Is our Universe just a simulation?

Is our Universe just a simulation?

Are you real? What about me?. We might live in a computer program, but it may not matter.

These used to be questions that only philosophers worried about. Scientists just got on with figuring out how the world is, and why. But some of the current best guesses about how the world is seem to leave the question hanging over science too.

Several physicists, cosmologists and technologists are now happy to entertain the idea that we are all living inside a gigantic computer simulation, experiencing a Matrix-style virtual world that we mistakenly think is real.

Our instincts rebel, of course. It all feels too real to be a simulation. The weight of the cup in my hand, the rich aroma of the coffee it contains, the sounds all around me – how can such richness of experience be faked?

But then consider the extraordinary progress in computer and information technologies over the past few decades. Computers have given us games of uncanny realism – with autonomous characters responding to our choices – as well as virtual-reality simulators of tremendous persuasive power.

It is enough to make you paranoid. The Matrix formulated the narrative with unprecedented clarity. In that story, humans are locked by a malignant power into a virtual world that they accept unquestioningly as “real”. But the science-fiction nightmare of being trapped in a universe manufactured within our minds can be traced back further, for instance to David Cronenberg’s Videodrome (1983) and Terry Gilliam’s Brazil (1985).

Is our Universe just a simulation?

Over all these dystopian visions, there loom two questions. How would we know? And would it matter anyway? The idea that we live in a simulation has some high-profile advocates.

In June 2016, technology entrepreneur Elon Musk asserted that the odds are “a billion to one” against us living in “base reality”. Similarly, Google’s machine-intelligence guru Ray Kurzweil has suggested that “maybe our whole universe is a science experiment of some junior high-school student in another universe”.

What’s more, some physicists are willing to entertain the possibility. In April 2016, several of them debated the issue at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, US.
None of these people are proposing that we are physical beings held in some gloopy vat and wired up to believe in the world around us, as in The Matrix.

Instead, there are at least two other ways that the Universe around us might not be the real one. Cosmologist Alan Guth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US has suggested that our entire Universe might be real yet still a kind of lab experiment. The idea is that our Universe was created by some super-intelligence, much as biologists breed colonies of micro-organisms.

There is nothing in principle that rules out the possibility of manufacturing a universe in an artificial Big Bang, filled with real matter and energy, says Guth.

Nor would it destroy the universe in which it was made. The new universe would create its own bubble of space-time, separate from that in which it was hatched. This bubble would quickly pinch off from the parent universe and lose contact with it.

This scenario does not then really change anything. Our Universe might have been born in some super-beings’ equivalent of a test tube, but it is just as physically “real” as if it had been born “naturally”.

However, there is a second scenario. It is this one that has garnered all the attention, because it seems to undermine our very concept of reality.

Musk and other like-minded folk are suggesting that we are entirely simulated beings. We could be nothing more than strings of information manipulated in some gigantic computer, like the characters in a video game.

Even our brains are simulated, and are responding to simulated sensory inputs. In this view, there is no Matrix to “escape from”. This is where we live, and is our only chance of “living” at all.
But why believe in such a baroque possibility? The argument is quite simple: we already make simulations, and with better technology it should be possible to create the ultimate one, with conscious agents that experience it as totally lifelike.

We carry out computer simulations not just in games but in research. Scientists try to simulate aspects of the world at levels ranging from the subatomic to entire societies or galaxies, even whole universes.
For example, computer simulations of animals may tell us how they develop complex behaviours like flocking and swarming. Other simulations help us understand how planets, stars and galaxies form.

We can also simulate human societies using rather simple “agents” that make choices according to certain rules. These give us insights into how cooperation appears, how cities evolve, how road traffic and economies function, and much else.

These simulations are getting ever more complex as computer power expands. Already, some simulations of human behaviour try to build in rough descriptions of cognition. Researchers envisage a time, not far away, when these agents’ decision-making will not come from simple “if…then…” rules. Instead, they will give the agents simplified models of the brain and see how they respond.

