Is this the real life or is it just fantasy? And does it really even matter?
- The simulation argument was first put forth in a paper published in 2003 by philosopher Nick Bostrom.
- Bostrom assigns less than a 50 percent probability that we're living in a simulated universe.
- Some physicists believe that we can test this scientifically.
Is our existence base reality—or are we pawns in a matrix? Cognitive scientist Joscha Bach explains how we might be able to tell.
Are we living in a video game? If so, the joke is on us, says cognitive scientist Joscha Bach. When people debate the possibility of human existence as a simulation, it's predominantly assumed that we are the players. Our overlord simulators are watching us, right? Well, that doesn't seem to gel with the amount of detail present in our world and the observable universe beyond. Why did our cosmic creators bother to code trillions of galaxies into the viewfinders of our telescopes? The Higgs boson, for example, is not necessary for our existence, so who would have the time to add such irrelevant frills just for our amusement (maybe the simulators had a really great intern that summer)? The answer? It's not made for us. According to Bach, if this is a simulation it's unlikely that we are the main attraction and much more realistic that the simulators wanted to make a model of a universe to explore hypothetical physics. That tiny blue dot with primates mixing concrete all over the surface? "We are just a random side effect or an artifact of the fact that evolution is possible in this universe," says Bach.
Two billionaires are apparently funding research into how we can escape the simulation they believe we’re trapped in.
Do you think we're actually living in a gigantic computer simulation like the one in The Matrix? If you do, you're not alone. In fact, you're in some very famous, very wealthy company. Near the end of a recent New Yorker article about Y Combinator, a Silicon Valley tech-company incubator, this paragraph raised the possibility we're in need of a red pill: