“The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now in this very room.“
So says Laurence Fishburne’s Morpheus in sci-fi classic ‘The Matrix’ as he offers Keanu Reeves’s Neo the choice to find out just how “deep the rabbit hole goes”.
Now, just as Neo discovered that the “life” he’d been living was little more than an algorithmic construct, scientists and philosophers are arguing that we could be stuck inside a simulation ourselves.
This, in a nutshell, posits that the entire universe and our objective reality are just super-advanced virtual realityillusions.
Elon Musk is among the well-known fans of the theory, which – as Dr Vopson notes in his paper – has been “gaining traction in scientific circles as well as in the entertainment industry”.
The university lecturer also pointed out that recent developments in a branch of science known as information physics “appear to support this possibility”.
Information physics suggests that physical reality is made up of bits of information.
However, Dr Vopson has gone further and is working to prove that information has a physical mass and is a fundamental building block of the universe.
He even claims that information could be the mysterious dark matter that makes up almost a third of the universe.
n previous research, the physicist proposed that all elementary particles (the smallest known building blocks in the universe), store information about themselves, much like DNA in humans.
Then, in 2022, he discovered a new law of physics, christened the second law of infodynamics, which states that entropy – the degree of randomness or disorder – within an isolated information system either remains constant or decreases over time.
In other words, the system becomes less and less chaotic, implying that there is some kind of mechanism governing it rather than random chance.
“I knew then that this revelation had far-reaching implications across various scientific disciplines,” Dr Vopson said in a statement released by the University of Portsmouth.
“What I wanted to do next is put the law to the test and see if it could further support the simulation hypothesis by moving it on from the philosophical realm to mainstream science.”
Dr Vopson employed the law in a range of different fields, including genetics, cosmology and even symmetry.
Here, he found that the abundance of symmetry in the Universe (think snowflakes and facial structures) could be explained by the second law of infodynamics.
“Symmetry principles play an important role with respect to the laws of nature, but until now there has been little explanation as to why that could be,” he said.
“My findings demonstrate that high symmetry corresponds to the lowest information entropy state, potentially explaining nature’s inclination towards it.”
Again, put simply, nature prefers things to be as well-ordered as possible.
He continued: “This approach, where excess information is removed, resembles the process of a computer deleting or compressing waste code to save storage space and optimise power consumption.”
As a result, this “supports the idea that we’re living in a simulation.”