, but it does help stop that grey matter seizing up. As a result I see the word “computer” in a whole different light.
The paper doesn’t try to say that the world we live in is a virtual reality simulation, as we see in the movie “The Matrix”. Instead it examines several theories, including one that I find very pleasing for some reason; which is that the World is not necessarily a virtual reality, but it *is* calculating, and the mathematics we continue develop year upon year simply unfolds these calculations piece by piece.
Having said that, there is something rather intriguing about the fully virtual reality argument, the “Calculated Universe Argument” (in which we *are* actually in a computer simulation). It handles some of the biggest mysteries very neatly indeed. These include things that we have the math for (and make use of in phones, CD’s, transistors), but not the reason, not the “why?”. This includes higher dimensions, the big bang, and quantum theory (wave function collapse). For example how do quantum particles seem to “know” what to do, even when they are totally separated from each other. Of course it opens up even grander questions about what is running the simulation, and how complex is the “real” world if the world we are in is not self calculating.
That’s just a little of what the paper covers, it’s not taxing at all so great for the morning commute.
Link to the original BoingBoing article here.