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We’re ‘More Likely Than Not’ Living In A Simulated Reality

by : Julia Banim on : 29 Apr 2021 15:08
We're 'More Likely Than Not' Living In A Simulated RealityWallpaper Flare/Warner Bros.

It’s a Thursday afternoon, and to be honest with you my mind has already started to wind down ready for the weekend.

Unfortunately, I’ve just been jolted out of my lazy haze after reading a recent startling interview with renowned MIT computer scientist and video game designer, Rizwan Virk.

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Speaking with Vox, Virk, who penned the 2019 book The Simulation Hypothesis, argued that it’s ‘more likely than not’ that we are all living in some sort of simulated universe.

Paramount PicturesParamount Pictures

According to Virk, human beings aren’t actually all that far away from crafting hyper-realistic simulations, and could one day realistically create a Matrix-esque simulation.

Virk told Vox:

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There are lots of mysteries in physics that are better explained by the simulation hypothesis than by what would be a material hypothesis.

[…] I think there’s a very good chance we are, in fact, living in a simulation, though we can’t say that with 100 percent confidence. But there is plenty of evidence that points in that direction.

Drawing from his own computing expertise, Virk explained his belief that human beings will eventually reach ‘the simulation point’ whereby they can create hyper-realistic simulations that would be indistinguishable from what we perceive as reality.

The Simulation Hypothesis outlines 10 stages human beings would have to take before getting to this point; stages that Virk has now discussed with Vox.

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Virk said:

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.

My guess is within a few decades to 100 years from now, we will reach the simulation point.

Find out more about the theory of that we are all living in a simulation in the following TED-Ed lesson from Zohreh Davoudi:

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Explaining what the simulation hypothesis actually is, Virk described it as being ‘like a high resolution or high-fidelity video game in which we are all characters’, with The Matrix being the best fictional exploration of this idea within western pop culture.

In 2016, while attending Recode’s annual Code Conference, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk remarked that the odds of us not living inside a simulated universe are at around one in a billion.

Musk said:

The strongest argument for us being in a simulation, probably being in a simulation is the following: 40 years ago, we had pong, two rectangles, and a dot.

That is what games were. Now 40 years later we have photorealistic 3D simulations with millions of people playing simultaneously and it’s getting better every year.

And soon we’ll have virtual reality, augmented reality, if you assume any rate of improvement at all, the games will become indistinguishable from reality.

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Here’s hoping that my bulletproof martial arts skills will kick in any day now…

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Science, MIT, Now, Technology, The Matrix