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A visitor claiming to be from outside our universe has come to our world illegally to push forward her academic project (a simulation that happens to be our universe) before it get's shut down.

Interviewed by some of our suspicious physicists, she is forced to explain how quantum physics and the theory of relativity can be united: and her answer goes along the lines of:

Humanity's progress in string theory is absolutely outstanding, because it postulates 24 dimensions, because your universe only consists of four.

My collegues and I have compressed the informations of our normal 24-dimensional universe into your 4-dimensional universe to save computational power. Unfortunately, you can not bring the two universes together, because the quantum interactions of your universe are imprecise, missing the interaction with the other 20 dimensions.

Basically, what you experience on quantum level is a floating point calculation error in the underlying computational process. The errors occur when we render your world. It's a mathematical error that cannot be overcome from within the simulation.

Is this idea one that the would allow the average reader to suspend his or her disbelief?

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    $\begingroup$ "equivalent to floating point calculation problems" would be enough for me. It an inexact equality for an inexact relationship. It doesn't come off as you (the author) not knowing how to explain it, but as the speaker (the O-O-U character) unable to explain it to the listener (the suspicious physicist). And that works. Trying to technobabble it just gives you "I'll create a GUI interface in visual basic to track the killer's IP address." $\endgroup$ – Draco18s no longer trusts SE Oct 2 '17 at 20:59
  • $\begingroup$ This is pretty speculative, trying to assume what the 'average reader' will think. $\endgroup$ – anon Oct 2 '17 at 21:19
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    $\begingroup$ @anon, It is an opinion-based question and will likely be closed. However, I was once a micro-publisher, and from my perspective, this is a fresh idea and I believe the average reader would suspend their disbelief over this aspect of the story. Physicists and engineers regularly complain about the science not lining up... but that doesn't stop a good story from becoming popular (heck, physicists tore apart Interstellar, which is probably the closest thing Hollywood has ever done to hard-science. It was boring and it still made a boatload of money.) $\endgroup$ – JBH Oct 2 '17 at 22:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Shredding Are we talking about the average reader of a science fiction novel suspending disbelief whilst reading a story, or are we talking about the average reader of a news story in the real word suspending desbelief? $\endgroup$ – Slarty Oct 2 '17 at 23:19
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    $\begingroup$ Too short for an answer, but Sanderson's First Law of Magic most definitely applies here: An author’s ability to solve conflict with magic is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to how well the reader understands said magic. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Oct 3 '17 at 0:42
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I've actually mused on quantum mechanics being little more than floating-point rounding errors in the simulation that is our universe, so your scenario seems legit enough to me. I don't believe QM actually does work that way, but I admit to not knowing nearly enough about QM to say that with any certainty. If you want my opinion on whether your explanation is enough to suspend my disbelief, I'd say you're good to go.

The only thing that doesn't really make sense is how this extradimensional visitor was able to enter the simulation. You could say that the person we see is actually a sort of holographic avatar, and the real researcher is sitting in an office in her dimension, wearing a 23-dimensional VR headset of some sort. And that'd be fine.

I also think you should look at the holographic principle, which is a result in string theory suggesting that all the information in any three-dimensional volume (such as a black hole... or the entire universe) can be encoded on a two-dimensional surface enclosing it. A 3D string theory problem can be translated into a 2D quantum mechanics problem, and vice versa. This also applies to other dimensions- our 3D universe could be the event horizon of a black hole in a 4D universe. Repeated applications of this could be how your extradimensional researchers managed to collapse their 24 dimensions into just 4.

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It partly depends how you determine what the average reader thinks. The problem is that what the average reader thinks is open to interpretation. The average reader is a mixture of many very different people. But even so I don’t think the average reader would suspend disbelief for the following reasons.

Many lay readers would not understand anything about quantum mechanics and would find the whole thing absurd and laughable so their disbelief would not be suspended.

Many lay readers would not be remotely interested and they probably would not have an opinion either way. They would just refocus on something more interesting.

Many with a scientific background would dismiss it as unverifiable and unscientific.

Some amidst the scientific community might demand that researchers be allowed to be taken to where the visitor had come from to verify the truth. But any claim that this wouldn’t be allowed or was not possible would probably make them also dismiss it as unverifiable and unscientific.

There would be some who would want to believe this, as there are always people who will believe almost anything. People from the ranks of the UFO seekers and a variety of fringe religious groups might well be able to suspend disbelief because it suited them.

But I suggest the first 4 groups would outnumber the last by at least an order of magnitude so the average reader would not buy into it.

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