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Are we living in a simulation? - Zohreh Davoudi

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All life on Earth— living and inanimate, microscopic and cosmic— is governed by mathematical laws with apparently arbitrary constants. And this opens up a question: If the universe is completely governed by these laws, couldn’t a powerful enough computer simulate it exactly? Could our reality actually be a detailed simulation set in place by a more advanced civilization? Zohreh Davoudi investigates.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Director Eoin Duffy
  • Educator Zohreh Davoudi
  • Narrator Christina Greer
  • Sound Designer QB Sound
  • Music QB Sound
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Associate Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Associate Editorial Producer Elizabeth Cox
  • Fact-checker Brian Gutierrez
  • See more
Additional Resources for you to Explore

If you can’t wait to dig deeper into the question of whether the Universe is a simulation, here are some useful links to get you started:



For a though-provoking debate on the subject, see the 2016 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson:



For a general audience presentation of the topic take a look here.



If you are interested in the technical discussions regarding possible tests of the Simulation hypothesis, see the original papers here and here. Or for the full text, try this link.



And finally if you are curious what Nick Bostrom’s philosophical argument is to believe we may be living in a computer simulation, you can read the original article here.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Director Eoin Duffy
  • Educator Zohreh Davoudi
  • Narrator Christina Greer
  • Sound Designer QB Sound
  • Music QB Sound
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Associate Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Associate Editorial Producer Elizabeth Cox
  • Fact-checker Brian Gutierrez
  • See more