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Science & Technology

Could our reality be a computer simulation ?

By T.K. Randall
June 2, 2016 · Comment icon 29 comments

Virtual reality has arrived - but how real can things get ? Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Marco Verch
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk maintains that it is actually very likely that we live inside a simulation.
Speaking during a recent interview at California's Code Conference, Musk, who is working on everything from the Hyperloop transport system to a manned mission to Mars, is certainly no stranger to pushing the boundaries of what technology can do.

One such challenge - that of building a simulated environment indistinguishable from reality - is undoubtedly still quite a few years away yet, but even today given the ever-growing graphical capabilities of computers and the advent of virtual reality headsets, it is not difficult to imagine a future in which the idea of becoming lost inside a simulation might not seem all that far-fetched.

But what if we already happen to be living within such a simulation right now ?
According to Musk, the chances of this are actually very high because, assuming such simulations are actually possible at all, there are likely to end up being countless billions of them across all the intelligent civilizations in the entire universe and the chances of us living in actual reality - of which there is only one - as oppose to one of these simulations is infinitesimally small.

The only exception, he believes, would be if no civilization had ever been able to advance far enough to pull off a sufficiently accurate simulation of reality.

"Forty years ago we had Pong – two rectangles and a dot. That’s where we were," he said. "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, we’ll have augmented reality."

"If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then the games will become indistinguishable from reality."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (29)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #20 Posted by Codenwarra 7 years ago
I'm not a fan of Mr Musk and this does not help.
Comment icon #21 Posted by Use your brain 7 years ago
There are  18,446,744,073,709,551,616  planets in No Man's Sky.   Now imagine a game like that with the computing power in say 20 years, where you could populate those planets with advanced AI.   I wonder if we will live to see the day where we would start having debates on if we need ethic laws for our video games since the AI thinks it's real 
Comment icon #22 Posted by woopypooky 7 years ago
but how come we have no memories of being outside simulation?
Comment icon #23 Posted by XenoFish 7 years ago
Maybe it's like the Matrix. Except we created a virtual world where everyone's brain in connected through a neural net. So it's not a digital universe but one made of up a 'waking' dream. When the character you're playing as dies, they just put you into a new one. The world outside the great dreaming might be nightmarish. 
Comment icon #24 Posted by Socio 7 years ago
Well if we are living in a computer simulation it would explain progressive liberalism, the IT guy has been surfing on shall we say some illicit sites and picked up a nasty malware virus. Hey simulation IT guy  it is way past time time to update your virus definitions and do a full scan!  
Comment icon #25 Posted by cerberusxp 7 years ago
Strides in physics suggests we are living in but one of seven universes all existing in the same place unilaterally. Being that of the energies here, gravity is but one seventh of the others. Is it possible then that in the crux or the first of these all the others were created?
Comment icon #26 Posted by A_Maine96 7 years ago
I've heard about this "video game theory" before, definitely and interesting way to think. Imagine in a few thousand years when humans are highly intelligent, we would definitely make a simulation to find out how humanity evolved and changed over time to find out how we became what we are today (future today(tomorrow)). 
Comment icon #27 Posted by DieChecker 7 years ago
Comment icon #28 Posted by Emma_Acid 7 years ago
My main job is on a PC, every day, for 10+ hours a day. Whenever I do anything I didn't mean to in the real world, like break a glass, my left hand automatically makes a ctrl+z motion. 
Comment icon #29 Posted by bmk1245 7 years ago
Yeah, that combination works as well (as far as cache allows)...

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