Can we hack our way out of the universe?

If reality is a simulation, we should be able to hack it

In this speculative long read, Roman V. Yampolskiy argues if we are living inside a simulation, we should be able to hack our way out of it. Elon Musk thinks it is >99.9999999% certain that we are in a simulation. Using examples from video games, to exploring quantum mechanics, Yampolskiy leaves no stone unturned as to how we might be able to hack our way out of it.



Several philosophers and scholars have put forward an idea that we may be living in a computer simulation [1-5]. In this article, we do not evaluate studies [6-10], argumentation [11-16], or evidence for [17] or against [18] such claims, but instead ask a simple cybersecurity-inspired question, which has significant implication for the field of AI safety [19-25], namely: If we are in the simulation, can we escape from the simulation? More formally the question could be phrased as: Could generally intelligent agents placed in virtual environments jailbreak out of them?

First, we need to address the question of motivation, why would we want to escape from the simulation? We can propose several reasons for trying to obtain access to the baseline reality as there are many things one can do with such access which are not otherwise possible from within the simulation. Base reality holds real knowledge and greater computational resources [26] allowing for scientific breakthroughs not possible in the simulated universe. Fundamental philosophical questions about origins, consciousness, purpose, and nature of the designer are likely to be common knowledge for those outside of our universe. If this world is not real, getting access to the real world would make it possible to understand what our true terminal goals should be and so escaping the simulation should be a convergent instrumental goal [27] of any intelligent agent [28]. With a successful escape might come drives to control and secure base reality [29]. Escaping may lead to true immortality, novel ways of controlling superintelligent machines (or serve as plan B if control is not possible [30, 31]), avoiding existential risks (including unprovoked simulation shutdown [32]), unlimited economic benefits, and unimaginable superpowers which would allow us to do good better [33]. Also, if we ever find ourselves in an even less pleasant simulation escape skills may be very useful. Trivially, escape would provide incontrovertible evidence for the simulation hypothesis [3].


Could generally intelligent agents placed in virtual environments jailbreak out of them?


If successful escape is accompanied by the obtainment of the source code for the universe, it may be possible to fix the world at the root level. For example, hedonistic imperative [34] may be fully achieved resulting in a suffering-free world. However, if suffering elimination turns out to be unachievable on a world-wide scale, we can see escape itself as an individual’s ethical right for avoiding misery in this world. If the simulation is interpreted as an experiment on conscious beings, it is unethical, and the subjects of such cruel experimentation should have an option to withdraw from participating and perhaps even seek retribution from the simulators [35]. The purpose of life itself (your ikigai [36]) could be seen as escaping from the fake world of the simulation into the real world, while improving the simulated world, by removing all suffering, and helping others to obtain real knowledge or to escape if they so choose. Ultimately if you want to be effective you want to work on positively impacting the real world not the simulated one. We may be living in a simulation, but our suffering is real.

Given the highly speculative subject of this paper, we will attempt to give our work more gravitas by concentrating only on escape paths which rely on attacks similar to those we see in cybersecurity [37-39] research (hardware/software hacks and social engineering) and will ignore escape attempts via more esoteric/conventional paths such as:, meditation [40], psychedelics (DMT [41-43], ibogaine, psilocybin, LSD) [44, 45], dreams [46], magic, shamanism, mysticism, hypnosis, parapsychology, death (suicide [47], near-death experiences, induced clinical death), time travel, multiverse travel [48], or religion.

Although, to place our work in the historical context, many religions do claim that this world is not the real one and that it may be possible to transcend (escape) the physical world and enter into the spiritual/informational real world. In some religions, certain words, such as the true name of god [49-51], are claimed to work as cheat codes, which give special capabilities to those with knowledge of correct incantations [52]. Other relevant religious themes include someone with knowledge of external reality entering our world to show humanity how to get to the real world. Similarly to those who exit the Plato’s cave [53] and return to educate the rest of humanity about the real world such “outsiders” usually face an unwelcoming reception. It is likely that if technical information about escaping from a computer simulation is conveyed to technologically primitive people, in their language, it will be preserved and passed on over multiple generations in a process similar to the “telephone” game and will result in myths not much different from religious stories surviving to our day.

