A Columbia astrobiologist suggests that that might help us discover if we are living in a simulation:
But the neatest test of the hypothesis would be to crash the system that runs our simulation. Naturally, that sounds a bit ill-advised, but if we’re all virtual entities anyway does it really matter? Presumably a quick reboot and restore might bring us back online as if nothing had happened, but possibly we’d be able to tell, or at very least have a few microseconds of triumph just before it all shuts down.
The question is: how do you bring down a simulation of reality from inside it? The most obvious strategy would be to try to cause the equivalent of a stack overflow—asking for more space in the active memory of a program than is available—by creating an infinitely, or at least excessively, recursive process. And the way to do that would be to build our own simulated realities, designed so that within those virtual worlds are entities creating their version of a simulated reality, which is in turn doing the same, and so on all the way down the rabbit hole. If all of this worked, the universe as we know it might crash, revealing itself as a mirage just as we winked out of existence.
You could argue that any species capable of simulating a reality (likely similar to its own) would surely anticipate this eventuality and build in some safeguards to prevent it happening…Caleb A. Scharf, “Could We Force the Universe to Crash?” at Scientific American
Does anyone remember when science was distinct from science fiction? But in those days, great discoveries were made. Who needs great discoveries when an active imagination will do just as well?