The Science Channel has a new series that debuted last night called “Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman.” The first episode discussed the idea of the creator. That is, how did all this stuff (people and all the other life on Earth, stars, planets, etc.) get here? Is there some nice, wise old man in the sky sitting on a heavenly La-Z-Boy orchestrating everything around us, or is something else at work? One of the more fun suggestions: perhaps we’re all merely a fancy computer simulation of Future People? Maybe we’re merely some Future Kid’s science experiment on his PlayStation 200?
One of the main ideas of this theory is that, as you zoom in and in on a video game world (The Sims, World of Warcraft, Fable, etc.) things start to pixelate. No matter how good a game looks on your 360 or PS3, zoom in close enough and it all turns to pixely mush. But doesn’t the same thing happen in real life? A table may look totally flat or a billiard ball may look totally smooth, but if you were to zoom in there it would break down, first to the tiny imperfections of the physical shape itself—microscopic cracks in the table, for example—then to the atomic and subatomic level, there’s a similar breakdown. So, instead of your video game character breaking down into individual pixels, you and I would break down into atoms and smaller-than-atom particles.
So if a computer is driving the pixels in your video game, maybe there’s some computer somewhere, perhaps some time in the future, driving the atoms and whatnot all around us?
I don’t know, it’s a theory on a science show, what do you want?
Will Wright, the famed creator of SimCity and The Sims was even on the show talking about how computing power has increased so much in the past few years that people like him are able to create video games that show empathy. You’re happy when your Sim is happy, and you’re sad when you’re Sim tries to use an oven but doesn’t have a high enough cooking skill, blowing up the kitchen in the process.
So if you get the Science Channel you would do well to go out of your way to watch/DVR “Through the Wormhole.” I can guarantee it’s a better use of an hour of your time than “America’s Got Talent” or any of those other awful shows on television.