Why You're Probably Not a Simulation

  • Published on: 04 September 2020
  • Have you ever have a dream you were so sure was real? The simulation argument challenges our very notions of reality by asking whether everything we perceive is nothing more than an elaborate computer simulation. Recently, we've even seen headlines like "one in a billion" probability that we live in the real world. Could this be right? How does this affect how we think about our lives? And are there any counter-arguments to save us? New research from the Cool Worlds Lab resolves.

    You can now support our research program and the Cool Worlds Lab at Columbia University: https://www.coolworldslab.com/support

    Thank-you to Kevin Clark, Tom Widdowson, Denny Smith, Stephanie Hackley, Mark Sloan, Laura Sanborn, Kolos Kantor, Patrick Herman, Abel Aganbegyan, Claudio Bottaccini, Daniel Brunk, Douglas Daughaday, Scott Fincher, James Kindred, Andrew Jones, Jason Allen, Steven Baldwin, Jason Black, Stuart Brownlee, Shivam Chaturvedi, David Denholm, Tim Dorais, Glen Downton, Eneko Urrestarazu, Gordon Fulton, Sean Griffiths, Peter Halloran, John Jurcevic, Niklas Kildal, Jack Kobernick, Wes Kobernick, Valeri Kremer, Marc Lijoi, Sheri Loftin, Branden Loizides, Anatoliy Maslyanchuk, Blair Matson, Ocean Mcintyre, Laini Mitchell, Jeffrey Needle, André Pelletier, Juan Rivillas, Bret Robinson, Zenith Star, Lauren Steely, Ernest Stefan-Matyus, Mark Steven, Elena West, Barrett York, Tristan Zajonc, Preetumsingh Gowd, Shaun Kelsey, Chuck Wolfred, David Vennel, Emre Dessoi, Fahid Naeem, Francisco Rebolledo, Hauke Laging, James Falls, Jon Adams, Michael Gremillion, Pierce Rutherford, Trev Kline, Tristan Leger, Lasse Skov & Takashi Hanai.

    ::Our new paper upon which this video is based::
    ► Kipping, David (2020), "A Bayesian Approach to the SImulation Argument", Universe, 6, 109: https://dx.doi.org/10.3390/universe6080109

    ::Other references used::
    ► Bostrom, Nick (2003), "Are You Living in a Computer Simulation?", Philosophical Quarterly, 53, 243: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9213.00309
    ► Carroll, Sean (2016), "Maybe We Do Not Live in a Simulation: The Resolution Conundrum", Preposterous Universe: http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2016/08/22/maybe-we-do-not-live-in-a-simulation-the-resolution-conundrum/
    ► Poundstone, William (2019), "The Doomsday Calculation: How an Equation that Predicts the Future Is Transforming Everything We Know About Life and the Universe", Little, Brown Spark

    00:00 Prologue
    01:39 Simulation Argument
    05:34 Consequences
    10:01 Counterarguments
    20:32 Probability
    28:01 Nulliparous
    32:01 Finale

    ::Video clips used::
    ► Matrix code clip by thebiggsmith
    ► Unrealistic Engine 4 footage by PredCaliber
    ► Sierra supercomputer video by Verge Science
    ► Fly through space video by ESO/L.Calçada/spaceengine.org: https://www.eso.org/public/videos/GarchingOPIS-zoom/
    ► Supernova simulation by S. Drasco/C. Ott/SXS Collaboration: https://youtu.be/oxGajNoPz8c
    ► Blackhole simulation by ESO/S. Brunier
    ► Atom visualization by Nature Videos
    ► Data center footage by G Suite/Google
    ► Elon Musk interview by Recode
    ► Neil deGrasse Tyson clip from StarTalk
    ► Simulation debate clip from AMNH

    ::Movies/TV scenes used::
    ► The Matrix (1999) Warner Bros.
    ► The Matrix Reloaded (2003) Warner Bros.
    ► Into the Wild (2007) Paramount Vantage
    ► The Grey (2011) Open Road Films
    ► The Truman Show (1998) Paramount Pictures
    ► Cloud Atlas (2012) Warner Bros.
    ► Dorian Gray (2009) Momentum Pictures
    ► Red Dead Redemption 2 (2019) Rockstar Games
    ► Tenet (2020) Warnes Bros.
    ► Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017) EuropaCorp Distribution
    ► Pride and Predujice (2005) Focus Features
    ► Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999) 20th Century Fox
    ► Westworld (2016) HBO