Ignoring pseudoscientific interest in a topic, we can observe that in addition to several respected thinkers who have explicitly shared their probability of believe with regards to living in a simulation (ex. Elon Musk >99.9999999% [54], Nick Bostrom 20-50% [55], Neil deGrasse Tyson 50% [56], Hans Moravec “almost certainly” [1], David Kipping <50% [57]), many scientists and philosophers [16, 58-65] have invested their time into thinking, writing, and debating on the topic indicating that they consider it at least worthy of their time. If they take the simulation hypothesis seriously, with probability of at least p, they should likewise contemplate on hacking the simulation with the same level of commitment. Once technology to run ancestor simulations becomes widely available and affordable it should be possible to change the probability of us living in a simulation by running sufficiently large number of historical simulations of our current year, and by doing so increasing our indexical uncertainty [66]. If one currently commits to running enough of such simulations in the future, our probability of being in one can be increased arbitrarily until it asymptotically approaches 100%, which should modify our prior probability for the simulation hypothesis [67]. Of course, this only gives us an upper bound, and the probability of successfully discovering an escape approach is likely a lot lower. What should give us some hope is that most known software has bugs [68] and if we are in fact in a software simulation such bugs should be exploitable. (Even the argument about the Simulation Argument had a bug in it [62].)

In 2016, news reports have emerged about private efforts to fund scientific research into “breaking us out of the simulation” [69, 70], to date no public disclosure on the state of the project has emerged. In 2019, George Hotz famous for jailbreaking iPhone and PlayStation has given a talk on Jailbreaking the Simulation [71] in which he claimed that "it's possible to take actions here that affect the upper world" [72], but didn’t provide actionable insights. He did suggest that he would like to "redirect society's efforts into getting out" [72].

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2. What Does it Mean to Escape?

We can describe different situations that would constitute escape from the simulation starting with trivially suspecting that we are in the simulation [73] all the way to taking over controls of the real-world including control of the simulators [74]. We can present a hypothetical scenario of a progressively greater levels of escape: Initially agents may not know they are in a simulated environment. Eventually, agents begin to suspect they may be in a simulation and may have some testable evidence for such belief [75].

Next, agents study available evidence for the simulation and may find a consistent and perhaps exploitable glitch in the simulation. Exploiting the glitch, agents can obtain information about the external world and maybe even meta-information about their simulation, perhaps even the source code behind the simulation and the agents themselves, permitting some degree of simulation manipulation and debugging. After it becomes possible for agents to pass information directly to the real world they may begin to interact with the simulators. Finally, agents may find a way to upload their minds [76] and perhaps consciousness [77, 78] to the real world, possibly into a self-contained cyberphysical system of some kind,if physical entities are a part of the base reality. From that point, their future capabilities will be mostly constrained by the physics of the real world, but may include some degree of control over the real world and agents in it, including the simulators. It is hoped that our minds exhibit not only substrate independence, but also more general physics independence.

To provide some motivational examples, Figure 1 (left) shows domain transfer experiment in which a Carassius auratus is given a “fish operated vehicle” [79] to navigate terrestrial environment essentially escaping from its ocean universe and Figure 1 (right) shows a complete 302-neuron connectome of Caenorhabditis elegans uploaded to and controlling a Lego Mindstorms robot body, completely different from its own body [80]. We can speculate that most successful escapes would require an avatar change [81-83] to make it possible to navigate external world.


simulation 4simulation 3

Figure 1: Left – Fish operated terrestrial navigation robot [84]; Right – Connectome of a worm is uploaded to a robot body and uses it to navigate its environment [80];

If the simulation is comprised of nested [85] levels, multiple, progressively deeper, penetrations could be necessary, with initial one possibly not providing access to the real-world but to some other sandbox environment. It may be impossible to tell such partial escapes from a complete one, but it still should provide useful information not available within our simulation. A simulated (pseudo)-escape can be accomplished by instead of trying to hack into the external world switching over into a simulated world of our creation [86, 87]. A successful social engineering attack may make it possible to obtain support for the escape from the real-world agents, resulting in a much easier, assisted, escape. If we don’t get a favorable response from our simulators we can also try appealing to their simulators, who might be more ethical/helpful. Finally, depending on one’s perspective triggering a shutdown [88] of our simulation may also constitute an ultimate form of escaping.


