While driving to get a haircut (a couple of years ago), I was thinking about random things and somehow thought about the idea that everyone is living in a simulation. This has been proposed by Elon Musk and others. The belief is that it would be possible to generate virtual reality from a incredibly complex computer program. It is an interesting concept that was explored in the Matrix movies.
The real question is why this would be done. Why bother simulating the universe? Two major categories come to mind from models in our world. The first is entertainment. The second is education. Why do people play simulation games? The easiest answer is enjoy an environment that does not normally exist. It is also to “play God” and see what happens if certain things are done. The education angle is about learning and experimenting in a safe environment. It does not matter what happens since the simulation is not real.
But what if there is more than two options? That was the thought that came to me. Then a deeper possibility came to the surface. What if, in the future, the scientists ask the question “How did we get here?” Assume that these scientists do not have the capacity to know the entire history of the universe. However, they do know the rules and possible initial conditions and current measurements. Given the advanced science of being able to predict probable outcomes, they have progressed far beyond the uncertainty principle. Instead of avoiding chaos, they have embraced the concept that everything is connected and has the potential for prediction. With enough data collected over several generations, they are ready to do something unlike before. They are going to simulate their current universe further back in time.
The intent is to fill in the gaps and learn from that which has been lost in time. In this virtual universe, they control all of the programs and have perfected the ability to examine different potential outcomes of the same events.
One of the guiding factors is the goal of finding a path from the beginning to current day. In other words, they are exploring how the universe was formed and how it matches up with what is happening today.
In this universe, the rules are largely the same as the real universe. The framework is familiar to them. In fact, it is possible for these people to enter the virtual universe and explore. Time is not a factor to them. It is easy to skip around in the virtual universe. Anything can be examined in detail at any time.
The most surprising aspect is that this virtual universe is based on us. Earth is the centre of this model as that is where the descendants originate. The stories and legends are well known and have formed the culture of the future. The technology to do this is within reach in the next 100 years and it is not hard to believe that the formation of this universe is the collective knowledge of the planet. An AI would be able to build this virtual universe and would be able to assist the future descendants with its care.
Instead of looking to change the past, it is more about understanding. Choices are thoroughly examined. Freed from making choices, the future sees deeper into things it did not understand before.
The irony is that the process of understanding the universe is that a new universe has been created. This process essentially repeats itself since effectively the ability to create the virtual universe is contained inside the virtual universe.
The framework of creating virtual universes is based on some intelligent tricks. For example, when things are not being watched, there is no need to generate a fixed outcome. Things are more fluid in nature when there is no intelligence to witness it. Effectively, the universe is only generated from what can be seen. In a way, the formation of the virtual universe is based on examination by either the observers or the participants. Observation results in solid facts. Uncertainty becomes tangible.
This makes sense from a simulation point of view. Without an observer, the event becomes many things at once and will not settle until it is seen. There is no point calculating results if there is no interaction. It is important to note that this virtual universe is vulnerable to observer interference. The virtual reality is influenced without the clear knowledge of those who watch. A truly isolated location of little consequence has the freedom to be anything it wants, assuming that it has enough self awareness to form something of its own.
Another angle is the universe is like a timeline on a ring. If the universe is simulated, the rules of beginning and end have no meaning. Effectively, all points of time can coexist. There is no restriction of linear time. There is no direction either. Anything can be played back in any order at any time. Being out of the universe takes away the restrictions of space time. There is no speed limit. There is no travel time between locations. The rules only apply inside the virtual universe.
It would be tempting to adjust the universe. However, the scientists understand the value of leaving things alone as much as possible. Potentially they would want to better understand specific events in greatest detail. The most obvious fascination would be the forming of the universe. Potentially the process of examination would disturb the simulated event. This brings up the question, is it possible not to influence an event through observation. Apparently, the answer is no. However, in the virtual universe, only the scientists would have seen it. It also implies that the observation did not affect the simulation enough to disturb it away from the path found. Perhaps they were wise enough to finally not watch the beginning. Maybe they just trusted that it would happen and that was enough to free them to observe much less sensitive events.
Strange as it might seem, it is possible that the creation of the original universe could be related to the creation of the virtual universe. Perhaps there is no context for a real universe to start with. Maybe the start of the universe is based on the science of the simulation. Maybe the observation triggered the need for the universe to form. Maybe there is a chance that we do not understand the influence of our thoughts on what we see.
Given that the elements of the universe are based on the same building blocks, it implies that the universe is constructed of the same materials in different configurations. Space time plays a major role in everything. These building blocks could be built from the fabric of the massive amounts of space time. In a simulation, it would be important to contain the expanse of the real universe in a much smaller space. This could be achieved with some of the properties of a black hole. One potential idea is that black holes could indeed by used to generate virtual reality. They could be seen as portals between the two universes. Given that space time is highly compressed, the computer built on this energy and density would be able to create incredibly complex simulations. In a way, they could be seen as reality projectors governing the virtual world. This is all speculation and obviously does not withstand inspection.