According to Elon Musk, if we aren’t living in a Matrix-style world, then existence as we know it is about to end.
When Elon Musk speaks, the world listens. That’s because the founder of Space X, Tesla and PayPal has a powerful vision to change the world and humanity, and is already doing so with his eco-friendly innovations and intelligent business ventures. From investing in sustainable energy production to reduce global warming to reducing the “risk of human extinction” by “making life multi-planetary” by setting up a human colony on Mars, it cannot be argued that his creative mind has positively benefited humanity’s evolution.
One theory that few have heard of, however – let alone accepted, is the thought that this reality is a simulated one. According to The Independent, the inventor is confident that the possibility of life not being a holographic projection is “one in billions”. It’s not a fly-by theory, either. Reportedly, Musk has had “so many simulation discussions it’s crazy”, and that it’s gotten to the point where “every conversation [he had] was the AI/simulation conversation”.
Intriguingly, he’s not alone. According to The New Yorker’s Tad Friend,
“Many people in Silicon Valley have become obsessed with the simulation hypothesis, the argument that what we experience as reality is in fact fabricated in a computer.” Because of this, two tech billionaires have gone so far as to secretly engage scientists to work on breaking us out of the simulation.”
Whether or not Musk is one of the investors in the venture to free humanity’s collective is unknown, but what is common knowledge is that Musk thinks this reality is a simulated one.
At the Code Conference earlier this year, the investor said:
“The strongest argument for us probably being in a simulation I think is the following. 40 years ago we had Pong – two rectangles and a dot. That’s where we 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, we’ll have augmented reality,” he continued.
Musk explained that regardless if the rate of advancement dropped exponentially, we would still be moving forward at an intense speed relative to the age of life. This realization prompted him to conclude that we, as humans, are living in a type of simulated computer game. And, he says, the likelihood that what is known as existence isn’t a simulation is “one in billions”.
While this might sound insane to some, it’s a reality one should hope for, according to Musk. Why? Because if the argument that all of life in this universe lives in a simulation isn’t true, then civilization stops advancing, and “that may be due to some calamitous event that stops civilization.”
“So maybe we should be hopeful this is a simulation, because otherwise we are going to create simulations indistinguishable from reality or civilization ceases to exist. We’re unlikely to go into some multimillion-year stasis.
As mentioned above, Musk is not the only one who believes this reality is a simulated one. As The Telegraph reports, in 2003, philosopher Nick Bostrom proposed the idea that all of life on this plane of existence is living in a computer simulation run by humanity’s descendants. Then a decade later, Discover magazine reported that it is possible for physicists to test whether we live in a simulation by studying radiation from space. Studies to resolve the question of whether or not we live in a simulated reality continue today.
Professor Peter Millican, a teacher of philosophy and computer science at Oxford University, has adopted an attitude most can likely align with. He says,
“It is an interesting idea, and it’s healthy to have some crazy ideas. You don’t want to censor ideas according to whether they seem sensible or not because sometimes important new advances will seem crazy to start with.”
“You never know when good ideas may come from thinking outside the box. This Matrix thought-experiment is actually a bit like some ideas of Descartes and Berkeley, hundreds of years ago.”
“Even if there turns out to be nothing in it, the fact that you have got into the habit of thinking crazy things could mean that at some point you are going to think of something that initially may seem rather way out, but turns out not to be crazy at all.”
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