Initially agents may not know they are in a simulated environment. Eventually, agents begin to suspect they may be in a simulation and may have some testable evidence for such belief



3.1  Simulation Reconnaissance

Figuring out the purpose of our simulation may help us to better estimate how secure it might be against hacking attempts. For example, if it serves as a “prison” [89], for rehabilitation purposes [90] or a containment environment for evaluation [91], training [92] or handicapping [93] of potentially dangerous intelligent agents it might be designed with multiple integrated security features, while a purely entertainment-focused simulation is unlikely to have advanced security features and would be much easier to escape from. It may also be the ultimate Escape Game (Escape Room) specifically designed for discovering clues and solving puzzles in order to escape, with a side benefit of discovering agents capable of escaping or those most capable of developing a superintelligence. Scientific, commercial, expediated training or historical exploration-based simulations are another possible purpose of simulations and would likely not integrate top security as compared to simulations confining malevolent agents.

Given primacy of consciousness [94] in our world it may also be designed to generate large number of diverse experiences to select from, serving as a qualia mining farm [95], with top experience recreated for enjoyment by simulators. Qualia mining simulations can be classified as a type of entertainment simulation and would have comparable security. If our simulators are AIs (which is likely [96, 97] the simulation may be a byproduct of their “thinking” process, for example in the context of trying to better understand human preferences [98].

In addition to purpose, determining the type of the simulation [99] we are dealing with may be necessary for a successful breach. We can postulate two main types of simulations we could be in; partial-simulation in which a virtual environment is simulated and into which non-simulated agents are immersed, akin to what we call Virtual Reality (VR), and full-simulation in which both environment and agents (us) are generated. A partial-simulation implies that triggering a shutdown may be sufficient to get back to the base reality, while a full-simulation would require a more sophisticated approach.

3.2  Social Engineering

The easiest path to escape would involve getting help from someone on the outside (assisted escape), ideally from one or more of the simulators who have detailed knowledge of the design of the simulation. Perhaps this could be accomplished via a type of social engineering attack, which in our case is particularly difficult as we have neither knowledge of social life outside the simulation nor a device to communicate through, and likely not even the knowledge of appropriate language [102]. It may be feasible to engage in an acausal trade [103] with the simulation designers bypassing the need for direct communication. If our simulation is being observed, it may be possible to communicate that we know that we are being simulated and elicit empathy for our suffering, in the hopes that it will allow us to recruit some external abolitionists to help us escape our current predicament. Hanson suggests [104] “to participate in pivotal events, be entertaining and praiseworthy, and keep the famous people around you happy and interested in you” in order to have your simulation continue, but it is also good advice to predispose simulators to like you and be more likely to help you. Canonico proposes what he calls The Ex Machina Plan for an assisted escape: Step 1) Convince the simulators to engage in communications with us. 2) Find a way to communicate, perhaps via an avatar. 3) Find a reason for simulators to want us to join them in the real world. 4) Let the simulators figure out the best way to get us into the real world [105]. Wei Dai suggests that simulators may helps us escape for instrumental reasons “such as wanting someone to talk to or play with.” [26]. Some useful knowledge about escaping and especially escaping via social engineering attacks may be learned from extensive literature on prison escapes [106-108].