Who is to say that before long we will not be able to create computational agents – virtual beings – that show signs of consciousness? Advances in understanding and mapping the brain, as well as the vast computational resources promised by quantum computing, make this more likely by the day.

If we ever reach that stage, we will be running huge numbers of simulations. They will vastly outnumber the one “real” world around us. Is it not likely, then, that some other intelligence elsewhere in the Universe has already reached that point? If so, it makes sense for any conscious beings like ourselves to assume that we are actually in such a simulation, and not in the one world from which the virtual realities are run. The probability is just so much greater.

Philosopher Nick Bostrom of the University of Oxford in the UK has broken down this scenario into three possibilities. As he puts it, either:

(1) Intelligent civilisations never get to the stage where they can make such simulations, perhaps because they wipe themselves out first; or

(2) They get to that point, but then choose for some reason not to conduct such simulations; or

(3) We are overwhelmingly likely to be in such a simulation.
The question is which of these options seems most probable.

Astrophysicist and Nobel laureate George Smoot has argued that there is no compelling reason to believe (1) or (2).

Sure, humanity is causing itself plenty of problems at the moment, what with climate change, nuclear weapons and a looming mass extinction. But these problems need not be terminal.

What’s more, there is nothing to suggest that truly detailed simulations, in which the agents experience themselves as real and free, are impossible in principle. Smoot adds that, given how widespread we now know other planets to be (with another Earth-like one right on our cosmic doorstep), it would be the height of arrogance to assume that we are the most advanced intelligence in the entire Universe.

What about option (2)? Conceivably, we might desist from making such simulations for ethical reasons. Perhaps it would seem improper to create simulated beings that believe they exist and have autonomy.

But that too seems unlikely, Smoot says. After all, one key reason we conduct simulations today is to find out more about the real world. This can help us make the world better and save lives. So there are sound ethical reasons for doing it.

That seems to leave us with option (3): we are probably in a simulation. But this is all just supposition. Could we find any evidence?

Many researchers believe that depends on how good the simulation is. The best way would be to search for flaws in the program, just like the glitches that betray the artificial nature of the “ordinary world” in The Matrix. For instance, we might discover inconsistencies in the laws of physics.

Alternatively, the late artificial-intelligence maven Marvin Minsky has suggested that there might be giveaway errors due to “rounding off” approximations in the computation. For example, whenever an event has several possible outcomes, their probabilities should add up to 1. If we found that they did not, that would suggest something was amiss.

How to destroy your digital history

How to destroy your digital history

We all have private information on our computers, phones and tablets. Whether of personal or professional origin, there’s some data that we’d rather no-one else got their hands on. But does deleting a file and emptying the recycle bin do the job?

According to data recovery expert Rob Winter at Kroll Ontrack, “deleting” the file is akin to removing an item from the contents page of a book – the chapter containing the all-important information is still there. For a specialist, it’s not even that hard to find.

Winter and his team are sometimes called out at short notice to help companies retrieve data from “wiped” drives and physically damaged computers.

It is difficult to believe any technology could have survived such a bashing – but in the next clip, discover just how much data (and even some embarrassing pictures) that Winter managed to retrieve from their sorry-looking hard drives.

Recovery services are highly sought-after by organisations who realise they have lost important files. After the 2003 space shuttle Columbia disaster, for example, specialists were able to recover 99% of the data from a Seagate drive found in the wreckage.

So remember, if you hit delete, all is not lost.

How to create a wifi connection to an iPad

How to create a wifi connection to an iPad

Learn to create a wifi connection for your iPad.

Connecting your iPad to the Internet is as easy as joining an available Wi-Fi network and entering your credentials if required. As one of the top tablets on the market today, the Apple iPad is a powerful tool that can be used for web browsing, video streaming, social networking, online gaming and so much more.

Getting Online With an Apple iPad

These instructions are generally applicable to all current models of the Apple iPad mini, iPad Air and iPad Pro, as well as other iOS devices like the iPhone and iPod touch.

