Singularity, Simulation, and the Existence of God

The purpose of this post is to show that if  the Technological Singularity does in fact occur at some point in the future, then the chances are extremely high that we are currently living in a simulation. It then logically follows that, if we are currently living in a simulation, this strongly points to the existence of “God” or a creator on a higher realm of existence. While the proposition that we live inside of a simulated universe can appear far-fetched on first glance, I believe that the idea will have to be taken more seriously as we mature technologically.

The basic premise of the Singularity is that technological advancement is not linear, but exponential. The progress in technology feeds upon itself, creating a positive feedback loop, known as the law of accelerating returns. This pattern of technological growth has been observable in the past with the most obvious example in arena of computing. As Jason Silva exclaims, “the cellphone in your pocket is a million times cheaper, a million times smaller, and a thousand time more powerful than a $60 Million dollar supercomputer was in the 1960′s. It’s a billion fold increase in price and performance in 40 years.” If these kinds of technological gains continue in various technological fields (particularly neuroscience and artificial intelligence), we will advance to a point where many current scientific impossibilities will become possible, including the ability to recreate countless simulations of our current conscious reality.

Anyone who has played the Sims, WoW, or countless other video games knows that we already have dabbled heavily in the arena of simulation. Scientists use simulations to make predictions and further research. Even though these simulations are extremely primitive to what the Singularity could usher in, it is clear that creating simulations for recreation or scientific advancement is in our nature. There are a multitude of these simulations running right now in what are best described as a sub-realities of our reality.

Nick Bostrom, as Swedish philosopher, has provided a simulation hypothesis to show that there is a rationale beyond pure speculation for the idea that we are currently living in a simulation created by an advanced civilization or advanced AI (God).

Bostrom makes the argument that at least one of these three scenarios is almost certainly true:

1. The chances that we can avoid going extinct before reaching technological maturity (like the Singularity) is extremely small.

2. No advanced civilizations or AI would have interest in running simulations of human minds (for whatever reason, including moral objections).

3. The chances we are living in a computer simulation are basically 100%.

The truth has to be at least one of these three scenarios. So if (1) and (2) are not true, then (3) must be true, which would pave the way for the existence for “God”. If we do progress as a civilization to the point where we can recreate human consciousness inside of a computer simulation, and there those in that civilization willing to do just that, then it has to be assumed that they will create countless simulations of human consciousness via exponentially improved computing power.  These countless simulations would mean that the chances we are simulations would be basically 100% (if there are trillions or more simulations and only a tiny fraction can be real, then the odds heavily favor the idea that we are simulations.)

It stands that if we are in a simulation, then this points to the fact that we have been created by “God”, as we are living in sub-reality of a creator’s reality. Just in the same way that a child playing a game of the Sims would be the “God” of the video game’s sub-reality, so we would have our own “God” of our sub-reality. The rules for our simulation could look very much like the proposed rules set up by the God or gods of our current world religions. If we are living in a simulation, then heaven, or hell, or any other sort of afterlife permutation could be plausible.

If we manage to not kill each other and ourselves before reaching the Singularity, and have the moral wherewithal to recreate human consciousness inside of a computer simulation, the chances that we too are living inside a simulation are very good, and logically this provides for a solid, rational belief that “God” exists. This “God” wouldn’t necessarily be forced to have all the characteristics a traditional Christian or Muslim God, but it would still be an outside creator with power to set the rules for our universe. This could make the position of being a hardcore atheism less tenable.

Science has dispelled myths such as the earth being flat and that the earth is at the center of the universe. Will technology one day point to the fact that we live in a universe created by God?

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5 Responses to Singularity, Simulation, and the Existence of God

  1. iontom says:

    Hi,

    Great blog post! I’m not sure I agree that being part of a simulation requires there to be a godlike single master simulator. I think it depends entirely on how to run a simulation as vastly complex as our universe. Plus, if the Church-Turing-Deutch thesis is correct in any regard, then any regards to which universe is real and which one is simulated becomes irrelevant, it would all be real. The true dilemma stems from the nature of time, and whether it is transversal to other nodes in a potential multiverse.

    With all that said, it’s nearly all speculative at this point. And unless you’ve been studying tensor calculus and set theory for the last ten years, making assertions on “the multiverse” or “simulated reality” really don’t mean much. With the exception of Martin Savage’s high energy cosmic ray experiment proposal, there’s no real way to test the simulation hypothesis. Except of course to try it ourselves, and I’m trying to start an open source movement to do just that. (http://www.reddit.com/r/simulate)

    We started with a sub-reddit, we have a prototype webGL experiment underway with a modular simulation system, but eventually I would like to have an institution or yearly conference focused on building partnerships and collaborations on projects of universe scale magnitude. I have peers who did nbody simulations and solar system modeling from school, and others who worked on the immeasurably huge Google Maps data architecture. If we could start putting all of those people in one room with the best of SIGGRAPH, good things will come.

    But universe replication won’t happen for quite some time, we actually need to have quantum computing to model quantum interactions in another universe. D-wave’s quantum annealing is nice, and there’s lots of RF-microwave traps, but there’s still quite a way to go in terms of experimental configurations. Topological anyonic QC might prevail, but it could be anything. Still, creating another universe might require QC from a lot of mass, or by using the vacuum itself.

    Anyway, you’re welcome to be a mod on /r/Simulate if you’re interested. Cheers!

  2. Adam Kadmon says:

    I have some interesting theories, and certainly an interesting story about the Universe speaking to me. I’m interested in some outside opinions, what would you say to the idea that our simulated reality is … in “superposition” with the creators reality?

    Suppose a near perfect replica of “a” universe has been created by a God like entity, the result of an AI singularity.. clearly any sub-realities would be ultimately “modifiable” by the “God Most High,” maybe we are inside a framework, one where multiple parties exist as hypervisor controls over their own sub realities.

    The rub? That we are actually all in the original created reality–one which is complex and infinite–but still modified by the events and actions that occur downstream… as if we are all in walled augmented realities, rather than sub-simulations.

    If you read into the stories enough, it appears that this type of scenario may infact be the underlying truth hidden in the Torah, and the true name of Father.

    Microcosm: The Key to our Universe

  3. Michael K says:

    Bostrom’s ideas, like most ideas period, require the concept of time which has a beginning and an end and some kind of linear progression between these….what are they… points, states, places, times?

    In fact the ‘beginning’ and ‘end’ are fictional constructs and not even good ones. There is nothing in the universe which implies beginnings and ends.

    So if humans create tech which simulates human minds, then we have some kind of evolutionary process but the idea that someone started this is as ridiculous as the idea that I’m creating all of this on the fly in consciousness.

    Isn’t it?

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