All the Difference in the World

If time travel were possible, so the argument, we’d be surrounded by time travelers, to which one response would be, or might be, that we are surrounded by time travelers.

If a computer simulation of life were possible, or a near simulation of some aspects of one person’s life, then there is a likelihood, or near likelihood – so a line of thinking – that one or more of us already live in a computer simulation or, indeed, everything you or I know is something akin to being a facsimile of the same. Your thought, a likeness of the same. This very idea, a simulation of the same.

This spreads outward into multiple reproductions, the idea of a future singularity event — the transcendence of humans to a world free of their apparent biological nature — being a part of the same illusion, would represent just another layer, or more layers, of simulation. As simulations go, they might be indistinguishable from one another, but as processes, set in motion to run their own course, there might be minute discrepancies — differences so subtle it would take a lifetime to find amidst the lifespan of the history of the known – or knowable – universe. Let alone this multiverse.

Of course, combing through the data would be done with much more powerful programs than the human brain, so it would be a computer that would ultimately deliver the news that you were unoriginal.

Actual cognizance of your own derivation would appear as prohibitive as direct access to the day after tomorrow from now, or an immediate portal to any point in the past by way of anything but our incredibly flawed system of memory. We might look at each moment of time as a physical frame with no way forward without first toggling through the intervening frame. No skip function.

Likewise, we might look at each computer-like simulation as a frame of reference, laid out sequentially, with no way to examine simulation C without first going through the entirety of simulation B.

But even if perceivable simultaneous access to multiple simulations were possible, looking for discrepancies between two simulations of almost imperceptible variation would take too long to recognize with the naked mind. And the vast differences between, say, simulations Z and A might be so great as to appear as if from different essences entirely.

Without comprehensive comparison capabilities, the ability to know what you were looking at seems remote. It could be by default that you are forever leaping from a point in one simulation to a point in another. How would you know?

And what difference does it make?