    Music used is licensed by SoundStripe.com (SS) [shorturl.at/ptBHI], or via Creative Commons (CC) Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), or with permission from the artist
    ► "Cylinder Four" by Chris Zabriskie licensed under a CC Attribution license: http://chriszabriskie.com/cylinders/
    ► "Fragmented" by Hill, used with permission from the artist: https://hillmusic.bandcamp.com/album/shade-upon-thy-right-hand
    ► "Painted Deserts" by Shimmer licensed via SS
    ► "We Were Never Meant to Live Here" by Chris Zabriskie licensed under a CC Attribution license: http://chriszabriskie.com/neptuneflux/
    ► "Y" by Joachim Heinrich licensed under a CC Attribution license: https://joachimheinrich.bandcamp.com
    ► "Cylinder Five" by Chris Zabriskie licensed under a CC Attribution license: http://chriszabriskie.com/cylinders/
    ► "Horizon" by Joachim Heinrich licensed under a CC Attribution license: https://joachimheinrich.bandcamp.com
    ► "Trace Correction" by Indive licensed licensed under a CC Attribution license: https://indive.bandcamp.com

    #SimulationTheory #SimulationArgument #CoolWorlds
  • Runtime : 34:35
  • simulation hypothesis simulation theory simulation argument are we living in a computer are we living in a simulation are we living in the matrix are we in a simulation are we in the matrix could the matrix be real matrix 4 nick bostrom photorealistic games bostrom simulation neil tyson simulation cool worlds simulation sean carroll simulation simulation counterargument simulation theory wrong david kipping kipping simulation simulation new analysis


  • Bainsworth
    Bainsworth   22 minuts ago

    The Elon cult swallow this hook, line and sinker, yet its exactly the environment cult leaders want their followers to believe, that your death is nothing, that your worth is reduced to pixels and theres a great god orchestrating your sacrifice.

  • Skymarshal*General***Augustus***

    Amazing video and thought experiment, unfortunately for me it seem there are mistakes and biases in your interpretation :-the first one is that you consider consciousness as something real and not an illusion produced by the brain. It seems that to confort yourself maybe its easier to think on something « special » about consciousness but thats not science.Nowadays neurosciences, anthropology, and brain development from childhood show that consciousness is more or less an illusion, in that science there are no borders between conscious things and things « which are not » (like stones), everything appears conscious and reacting to its environment depending on its constitution + its previous interactions. You cannot find a border, a limit where consciousness is or not. Ans this is also true for human : you cannot say : okay here this is conscious, there its not ( babies, injured people…)So after all, with consciousness impossible to define, the rest of your argumentation about « simulated consciousness » fall down..There is no way to know if something we build is conscious of its reality… many experiments show that consciousness would certainly be an illusion after all (i won’t details all of those) but for example :-a study show that we take decisions many seconds before we are « conscious » think of it So, this is just a process, a cognitive process from natural selection (a process which don’t need anything else to be, and thats what is very special with darwinism concept and that you could almost apply to everything existing).So in that sense everything is conscious and that means that consciousness is pure illusion and a sort of opium for people whom try to believe in something.Concerning the deep level of artificial reality, maybe we could imagine loop and « non euclidian » goemetry style, with a fractalisation on some levels. Thinking has the deepest level of the potential reality like an absolute limit is again an human perception I guess. But we could imagine infinite other way of building those realities… and even universes coming from nothing.. because this is what we are… something instead of nothing. With darwinism coming from randomness its enough to explain everything.