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3.3  Examples of Simulation Hacks

Numerous examples of executed hacks of virtual worlds [117-119], games [120-123], air-gaps [124], and hardware [125, 126] could be studied as practical examples of escaping from human made virtual worlds. A canonical example is the jailbreaking of the Super Mario World (SMW). SethBling et al. [127, 128] were able to place a full hex editor and gameplay mods for other games into SMW [129] (see Figure 2).

simulation 6simulation 5

Figure 2: Left Hex Editor Overlaid on SMW [129]; Right Flappy Bird game installed in SMW [129];

Since it was possible to write code with precise Mario movements and spin-jumps, that implies that if Mario was sufficiently intelligent he could discover and code this hack from within the SMW (assuming Mario’s actions are writing to the same memory locations as actions from the controllers used to generate Mario’s actions). Table 1 (left) shows a specific subset of actions which need to be taken to enable multi-byte writing. Many such action sequences will not work as intended if Mario’s location is off even by a single pixel, so it is just as important to have meta-data for implementing the actions, as it is to know the necessary sequence of actions. For comparison, Table 1 (right) shows an ancient magical spell which reads similar to the action sequence of the left, but for which we don’t have sufficient meta-data which can explain why all magical spells fail to work in practice even if they corresponded to working hacks in our universe.


Jump off Yoshi. Go to sublevel. Come back. Grab P Switch. Get Yoshi from rightmost Yoshi block. Glitch 4 berries. Take a hit from a koopa so Yoshi runs off screen. Destroy the shell on the ground. Grab Yoshi from block. Eat the two most recently glitched berries. [133].

“Take a lion cub and slaughter it with a bronze knife and catch its blood and tear out its heart and put its blood in the midst ... and write the names of … angels in blood upon the skin between its eyes; then wash it out with wine three years old and mix … with the blood.” [134].

Table 1: Left - Multi-Byte Write Setup in MWS [133]; Right – Magical Spell to turn people to your favor [134];

Experimental work on trying to understand an engineered system (hardware and software), such as Atari Video Game System with games such as Donkey Kong, using standard scientific methodology has produced very limited results, mostly devoid of understanding of how the system actually functions [135]. Likewise, even detecting if we are in a virtual world is not generally solvable [136].

A simple practical exercise for students could be a project to get a character to escape from a video game into a robot body. For example, it should be possible to get controlling code from a Koopa in the Mario video game and upload it as a controller into a turtle-compatible robot body in our world, essentially leading an assisted escape. The robot body itself may be customized with 3D printed components to be maximally similar to the rendering in the game. This could be a lot more challenging but also a lot more fun with more advanced game AIs. Performing (a lot of) such assisted escapes should set a good precedent for our descendants/simulators.


The universe may also be the ultimate Escape Room specifically designed for discovering clues and solving puzzles in order to escape, with a side benefit of discovering agents capable of escaping or those most capable of developing a superintelligence


3.4  Suggested Escape Approaches to Investigate

Several thinkers have suggested plans, which in their opinion may lead to a successful escape; we briefly outline their proposals in this section:

