Are We Really Living In A Simulation? (Updated)

A number of months ago I read about a comment by Elon Musk, the famous entrepreneur and inventor, billionaire, and CEO of Tesla Motor and SpaceX, indicating that he believed we are living in a computer simulation. In fact, he says it’s a 1 in 1 billion chance we’re living in actual reality. You can check out an article below talking about this:

https://www.google.com/amp/www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2016/6/2/11837874/elon-musk-says-odds-living-in-simulation

I’ve been meaning to write about this for months, ever since I read the comment.

I have a lot of respect for Elon. And, I used to think Elon Musk was an extraordinarily intelligent man prior to this clumsy and amateurish remark. At first, I thought maybe he just made the statement off-the-cuff and kind of tongue-in-cheek. But as I read further, it became obvious that he had put a lot of thought behind this. This worried me more, and cemented my notion that Musk really isn’t too bright, despite his business successes.

Most people would say Musk is brilliant. Some might even call him a genius. Virtually everyone would say, “Who are you [referring to me] to be judging Elon’s intellect?” Well, I just analyze what I see. And on the surface of it, it is the most idiotic comment I’ve ever heard.

Let me explain.

Musk’s explanation is that our rate of progress in video games and virtual reality shows that soon virtual will be able to match reality.

Let me just be blunt. This is kindergarten analysis and very disappointing this could be the basis of his conclusion. It shocks me that someone of, what I thought was a fairly high intellectual level, could make such simple and short finite interval observation and extrapolate to such extremes, to arrive at clearly “disprovable” conclusions.

I’m going to shred Elon Musk now after this rant, using math and science, not my opinion. Elon is nothing more than an intellectual phony. A fraud. An atheist using his reputation and position to evangelize his non-god religion to those who are less capable of understanding these technical details, leaning only on people of Elon’s stature and accepting the statements as truth. It diminishes life and God and spreads lies to those who do not possess the technical understanding to refute these claims themselves. So I will. At the core of it all my explanation are 3 simple but incredibly important numbers in our universe:

  • “c”, the speed of light
  • “e” the natural logarithmic constant
  • “pi” the geometrical phenomenon of our universe

WHY OUR REALITY CANNOT BE A SIMULATION (WHY ELON MUSK IS, THEREFORE, ABSOLUTELY WRONG. HE SHOULD LET HIS ENGINEERS DO THE SCIENTIFIC THINKING)

There are so many problems with his logic, so let’s parse them one at a time.

First, simulations and virtual systems suffer from truncation errors, meaning, any computational system has finite mathematical resolution. There is simply no way around this.

Every computational system, whether they are binary, base-10, quantum based, optical, analog, or something still yet to be invented, they will all suffer from one fatal flaw: they will be finite in their representation of reality. This means that every number, every calculation, every artistically constructed virtual system will all be accurate down to only the “nth” resolution. Whatever this “n” equals is irrelevant. It will ALWAYS be finite.

Today’s best systems use 64-bit or 128-bit or 256 bit resolution. This means that one register, used to hold one value, which can be operated on mathematically, can be defined using up to 256 bits of information. A bit is simply a “0” or “1”. Typically, a single alphabet character requires 8 bits to store the numerical value equivalent. Even if we could combine registers or use far higher resolution, such as 1024 bit, it wouldn’t matter. There will always be truncation error. It may appear to be equal to reality, but as we dig deeper, we will see it for what it is, merely a flawed virtually representation of reality.

Now I’m going to contrast this truncated version of reality, endemic in all computational or virtual reality systems, to the real world using 3 simple, but brain-numbing numbers, to utterly refute that we could be living in a simulation. I will explain why this matters after this discussion.

