Breaking the Fourth Wall

Simulation Hypothesis

With the release of Deadpool this weekend we here at The NYRD thought it might be a good time to dive into some of the science behind… What’s that sound? Oh no, not him again.

Here’s Johnny!.. You called me name?

I only said it once.

That’s all it takes. Who do I look like Michael Keaton?

*Sounds of a Scuffle*

Hey folks and folkettes its your friendly neighborhood Deadpool here. The original writer of this Internet swill has found himself a bit tied up…

*Muffled screams coming from the closet*

…So I thought I’d take it from here. With the release of my mega-awesome movie that even Ryan Reynolds should not be able to screw up, I thought we should talk about one of the things that makes me so special, my katanas -I love them so much- but seriously I have been known to break the fourth wall on occasion. So I thought I would return the favor and help you mindless meat sacks do the same. Now it’s time to talk today about a little thing called the Simulation Hypothesis…. Muah ha ha ha… MUAH HA HA HA… *cough* Sorry had something in my throat.

The Professor X Factor
What is it that bald starship captain once said, “All this might just be an elaborate simulation, running inside a little device sitting on someone’s table?” Hey, did you ever notice he looks suspiciously like Professor X? Also, he’s not wrong. Star Trek is a TV show. Unlike you and me, that bald captain and his bearded first officer are fake. They’re only simulations, fictions in a fictitious world. A world, by the way, that is waaay better than those crappy Abrams movies. Not that I watch Star Trek, or anything, but I wouldn’t mind getting a night on the holodeck with Counselor Troi. I got a thing for girls who can read minds… I’d be like, “Hey baby, want to feel my emotions” as I pointed to my crotch, and she’d be like, “I’m wearing a phaser,” and I’d be like… Wait. Sorry, folks. I’m getting distracted.

Did you ever stop to think that maybe your reality is fake too? Now, now, just hear me out on this. I have a well thought-out and cogent argument: “You can’t prove that it, nah nah nah nah nah nah.” Think about it. It’s almost impossible to prove a negative, which is a negative statement itself, therefore its impossible to prove that you can’t prove a negative, but if you can’t not prove it then you can prove it? Ah screw it, because what I and other smarty smart people really mean is that there is a lack of evidence to disprove the Simulation Hypothesis. After all, the simulation itself would hide that information from us or make it so that we saw any discrepancies as normal, which is why I am a genius.

Seriously, look at old Tony Stark or even Reed Richards. Mr. Fantastic thinks he’s so… fantastic, but you and I know better. He has no idea he’s living in a comic book or in a critically and audience panned movie reboot starring that Facebook guy, but old Deadpool knows the difference. The Silver Surfer may have the power of Cosmic Awareness, but I have Comic Awareness. Even my old pal, Logan, thinks I’m crazy -and he’s had more people poking around his brain than the Sunday buffet line at Red Lobster- They’re all just afraid to accept the truth, I may be the sanest of them all. Isn’t that a scary thought, and here are some more:

What is the Matrix… Now, I’ll Take Dead Comic Characters for 200, Alex
If all of this is sounding like a Keenu Reeves movie then you’re wrong. It is nothing like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. What it does sound like is The Matrix and there is a reason for that. The creator of the Simulation Hypothesis, Dr. Nicholas Bostrom didn’t come up with this idea until 2003, thus ruining people’s grasp on reality the same year that The Matrix Revolutions ruined people’s grasp on a good franchise. Now, I’m not saying he stole the idea from Keenu, but I am also not not saying it. Nick “The Boss” Bostrom -that should totally be his nickname- came up with the idea that we’re all living like a bunch of Sims, except with less magic pool ladder removals. C’mon, you know you’ve done it. I once constructed a small room where I kept my sim for 8 weeks, only allowing them to live on bare minimum food and water till they slowly went crazy, or wait, was that my housekeeper? Truly, life is a strange and mysterious place.

So you might be wondering who in their right mind would want to create a computer simulation to watch millions of people basically do nothing with their life but watch cat videos on YouTube? The answer would be aliens or post-humans or intelligent hamsters or something. Basically whatever evolves next on this planet might have an interest in creating simulations of the way things were before the Hamster Apocalypse of 2136. Look at it this way. Is it impossible to believe that a civilization would ever have the technology to create a fictitious world with advanced artificial intelligence programing, whether it be for purposes of learning, experimentation, or just good old fashioned voyeuristic entertainment? According to The Boss and his thought-experiment we have three scenarios to consider:

  1. The fraction of human-level civilizations that reach a posthuman stage is very close to zero;
  2. The fraction of posthuman civilizations that are interested in running ancestor-simulations is very close to zero; or
  3. The fraction of all people with our kind of experiences that are living in a simulation is very close to one.

