(This past June, during some downtime at a NJ campground we were visiting, my 11-year-old daughter was perusing my Kindle for something to read, when she came across an article I had read and had been pondering. In it, Elon Musk puts forth the notion that, in all likelihood, our “reality” is actually a very sophisticated computer simulation. My daughter was interested enough in the idea to read through the article, consider it, and formulate her own opinion on the subject. “How about writing down your thoughts?” I suggested. “Okay,” she replied.
So, in the spirit of thought experimentation, my daughter adds her voice to those of others contemplating the nature of our existence. Are we living in a computer simulation? Makes for an interesting writing prompt or topic of discussion or debate -- or to just get you thinking).
Elon Musk stated that we might be in a video game. Though he may seem to have some good points, I have some ideas that contradict what he says.
“Rapid advancements in video game technology mean we’ve moved from Pong to augmented reality in a short span of decades. We’ve moved so quickly, and tech has advanced so much, our own reality might not be distinguishable from a simulation.If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then games will become indistinguishable from reality. ”
Though at first this seems like a valid point, if you look closer into this there is a very obvious flaw in this idea. Though video games have been progressing rapidly during the last few decades, video games could never truly look so realistic that it isn’t distinguishable from reality. The reason of this is because of pixels.
Though they can make things look very realistic, they can never make something so complex look real. This is because of atoms. They’re so precise and small, that they keep the entire world together, without being seen with the naked eye. If you look closely at any electronic screen you have, you can actually see each individual pixel. If you try seeing each atom in the real world with no aid for your eye, you can’t. They’re much too small to see. There are more atoms in your pinky finger than pixels on a screen. That means your pinky finger is actually more detailed than anything on a computer. If that’s so, how would something like a video game be so detailed, that it could look like it’s real? It couldn’t, as long as we still use pixels. If we tried improving to the point it would look like reality, it wouldn’t work. Even if we tried to put something like atoms into a video game, it would fail. For instance, instead of square pixels, you would put circles, just like the shape of atoms. That would probably be the only way to improve it to look more realistic. However, circles don’t fit together perfectly as squares do. You would have to keep putting more and more circles between the gaps, which would virtually go on forever. That would mean we will probably never achieve the standards to make it look realistic.
(Click here for more free resources on atoms and elements.)
“Quick. Stop what you’re doing and look around. Everything you see, think and feel is fake. You’re living in a video game coded by intellectually elite robot overlords.”
If what I previously said was true, then the world would be way too precise to just put in a video game. Even if there was some intellectually elite master race, I doubt they would be advanced so much as they would be able to fit atoms to actually create an entire universe, let alone the world. Even if they were advanced enough, it would probably be too much effort only to be put into a video game. Also, why put an entire gigantic world of human beings into a video game? Every human being has their own DNA, their own personality, their own looks. And why put space in this video game? Every star has its own size, color, and temperature. There are billions of very detailed stars in the universe. There are also different planets, galaxies, everything that you can think of has too much detail. This also seems like it would be too much trouble to put in a video game. Thus, the world cannot be a video game. It’s much too detailed even for a master race.
American Revolution: Free resources and activities for exploring the causes, plus a grade 4 reader and activity book, additional history readers, and links to animations and games.
Oh, say can you see: This unit on “The Star Spangled Banner” is comprised of two parts: the origin of the anthem, and the symbolism of the flag. Discuss importance of the flag, what it means, how the lyrics of “The Star Spangled Banner” match real events. There are a lot of resources here to cover the topic broadly or as in depth as you like, with background on the War of 1812, and links to additional image, document and web resources such as Smithsonian’s “Star Spangled Banner” site.
War of 1812: Grade 2 Reader: Begins with a pictorial timeline of the founding of the U.S., and ends with chapters on the National Anthem and Dolley Madison, and a glossary.
4th of July Binary Bracelets: Use different color beads to represent “0,” “1,”, and “space” to encode our nation’s birthday into a wrist band. In so doing, learn how to change base 10 numbers into binary. Make more personalized bracelets by encoding individual birthdays or ages.