Do we live in a computer simulation? UW researchers say idea can be tested | UW Today
Jared Sperli stashed this in science
A decade ago, a British philosopher put forth the notion that the universe we live in might in fact be a computer simulation run by our descendants. While that seems far-fetched, perhaps even incomprehensible, a team of physicists at the University of Washington has come up with a potential test to see if the idea holds water.
The concept that current humanity could possibly be living in a computer simulation comes from a 2003 paper published in Philosophical Quarterly by Nick Bostrom, a philosophy professor at the University of Oxford. In the paper, he argued that at least one of three possibilities is true:
The human species is likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage.
Any posthuman civilization is very unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of its evolutionary history.
We are almost certainly living in a computer simulation.
He also held that “the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor simulations is false, unless we are currently living in a simulation.”
Can simulations run simulations?