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Do we live in a computer simulation? UW researchers say idea can be tested

Do we live in a computer simulation? UW researchers say idea can be tested
News releases | Research | Science December 10, 2012 A decade ago, a British philosopher put forth the notion that the universe we live in might in fact be a computer simulation run by our descendants. While that seems far-fetched, perhaps even incomprehensible, a team of physicists at the University of Washington has come up with a potential test to see if the idea holds water. The concept that current humanity could possibly be living in a computer simulation comes from a 2003 paper published in Philosophical Quarterly by Nick Bostrom, a philosophy professor at the University of Oxford. In the paper, he argued that at least one of three possibilities is true: The human species is likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage.Any posthuman civilization is very unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of its evolutionary history.We are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. “This is the first testable signature of such an idea,” Savage said.

http://www.washington.edu/news/2012/12/10/do-we-live-in-a-computer-simulation-uw-researchers-say-idea-can-be-tested/

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Is Life One Gigantic Computer Simulation? University of Washington scientists think they’ve found a way to test Nick Bostrom’s controversial 2003 theory. And now for a bit of news that you (and I) will almost certainly not understand: scientists at the University of Washington say they’ve devised a test that may prove whether or not the lives we live are actually just one giant computer simulation created by our future descendants. Yes, you read that right. The researchers are responding to a 2003 paper published in Philosophical Quarterly by Nick Bostrom, a philosophy professor at the University of Oxford, who posited that somewhere down the line humans will become smart enough (and computer processing powerful enough) to model entire universes, and that we might be one of them. “The belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor simulations is false, unless,” he wrote—bum bum BUM!

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researchers discover a new kind of magnetism Following up on earlier theoretical predictions, MIT researchers have now demonstrated experimentally the existence of a fundamentally new kind of magnetic behavior, adding to the two previously known states of magnetism. Ferromagnetism — the simple magnetism of a bar magnet or compass needle — has been known for centuries. In a second type of magnetism, antiferromagnetism, the magnetic fields of the ions within a metal or alloy cancel each other out. In both cases, the materials become magnetic only when cooled below a certain critical temperature. The prediction and discovery of antiferromagnetism — the basis for the read heads in today’s computer hard disks — won Nobel Prizes in physics for Louis Neel in 1970 and for MIT professor emeritus Clifford Shull in 1994. “We’re showing that there is a third fundamental state for magnetism,” says MIT professor of physics Young Lee.

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