Some people fear we humans are nothing more than pickled brains floating in a glass bowl as we’re fed a false version of reality through a bundle of wires.
Now a team of scientists at Oxford University has demolished the theory that we are all living in a computer simulation that’s been masterminded by alien overlords.
Science fiction fans and modern philosophers have long debated whether the world is actually the same as we percieve it to be.
Following the popularity of 90s classic The Matrix, many have questioned whether the philosophical “Brain in a Vat” scenario may actually be our reality.
But the notion that a computer could create such a huge scale of simultaneous interactions is “impossible”, according to research published in Science Advances.
After doing some mind-bending sums, Zohar Ringel and Dmitry Kovrizhi calculated that simply storing information about a couple of hundred electrons (very, very tiny particles) would need computer memory that requires more atoms that exist in the universe.
It pours water on the gloomy theory put forward by Professor Brian Cox, that our entire universe may have been created by a “super-intelligent computer programmer”.
Bonkers as it might have seemed, it is a far-fetched belief that is shared by luminaries including Elon Musk, who famously said there was a minuscule “one in billions” chance that we weren’t operating at someone else’s whim.
The pair of Oxford University researchers had initially set out to study a mysterious physics phenomenon involving magnetic fields but managed to crack the simulation conundrum in the process.
In discovering that some natural phenomena could never be simulated by a computer, they confirmed that our worst fears will never be realized.
As Andrew Masterton, editor of Cosmos wrote: “Given the physically impossible amount of computer grunt needed to store information for just one member of this subset, fears that we might be unknowingly living in some vast version of The Matrix can now be put to rest”.
Of course, that’s exactly what those extraterrestrial supercomputer programmers would want us to think, right?
This story was originally published in The Sun.