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."