“c” The Speed of Light Constant

The speed of light in a perfect vacuum is exactly 299,792,458 m/s. But this hides the complex value of the number c. It is arbitrarily precise because we define a unit of length called a meter (m) in terms of the distance light travels in 1/299792458 seconds in a perfect vacuum. But the actual length that light travels a fractional meter is actually an infinitesimally precise value whose digits go on infinitely. The actual calculation of c is as follows, derived from Maxwell’s famous equations that govern ALL electromagnetic fields, which includes light:

          c=1/[square_root(µ0 * ε0)]

where,

          µ0 is a constant called the permeability of free space 

          µ0 = 4π×10−7 N / A21.2566370614…×10−6 H / m

Notice how it depends on a constant called “pi” or π which we all learned in school. This is an incredibly important number in our universe. More shortly on pi.

          ε0 is a constant called permittivity of free space 

          ε0 = 8.854 187 817… × 10−12 F·m−1 (farads per metre)

Since ε0 is a constant that depends on µ0, which depends on “pi”, whose digits go on forever (more shortly); it also goes on indefinitely – it is not a precise number.

So, therefore, the precise value of a meter, and hence, the speed of light, is not a finite number. Instead, the digits of a meter of length “m” which is used to define light constant “c” must go on indefinitely for numbers that are not whole numbers, given the arbitrary definition of a meter relative to the speed of light.

“e” Euler’s Number

Euler’s number is fascinating. It occurs in nature, our universe, everywhere. And it is a shockingly precise number without end, meaning the digits go on forever, never repeating. e is called the natural logarithmic number because all things in nature which grow exponentially and continuously, do so according to this exact number e. It’s phenomenal actually.

e can also be calculated as the sum of the infinite series:

e=\displaystyle \sum \limits _{n=0}^{\infty }{\dfrac {1}{n!}}=1+{\frac {1}{1}}+{\frac {1}{1\cdot 2}}+{\frac {1}{1\cdot 2\cdot 3}}+\cdots
e = 2.718281828459…

e is the base rate of growth shared by all continually growing processes in nature and our universe – things like population growth, including stuff like bacterial growth, compounded interest rate growth, radioactive decay, and on and on. In other words, ex, where e is 2.718… and x is some variable.

So far, mathematicians have calculated e down to the 500th BILLION digits beyond the decimal point. It goes on forever. Never repeating. It is a fascinating number that one could literally spend an entire lifetime studying.

An interesting thing about e, one of many in fact, is that it is the only equation whose slope at the tangent of the curve at any point is equal to the y axis value.

Function f(x) = ax for several values of a. e is the value of a such that the gradient of f(x) = ax at x = 0 equals 1. This is the blue curve, ex. It is the only number in the entire universe that meets this special criteria.

The preciseness of e is the most fascinating part. The digits never end, and yet, it is critical to understanding nature and our universe. It’s impossible to precisely simulate anything in this universe without this number e.

Geometric Ratio Constant Pi

The number pi, represented by π, is a mathematical constant, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Any circle will return the same value of pi. Always.

Mathematicians have calculated the value of pi down to the two quadrillionth digit, or 2,000,000,000,000,000th digits beyond the decimal for pi. It keeps going on forever as well, similar to e.

This value of pi, which we showed in earlier calculations for the speed of light c and Maxwell’s equations for electromagnetic fields, shows up everywhere in this universe and in nature. All things are electromagnetic waves, things like light and radio waves used for communications; and when we consider the relationship between matter and energy (E=mc^2), it means that all objects, all matter, all energy, depends on this simple number pi, an incredibly important geometric relationship between a circle’s diameter to it’s circumference. It seems like such a trivial thing, yet so significant to our understanding and representation of our universe.

It is precise, down to the infinitesimal digit, going on forever. There is no truncation in the real world. The fact that we can instantaneously, real-time, measure things that depend on c, e, and pi, to as much resolution as we desire, proves – unambiguously – that this – our world, our universe – cannot be a simulation. This level of detail and resolution is IMPOSSIBLE in any simulated system using any type of computation system. Furthermore, this type of resolution and detail cannot be “faked”, because of the incredible inter-dependence of everything. We can cross-check, cross-calculate every single detail, measurement, observation in the real world and it will tie precisely with every other detail and information. Precisely. Down to the infinite digit of resolution if we so desire (and had the capability). If I shine a light wave in a room, at any given point in space-time, taking into account all of the complex reflections and re-reflections, I can calculate – in theory – the expected energy and spectral composition of the light in the room, on any object, or any point in space. In VR, there would be truncation errors, rounding errors; or it simply wouldn’t even come close to matching or tying it all together because the real-time nature of the simulation requiring immense computational power. Now imagine trying to simulate the entire universe in some imaginary super-duper powerful computational system as Elon Musk suggests. It’s absurd.

