Friday, July 13, 2018


In this piece, which is part of the background of my fictional Deep Patrol space opera series, I treat the simulation hypothesis with more respect than I do in non-fiction.


The simulation hypothesis is simultaneously the most complete explanation for the Event, the Wavefront, and all subsequent history, and the most useless. By placing the apparent space-time continuum within an arbitrarily large AI simulation the impossibilities of the Wavefront become permissible. The Unknown Powers are the simulation controllers in this scenario.

Of course this is has no better predictive power than positing the Unknown Powers as gods – their motives remain unknown, their capability unlimited.

Attempts to detect any simulation, and to alter or even end it have foundered on several points. The nature of the universe was not accurately known before the Wavefront passed, and has almost certainly changed in its wake. Tracing the fine grain differences between a real and simulated space-time run up against our ignorance of what a real space-time would be like, and human capability to resolve fundamental aspects to a close degree of inspection.

Running multiple, parallel and nested simulations in an effort to overload the master simulation have foundered; no human culture has been able to construct powerful enough computers and AIs have declined to do so, in some cases pointing out that a simulation able to recreate human history would be poorly designed if it was unable to cope with the antics of primitives at such an early stage. What exactly they mean by that is a matter of debate.

Although it is idle speculation, the nature of the simulation would be useful to understand something of the nature of the universe. An historical simulation would be an attempt to recreate a past event in the wider universe. In this case the people and cultures we know would be approximations of previously existing entities.

A predictive simulation is an attempt to understand the ramifications of making, or not making, a change to the system. Though some have suggested that the most likely choice is the Big Bang, the obvious difference would be the change that causes the Wavefront. In this scenario, people and cultures are extrapolations of existing entities in the wider universe.

An experimental simulation is just that, an experiment for research or even mere curiosity. In this case the simulation would have no particular relationship with the wider world and those within would – and could – exist only there.

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