Are You In A Simulation?


Vsauce, I’m Jake and we are living in a
simulation. Or at least that’s
what the simulation hypothesis proposes. That if a civilization, a posthuman civilization,
were to become significantly technologically advanced than we would most likely be a simulated. There are two worlds, two realities. The primary world which is where the simulation
is being run and the secondary world, the simulated universe we occupy which to us,
is the only one. And when creating this world, there are three
steps to successfully making the user believe it to be real: Immersion, Absorption, and
Saturation. Think about video games like Age of Empires,
Civilization, The Sims. They’re about recreating or mimicking reality..reliving
past events or creating new ones. And in 20 years we went from games looking
like this to this. As visuals advance, as the experiences become
more immersive and digital characters start reacting seemingly on their own, our understanding
of what is real and what isn’t starts to blur. Now characters in video games are bound by
a set of rules, a set of defining laws. A sim can’t walk through a solid wall, even
though it isn’t actually solid it is just lines of code that dictate what is or is not
solid but it is called a wall. Now think of our own world. This is a collection of atoms that together
form an object that we call a wall. It’s been atomically programmed to form
a specific shape. We are left with something that looks like,
that feels like a wall. We don’t see the microscopic pieces that
build it, just like we don’t see the code in a game. We just expect it to act a certain way because
of how our world is designed. We trust that it is made of something physical,
not just a programmed artificial boundary. When someone comes to your house, how do they
get there? Do you see them leave, do you see them on
their drive? They leave their home, time passes, and there
they are. It’s World Gestalt, a structure or configuration
of details which together implies the existence of a world, and causes the audience to fill
in the missing pieces of that world based on details given. If I walk off frame left you’d imagine I’d
come back around. But if I come back from somewhere unexpected,
your perception has been minutely fractured. It’s that World Gestalt, that assumption
of how things should be that allows a simulated reality to function. Not everything needs to be rendered, needs
to exist simultaneously for every user in the simulation. Maybe the reason the universe is expanding
and growing, is that it hasn’t finished loading yet. Think of VR. If you are looking in front of you, what is
behind you isn’t necessarily rendered, it hasn’t become real. It isn’t until you turn your head that it
comes into existence and what was just in front of you, is now gone. So the question becomes, how do you know anything
exists when you’re not looking at it? It’s the technological version of Solipsism. The idea that only your own mind is certain
to exist. Everything outside of this frame, the person
animating it, the office they are in, the entire world around them, including you, might
not exist outside of my own mind. So, let’s say we are in a simulation…why
would someone or something do it to this scale in the first place? One of the reasons to run a massive simulation
like this is proposed by philosophy professor Nick Bostrom in his paper “Are You Living
in a Computer Simulation?” He states that it could be an ancestor simulation. A civilization wanting to see what those before
them had done. Like a history book but one that is being
acted out instead of being read. Or we could just be characters in an incredibly
advanced video game. In our Simuverse we would be The Sims, and
in this universe we even get to play our own very rudimentary version of simulation games
on computers and consoles, thinking we are in control. And in video games, graphics improve, they
get better with our technology. But they don’t need to be perfect. With Virtual Reality, we know what we are
looking at isn’t real but to our senses to our mind it is and we react accordingly. So in this version we live in, it seems real
to us because this is all we have known, but to those that programmed this simuverse, reality
could be much different. It is Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. Plato suggests that you have prisoners chained
in a cave from birth, not able to look at each other or anywhere besides directly in
front them at a wall. All they see are shadows projected onto the
wall by a fire they’ve never seen behind them. This is all they have known so to them, the
shadows are reality and the voices they hear are from the shadows, as well. Since they have never experienced anything
else, never seen a real person, had a human interaction, they have no understanding of
the outside world, or the world at all. And if a prisoner were to escape and leave
the cave, they would be so frightened and confused by what they saw that they would
choose to come back to the comfort of their cave, of their reality. And just like the prisoners in the cave, what
we see in front of us we believe to be true, believe to be real. The difficulty in deciding if what we are
in right now is real life or simulated life is what NYU professor David Chalmers said
that, “any evidence that we get could be simulated.” And there is one important distinction to
make. We are not in a virtual world, a world that
exists independent of us actually being it. In that scenario we are players in a game
and there is a flesh and blood version of us somewhere controlling this. That is not the case with this idea. We are in a simulated world which means we
are not users, we are not players, we are simulated as well. As Phlip K. Dick said: Fake realities will
create fake humans. So why would anybody think that the universe
is simulated? Actually, we have five assumptions for you,
if they are correct, then you, dear viewer, are simulated. So follow me over to a different reality on
Kurzgesagt and, as always, thanks for watching.

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