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If We Are Living in the Matrix, Gosh Darnit, These Scientists Are Going to Find Out About It

Real Or Not Real?

A group of physicists thinks they’ve figured out a way to uncover whether we’re living in the Matrix.

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No, really.

A few years back Oxford professor Nick Bostrom put forth the idea that our world may be an advanced computer simulation, and now researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany have undertaken an experiment designed to let us know if that’s true.

In the most basic terms (seriously, guys, very basic; the experiment involves terms like “Greisen–Zatsepin–Kuzmin limit,” “quantum chromodynamics,” and “lattice gauge theory”—stuff that it’s impossible for me to even attempt to understand before lunch), the scientists hypothesize that in even the most sophisticated simulation there would have to be limits to the physical world, even if those limits were on the tiniest of levels. So they’ve set out to build their own miniature replica of the universe and test it for any “constraints” that would serve as evidence of artificial construction.

It seems unlikely that we’ll finally come into contact with our robot overlords this way (seriously, they’re way too advanced to be caught out by such a 21st-century tactic as “Create a Mini-Universe”—pshaw!). I’m not clear on how the scientists could definitively attribute any limit they might find to the universe at large when it could result from inaccuracy in their own simulation. Plus, as the scientist themselves point out, the computers used to enslave humanity could very well be based on a different technology than ours, meaning even if there were a limit, we might not see it.

But while proof that we’re living in the Matrix might not be discovered for at least another few decades, the simulation technology the physicists are using is still pretty useful in that it might evolve to the point that we can simulate molecules, cells, even human beings.

Eventually we might be able to create fake people in a fake universe, all while failing to realize that we ourselves are figments of an even higher power’s imagination… oy, my head hurts. It’s too early for this.

(via io9)

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