Liberty City Is One Million Times Larger Than A PS3, And Other Great Mysteries Of The Universe

NASA scientist Rich Terrile has a neat way of explaining stuff that you or I should, by all rights, not be able to understand at all: he uses Grand Theft Auto IV as a means of explaining how we might all be living our lives in a giant galactic simulation.

Speaking with Vice, Terrile details how Liberty City can be a lot more than just a place to steal cars and buy bad coffee.

The natural world behaves exactly the same way as the environment of Grand Theft Auto IV. In the game, you can explore Liberty City seamlessly in phenomenal detail. I made a calculation of how big that city is, and it turns out it's a million times larger than my PlayStation 3. You see exactly what you need to see of Liberty City when you need to see it, abbreviating the entire game universe into the console. The universe behaves in the exact same way. In quantum mechanics, particles do not have a definite state unless they're being observed. Many theorists have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how you explain this. One explanation is that we're living within a simulation, seeing what we need to see when we need to see it.




    While the whole 'Matrix' reality is still plausible (if only through the impossibility of disproof), GTA IV seems like a rather arbitrary example. It's hardly the most realistic title available, nor is the scope comparable to other games (eg. Just Cause 2 or TDU2).

    Technology that can match the detail of reality as we know it is still a way off. To simulate our visual perception would require something in the realm of Retina VR goggles. That sounds possible, but the detail of the environment would require a physics engine that is able to simulate down to a quantum level across our entire field of reference, which can still be an unimaginable scope in certain situations.

    Besides, even if only our field of reference is simulated at a given time, the rest of the world needs to to be both saved and allowed to progress. If a tree falls in the forest and no-one hears or sees it, it may not matter whether it falls at the time, but when someone stumbles across it, it needs to have fallen and have moss growing on it - in other words, stuff still happens when we're not there and those changes can't be simulated instantly when perceived because they need time to occur, which can be almost infinitely long. Eg. A caveman falls asleep during the age of the dinosaurs and wakes in the present day. Millions if not billion of years of 'stuff' has happened across the entirey of his reality, which would need to be updated instantly on demand has he perceives the same areas. We are approaching infinite calculations that need to be processed in an infinitesimal space of time - not going to happen.

    /unstructured rambling.


    To put it more in lamence terms, imagine you just knocked off work and have headed home. Essentially what the good Scientist is suggesting is that once that workplace leaves your field of view, it is completely subjective whether or not that workplace is still there after you leave.


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