Reality NEVER Truncates

The main difference between any simulated or virtual reality and actual reality is the accuracy. VR will always truncate, because they have to – all computational systems require this, whereas, reality can express resolution and detail down to the infinite or infinitesimal level. It never ends. And if we could actually measure or quantify it in real-time, we would see that. Virtual reality doesn’t even come close. It never will. It’s literally impossible.

This difference may not be perceivable by the human eye or senses, but we can surely calculate and see the differences to empirically prove we are not living in some simulated dream.

Even the simplest of mathematical operations (even adding or subtracting) one or two numbers with infinite digits is impossible to precisely calculate, using any computer system. Now imagine trying to do this constantly, simultaneously, with an infinite number of variables, calculations, and equations – all real-time. In what fantasy land is that even possible?

Second, in any exponential growth equation, the most rapid change occurs at the beginning, when the numbers are small, and change or “progress” can be measured in multiples over short intervals. Invariably, as things mature, AND COMPLEXITY GROWS, the law of large numbers dictates that the rate of change slows. You cannot grow exponentially forever. So, to use the rapid progress of AI or Virtual Reality during this nascent phase, and then extrapolating to assume the end goal of Real Reality can be simulated, or Full Equal or Greater Artificial Intelligence can be achieved, is, well, idiotic. Just look at the computing industry as an example. For several decades, the rate of progress – getting faster, smaller – was exponential and dictated by the famous Moore’s Law, which stated that semiconductor circuits doubled in speed and density about every 18 months. Integrated Circuits (ICs) relentlessly got smaller and more powerful like clockwork every year and a half. However, the rate of growth is now slowing. Microprocessors – the brains of any digital system – cannot keep going faster and faster due to physics. It turns out reliability due to heat dissipation is a major problem. So instead of making processors go faster, they are plateauing and instead, are using multi-core processors to continue advancement. However, there is diminishing returns for multi-core. Two processors working in tandem does not equal twice the productivity or computational power. And four does not equal four times the power. Each multiple has diminishing effect. We cannot continue shrinking the circuitry forever, and we cannot keep growing the size of the IC chip forever due to manufacturing and yield losses which are a function of die size. There will be a plateauing effect to progress. And this is barely after a few decades of advancement. New technologies must be found. New materials. New computational systems and methods.

The same will happen for virtual reality and artificial intelligence. Don’t make the amateurish mistake of extrapolating trends based on such short duration exponential growth. Only idiots do this.

Third, virtual can never match or exceed the original. This is the same principle I use to predict that AI will never exceed human intellect. The creation cannot exceed the creator. I call it the God Principle.

God cannot create an entity greater than himself. And likewise, man cannot create an entity greater than himself. There is another term in physics, it’s called the Law of Conservation, where the equation must balance. It’s an irrefutable law of our universe.

Likewise, the simulation cannot ever equal the reality being simulated. Why? Because no perfect computational system, or simulator exists that consumes zero power or energy, consumes no resources or space, and never fails. A basic conservation principle calculation reveals how absurdly ridiculous this notion is.

Sure, there are some things computers and AI systems will do better than humans. Crunching numbers is boring stuff and computers are far more efficient than people at it. But this isn’t true intelligence. Now, some may wonder why are you adding artificial intelligence (AI) with virtual reality? Well, you can’t have one without the other, right? So, they are invariably linked.

I promise you, machines will never match or exceed human creative intelligence. Never. Mark my words. Forget what you hear today from “experts”. There will be many things they will be amazing at. And, yes, there will be systems that can learn, even autonomously. But this isn’t anywhere close to human level intelligence. AI will simply be a tool to enhance, not displace, human intelligence.