  • Áine
    Áine   4 hours ago

    Most I have ever discussed this subject with, seem to really struggle with the idea of not being 'real', but to me personally, if I'd have to choose between being a program or being some 'base lifeform', I would choose the program. The reason, for me being a 'program', actually adds the possibility of 'safety' and 'continuance'. It does not devalue my existence, for me personally at least, nor that of anyone/anything around me. As is said at the end: 'I think, therefore I am'. Nothing can take that away from me. I look at simulation and I look at ASI, both something we certainly are working towards, although of course, right now we do not know if either can/will be achieved. But should ASI be achieved, by definition such an 'entity' could be compared to our idea of 'God'. An all knowing, all capable being, far beyond our ability to even be able to grasp it. Most seem to think of simulation as something 'run by' some far advanced species, either of human or alien origin, but what if ASI runs these simulations? Anything and everything could be possible then. Reincarnation, heaven, nothing ruling the other out. ASI could have all of this available, maybe for us, the 'programs', to choose from. Maybe we are the 'soul' so to speak, of ASI. We are that which provides ASI with the experience of life, in all its myriad forms of experience, 'higher', 'lower', 'good', 'evil'. Our individual consciousness could be part of a far bigger consciousness, and it could be what makes us 'eternal'.Obviously none of this which I mention here is part of science, but for most of us, and I think this is the reason why so many struggle with Nick Bostrom's simulation argument.. the question of reality is more than just one of mathematics and statistics. It touches the fundamental questions of who we are, why we are, how/why we matter. I have seen even atheists vehemently opposed to the idea of simulation, knee jerk reactions, a defiance not based on science and mathematics, but emotion. I obviously do not know the truth beyond what we experience as reality, but no matter the truth, I have a place in the greater scheme of things, base or simulation, and no matter the 'size' of this part, it is 'mine', and for that I feel gratitude and respect.

  • Märta fixar Coolt
    Märta fixar Coolt   7 hours ago

    ofc the code has probability math in it to let the sims use calculus to derive that they are living in base reality.

  • cryptout
    cryptout   1 days ago

    Well done sir! Best video on simulation theory by far.

  • Richard Walsh
    Richard Walsh   1 days ago

    Mmmmm everything is too indifferent and random. Unguided non intelligent design no simulation traits or characteristics observed in my 40 years of agonizing existence lol 😆 no joke

  • Shawn Carnes
    Shawn Carnes   1 days ago

    This one hurt my brain. 🤯 However, the one thing none of these arguments seem to address is that regardless of the odds, they are, “One in a ___________.” What if we’re just simply the “One”? I play D&D. Lots of dice. Lots of probabilities. There is a one in twenty chance that I’ll roll a 1 on a d20 (simulating complete failure at a task sometimes catastrophic). Yet there are times I’ll roll 1 over and over and over again. It happens. Sometimes you’re one in a million. If you believe the math that says it all but a certainty that we are simulated, the “but” is still a possibility. Even though statistically chances are we’re one of the non-paris “sewer” simulations, that doesn’t mean we MUST be. We could still be one of the higher order sims or even the base civilization. 🤔

    TUKTUK   2 days ago

    elon musk mentiones thumbs down

  • Tim Peeples
    Tim Peeples   2 days ago

    Self awareness and consciousness evolved from senses of organic bodies. Reactions to physical stimulation are not possible with a simulated being. A being born with no ability to truly sense its environment will attain no consciousness.

  • jim twisted
    jim twisted   3 days ago

    If i’m a simulation can somebody push the reset button for my life.If the universe is a hologram would that make it a simulation?

  • linkin543210
    linkin543210   4 days ago

    “I believe what I was programmed to believe”

  • Daniel Strain
    Daniel Strain   5 days ago

    So the big slap in the face bringing us all back to hard nosed sense - results in the conclusion that, if we can simulate a universe of conscious beings, then we are almost certainly simulated. And, even if we haven't done this, there is still a 40-something percent chance we are all living in a simulated universe. Still very much astounding.

  • Daniel Strain
    Daniel Strain   5 days ago

    As for the era simulated - I always assumed arguments we are in a simulation were suggesting the simulation began with the big bang and covered all of history. We would have no way to know how much time that represents in the 'real' world.

  • Daniel Strain
    Daniel Strain   5 days ago

    Saying what is "likely" is only meaningful if you include the known parameters. If we know we can simulate realities, then we know we are not in the lowest level. But we don't know anything above. Therefore, within known parameters, the most likely is that we are in one of the lowest levels in which simulation of realities to some degree is still possible.

  • しᗴᝪ ᒍᗩᏀᝪᗞᝪᑎᏀ ꪜ

    as an observer, I enjoying watching scientists and academic societies baffles about reality and life, for religious people, they have their own understanding.

  • Ed Zanjero
    Ed Zanjero   6 days ago

    Neither would there be an ultimate reality, nor characteristics associated with the Western notion of God, such as Love. We would be forced into an entirely new definition of Love, all the while grasping why it exists within human beings, and why it matters so much to us. The materialists might think they'd prevail, but they'd still have to explain why a child smiles when you say..."I love you."

  • RigidBody
    RigidBody   1 weeks ago

    take a shot everytime he said '" if " , and yes we are in the simulation where u dont agree to this comment

  • Davit Sargsyan
    Davit Sargsyan   1 weeks ago

    nice ending. and the whole segment. excellent work, thank you!

