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Thought Experiments

Could We All Be Living In A Computer Simulation?

In 2003, philosopher Nick Bostrom proposed the simulation hypothesis, which officially put forth the idea that our universe might be a computer simulation. Both scientists and Hollywood directors have since addressed this notion and its variants, but few people have suggested feasible tests for proving or disproving it. In 2012, a team at the University of Washington said that looking for a limitation in the energy of cosmic rays might be indicative of a simulation's "signature." Others have said that unexplained physics phenomena might be "glitches" in the simulation, which could never be a perfect copy of a real universe. Building a simulation ourselves would help us to determine what these glitches look like, and subsequently search for them in our own universe. However, the technology needed for simulating a universe (inside our own, which may or may not be a simulation itself) is not yet available.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. The idea of our reality being an illusion is as old as Buddhist and Hindu philosophy. 00:24

  2. Scientists at the University of Washington have proposed running tests to determine whether our universe is a simulation. 01:00

  3. Some people believe that unexplainable phenomena in physics could indicate "glitches," and provide proof that our universe is a simulation. 02:12

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