Don’t fall trap to letting Hollywood fiction, from enjoyable to watch for entertainment only movies, like The Matrix trilogy (which shamefully I’ve seen about 20 times), allowing us to change our view of reality. It’s just fiction and entertainment. Nothing ever can be decoupled from the natural laws of the universe, the laws of physics. Nothing. Not even God.

Fourth, as I have stated previously, including in my book, the amount of energy required to simulate the entire universe requires more than all the energy in the entire universe.

Fifth, Elon, as with nearly all people in this world, simply does not appreciate just how incredibly complex everything in this world is. Even the smallest things are absurdly complex. We can’t simulate with accuracy hardly anything in the real world today, even if we combined all the world’s computing power together. I talked about the example of weather in chapter 2 of my book, or simulating a complete game tree for the relatively simple game of chess.

Just today, I was observing a simple rock. A pebble. I looked at the complex composition of materials. It looked like some iron and granite like composition, with deposits of crystal. I observed the thousands of tiny facets and faces of the small rock. I imagined, if I threw the rock into the air, there is no computer system – or even a total combination of every single computing system taken together – that could precisely simulate the exact motion of that rock and where it would land, how it would land, and the orientation when it landed. None.

I know all of you are thinking, really? You’re skeptical, I’m sure.

Sure, some simulations will get very close, perhaps even within a few millimeters of accuracy. But none of them will get it precisely.

Why?

First, the simulator would need to know my body’s precise throwing motion and force – and let’s assume we’ve attached dozens of sensors on my body, using real-time 3-D scanning and recognition of my motion. Then we would need to know the precise composition, weight, density, wind-coefficients or every single nanometer of surface, and of the solid itself. Then we would need to understand the dynamic and capricious wind using 3 dimensional vector analysis.  This alone would be impossible. As the rock rotates in the air, each of the thousands of miniature faces would create a slightly different aerodynamic coefficient. (Lumping it together into an averaged model is what every simulator would do today to simply approximate the outcome.) Then we have to take into account the minute differences in gravity, the rotation of the earth, the magnetism of the rock being affected by the earth’s magnetism and core, as well as any secondary man-made or natural magnetic fields present. It’s an incredibly complex set of differential equations of motion that no computer in the world could ever solve in real-time, or any time soon. This is to simulate the throwing motion of one simple rock. Just one. And I haven’t even gone into the greater challenge of trying to display this real-time motion using a graphics resolution and motion that would be imperceptible to true reality. That’s an even harder challenge. Or to actually try to understand what’s happening at the sub-particle level, which is truly required to get absolute precision.

I was also thinking about baseball today as well. It’s kind of a boring game to watch on TV (much more fun to play), but the science of it is fascinating. Take pitching of a baseball for instance:

Every official Major League baseball weighs 149 grams. They are all stitched together with 108 double stitches, sewn by hand, using 88 inches of waxed red thread on every single baseball. The inside of a ball is filled a rubber-covered cork core, tightly wound with yarn and covered with leather. Precise matters.

When a pitch is thrown, the stitching is what makes it behave so curiously, sometimes seemingly defying gravity and aerodynamics. The differences in a pitch, whether it’s a two or four-seam fast ball, split finger fast ball, slider, curve ball, sinker, knuckle-ball, change-up, or other…each of these pitches behaves differently to the batter standing precisely 60.5 feet away at home plate. The way the pitcher holds the ball, positions his fingers, rotates his arm and wrist, or the velocity he adds to the motion, all of these things will affect the final motion and destination of the ball. And it can seemingly defy gravity or physics. It will twist and turn, go up or down, go inside or outside, drop or zip in, all because of the aerodynamics of the precise stitches on the leather ball and the unique rotation the pitcher places on each pitch. It’s magical. No computer can simulate a simple baseball pitch with precision. None. I guarantee it. Not in the real world. It may be close, but then again, we’re talking about reality versus virtual truncated reality here – the difference between accuracy down to 500 billionth digits or more, or two-quadrillionth digits or more, vs 64 bit or 256 bit virtual reality. Laughable.