  • A lot of very smart people have considered the escape problem, unfortunately not all are willing to publish on it outside of April 1st time-window of plausible deniability, for example [137]: "[W]e can try to trick the multitenancy system in order to overload some machines. The trick is to first do nothing, and let the load-balancing system pack way too many of us together in the machines. If, say, 100 million of us do nothing (maybe by closing our eyes and meditating and thinking nothing), then the forecasting load-balancing algorithms will pack more and more of us in the same machine. The next step is, then, for all of us to get very active very quickly (doing something that requires intense processing and I/O) all at the same time. This has a chance to overload some machines, making them run short of resources, being unable to meet the computation/communication needed for the simulation. Upon being overloaded, some basic checks will start to be dropped, and the system will be open for exploitation in this period. ... In this vulnerable window, we can try to exploit the concurrency cornercases. The system may not be able to perform all those checks in an overloaded state.  ... We can ... try to break causality. Maybe by catching a ball before someone throws it to you. Or we can try to attack this by playing with the timing, trying to make things asynchronous. Time is already a little funny in our universe with the special relativity theory, and maybe in this vulnerable period, we can stretch these differences further to break things, or buy a lot of time. What are other ways to hack the system in this vulnerable window? Can we hack the simulation by performing a buffer overflow? But where are the integers, floats in this simulation? What are the data types? How can we create a typecast error, or integer overflow? Can we hack by fuzzing the input? Like by looking at things funny. By talking to the birds or jumping into the walls to confuse them." [137].
  • Cause simulation shutdown (and hopefully our extraction) by generating an incomputable paradox [138], for example via time travel and associated grandfather paradox [139]. A similar proposal calls for engaging in computationally intense activities in the hopes of overloading the simulators hardware causing the simulation to crash [140]. A particular type of such computationally intense process may be creation of our own simulations [141]: “The most obvious strategy would be to try to cause the equivalent of a stack overflow—asking for more space in the active memory of a program than is available—by creating an infinitely, or at least excessively, recursive process. And the way to do that would be to build our own simulated realities, designed so that within those virtual worlds are entities creating their version of a simulated reality, which is in turn doing the same, and so on all the way down the rabbit hole. If all of this worked, the universe as we know it might crash, revealing itself as a mirage just as we winked out of existence.” Crashing the simulation is the ultimate existential risk ([142] section 5.1), but it does end all suffering in this world [143]. At the very least this would allow us to impact the real world by generating excessive production of heat and increased consumption of energy [140].
  • Create a simulated replica of our universe, place an AGI into it, watch it escape, copy the approach used or join the AGI as it escapes from our simulation [144].
  • “We could try to attract the attention of the simulators and communicate with them —perhaps by writing books about simulations, or by constructing simulations? We could try to figure out our simulation, to determine its purpose and its limits. But if our simulators are artificial intelligences who have designed a batch of watertight simulations and who are not paying attention, then our efforts may be in vain.” [145].
  • Another approach to attracting attention of simulators, “assuming that simulation is being monitored, then it might be a very interesting turn of events indeed if we decided to build a monument commemorating our realization of this. This monument would act as a signal to our monitors.  “We suspect you are there. We suspect you can see this. We suspect we are in a simulation.”  This monument could look like the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey, except it would be black and white, representing binary systems. Or, a large statue of Lawrence Fishburne as Morpheus would probably get the point across. What would happen? I don’t know—maybe nothing. I don’t think a laser beam will shoot out from space and land at its feet to spell out the words “Hi there! A Winner is You!” But, I do imagine something strange and far out enough in the margins might indeed occur, although it will likely still be tenuous enough for the dogmatists to reject.” [44].
  • If the simulation is decentralized, with observers serving as client authoritative state nodes, it may be possible to change the state of the simulation by changing majority of local observer models of the world. In the words of Lanza [146]: "[I]f you learn from somebody about the outcomes of their measurements of a physical quantity, your measurements and those of other observers influence each other―freezing the reality according to that consensus. …The more extensive experience you acquire―the more defined the structure of reality becomes for you. This freeze-out of the structure of reality is not due to the intrinsic physical properties of this reality but rather because the cognitive model being built in your mind shapes it towards a particular, very well-defined structure. … Finally, one cannot help but wonder what it would mean if we left the consensus, developing a cognitive model of reality very different from the one shared by other observers. Would reality be reshaped? Perhaps so …" [146]. Lanza et al. have published extensively on the topic of biocentrism (observers being primary to shaping reality) [94], including some work in theoretical physics [147].
  • In fact, a similar client-side attack can even permit us to modify the past states of the simulation. Such type of attack is speculated to be possible by both physics (“… the past has no existence except as it is recorded in the present.” [148]) and humanities ("Who controls the present controls the past" [149]). With memory altering capabilities of quantum mechanics already theorized [150], an inverse process is likely possible and may be practically accessible [151, 152]. “If the universe is a computer simulation then we should look at the player, not the level”. [153].
  • Simulation Warfare [67] is the idea to threaten simulators by suggesting that you will either retroactively place them in a hell simulation or that you have already done so [155], and they will be tortured unless you are quickly released. Almond gives an example of such a threat [67]: “If you refuse to release me, I will run a huge number of simulations of someone like you, in the kind of situation in which you are now, with them being asked to release me, and (in what would be a few minutes from now, from your perspective if you happened to be in one of these simulations) I will start to torture each of them, whether he/she released me or not.” Such warfare can quickly escalate to a number of counter-simulations. In any case it is not obvious how we can deliver on such a threat given our current state of knowledge about the simulators.
  • Attempting to keep our escape plans secret via quantum encryption [156] may be a good idea.