  1. Turn on your iPad.

  2. Enter your lock screen code if required.

  3. Swipe through your home screens until you see Settings.

  4. Tap on Settings.

  5. Select Wi-Fi from the resulting list.

  6. Enable Wi-Fi by tapping on the radio button to the right. It should move the circle to the right and show as green.

How to create a wifi connection to an iPad

  1. Wait while the iPad searches for Wi-Fi networks in the area.

  2. Tap on the name of the network you want to use.

  3. If the network has a lock symbol next to its name, it is secured with a password. If there is no lock symbol, there is no password and this step can be skipped.

— After tapping on the network name, you will be prompted to enter this password.
— Tap on Join.
— Skip the next step.

  1. If it is a public Wi-Fi network, like at a coffee shop or at a hotel, you may need to proceed to a splash page to complete your connection. This is sometimes called a captive Wi-Fi network.

— Tap on the “i” icon next to the captive Wi-Fi network name.
— Tap on Join Network.
— On the resulting page, enter your credentials, sign into your account, or tap to accept the terms and conditions. Each captive network can be a little different in how it is presented.

  1. Once you are connected to the network, a blue checkmark symbol will appear next to the network name and the Wi-Fi symbol will appear at the top-left of the screen.

Facebook uses AI to understand text-based posts

Facebook uses AI to understand text-based posts

Facebook has developed AI software to help understand what people are talking about in posts to the social network. The Deep Text engine can understand text with “near-human accuracy”, a Facebook blogpost explained.

It said the AI system was developed to help people get more out of the site and to help catch spam and other unwanted messages.
Deep Text is being tested with Facebook Messenger and to generate responses to certain search queries.

With Messenger, the system is primed to spot when people are talking about preparing to travel and this can lead to software robots – known as bots – asking if they need to call a cab.

Similarly, if someone writes that they have something to sell, Deep Text-based bots will grab information about what is being sold and its price and suggest the seller uses Facebook’s sales tools to make sure the ad reaches a wide audience.

Deep Text has emerged from work Facebook is doing on bots that can automatically help the site’s users. Future work will refine the AI engine’s ability to get at the deeper meanings of text so it can spot subtle connections between words such as “bro” and “brother” that are often missed by other language analysis tools, said Facebook.

Facebook uses AI to understand text-based posts

Rather than be directed by humans, the software has been allowed to learn about human language by itself and has built a conceptual map of how words are used and how they relate to each other.

The greater understanding of text could be useful when applied to lengthy text-based conversations that take place on Facebook to spot relevant or interesting comments. It will also be used to clean up message threads by weeding out spam or other unwanted replies.

Facebook also said it planned to use Deep Text to improve its understanding of what people like so it can refine the information and adverts they are shown.

Currently, said Facebook, Deep Text can analyse several thousand posts per second and can handle more than 20 languages.
Mike Murphy, writing on the Quartz tech news website, said there were dangers involved in mapping people’s interests ever more closely.

“As Facebook gets better at offering us personalised search results from our networks, as useful as those might be, it also keeps us in a more insular version of the web,” he wrote.

A New Era of Social Networking Is Ahead

A New Era of Social Networking Is Ahead

The technological advancements in this modern generation are tremendous. Especially the software industry professionals are providing the endless solutions to every work. The work of human is greatly reduced with the help of software and it is majorly help us to accomplish our work very smartly.

This is the main reason for the success of the software industry. There are many industry-leading software companies are available all over the world. They are releasing their software products day by day to give competition to their opponents. When we compare to other fields communication area is majorly focused by them. This is due to the fact that the people are Increasingly looking for the better option for communicating with other people. That is why if you search in the Internet you can find thousands of applications for communication purposes. That may be for texting or to make voice calls or video calls etc.

Though the apps are available for this kind of communication the craze on social networks will never cease. Though many companies attempted to create social networking sites only very few of them have gained the attention of the people in this world. This is due the convenience and the flexibility of the site and its application. If the features are liked by the people then automatically it will get success easily among the people and it is started to use by them increasingly.

