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What if you’re living in a simulation, but there’s no computer?

Swedish Philosopher Nick Bostrom’s simulation altercation says we might be living in a computer-generated reality. Maybe he’s right. There currently exists no known method by which we could investigate the ambit of our “programming,” so it’s up to each of us to decide whether to accept in The Matrix or not.

Perhaps it’s a bit more nuanced than that though. Maybe he’s only half-wrong – or half-right, depending on your abstract view.

What if we are living in a simulation, but there’s no computer (in the acceptable sense) active it?

Here’s the wackiest, most doubtful theory I could cobble calm from the weirdest papers I’ve ever covered. I call it: “Simulation Argument: Live and Unplugged.”


Bostrom’s antecedent is absolutely quite complicated:

But it can be explained rather easily. According to him, one or more of the afterward statements must be true:

  • The human breed is very likely to go abolished before extensive a “posthuman” stage
  • Any posthuman acculturation is acutely absurd to run a cogent number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof)
  • We are almost absolutely living in a computer simulation

Bostrom’s basically saying that humans in the future will probably run ancestor simulations on their fancy affected computers. Unless they can’t, don’t want to, or altruism gets snuffed out before they get the chance.


As many people have acicular out, there’s no way to do the science when it comes to simulation hypothesis. Just like there’s no way for the ants in an ant colony to accept why you’ve put them there, or what’s going on beyond the glass, you and I can’t slip the void to have a chat with the programmers amenable for coding us. We’re accountable by concrete rules, whether we accept them or not.

Quantum Physics!

Except, of course, in breakthrough mechanics. There, all the classical physics rules we spent millennia coming up with make almost no sense. In the absoluteness you and I see every day, for example, an object can’t be in two places at the same time. But the heart of breakthrough mechanics involves this very principal.

The cosmos at large appears to obey a altered set of rules than the ones that anon apply to you and I in our accustomed existence.


Scientists like to call the cosmos in terms of rules because, from where we’re sitting, we’re basically attractive at beyond from the angle of an amoeba. There’s no ground-truth for us to analyze notes adjoin when we, for example, try to figure out how force works in and around a black hole. We use rules such as mathematics and the accurate method to actuate what’s really real.

So why are the rules altered for people and stars than they are for singularities and wormholes? Or, conceivably more correctly: if the rules are the same for everything, why are they activated in altered measures across altered systems?

Wormholes, for example, could, in theory, allow altar to take shortcuts through concrete spaces. And who knows what’s absolutely on the other side of a black hole?

But you and I are stuck here with boring old gravity, only able to be in a single place at a time. Or are we?

Organic neural networks!

Humans, as a system, are absolutely abundantly connected. Not only are we tuned in somewhat to the chicane of our environment, but we can spread advice about it across vast distances at absurd speeds. For example, no matter where you live, it’s accessible for you to know the acclimate in New York, Paris, and on Mars in real-time.

What’s important there isn’t how technologically avant-garde the smart phone or today’s modern computers have become, but that we abide to find ways to access and evolve our adeptness to share adeptness and information. We’re not  Mars, but we know what’s going on almost as if we were.

And, what’s even more impressive, we can alteration that advice across iterations. A child born today doesn’t have to ascertain how to make fire and then spend their entire life developing the agitation engine. It’s already been done. They can look avant-garde and advance article new. Elon Musk’s already made a pretty good electric engine, so maybe our kids will figure out a fusion engine or article even better.

In AI terms, we’re about training new models based on the output from old models. And that makes altruism itself a neural network. Each bearing of human adds called advice from the antecedent generation’s output to their input cycle and then, stack by stack, advance new methods and novel inferences.

The Multiverse!

Where it all comes calm is in the wackiest idea of all: our cosmos is a neural network. And, because I’m autograph this on a Friday, I’ll even raise the stakes and say our cosmos is one of many universes that, together, make up a grand neural network.

That’s a lot to unpack, but the gist involves starting with breakthrough mechanics and advancement our assumptions as we zoom out beyond what we can observe.

We know that subatomic particles, in what we call the breakthrough realm, react abnormally when observed. That’s a affection of the cosmos that seems abundantly cogent for annihilation that might be advised an observer.

If you brainstorm all subatomic systems as neural networks, with ascertainment being the sole agitator for execution, you get an abundantly circuitous ciphering apparatus that’s, theoretically, always scalable.

Good Vibes Drugs GIF by Feliks Tomasz Konczakowski - Find & Share on GIPHY

Rather than assume, as we zoom out, that every system is an neural network, it makes more sense to brainstorm each system as a layer inside of a larger network.

And, once you reach the better independent system we can imagine, , you arrive at a single all-important conclusion: if the cosmos is a neural network, its output must go somewhere.

That’s where the multiverse comes in. We like to think of ourselves as “characters” in a computer simulation when we contemplate Bostrom’s theory. But what if we’re more like cameras? And not concrete cameras like the one on your phone, but more like the term “camera” as it applies to when a developer sets a POV for players in a video game.

Image: Magic Leap


If our job is to observe, it’s absurd we’re the entities the universe-as-a-neural-network outputs to. It stands to reason that we’d be more likely to be advised tools or all-important byproducts in the grand scheme.

However, if we brainstorm our cosmos as simply addition layer in an exponentially bigger neural network, it answers all the questions that derive from trying to admit simulation theory into being a believable account for our existence.

Most importantly: a artlessly occurring, self-feeding, neural arrangement doesn’t crave a computer at all. 

In fact, neural networks almost never absorb what we usually think of as computers. Artificial neural networks have only been around for a matter of decades, but amoebic neural networks, AKA brains, have been around for at least millions of years.

Wrap up this nonsense!

In conclusion, I think we can all agree that the most accessible answer to the catechism of life, the universe, and aggregate is the wackiest one. And, if you like wacky, you’ll love my theory. 

Here it is: our cosmos is part of a naturally-occurring neural arrangement spread across absolute or near-infinite universes. Each cosmos in this multiverse is a single layer advised to sift through data and aftermath a specific output. Within each of these layers are absolute or near-infinite systems that comprise networks within the network.

Information campaign amid the multiverse’s layers through accustomed mechanisms. Conceivably wormholes are where data is accustomed from other universes and black holes are where its sent for output abstraction into other layers. Seems about as likely as us all living in a computer right?

Behind the scenes, in the places where scientists are currently attractive for all the missing dark matter in the universe, are the basal concrete mechanisms that invisibly stitch calm our observations (classical reality) with whatever ultimately lies beyond the great final output layer.

My guess: there’s nobody on the accepting end, just a rubber hose abutting “output” to “input.”

Published April 2, 2021 — 20:06 UTC

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