The Paw Print

Conspiracy Theory: A pixelated universe

River Finnegan, News and Feature Editor, Online Editor-in-Chief

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If the world were to be composed of pixels and computer generated scenarios, we would never be able to tell the difference between reality and a simulation. The theory first popularized by the movie The Matrix, has since exploded into an online phenomenon.

The first hypothesis of a computer generated world came from University of Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrum in 2003, believing that otherworldly beings with high intelligence and omniscient knowledge ran simulations to see how their ancestors managed to function.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, a director of Hayden Planetarium is a believer in the theory, told Scientific American that there’s a 50-50 chance that the world is a simulation based on the assumption that there is a species somewhere in space that is much more intelligence than the human species.

Some are more passive about the topic.

“Maybe we’re in a simulation, maybe we’re not, but if we are, hey, it’s not so bad,” David Chambers, a professor of philosophy at New York University, told Scientific American.

Others are not so enthusiastic about the idea of being a part of a simulation controlled by some unknown being with the capability to control the universe’s atoms.

“The argument says you’d have lots of things that want to simulate us,” said Lisa Randall, a theoretical physicist at Harvard University. “I actually have a problem with that. We mostly are interested in ourselves. I don’t know why this higher species would want to simulate us, I actually am very interested in why so many people think it’s an interesting question.”

Randall obviously thinks we aren’t interesting enough for some high-powered space being to want to simulate our lives.

While the general public on the internet is more likely to automatically believe in a simulation because they aren’t cosmologists or physicists, they will always be interested in the trippy pictures that show people who look identical riding on the same bus or standing next to each other in the store, rather than the cold hard facts about how space works.

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Conspiracy Theory: A pixelated universe