Till now we are using the social networks that are based on texts with the added features as photography. Now a new level of social network is going to be experience by us. We the younger generation will always look for the change in everything as we are easily bored with the same technology. To satisfy our exploring nature a new option is arriving. mango technologies is in the journey of producing a video social network.

Video social network is the next generation network that brings us to the advanced level of communication. It is going to make a revolution in the social networking system. The name of app that is going to provide such service is mimri. It is in the development phase and is getting ready to deployment. Hence promotions regarding the advent of mimri are increasingly seen in the internet. This is the new era and people are going to experience the great features if it. The techie world is eagerly waiting for the launch of mimri. Since it is totally related to the related to the video networking, the eagerness to know about the features of this new technology has trigged ripples among the people.

In order to make people to know about the launch of the application, an invite can be registered at the official website of mimri. When the app is ready an invite to download will be sent to you the email id or phone number that is provided for registration. So people can download them easily after the launch from the official website.

How to save web pages on iPhone and Android

How to save web pages on iPhone and Android

Android and iOS are the most popular mobile operating systems in the world. Android is popular because of its flexibility. You can install and download things from wherever you want, whereas iOS is popular for its security settings and features it offers. Both of the operating systems have their advantages, but there are some similar things in both of them, too.

For example, people use their smartphone devices to watch videos, browse the Internet, chat with friends and much more. One thing which is common in between the two is the Web browsing. There are so many browsers available for them, and the majority of people often browse the Net from their mobile device. So if you came across something useful one day, and wanted to save it for further reading, then here in this post we are going to tell you about some of the working ways to save Web pages on iPhone and Android devices easily.

Using Pocket App

The pocket is one of the best services currently available to quickly save, discover, and recommend the best, most interesting stories on the Internet. The pocket is available for Android and as an extension for Chrome, which means you can also sync its data across your phone, tablet and computer. To save web pages on Android using Pocket, just install this app on your mobile and browse through the Web for your requirement.

If you found something interesting, then save it in your Pocket account and later, you can open the Pocket app to read it. The most surprising thing about Pocket app is that it offers unlimited storage to all of its users, so you can save web pages on Android without worrying about the storage. There is a Text-to-Speech feature in this app too by which you can listen to the text written on a particular page.

If you are using Google Chrome browser on Android device, then you can also use it to save web pages on your device. You don’t have to install any third party app to do it either. All you have to do is to open the webpage you want to save in Google Chrome, and then just click on the menu icon on the upper right corner side of the screen.

When you click on that button, a menu will pop up on your screen with some options in it. Just click on print button. Next, you will be taken to a new page where you can see several options. There will be a bubble with PDF written on it. Just click on it to save your web page as PDF. Next you have to choose a location where you want to save that web page. It can be your internal storage, external memory card or Google Drive.

Save Web Pages By Adding Them To Reading List

If you are using an iOS device like iPhone for browsing, and if you want to save web pages on it, then the simplest way to do that is by adding them to your reading list. Bookmarking pages can cause some problems as your data will be synced with your account, and if you lose access to the Internet, then you can’t open those bookmarks.

Instead, as I said earlier, iOS’s Reading List feature is so much helpful that you can take a snapshot of any web page and save it to your handset’s local storage for offline reading, or you can even sync your data with iCloud Storage. To save web pages in iPhone, just open the Safari browser and then open the web page you want to save. Now tap the action button (the square button with the arrow) at the bottom of the screen, then tap add to reading list.

bove mentioned methods to save web pages on Android work perfectly as we have tested them on our handsets too. Saving web pages on a mobile phone can be very helpful in many ways. For example, there are some services available to them which allow you to sync your mobile data with laptop or computer, so you can transfer them to your computer to read it on a bigger screen.

For web pages on iPhone, you can follow methods mentioned above as they are working (we have not yet tested them). If you know about any other method by which a person can easily save web pages on iPhone and Android, then do let us know about it via the comments section below.

People likes to buy vinyl. Who listens?

People likes to buy vinyl but don't listen to them

New research suggests that streaming is boosting vinyl sales – but a lot of records being bought aren’t actually getting played.

