A snippet from my blog. Food for thought
The advent of virtual worlds generated via computers has rekindled an interest in theories that propose non-existence of a material world. These days the simulated worlds look as real as the real world, especially when high end hardware is employed. Total sensory immersion into a simulated world is not a fiction, it is inevitable. As we know, these extensive, rich and life like worlds on our screens are nothing but numbers. What makes us suspect that our everyday world is also nothing but numbers? There are many reasons. Quantum description of the matter immediately suggests that there are no actual entities, only values. In other words, the matter is just numbers. Strangely, the physical universe satisfies many requirements of a simulated world. A short list of such requirements is as follows:
* Things are quantized, finite and limited.
* Processes are algorithmic, logical and mathematical.
* A VR appears out of nowhere, however it can evolve via evolutionary algorithms and can go from simple to complex.
* There is a limit on the “frame rate". In other words, things take time to happen and the effects appear after a delay. In the case of our world the speed of light is the limit.
* There would be some constants, some global fixed values, that appear for no obvious reason. E.g. there are physical constants like c or G or h that appear in many equations.
* Some phenomena would appear non-local. A program can modify two values together without simulating the mediating behaviour. So we have things like entanglement.
* Loading of processors can happen when there is a huge amount of data to be crunched. We see such effects near very large bodies, such as stars, where time slows down near their surface because there are too many particles to compute.
* Statistical nature. Some outcomes are predicted instead of being calculated exactly. This is faster but less accurate. So we have laws of thermodynamics, gas laws or fluid dynamics, probability distributions and uncertainty principle.
* Instances of entities may appear. If there are trillions of entities, a program can simply use instances of one model or a class to create those trillions. This saves enormous amount of memory and computing but the result is that all those trillions of entities are exact clones. We have electrons, protons and all such entities here, that are identical in every way.
* Strange phenomena may appear. Such as apparitions can appear out of nowhere requiring no cause, no matter and can disappear leaving no traces. Its the special effect equivalent.
* Strange effects like healing via intention or placebo effects can happen, as it would be possible to steer a program in desired direction if one can manipulate the inputs.
* Non-virtual (real) entities can assume discard-able virtual forms. Avatars in gamespeak. In physical world we have bodies - the avatars for non-physical players.
There are more similarities. There are experiments to prove the simulated nature of the universe, such as the famous double slit experiment and the delayed choice quantum eraser experiment. There are theories and proofs for the simulation hypotheses. However, there are some ridiculous assumptions too. Once you say that the universe is simulated, there arises a need for a simulator, a computer and operators of that computer. So people imagine all sorts of things from aliens to future humans. It is perfectly possible but highly improbable. Plus there are big holes e.g. the presence of avatars, if the avatars are aliens or humans from future, they would know beyond any doubt that they are playing a game. The only possibility left is that we are just bots, dummy players, which is not anyone's experience as far as I know. Bots would mean no consciousness or subjective experiences. No amount of simulation would produce that.
So far only Thomas Campbell comes close to a satisfactory answer, which is - the consciousness itself is the computer, aka the simulator, of this universe. And since it is simulating the stuff out of itself, it is only natural that everyone experiences a consciousness behind oneself and everything else. This is my direct experience and also of many of you. This is the original claim of non-dual teachings, that are unchallenged since thousands of years.