I am going to say that number 2 is definitely incorrect, because as most of the Internet knows, if we had the technology to create intelligent computer programs we would probably already be running a porn based simulated world, populated by pizza delivery men, pool boys, and naughty school girls. Yet, if we accept number 1 as true, then we also accept that we are real but we’re probably going to do ourselves in before we get to the level of technology needed to create any artificially intelligent girl on girl simulations. So in my foremost expert brilliant opinion it seems that we almost need to accept number 3. If posthuman simulations are numerous and possible it would mean that statistically we are already living in one.

Unlike Neo and Laurence Fisburne, the Simulated Hypothesis does not say that we are actually humans at all. Nor are we living in vats with our brains wired up to giant car batteries, though that does sound like a good afternoon’s diversion. No, the Simulated Hypothesis claims that we are all computer programs, generated by a larger program. In fact, the program could be running at 10x normal speed and we would not even know it, anymore than Keenu knows it when I fast forward my DVD over his parts in Point Break. We did not create the simulation. In fact, it is more likely that the program created you using random code and personality algorithms. The program may not even have an end goal, other than to simulate civilizations. That means free will is still possible, at least to a point. We are not playing this game, we are the game. We’re NPC’s and we do not have any control over our programmed environment, anymore than the simulated ants walking on the ground, at least till their stomped under my heel. Yeah, take that ants. That’ll show you for thinking you’re better than me.

Frank Castle is a Wimp
The Boss Bostrom points out that we could be the first generation of morons to inhabit this planet and that it may be us who will one day create the simulations that are the subject of the Simulation Hypothesis. his ideas are not so much about whether this thought experiment is true, as much as it is about probability. Statistically speaking there could be a whole lot more simulated people than real people. There may even be multiple simulated versions of you and me. Actually I know there are. I’ve met them, like Ultimate Deadpool, that’s guys a jerk, a handsome jerk. The point is that if there are two simulated versions of you and one non-simulated version, than you have a higher probability of being one of the simulated versions. If you believe that humans -or hamsters- will one day possess the technology to create simulated intelligent worlds, populated by billions of simulated people, then you need to accept that the number of simulated people will outweigh that society’s non-simulated ancestors. So, if everyone who ever or will ever exist –simulated or otherwise– guesses that they are the non-simulated versions, then statistically the majority of them will be wrong. Hell, the real world may not even be like our fictional world. We could be living in a world programmed for increased gravity, higher levels of oxygen, or even higher levels of tolerance for bad Spider-Man movies.

Again, there is no real way to test this, other than for some random malware glitch to suddenly turn our world into a hellscape of penis enlargement advertisements and desperate Nigerian princes. Oh what a world that would be… Some argue that we could test it if we find incomplete areas in our simulation. You know, like if there are things that don’t make sense, like dark matter, dark energy, or the appeal of the Kardashian family, but even with that type of thing we could just chalk it up to a lack of scientific knowledge, and reality TV. There is also a theory that says it we figure out how to make our own simulations then our great unseen couch potato masters will probably pull the plug on us. We may never know, because the only way to really test the Simulation Hypothesis is to have an exceptionally long life span. The longer one lives in the simulation the more likely they might be to see the end of it, but barring amazing healing powers and sweet katana skills, like yours truly, most of you will probably not live long enough to prove anything, other than the existence of heart disease.

You see, that’s kind of the point of this idea. We are all only trapped in our own bodies. We only have our own perspectives and experiences to draw from. Everyone else around us might as well be computer characters. That would also explain why I often enjoy playing real-life Mortal Kombat with those hobos near the train tracks. -There used to be a lot more of the- So, who is to say we aren’t all fictional characters in a fictional world created by madmen and DC Comics writers. There’s a scary thought, but it brings me to my real point. Maybe you people need to start being a little more like me. Break the fourth wall, break someone’s perception of reality, or if that doesn’t work, break their jaw. Just do something to show those possibly-overweight-and-over-pimpled computer gods that you’re not content to live in the reality they assigned you. So, go crazy, because we may all just be one spilled can of Mountain Dew away from total annihilation.

Don’t you just love a good thought experiment? Personally, I am usually up for any sort of experimentation, if you get my meaning… You know a lot of people underestimate how scholarly and worldly I can be… Well okay, I basically copied a lot of this wholesale of Wikipedia, but this writing thing isn’t too hard. I don’t know what these NYRDS are always complaining about.

*Muffled yells from the closet*

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