The physical world as a virtual reality: a prima facie case

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Massey University
This paper explores the idea that the universe is a virtual reality created by information processing, and relates this strange idea to the findings of modern physics about the physical world. The virtual reality concept is familiar to us from online worlds, but the world as a virtual reality is usually a subject for science fiction rather than science. Yet logically the world could be an information simulation running on a three-dimensional space-time screen. Indeed, that the essence of the universe is information has advantages, e.g. if matter, charge, energy and movement are aspects of information, the many conservation laws could become a single law of conservation of information. If the universe were a virtual reality, its creation at the big bang would no longer be paradoxical, as every virtual system must be booted up. It is suggested that whether the world is an objective or a virtual reality is a matter for science to resolve, and computer science could help. If one could derive core properties like space, time, light, matter and movement from information processing, such a model could reconcile relativity and quantum theories, with the former being how information processing creates space-time, and the latter how it creates energy and matter.
Virtual reality, Digital physics, Information theoretics
Whitworth, B. (2007), The physical world as a virtual reality: a prima facie case, Research Letters in the Information and Mathematical Sciences, 11, 44-60