It’s a lot of fun in science fiction and some scitech celebs buy in. But …
Some, like Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom, assume that it is possible to reproduce the laws of physics on a machine. But, she says,
“… nobody presently knows how to reproduce General Relativity and the Standard Model of particle physics from a computer algorithm running on some sort of machine. You can approximate the laws that we know with a computer simulation – we do this all the time – but if that was how nature actually worked, we could see the difference. Indeed, physicists have looked for signs that natural laws really proceed step by step, like in a computer code, but their search has come up empty handed. It’s possible to tell the difference because attempts to algorithmically reproduce natural laws are usually incompatible with the symmetries of Einstein’s theories of special and general relativity… The bottomline is, it’s not easy to outdo Einstein.” – Sabine Hossenfelder, “The Simulation Hypothesis is Pseudoscience” At Backre(action)
Apparently, quantum computers wouldn’t help because we would face the same problem. An even bigger problem is how the simulated universe is supposed to work, if it includes a large number of humanly conscious beings (seven billion on this planet alone) who may themselves try to simulate conscious beings.News, “Theoretical physicist argues that the sim world is pseudoscience” at Mind Matters News
One problem is, computers can’t simulate human thought because human thought is often non-computational, which means it is something computers can’t do, by definition.
Sabine Hossenfelder often raises and responds to very interesting questions:
A theoretical physicist asks, was the universe made for us? She says no. But the question is more complicated than it appears at first. It is true that we have only one universe to go by but then each of us is a unique individual too. What if you had an experience no one else has had?
A theoretical physicist grapples with the math of consciousness Looking at the various theories, she is not very happy.
Can physics prove there is no free will? No, but it can make physicists incoherent when they write about free will. Sabine Hossenfelder insists that people must change their minds and realize that there is no free will even though, according to her theory, that is just what they cannot do. (Michael Egnor)