Have you ever simply really observed a bird or an ant or any insect or creature? Or even a plant or just a leaf, and really, really studied it? I like to do these things a lot. I observe everything. There is something tremendous to be learned from studying anything. Nature has already perfected just about all the inventions we need to discover. Study it. I’ve discovered ants are incredibly smart. Much smarter than any AI machines we have today. And much more agile than any robotics we make. Ants are incredible. Just watch them for a few hours and be amazed. Then apply this knowledge to making inventions.

Or a bird. Just today, a pigeon was staring me down as I munched on my lunch outside. It stood, literally, almost exactly 3 feet away, directly in front of me. It fluffed up its feathers to make itself seem larger. It decided to stand motionless for 10 minutes almost, while standing on 1 foot only (it had both), while moving its head side to side occasionally to better see me and get better depth perception. I wondered what was going through its mind as it stared me down for so long. What I wouldn’t give to know that.

Everything in this world, this universe, is so damn complex. Even the simplest things. How, why, people don’t understand or appreciate this is a great mystery to me. It’s so damn incredible. It blows me away. Literally. Every time…

And Elon thinks that having trillions upon trillions upon trillions upon trillions of even more complicated events all simultaneously going-on, along with 7.2 billion artificial intelligent beings thinking and making independent decisions, all experiencing real-time and DIFFERENT perspectives and experiences in the same virtual reality, along with all the animals, organic life, plus all the inorganic stuff in this gigantic universe…all of this can be done simultaneously, real-time, continuously, and flawlessly, forever, using machines?  Good luck with that, “genius”. It’s literally, mathematically, scientifically, impossible.

Why God used these very specific and precise numbers to tie the universe together is mystifying. But the precision of it all makes it clear it was no accident, no simulation, or mere fantasy.

And why all things that grow exponential in nature are governed by a strange odd number called e, 2.7182…, is a major point of curiosity. Why? What significance does this number have? What is God trying to tell us?

Finally, Elon’s 1 in a billion probability that we are actually living in reality is nothing more than an ass-squeezing number. Based on what?! I guarantee you he has nothing to back up that number claim. His only proof are the stinky hands that prove he pulled it out of his smelly ass.

But then again, these same idiots, like Elon, aren’t so stupid after all. They know precisely what they’re doing. Somehow they’ve managed to convince nearly the entire world that human intelligence, all of this incredible complexity of life, more complex than anything we can design or create or imagine ourselves, can magically just come from simply lots of time and random luck. And then they called it science. Theory. Fact. And then managed to label anyone who doesn’t believe this preposterous idea a lunatic who is completely deranged and un-grounded; intellectually in-credible.

When we step back for a moment and analyze exactly what we are told to believe, from ground zero up until now, the evolution of progress, life; if it can supposedly happen for no reason, without any other intelligence guiding it, designing it, molding it, just because, despite the undeniable mathematical impossibility of it all, then it doesn’t sound so ridiculous that these same people can promote the theory that we are simply living in a false simulated reality. Or that we can create something greater than ourselves; or the corollary to that, that we can become greater than “God”; for if something can simply evolve from – literally nothing – to this sophistication of life today, then surely, anything is possible. Welcome to the world of Hollywood science. The world isn’t flat. It’s just crazy.

But no…we aren’t brainwashed at all. Only crazy Muslims are, in a backward land far, far away from this “advanced”, forward thinking, science-based society we have here in the West. I hope you can smell the stench of my sarcasm.

Beware of these false prophets who call themselves “experts” so liberally these days. So many experts today only have one agenda, to spread lies for a specific purpose; usually anti-religion, anti-god; to diminish the idea that something greater, someone divine, is out there. It’s a perpetuation of the greatest lie ever conceived, and somehow, duped onto the world, using small bits of science, a lot of bullshit, and even more bullying of those who disagree, and finally capped by brainwashing the youth using the crutch of modern science.