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The Virtual Reality Conjecture

Brian Whitworth


We take our world to be an objective reality, but is it? The assumption that the physical world exists in and of itself has struggled to assimilate the findings of modern physics for some time now. For example, an objective space and time would just "be", but in relativity, space contracts and time dilates. Likewise objective "things" should just inherently exist, but the entities of quantum theory are probability of existence smears, that spread, tunnel, superpose and entangle in physically impossible ways. Cosmology even tells us that our entire physical universe just "popped up", from nowhere, about 14 billion years ago. This is not how an objectively real world should behave! Yet traditional alternatives don't work much better. That the world is just an illusion of the mind doesn't explain its consistent realism and Descartes dualism, that another reality beyond the physical exists, just doubles the existential problem. It is time to consider an option we might normally dismiss out of hand. This essay explores the virtual reality conjecture, that the physical world is the digital output of non-physical quantum processing. It finds it neither illogical, nor unscientific, nor incompatible with current physics. In this model, quantum entities are programs, movement is the transfer of processing, interactions are processing overloads and the fields of physics are network properties. It has no empty space, no singularities and all the conservations of physics just conserve processing. Its prediction, that the collision of high frequency light in a vacuum can create permanent matter, will test it. If the physical world has the properties of a processing output, physics must rewrite the story behind its equations.

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