The Digirule2 programmable binary computer by Brads Projects, PIC microcontroller.
The Digirule2 programmable binary computer by Brads Projects, PIC microcontroller.

Cosmic Queries – Living in a Simulation with Nick Bostrom

Gareth Halfacree, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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About This Episode

Are we in a simulation? On this episode, Neil deGrasse Tyson and comic co-host Chuck Nice take a deep dive into simulation theory, consciousness, and free will with Oxford theorist Nick Bostrom. Is this The Matrix? 

Why do we even think we may be in a simulation? We get into the reasons why the simulation hypothesis may or may not be true. Are there simulations within simulations? What is an ancestor simulation? We explore different types of simulations and what the purpose may be. Could higher beings be making simulations the same way we make video games and movies for entertainment? Is there any evidence we are in a simulation? 

How would you simulate the human brain and everything it experiences? Would you have to simulate the whole universe? We answer patron questions like: What sort of energy would a society need to make a simulation? We break down the Kardashev Scale, superintelligence, and the Death Star. What is panpsychism? We explore what consciousness means and what simulation means for our free will. Could a computer ever be conscious? 

We get theological with it as we ask: If we are in a simulation would we have free will? Or a god? If we are in a simulation, why are the people running it so patient? We explore computation, algorithms, and what sort of technology would be needed. Is a computer inevitable? Could we simulate an exact replica of our universe to be able to predict the future? All that, plus, find out what’s going on in Neil’s Sims games. 

Thanks to our Patrons Joshua Mooneyham, Mike Reno, Eric Ennis, Bill Savage, Kevin Meyer, Lise Rafaelsen, and Andre Lewis for supporting us this week.

NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free.


In This Episode

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