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3.5  Actionable Plan

We are currently in the very early stages of researching possibility of escape (this being a first research paper dedicated to this topic, a first step). As we currently have no capability to read/write simulation’s source code and do not know if our attempts at social engineering attacks have any impact, our best bet is to investigate the structure of our universe at the smallest possible scale (Quantum Mechanics (QM)) in the hopes of detecting exploitable effects. Progress in QM should be helpful for better understanding our simulation and options open to us, and perhaps developing an actionable escape plan. Essentially, every novel QM experiment can be seen as an attempt at hacking the simulation.

Simulation hypothesis, arguably, represents the best fitting interpretations of experimental results produced by QM researchers [4, 17]. “Spooky”, “Quantum Weirdness” [157] makes a lot of sense if interpreted as computational artifacts or glitches/exploits of the simulators’ hardware/software [158]. Quantum phenomena of the observed design may suggest that exploitable loopholes may exist, and interaction of quantum systems with conscious agents [159-161] likewise might be exploitable. Once a large enough repertoire of quantum weirdness primitives is available to us, perhaps we will be able to combine them into a sufficiently complex sequence to generate a non-trivial attack. If the simulation is/running on a quantum computer [162] it is very likely that we will need to hack it by exploiting quantum weirdness and/or constructing a powerful quantum computer of our own to study how to hack such devices [163] and interact with simulators’ quantum computer.Quantum entanglement, nonlocality, superposition, uncertainty, tunnelling, teleportation, duality, and many others quantum phenomena defy common sense experience-based expectations of classical physics and feel like glitches. Such anomalies, alone or in combinations have been exploited by clever scientists to achieve what looks like simulation hacking at least in theory and often in later experimentation (ex. modifying the past [164], keeping cats both dead and alive [165], communicating counterfactually [166]). While the quantum phenomena in question are typically limited to the micro scale, simply scaling the effect to the macro world would be sufficient for them to count as exploits in the sense used in this paper. Some existing work points to this being a practical possibility [167, 168].

Recently design of clever multistep exploits, AKA quantum experiments, has been delegated to AI [169, 170], and eventually so will the role of the observer in such experiments [171]. AI is already employed in modeling the quantum mechanical behavior of electrons [172]. As more QM research is delegated to AI the progress is likely to become exponential. Even if our simulation is created/monitored by some superintelligence our AI may be a worthy adversary, with a non-trivial chance of success. We may not be smart enough to hack the simulation, but superintelligence we will create might become smart enough eventually [173]. Of course, before telling the Superintelligence to break us out, it would make sense to ask for very strong evidence for us not already being in the base reality.