This Saturday is the annual Record Store Day extravaganza, once again set to be marked with a slew of limited edition records, live performances and in-store events. But new research suggests that while more people, notably young people, are buying into vinyl, a lot of them aren’t actually playing the records.

An ICM poll, shared with the BBC, says 48% of people who bought vinyl last month have yet to play the record. Some 7% of those surveyed said they didn’t even own a turntable, while a further 41% said they have one but don’t use it. We humbly suggest people could rectify this situation with one of our recommended turntables.

Jordan Katende, a student, told BBC News: “I have vinyls [sic] in my room but it’s more for decor. I don’t actually play them.”

People likes to buy vinyl but don't listen to them

Meanwhile, while the record resurgence was driven by a desire to own something physical, nearly half of vinyl buyers (45%) said they had listened to the record on a streaming service before buying the physical copy, proving people still buy after they try – great news for Spotify and co.

As for where people are spending their money, despite the popularity of Record Store Day, which last year saw sales up 742% compared to the previous Saturday, only 7% of music is actually bought from a high street record shop. ICM reports 73% of music is bought online, with Amazon accounting for 27% of all music sales.

How old are vinyl buyers? The research reports around 33% of vinyl consumers fall in the 25-34 age bracket, while 22% of buyers are aged 35-44. 16% of vinyl buyers are aged 18-24. The poll also suggests – set face to ‘stunned’ – that more men than women are buying vinyl, but only just. Around 8% of men surveyed had bought vinyl in the last month, compared to around 5% of women.

In case there was any doubt, Andrew Wiseman, head of ICM Unlimited, told the BBC that vinyl remained relatively niche: “It is still the case that less than 1 in 10 people are buying vinyl, and we shouldn’t forget that it’s still a relatively small part of the market.”

Here’s Microsoft’s new look Start menu for Windows 10

Here's Microsoft's new look Start menu for Windows 10

Microsoft has changed the look of the Start menu in Windows 10.

The revamped Start menu is due to be added to Windows 10 this summer, as part of a major update coined the ‘Windows 10 Anniversary Edition’.

Microsoft revealed the updated appearance in an early build of the OS, which it released to testers in the Windows 10 Insider program on Friday.

The new look Start menu makes the ‘All Apps’ list visible by default on the left-hand side. In another new addition, a selection of the user’s ‘Most-used’ apps are shown at the top of this permanently visible ‘All Apps’ list. Microsoft says the change should reduce the clicking and scrolling needed to access apps.

The Power, Settings and File Explorer icons are also always visible in the left rail of the Start menu and the ‘Recently added’ section will display three entries, instead of one. Any folders that users have added to the Start menu are now immediately accessible without having to click the hamburger icon.

The look of the Start menu in tablet mode has also been overhauled, turning the ‘All App’ list into a fullscreen menu, reminiscent of the Windows 8.1 Start screen. Gabe Aul, VP for Microsoft’s engineering systems team, says the switch to fullscreen was a ‘top request from Windows Insiders’, adding that ‘the grid-like implementation of the full-screen ‘All Apps’ list aims to provide efficiency while taking advantage of the additional real estate on the Start screen on a tablet’.

Here's Microsoft's new look Start menu for Windows 10

The final Start menu change is designed to make it easier to toggle between pinned tiles and the ‘All Apps’ list, by providing the option to do so in the menu’s left rail.

The latest Windows Insider build, 14328, also includes a raft of features that will be available to all users following the Anniversary Update.

These new components include Windows Ink, which allows users to more easily write notes on touchscreen PCs and tablets using a digital pen. The addition of Windows Ink to Windows 10 allows users to write on digital sticky notes, draw on digital whiteboards and annotate content in a variety of apps, including Maps, Microsoft Edge, and Office. Microsoft wants support for drawing and writing using a digital pen to be present in many Windows 10 apps and says that adding support for Windows Ink only requires developers to write two lines of code.

