Edeline D’Souza 23 January, 2011
In the progress of humanity and technology, computer storage space and processing power is increasing exponentially, doubling every 18 months to 2 years. In the last few years the interval has jumped even further to every 13 months.
I state this fact as a precursor to the idea that we could possibly look back in time.
As our technology develops, we see virtual imagery become increasingly more realistic where whole movies can be faked right from the comfort of a graphics studio in Los Angeles. The graphics develop to be intrinsically detailed and some believe that if this trend were to continue unabated, it would mean computers would get faster and evermore powerful, which means that a future civilisation would possess computers with computing power that would make our current day supercomputers look like feeble abacuses comparatively. The ever-increasing capacities of these future machines would attain an infinite computing capability, and with this infinite capacity we would be permitted to travel through time, not physically but through virtual reality. The virtual reality would soon be adept enough to project an exact reality so perfect, they would be identical copies down to the last particle.
What if these systems were then used not only to create images of fictional nature, but rather of our own past, with beings identical to us, that could think for themselves, so indistinguishable from reality, that they would even think they were us.
Our future descendants would have a time machine that wouldn’t take us into the past, but rather bring the past to us. this detailed and realistic simulation of the past would be our key to history and using this infinite computing power we could generate exact copies of the past in which each virtual character was self-aware. What if this hasn’t already happened? What’s there to say we haven’t already been cloned or copied and are truly original and not one of the billions of simulations who, too, think they truly exist? What would be the distinction between reality and the virtual world?
How do we know we are living in the original real world? The probability of you being the real original rather than a simulated copy is a billion to one, making the chances of you being the real ‘you‘ almost negligible.
Our world may be an illusion.
We could be living in a superposition of possibilities that could become anything we think of. We might be forming the world at this very moment by seeing things in different ways, we may be forming the universe as we look. This may be a sign that we are not in a stable perfect reality, but rather a simulation, one that moulds itself to our theories, malleable to our thoughts. We may be creating for ourselves a reality that isn’t true and we could be one of many virtual realities, insignificant in the bigger picture. Our freewill may be the biggest illusion we have ever succumbed to and this possibility creates a paradox, in the sense that, the purpose of science is to understand and question reality yet there may be no reality for us to question and we in our glass bowl of knowledge and existence may one day run up against the curved walls just fall back down and begin all over again.