Scientists devise a test to see if the universe is real or the computer simulation of future-people

In News by Alex Moore / December 11, 2012

Good news guys: Scientists at the University of Washington have finally devised a way to see if the universe actually exists or is all just a computer simulation devised by a race of future-people a long, long time from now.

No, this idea is not the product of a freshman astronomy term-paper written high as a kite last-minute at 3 a.m. It was first floated by a certified egghead philosophy professor at the University of Oxford in 2003 and has sparked the interest of the scientific community.

Scientists are currently creating crude universe simulations of their own, though they are decades away from modeling anything like even a primitive version of the universe. According to a new paper from UW, “The supercomputers performing lattice quantum chromodynamics calculations essentially divide space-time into a four-dimensional grid.” Based on their own primitive simulations they’ve created so far, they’re not ruling out that the universe as we perceive it isn’t just another way more advanced computer simulation by people gagillions of years in the future.

In case your mind wasn’t fully blown yet, here’s the kicker: Based on what they’ve seen in their own simulations, the scientists now think they know what to look for in the universe to detect sings that it’s not real but a simulation—glitches in the matrix, so to speak.

“It would be a matter of looking for a ‘signature’ in our universe that has an analog in the current small-scale simulations,” says the UW team, and continues, “the signature could show up as a limitation in the energy of cosmic rays.”

At the end of “Vanilla Sky” Kurt Russel has an existential meltdown as he realizes he’s not real, but part of Tom Cruise’s simulated reality. Depending on what these scientists at UW find, that could be all of us.