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.
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