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The Physical World as a Virtual Reality

BRIAN WHITWORTH
2007

Strange Physics
  • Modern online games show that information processing can create virtual worlds with their own time, space, entities and objects.
  • Although virtual reality theory is strange, so are the results of modern physics experiments:
    • Gravity slows time: An atomic clock on a tall building ticks faster than one on the ground.
    • Gravity curves space: Rays of light traveling around the sun are bent by curved space.
    • Speed slows time: An atomic clock on a flying plane goes slower than one on the ground.
    • Speed increases mass: As objects move faster, their mass increases.
    • The speed of light is absolute: Light shone from a torch on a spaceship moving a 9/10ths of the speed of light leaves the spaceship at the speed of light.
  • At the quantum level, even more strangeness is introduced:
    • Teleportation: Quantum particles can tunnel, suddenly appearing beyond a barrier they cannot cross.
    • Faster than light interaction: Entangled particles appear to instantly affect each other, even if light years apart.
    • Creation from nothing: Given enough energy, particles can appear from empty space.
    • Multiple existence: A quantum entity seems to interfere with itself, for example passing through two slits creating a wave interference pattern.
    • Physical effects without causality: Quantum events like gamma radiation occur randomly, and no physical cause for them has ever been identified.
  • Quantum mechanics and relativity have never been shown to be wrong, yet they still just don’t make sense. Physicists know the mathematics, but cannot connect it to their practical knowledge of the world.
  • Feynman observed that an electron travelling from A to B seems to traverse all intervening paths simultaneously.
  • Relativity and quantum mechanics seem to contradict each other, but at the macro space-time level relativity fits, whilst at the sub-atomic level quantum mechanics best describes the observed events.
The Virtual Reality Axiom
  • A virtual reality is here considered to be a reality created by information processing, and so by definition it cannot exist independently in and of itself, as it depends upon processing to exist. If the processing stops then the virtual reality stops. In contrast an objective reality simply is, and does not need anything else to sustain it. This gives two hypotheses:
    • The Objective Reality (OR) hypothesis: There is nothing outside the universe.
    • The Virtual Reality (VR) hypothesis: There is nothing in our universe that exists of or by itself.
  • The OR hypothesis relies on:
    • Object locality: That objects exist in a locality that limits their event interactions
    • Object reality: That objects have inherent properties that their existence carries forward from one moment to the next, and these determine their behavior independent of any measurement.
  • A VR world must have existence dimensions outside of itself. Many physics theories, like string theory, already suggest that our world has additional dimensions.
Approaching Virtual Reality
  • Current physics seems to approach VR theory in three ways:
    • Calculatable Universe hypothesis: That our physical reality can be simulated by information processing that is calculable (halting).
    • Calculating Universe hypothesis: That our physical reality uses information processing in its operation to some degree.
    • Calculated Universe hypothesis: That our physical reality is created by information processing based outside the physical world we register.
  • A common criticism of the calculated universe hypothesis is that we have no means of understanding the hardware upon which that software is running, so we have no way of understanding the real physics of reality, and hence unfalsifiable reality. This misrepresents VR theory – VR theory applies to this world and its theoretical contrast is an objective physical reality.
  • The above three hypotheses cumulate, as each requires the previous to be true.
  • VR theory is falsifiable as one could disprove it by showing some incomputable physics.
Virtual Reality Requirements
  • One must assume information processing constancy: that information processing operates the same way in all worlds. Other requirements include:
    • Finite Processing Allocations: That the processing that creates VR allocates it’s processing in finite amounts.
    • Autonomy: Once started, a VR must run itself without further information input.
    • Consistent Self-Registration: A VR must register itself consistently to internal observers.
    • Calculability: A VR must at all times be calculatable. A finite processing source must ensure that no calculations tend to infinity.
A Prima Facie case that the Physical World is a Virtual Reality
  • Virtual Reality Creation: A virtual reality arises from nothing, which matches the Big Bang theory.
  • Maximum Processing Rate: This is reflected in the maximum speed of light which is a constant.
  • Digital Processing: Everything is digitized, and so discrete at the lowest level – Plank’s discovery that light is quantized.
  • Non-local Effects: The processing that creates a virtual world is not limited by the space of that world.
  • Processing Load Effects: High matter concentration or high speed may affect processing speed and have space/time effects.
  • Information Conservation: If a system inputs no new information after it starts, it must also not lose the information it has or it will run down.
  • Algorithmic Simplicity: If the world arises from finite information processing, it is necessary to keep frequent calculations simple. Core mathematical laws that describe our world are surprisingly simple.
  • Choice Creation: Information arises from a choice between options. A mechanical or predictable choice is not really a choice. Quantum randomness is yet to be predicted using some unknown variable.
  • Complementary Uncertainty: Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle means that one cannot know both the position and the momentum of a particle.
  • Digital Equivalence: Every digital symbol calculated by the same program is identical to every other.
  • Digital Transitions: Quantum mechanics describes quantum interactions as a continuous looking set of state transitions.
Where did our Universe come from?
  • The traditional view of our universe has always existed. The alternative is that it was created at some specific point.
  • The Big Bang theory side steps issues like what was before the Big Bang? How can something arise from nothing?
  • VR theory supports the idea that a VR must have a start from nothing.
Why does our Universe have a Maximum Speed?
  • If empty space is devoid of object properties, how can it be a medium that not only transmits light but also limits its speed?
  • Information, as a universal constituent, avoids the problem that s substance cannot exist within itself because information processing can stack, ie processing can create processing.
  • The Lorentz transformations suggest the maximum rate objects can move through space-time is a trade off between space and time.
  • That our universe has maximum change rates is a fact of physics VR theory explains well but objective reality cannot.

These notes were taken from Brian Whitworth's paper.
For more information about his theories see his website at www.brianwhitworth.com


© 2020 Cedric Joyce