Origins | Spring 2015

Page 8

A Gamer’s Insight Into Reality ESA/Herschel/PACS/MESS Key Programme Supernova Remnant Team; NASA, ESA and Allison Loll/Jeff Hester (Arizona State University)

Alex Vosburgh It is human nature to ponder the state of one’s own existence. And indeed, one cannot ponder the nature of their existence without also considering the nature of the world around them. For what is existence without the collective memories and experiences one has acquired throughout their lifetime? It is through those events and the analysis of such happenstances that one can truly begin to discover themselves; to understand their place in the world and what that even means. Verily, I find that to be one of the nobler parts of humanity and its higher state of consciousness. And yet, one cannot delve into such introspections before coming face to face with ambiguous, difficult, and unanswerable questions. Challenges such as the origin of existence, purpose, the rules of the universe, and what may lie within or beyond have stared at humanity for as long as humanity has been able to stare at the world in the first place. Unfortunately, the universe is a vastly complex thing, and is often difficult to even begin to wrap your mind around. Although humanity is continuously trying to solve its mysteries, there is still a lot left unanswered making it difficult to truly understand and contemplate. Fortunately, humanity is also creative, and through that creativity we have managed to create a great many worlds of our own. Whether through books, movies, or video games, these created universes give us

a vehicle that we can use to isolate and tackle some of the difficult questions which plague our minds. Many projects are using these mediums to do just that, taking on difficult subjects such as social issues, morality, and even the way we look at the world around us. And many have done this to great success, gathering a great deal of followers and supporters. For some people, these followings border on obsession, and in some cases in can be difficult to decipher where the fantasy ends and reality begins. But what if our own universe is just such a creation? Using insane amounts of processing power on supercomputers that perform a staggering amount of calculations per second, researchers have been able to run simulations of our own universe. Using all of the knowledge that we have been able to discover about the rules of our universe so far, these simulations have managed to achieve results strikingly similar to the universe we observe around us. If we are perfectly able to recreate our universe in a simulation, then it stands to reason that in that simulation, there would be a simulated Earth, and on that simulated Earth, simulated humans must exist as well. And if we were to run that simulation long enough, those simulated humans would reach a point where they would have supercomputers pow-

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