The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (known more colloquially as NASA) doesn’t make traditional video games – they’re far too busy trying to debug the universe itself. However, that hasn’t stopped them from looking to games as a resource tool from time to time – and now as a possible explanation for our very existence.
In a recent interview with Vice, NASA scientist Rich Terrile discusses the prospect, based on the rapidly accelerating ability of computers to simulate massively complex environments and systems:
“Right now the fastest NASA supercomputers are cranking away at about double the speed of the human brain,” says Rich. If you make a simple calculation using Moore’s Law (computer processing power doubles around every two years), you’ll find that these supercomputers, inside of a decade, will have the ability to compute an entire human lifetime of 80 years—including every thought ever conceived during that lifetime—in the span of a month.”
Rich goes on to liken the universe’s design architecture to that of Grand Theft Auto IV’s Liberty City:
“The natural world behaves exactly the same way as the environment of Grand Theft Auto IV. In the game, you can explore Liberty City seamlessly in phenomenal detail. I made a calculation of how big that city is, and it turns out it’s a million times larger than my PlayStation 3. You see exactly what you need to see of Liberty City when you need to see it, abbreviating the entire game universe into the console. The universe behaves in the exact same way. In quantum mechanics, particles do not have a definite state unless they’re being observed. Many theorists have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how you explain this. One explanation is that we’re living within a simulation, seeing what we need to see when we need to see it.”
Of course this raises the question, is there another universe like ours out there somewhere, running on better hardware?
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