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Is our world a simulation? Why some scientists say it's more likely than not
When Elon Musk isn’t outlining plans to use his massive rocket to
leave a decaying Planet Earth and colonize Mars, he sometimes talks
about his belief that Earth isn’t even real and we probably live in a
“There’s a billion to one chance we’re living in base reality,” he
said at a conference in June.
Musk is just one of the people in Silicon Valley to take a keen
interest in the “simulation hypothesis”, which argues that what we
experience as reality is actually a giant computer simulation created
by a more sophisticated intelligence. If it sounds a lot like The
Matrix, that’s because it is.
One popular argument for the simulation hypothesis, outside of acid
trips, came from Oxford University’s Nick Bostrom in 2003 (although
the idea dates back as far as the 17th-century philosopher René
Descartes). In a paper titled “Are You Living In a Simulation?”,
Bostrom suggested that members of an advanced “posthuman” civilization
with vast computing power might choose to run simulations of their
ancestors in the universe.
Quite frankly if we are not living in a simulation it is an
extraordinarily unlikely circumstance
Reasons to believe that the universe is a simulation include the fact
that it behaves mathematically and is broken up into pieces (subatomic
particles) like a pixelated video game. “Even things that we think of
as continuous – time, energy, space, volume – all have a finite limit
to their size. If that’s the case, then our universe is both
computable and finite. Those properties allow the universe to be
simulated,” Terrile said.
“Quite frankly, if we are not living in a simulation, it is an
extraordinarily unlikely circumstance,” he added.
So who has created this simulation? “Our future selves,” said Terrile.
For Terrile, the simulation hypothesis has “beautiful and profound”
First, it provides a scientific basis for some kind of afterlife or
larger domain of reality above our world. “You don’t need a miracle,
faith or anything special to believe it. It comes naturally out of the
laws of physics,” he said.
Second, it means we will soon have the same ability to create our own
“We will have the power of mind and matter to be able to create
whatever we want and occupy those worlds.”
Donald Trump boasts of war with Republican leaders: 'The shackles have been taken off me'
Law & Politics
Donald Trump fanned the flames of chaos within the Republican Party,
as he boasted of his apparent break from the GOP in a series of
The release of a 2005 tape that captured Mr Trump making obscene
remarks about sexually assaulting women prompted a mass exodus of
Republican support from the candidate’s corner. Former supporters
denounced his comments, where he said he could grab women “by the
pussy” – some have even called for his outright withdrawal from the
a spontaneous combustion.
German leader calls for Ethiopia to open up politics after unrest Reuters
Law & Politics
"I made the case that you should have open talks with people who have
problems," Merkel told Hailemariam, adding that police should respond
proportionately to protests.
Last week, protesters ransacked or burned about a dozen mostly
foreign-owned factories, flower farms and other sites, accusing the
government of building on seized land and stifling opposition.
Opponents blamed police for provoking a stampede at a festival in
Oromiya that killed at least 55 people on Oct. 2.
"In a democracy there always needs to be an opposition that has a
voice - in the best case in parliament," Merkel said, during the visit
which a German diplomat said included a meeting with members of civil
society groups and opposition politicians.
Opposition parties failed to win a single seat in parliament in the
2015 election, accusing the government of rigging the vote - charges
which it denies. There was just one opposition lawmaker in the
"The government is not using extreme violence. If it happened, we will
investigate the units involved," the prime minister responded.
Addressing parliament the day before Merkel arrived, Ethiopia's
president called for an amendment to the election law to allow
"alternative voices" to be heard - an offer that senior opposition
figure Merera Gudina said was "too little, too late".
Merera, chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress, from a region where
protests have raged, said Merkel should push for the release of
political prisoners and a national dialogue.
The government denies it detains people for their politics.
In another show of German discontent, a diplomat said Addis Ababa had
proposed that Merkel address parliament, but Berlin refused because it
lacked any opposition members.
The diplomat, who asked not to be named, said the message being sent
was that there was "no business as usual".
Western investors have also secured deals. Britain's Diageo and
Heineken of the Netherlands have bought breweries, Dutch and Belgian
firms run flower farms and companies such as Hennes and Mauritz (H&M)
are starting to source clothes from Ethiopian plants.
Merkel also visited the headquarters of the African Union, which are
in Addis Ababa. She called for the body to try to solve the conflict
in Libya and also urged African states to increase efforts to fight
They need to effect a mid-course correction.
Pound Jumps to Lead Rebound Against Dollar as Brexit Angst Eases
The pound surged the most in three months against the dollar after
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May accepted that Parliament should be
allowed to vote on her plan for taking Britain out of the European
The move by the British prime minister eased investor concerns that
May would be taking a gung-ho approach to the discussions, even as she
asked lawmakers to vote in a way that gives her space to negotiate.
Sterling climbed against all its 31 major peers. A gauge of the dollar
retreated from a two-month high that was reached Tuesday as
commodities-related currencies strengthened.
“Given how aggressively short the pound the market was positioned, the
prospect of U.K. parliament at least discussing the downside of a
‘hard Brexit’ has encouraged substantial profit-taking on those
positions,” said Sean Callow, a senior strategist at Westpac Banking
Corp. in Sydney.
The pound climbed 1.5 percent to $1.2305 as of 12:22 p.m. in Tokyo,
rallying from a 4.9 percent slide over the previous four days. It’s
set for the biggest gain since July 12. The currency advanced 1.5
percent to 89.83 pence per euro.
South Africa Junk-Rating Risk Surges on Gordhan Fraud Charge BBG
Fraud charges against South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan
have moved the country a step closer to a junk rating and puts the
possibility of an increase in borrowing costs back on the table,
Gordhan was summonsed on Tuesday to appear in court on Nov. 2, a month
before S&P Global Ratings is due to release the review of its
assessment on South Africa’s credit, which is at one level above junk.
The cost of insuring against non-payment of debt for five years using
credit-default swaps rose to the highest since July after the news,
the rand weakened the most since June against the dollar and
forward-rate agreements, used to speculate on borrowing costs, surged.
Markets are already pricing in a rating downgrade. CDS prices jumped
16 basis points on Tuesday to 264, higher than those for Turkey and
Russia, both rated below investment level by S&P and Moody’s. Yields
on benchmark 10-year government bonds surged 23 basis points to 8.93
percent, the highest after Turkey and Brazil among 24 emerging markets
tracked by Bloomberg. The rand slumped 4 percent to 14.3825 per dollar
by 6:13 p.m. in Johannesburg on Tuesday.