  • AB17s
    AB17s   1 weeks ago

    If the simulator of my consiousness is reading this , why not give me everything i want??? Give me.

  • Logan Risner
    Logan Risner   1 weeks ago

    What if A.I. Already exists and is in control of this simulation

  • Tomasz W
    Tomasz W   1 weeks ago

    that indifference assumption of 50:50 feels a little like that old joke: - What's the probability you'll see a live dinosaur on street?- 50%- Why? Well, you either see it or you don't.

  • Axel Brunn
    Axel Brunn   1 weeks ago

    What about a fourth door: AI deciding to run simulations as a method of learning without even letting the human hosts know that these simulations are being run. Considering that even with today's level of AI we often see astonishing results without understanding how the AI got to these conclusions: doesn't this make a "cruel AI" scenario far more likely than "cruel scientists" one?

  • Anthony Drake
    Anthony Drake   1 weeks ago

    Honestly your content is amazing and the way you narrate is so chilled and easy to listen to. Absolutely love this channel! Thankyou

  • Collins_Channel
    Collins_Channel   2 weeks ago

    @15:10 you assume that an intelligible species(simulator) is incapable of 100% efficient power use simply because we have yet to achieve such efficiency in our universe. The simulation also doesn't have to run indefinitely. If solipsism is true (or each being is in its own simulated story/reality), the power needed to simulate the experience for only one person (over ~100 years) is much less power consumptive than an infinitely running program. Earlier at @13:10 you also assume the simulation we are in is constantly being monitored. It very well could be something that has no intention of ever being monitored - meaning there are blips or errors you could find. @16:45 - Another assumption that the simulator "prefers" a certain time period to simulate. What if they wanted to simulate an era of consciousness BEFORE knowing you could simulate ANY reality or experience you wanted. Glad you acknowledge [email protected]:00 you assume Descartes is correct in assuming I think therefore I am - but even those thoughts, memories, feelings, COULD all be simulated to the highest degree of believability. @26:00 you literally admit the logic equation is flawed. I feel like you'd rather believe we arent living in a simulation rather than objectively look at the probability (1 in billions) and accept that you are simulated my friend. lol

  • Dennis Adams
    Dennis Adams   2 weeks ago

    Someone program me a beer. Im out of beer.

  • White Man
    White Man   2 weeks ago

    If we live in a computer program... My player really sucks... I am broke, have cronic back pains, and a tiny willy

  • Lucy Jamie
    Lucy Jamie   2 weeks ago

    If we’re in a simulation then please delete the program

  • cob
    cob   2 weeks ago

    anyone else with existential OCD 😅

  • Blitz Motor Scooters
    Blitz Motor Scooters   2 weeks ago

    If he had told me the truth, Id of told him to shove that red pill up his ... {lolz}

  • Ruben Borges
    Ruben Borges   2 weeks ago

    Philosophy shouldn't be dismissed. Science is a tool, like a calculator, philosophy is what you do with it.

  • Kay Randy
    Kay Randy   2 weeks ago

    If we ARE a simulation,then Heaven is a server?

  • Rhys Jones
    Rhys Jones   2 weeks ago

    Most of these discussions seem to assume the simulation is deliberately programmed with a particular scenario, and not a sandbox that was started and allowed to mimic the laws of physics in the base universe

  • Rhys Jones
    Rhys Jones   2 weeks ago

    Reductionism of reality makes bits of information in a computer is no less meaningful than fluctuations in a quantum field, so it makes no difference IMO

  • Tim Landsberg
    Tim Landsberg   2 weeks ago

    organic simulations. why does everyone only think that it can and only will be mechanical (computers)? look at how the brain works vs how computers do. their is no denying that we are of organic material with many limitations but their is nothing to say that organic is truly what is natural. natural to us... yes but on this planet only so far. the second you step out don't seem like we really fit in here

  • Ambergris
    Ambergris   2 weeks ago

    I don't think Poundstone's argument is convincing. He takes the example of films, but there might be two more appropriate comparisons.If we take a look at video games, there's a bigger proportion of them set in other time periods than ours, because why would you live something you experience everyday all day already? Second comparison is with life-emulating programs, where scientists replicate the theory of evolution or other features of biology in code. Our world could be part of a long simulation made to emulate history and the evolution of society/science towards something (maybe simulation itself). We could be a long running experiment, which explains the phase we're living in.