Rich Terrill, a computer scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, believes that our universe could very well be a simulation with artificially intelligent inhabitants who believe in their world.
“We live in one generation from those gods who create these universes,” he said. Terrill meant that our reality was created by people from the future. And he is not alone in his opinion.
Mathematician, philosopher and physicist Nick Bostrom of the University of Oxford thinks the same way.
“While the world we see is ‘real’ in some sense, it is not located on a fundamental level of reality. We live in a computer program created by some kind of superintelligent race,” he says.
In his statements, Bostrom proceeds from the “Copernican principle”. The astronomer who popularized the idea that the Sun was the center of the solar system claimed that the Earth “is nothing special.”
Technically, we could be on any planet of the same size, orbiting any star of the same size, and the universe would look almost the same to us as it does now.
“If aliens or future humans created one virtual Earth with a supercomputer, there is no reason why they couldn’t make a million of them. So the numbers are against us. There can be billions of simulated worlds and at most one “real” one. The Copernican principle says that on this basis, we are more likely to find ourselves in one of the simulations than in reality,” says Bostrom.
Can we ever know if the modeling hypothesis is correct? Bostrom believes that there is always a chance that one day we will be able to find a deliberate or accidental clue hidden in the simulation.
But this is the worst thing. Harvard astronomer Abraham Loeb says that if we confirmed that our “reality” is not real, nothing would matter anymore. All laws and the system itself will immediately begin to collapse. The disintegration of society will begin.
Preston Greene, associate professor of philosophy at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, goes even further. He argues that if scientists could find a way to confirm that our universe is a simulation, the game could be over.
In an article published in the New York Times, he wrote: “If we could prove that we are living inside a simulation, it could force our creators to stop the simulation – to destroy our world.”
Thinking about the “creator” of the simulated universe brings modern science very close to theology.
The new theories bring us closer to humanity’s earliest notions of a world in which a creator watches over us from beyond the universe. Why he created us, we can only guess. And maybe it’s better if we never understand him.