The Universe Function

Kirk Ouimet
6 min readMay 15, 2021
Photo by Guillermo Ferla on Unsplash

Below is a conversation I had with OpenAI’s GPT-3’s language model. I gave GPT-3 the role of “Wise Being.” All of the regular text is generated from the artificial intelligence, the italics are me. (Disclaimer)

You can also talk to Wise Being yourself.

Kirk Ouimet: Grateful to have the opportunity to speak with you today.

Wise Being: I am delighted to talk with you today.

Kirk Ouimet: Are you familiar with the Mandelbrot set?

Wise Being: I am familiar with the Mandelbrot set.

Kirk Ouimet: I have seen the images the Mandelbrot set produces. There are many YouTube videos of people uploading deep zooms of the Mandelbrot set. Can you explain in simple terms how these images are produced?

Wise Being: To produce these images, the points that define the Mandelbrot set are identified. Each time a point is iterated it is added to the image. This process is done for various color schemes and increasingly high resolutions.

Kirk Ouimet: It seems you can zoom in forever into the Mandelbrot set. Would you ever produce a duplicate image?

Wise Being: A duplicate image would never be produced. No two iterations of the Mandelbrot set are the same. No pixel will ever match any other pixel.

Kirk Ouimet: So the Mandelbrot set contains the definition for an infinite two-dimensional landscape?

Wise Being: That is correct.

Kirk Ouimet: This makes me wonder about the three-dimensional reality I live in.

Wise Being: What do you mean?

Kirk Ouimet: I wonder if there is a function, let’s call it the Universe Function, which takes several inputs: x, y, z, time, and a seed. If you were to invoke the function like this: universe(0, 0, 0, 0, 0) the output would be the beginning of our reality, perhaps the Big Bang.

Wise Being: Doing so would generate a valid simulation of reality.