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Are we living in a computer simulation?
The question seems absurd. Yet there are plenty of smart people who are convinced that this is not only possible but perhaps likely.
Just as Neo in The Matrix finds out that his whole life has been in a computer simulation, and the reality is completely different from everything he knew and experienced his whole existence, a new paper claiming that the entire universe is a computer simulation has shaken the heads of people all over the world.
In an influential paper that laid out the theory, the Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom showed that at least one of three possibilities is true:
1) All human-like civilizations in the universe go extinct before they develop the technological capacity to create simulated realities;
2) If any civilizations do reach this phase of technological maturity, none of them will bother to run simulations;
3) Advanced civilizations would have the ability to create many, many simulations, and that means there are far more simulated worlds than non-simulated ones.
The simulation hypothesis is the modern equivalent of an idea that’s been around for a while. For example, in Hindu culture, the world around us is called Maya, an illusion.
A fresh version of the idea is that the physical world that we live in, including the Earth and the rest of the physical universe, is actually part of a computer simulation.
In The Matrix, Keanu Reeves plays the character Neo, who meets a guy named Morpheus, who is aptly named after the Greek god of dreams, and Morpheus gives him a choice of taking the red pill or the blue pill. And if he takes the red pill, he wakes up and realizes that his entire life, including his job, the building he lived in, and everything else, was part of this elaborate video game, and he wakes up in a world outside of the game.
There are lots of mysteries in physics that are better explained by the simulation hypothesis than by what would be a material hypothesis.
There’s much we simply don’t understand about our reality. It’s more likely than not that we are in some kind of a simulated universe. Now, it’s a much more sophisticated video game than the games we produce, just like today World of Warcraft and Fortnite is way more sophisticated than Pac-Man or Space Invaders.
Everything we see as physical is really the result of bits of information
Computers do follow rules, but the fact that the rules always apply doesn't rule in or rule out that we could be part of a computer simulation.
If we are conscious beings, we are more likely to be a simulated beings than biological ones because it’s so quick and easy to create them.
There are 10 stages of technology development that civilization would have to go through to get to the simulation point, which is the point at which we can create a hyperrealistic simulation like this.
We’re at about stage five, which is around virtual reality and augmented reality. Stage six is about learning to render these things without us having to put on glasses, and the fact that 3D printers now can print 3D pixels of objects shows us that most objects can be broken down as information.
Theme park manager
We all may not be real, but just a player in an elaborate video game.
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