The idea that we may be living in a computer simulation à la The Matrix became hugely popular when Elon Musk endorsed it in 2016. But some physicists have pondered the concept for decades.

That’s because it can help explain the conundrum of why we appear to be living in a universe miraculously well suited to host life, with all the physical laws and constants taking the “right” values. If our universe is a computer simulation, perhaps created by an advanced alien species for their entertainment, it would explain why the cosmic conditions appear fine-tuned for life.

One approach to understanding the mechanics of such a universe involves assuming that information is real and fundamental, with everything we see made up of bits (like software is made from computer bits). Recent research has even found a way to experimentally test if we’re living in a computer simulation based on such theory.

Meanwhile, the US recently approved a genetically modified purple tomato – another win for GM food. Last week’s UN climate summit, COP27, on the other hand, cannot be described as a success. Here’s what ultimately went wrong.

Miriam Frankel

Science Editor


How to test if we’re living in a computer simulation

Melvin M. Vopson, University of Portsmouth

There may be ways to check if our universe is just simulated entertainment for an advanced, alien species.

Purple tomatoes have been approved for sale in the US. JIC Photography/ flickr

The story of the purple tomato — and why its success is a win for GM foods

Yang Yue, Quadram Institute

The US recently approved the genetically modified fruit, which has enhanced nutritional qualities.

EPA-EFE/Sedat Suna

COP27 will be remembered as a failure – here’s what went wrong

Mark Maslin, UCL; Priti Parikh, UCL; Richard Taylor, UCL; Simon Chin-Yee, UCL

The agreed loss and damage fund was a breakthrough in an otherwise inconclusive conference.

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