Windows 10’s digital assistant Cortana has also been tweaked. Users will no longer have to log into Windows to use Cortana and instead will be able to use voice commands to get Cortana to make notes, play music or set a reminder from the lock screen.

Cortana can now also be used to set photo reminders, for example the user could take a picture of a cheese they want to buy next time they’re in a store, and add reminders based on content from another Windows 10 app, for example telling a user to read an article they flagged as interesting in the Edge browser. Cortana is now also accessible to all users, with Windows 10 no longer requiring users to sign-in before they can ask simple questions of the digital assistant.

Other changes include the ability to search files on OneDrive cloud storage that aren’t synced locally, tweaks to the look of and what is displayed in the Action Center and via notifications, various changes to the Taskbar — including easier access to the calendar and the removal of the File Explorer icon, as well as updates to the Settings app and lock screen.

As this is an early build of Windows 10, some of these features may change before reaching the general public, based on feedback from testers in the Windows Insider program.

New evidence emerges on the iPhone 7 Plus

New evidence emerges on the iPhone 7 Plus

One of the most persistent rumors about Apple’s next-generation iPhones has been that at least one of the new devices will get dual rear-facing cameras. The advantage of this dual-camera setup is that it would feature both a standard wide-angle lens camera and a secondary telephoto lens that would be capable to capturing zoomed-in pictures and videos.

Intriguingly, most reports on this feature have said it will be exclusive to the iPhone 7 Plus, which means that you’ll have to pay more upfront to get it. MacRumors points to a new research note from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that comes the closest we’ve seen to confirming this rumor is true.

“New iPhone shipments to be capped by similar form factor as iPhone 6s & 6s Plus,” he writes. “Top hardware upgrade is dual-camera (5.5-inch model only), though many competing models with dual-camera will launch soon, joining others already on the market; first impressions could underwhelm.”

Ming-Chi Kuo has been remarkably accurate in the past when describing details about new iPhone features, so if he’s writing this in his note there’s a good bet that Apple is at least strongly considering making the dual camera exclusive to the iPhone 7 Plus.

It’s also interesting to see that he thinks the first impressions of the device could “underwhelm,” which suggests that we shouldn’t expect a major leap forward like the one we saw going from the iPhone 5s to the iPhone 6. That said, there’s still a lot of time left before Apple unveils the device and a lot could change between now and September.

How to use Apple’s iOS Night Shift mode

How to use Apple’s iOS Night Shift mode

The latest version of Apple’s iOS mobile operating system, iOS 9.3, has landed. And with it comes a whole host of improvements including updates to Health, Apple Music, Notes, and News.

But the most noteworthy improvement to iOS 9.3 is a new feature called Night Shift. No, this isn’t some mode you use only when the kids go to bed. Instead, the feature is designed to help improve your sleep by reducing the amount of blue light emitted by your device’s display.

According to Scientific American, blue light produces a specific wavelength that slows the release of melatonin — which helps regulate our sleep cycles — in our brains. That means that when you’re using your smartphone in bed at night, you’re directly affecting the quality of your night’s sleep.

How to use Apple’s iOS Night Shift mode

To address this, Apple’s Night Shift filters out the display’s blue light, creating a warm-looking image. Want to try out Night Shift for yourself? Here’s how.

After downloading iOS 9.3, open the Settings app, select Display & Brightness, and tap Night Shift.

If you want to set the feature to turn on automatically, select Scheduled and set the times you’d like to enable and disable Night Shift.

If you’d rather manually control Night Shift, choose Manually Enable Until Tomorrow.

You can also control how much blue light is filtered out of the display by moving the color temperature slider to More Warm. Add more blue light by sliding it to Less Warm.

IOS 9.3 also adds a Night Shift shortcut to the iOS Control Center accessible by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.

It’s worth noting that Apple says Night Shift “may” help you get a better night’s sleep. What’s more, Fortune reports that DisplayMate Technologies president Raymond Soneira, one of the display industry’s most respected experts, claims that Night Shift offers more of a placebo effect than anything else.

So give the feature a try — just don’t expect it to completely fix your poor night’s sleep.