In the hit movie The Matrix, the protagonist Neo, played by Keanu Reeves, discovers that we will live in a simulated reality hundreds of years from now.
While many of us take comfort in the fact that this concept is relegated to science fiction, one researcher says it may actually be true.
Melvin Vopson, associate professor of physics at the University of Portsmouth, says we can be characters in an advanced virtual world.
He claims that the physical behavior of information in our universe resembles the process of a computer erasing or compressing code, a clue that perhaps machines hope we won’t notice.
Professor Vopson has already warned of an imminent “information catastrophe”, when we run out of energy to sustain huge amounts of digital information.
In the hit movie The Matrix, the protagonist Neo, played by Keanu Reeves, discovers that we will live in a simulated reality hundreds of years from now. At the end of the movie, Neo is able to see the simulated world for what it is: computer code (pictured)
“My studies point to a strange and interesting possibility that we do not live in an objective reality and that the entire universe could simply be a super-advanced virtual reality simulation,” Professor Vopson said.
In 2022, the academic – originally from Romania – established a new law of physics, called the “second law of information dynamics”, to explain how information behaves.
His law states that the ‘entropy’, or disorder, in an information system decreases rather than increases.
This new law was somewhat surprising, because it is the opposite of the second law of thermodynamics established in the 1850s, which explains why we cannot break an egg or why a glass cannot break on its own.
It turns out that the second law of infodynamics explains information behavior in a way that the old law cannot.
“The second law of infodynamics requires the minimization of the information content associated with any event or process in the universe,” he told MailOnline.
«In short, everything seems to evolve towards a state of equilibrium in which the information content is minimal.
This image visualizes the second law of thermodynamics from the 1850s. This ancient law states that entropy – a measure of disorder in an isolated system – can only increase or stay the same. On the other hand, the second law of infodynamics states that entropy decreases
The simulated universe hypothesis proposes that what humans experience is actually an artificial reality, much like a computer simulation, in which they themselves are constructs. It formed the basis for the 1999 film The Matrix starring Keanu Reeves (pictured).
Do we live in a simulated reality? Professor Melvin Vopson of the University of Portsmouth believes it is possible (file photo)
The second law of thermodynamics.
One of the most powerful laws is the second law of thermodynamics, which states that entropy (a measure of disorder in an isolated system) can only increase or remain the same, but will never decrease.
It is an indisputable law linked to the arrow of time, which shows that time only goes in one direction.
It flows in only one direction and cannot go back.
The law explains why we cannot break an egg or why a glass cannot break by itself.
Professor Vopson expected that entropy in information systems, such as data bits, would also increase over time.
But when examining the evolution of these systems he realized that it remains constant or decreases.
It was then that he established the second law of information dynamics, or infodynamics, in 2022.
The second law of information dynamics (2022) states that entropy decreases with time.
«This behavior is fully reminiscent of the rules used in programming languages and computer coding.
“Simulating a supercomplex universe like ours would require an integrated data compression and optimization mechanism to reduce the computational power and data storage requirements to run the simulation.
“This is exactly what we are observing through empirical evidence around us, including digital data, biological systems, atomistic systems, mathematical symmetries, and the entire universe.
“This is what the second law of infodynamics reveals, so a logical conclusion is that, although it does not provide definitive proof, it surely supports the theory of the simulated universe.”
According to Professor Vopson, the symmetry we observe in the everyday world, such as butterflies, flowers or starfish, supports the theory of simulation.
Their findings demonstrate that high symmetry corresponds to the lowest information entropy state, potentially explaining nature’s inclination towards it.
“All biological life exhibits some form of symmetry, all solids and crystals have symmetries, the laws of physics etc.,” he told MailOnline.
‘The universe has this built-in mechanism to optimize the calculation of everything.
“Symmetry is the best way to optimize or represent the digitally constructed world and that is why we have symmetries everywhere instead of asymmetries.”
Simulation theory is not unique to Professor Vopson; In fact, it is popular with several well-known figures, including Elon Musk.
It belongs to a branch of science known as information physics, which suggests that physical reality is fundamentally made up of bits of information.
He believes that the prevalence of symmetry in the universe (pictured) can be explained by the second law of infodynamics.
Vopson wants to experimentally prove that the bits of information have mass, which he extrapolated to predict that within 225 years it will be half the mass of the Earth.
Bits are the basic unit of information that powers computing and digital communications, including streaming services like Netflix.
Professor Vopson has already attracted attention for his impressive statements in the field of physics.
He has already said that information should be considered the fifth state of matter, after solid, liquid, gas and plasma.
This principle has “attracted a good dose of skepticism,” the academic admits, since most scientists consider that fifth state of matter instead of being Bose-Einstein condensate.
He even claims that information has mass and so could the elusive dark matter that makes up almost a third of the universe.
And he warned that the number of digital bits will exceed the number of atoms on Earth within 150 years, which will cause an “information catastrophe.”
This will mark the point at which the maximum possible digital information has been created, as well as the maximum power with which to sustain it.
Their new study has been published in AIP progress.
Dark matter: the mysterious substance that makes up 85% of the universe and that scientists cannot confirm
Dark matter is a hypothetical substance that is said to make up about 85 percent of the universe.
The enigmatic material is invisible because it does not reflect light and has never been directly observed by scientists.
Astronomers know it exists because of its gravitational effects on known matter.
The European Space Agency says: ‘Hold a flashlight into a completely dark room and you will see only what the torch illuminates.
Dark matter is a hypothetical substance said to make up about 27 percent of the universe. Believed to be the gravitational “glue” that holds galaxies together (artist’s impression)
‘That doesn’t mean the room around you doesn’t exist.
“Similarly, we know dark matter exists, but we have never observed it directly.”
The material is believed to be the gravitational “glue” that holds galaxies together.
Calculations show that many galaxies would disintegrate rather than rotate if they were not held together by a large amount of dark matter.
Only five percent of the observable universe is made up of known matter, such as atoms and subatomic particles.