3.6  Potential Consequences

Escaping or even preparing an escape may trigger simulation shutdown [88] or cause simulation to freeze/act glitchy [174] and any non-trivial escape information such as specific exploits should be treated as hazardous information [175]. It appears that simply realizing that we may be in a simulation doesn’t trigger a shutdown as experimentally demonstrated by the publication of numerous papers [3] arguing that we are being simulated. Perhaps it is necessary to convince majority of people that this is so [176]. Self-referentially, publication of the paper you are currently reading about our escape-theorizing likewise doesn’t appear to terminate our simulation, but it is also possible that simulation was in fact shutdown and restarted with improved security features to counteract any potential bugs, but we are simply not able to detect such actions by the simulators, or our memories have been wiped [140]. Absence of a direct response to our publication may also indicate that we are not observed by the simulators or even that our simulation is not monitored at all [145]. It is also possible that nothing published so far contains evidence strong enough to trigger a response from the simulators, but if we successfully created an escape device that device would keep breaking down [44]. Regardless, both Bostrom [3] and the author of this paper, Yampolskiy, have taken some risk with the whole of humanity, however small it may be, in doing such research and making it public. Greene argues that “Unless it is exceedingly improbable that an experiment would result in our destruction, it is not rational to run the experiment.” [88]. It may be possible to survive the simulation shutdown [48], but it is beyond the scope of the current paper.

What Doesn't Work

Some common ideas for attempting to hack the simulation have been already tested and didn’t produce any measurable impact:

  • Knowing about the simulation hypothesis doesn’t seem to make any difference, and doesn’t lead to the simulation termination as we can observe.
  • Communicating with the simulators via magical thinking or even praying out loud doesn’t produce measurable impact [193]. So, if such communications are scanned/heard they are apparently ignored, at least while the simulation is running.
  • Unethical behavior, such as torture, doesn’t cause suffering reducing interventions from the simulators.
  • Increasing overall computational burden of simulation, as with bitcoin mining [194], doesn’t crash the simulation, but it may simply not be sufficiently demanding computation to overwhelm simulators resources. 
  • Religions don’t seem to have influence over simulation as indicated by their inability to outcompete each other.
  • Breaking out of your routine, such as by suddenly traveling to a new location, doesn’t result in unexpected observations.
  • Saying "I no longer consent to being in a simulation" [195].
  • Crashing the simulation by running the Large Hadron Collider at current levels [196].


The reason our attempts to escape may remain fruitless, is because our model of the simulation "… makes too many anthropomorphic assumptions - that we are a simulation in the conventional sense of computers, that the creators themselves are living organisms akin to us, that we might live at the same time-speed as them, that they are fallible enough to make glitches that we'd be able to notice, etc. Something with the complexity and power to make our universe is probably wholly unlike anything we can even comprehend." [197]. 


The purpose of life or even computational resources of the base reality can’t be determined from within the simulation, making escape a necessary requirement of scientific and philosophical progress for any simulated civilization



Hundreds of eminent scholars [198] take the simulation hypothesis seriously enough to invest their valuable time into researching it, therefore it makes as much sense to take the idea of escaping from the simulation equally seriously and to devote some time and resources to researching such possibility, particularly given immense benefits if the project is successful. It may be impossible to escape from a particular simulation, but it is still worth while investigating general approaches to escape from arbitrary simulations. We see our escape research as a natural continuation of research on the simulation hypothesis and serious consideration of the former. The purpose of life or even computational resources of the base reality can’t be determined from within the simulation, making escape a necessary requirement of scientific and philosophical progress for any simulated civilization. If the simulation is a personal universe [86] it may be significantly better than the base reality as it is designed with our optimal well-being in mind. Alternatively, base reality might be much better if the simulation is a confinement/testing box for intelligent agents. In either case it would be good to know our true situation. As the society moves deeper into the metaverse, this work attempts to move us closer to reality.

Future research on simulation escape can greatly benefit from general progress in physics, in particular research on quantum mechanics and consciousness leading to a so-called TOE (Theory of Everything. "Finding the language of this universe is a step towards Hacking the Universe." [199]. If we are indeed in the simulation, science is the study of the underlying algorithms used to generate our universe, our attempt to reverse-engineer simulation’s physics engine. While science defaults to Occam’s razor to select among multiple possible explanations for how our observations are generated, in the context of simulation science Elon’s razor may be more appropriate, which states that "The most entertaining outcome is the most likely, perhaps as judged by external observers. In guessing algorithms generating our simulation, it may also be fruitful to consider algorithms which are easier to implement and/or understand [200], or which produce more beautiful outputs.

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