Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Some pretty famous people believe we are part of a computer simulation

The idea that we are all living in a sophisticated computer simulation, à la Matrix, is not a particularly new one. The modern exposition if the idea can be said to date to the work of British philosopher Nicholas Bostrom back in 2003, and the general idea goes back much further than that. What I hadn't realized, though, is that no lesser mainstream personalities than Elon Musk and Neil DeGrasse-Tyson are believers in this apparently rather outré idea.
The theory goes that, given how far computer gaming technology has progressed in a relatively short time - from Pong in the ealy 1970s to Crysis and Assassin's Creed today, for example - it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the technology, and new technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality, will further progress to the point where it will be essentially impossible to distinguish between reality and simulation. If you accept that, then it is not too much of a stretch to accept that maybe we are part of some advanced future civilization's hyper-real simulation.
But surely this is still a pretty radical and kooky idea, the province of mavericks and crackpots. Well, Elon Musk may be a bit eccentric, but he's probably not a crackpot, and he certainly seems to be sold on the idea. DeGrasse-Tyson is even less of an odd-ball, and he gives the idea a 50-50 chance of turning out to be true.
I guess we will never be able to prove the issue one way or the other, so such a claim may be relatively safe. But I was, nevertheless, a little taken aback that two such established, successful and popular figures were willing to entertain such an extravagant and controversial theory.

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