It has been 22 years since The matrix popularized the idea that reality is an illusion and that we are all lying in pods of fluid, serving as nutrients for machines. It sounds fantastic to most people – typical of science fiction – but there are some scientists and philosophers who believe that The matrix, with the long awaited sequel Matrix resurrections, raises serious questions about whether we really live in a computer simulation.
So, are we? You take the blue pill and the article ends. You close the website and start descaling the kettle again. You take the red pill and you keep reading and Rizwan Virk, computer scientist and author of The simulation hypothesis, will show you the depth of the rabbit hole.
“I think it’s more likely than not that we’re in some sort of simulation,” says Virk, whose book is built on a 2003 article by the Oxford philosopher. Nick bostrom this ask if we live in a computer simulation. He argues that the most likely outcome, of three options, is that an advanced civilization will survive long enough to be able to develop the technology to create various simulated worlds.
“This means that there are many simulated realities and that there is only one basic reality,” says Virk. “So, which reality are you most likely to find yourself in – the 99 simulated realities or the only base reality?” You are more likely to be in 99.
This is a theory that remains to be proven, but it has not been disproved either. One of Virk’s great arguments is based on the expression of physicist John Wheeler “bit it”, the idea that the basis of the Universe is not energy or matter but information, each subatomic particle representing a bit. “We can basically 3D print any object, and genes are just data,” says Virk.
This fuels his larger argument that while the multiverse – the assumption that every time a decision is made, it creates a new timeline – is real, it supports the assumption that reality is digital rather than physical. “There is nothing in nature that duplicates the entirety of a large physical object, especially in an instant,” he says, “but it’s quite easy to duplicate information and render it as needed. . “
He also cites the observer effect, a phenomenon in physics in which just looking at something can change it. “It doesn’t make sense if you live in one physical reality,” says Virk, “but in video games we only render the world when you need to see it. This suggests that we live in a world. rendered, where reality only exists when it is observed. “
Let’s say it’s true, let’s say we all live in a computer simulation: who or what is on the other side? “Some people say they are aliens,” says Virk. “In Bostrom’s simulation argument, the simulations are what he calls ‘ancestor simulations’ carried out by future versions of ourselves. It would essentially be like we were simulating ancient Rome.
And why would they want to simulate our world? “Well, why are we doing simulations? Usually, it comes down to determining the different possible outcomes. We could run a simulation, for example, of a global nuclear war or climate change. We could run it multiple times to see which scenarios are most likely to lead to destruction. “
But if we live in a computer simulation, how does that affect our approach to life? Doesn’t that make it all foolish?
“Some people say, ‘well, it doesn’t matter what you do’. For me, it’s not quite that, ”explains Virk. “It’s more that I chose to play this game, I chose some of its quests and challenges. And it wouldn’t be a very interesting game if everything was easy.
Verdict: The simulation theory is solid and we love Keanu Reeves, so it looks like we better take the Red Pill.
About our expert, Rizwan Virk
Rizwan (“Riz”) Virk is a successful entrepreneur, investor, best-selling author, video game industry pioneer and independent film producer. Riz received a BS in Computer Science from MIT and an MS in Management from Stanford GSB.
Rice books include Startup Myths and Models, The simulation hypothesis, Zen entrepreneurship, and Treasure hunt: follow your inner clues to find true success.
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