Recent political events have turned the world upside down. The UK voting for Brexit and the US electing Donald Trump as president were unthinkable 18 months ago. In fact, they're so extraordinary that some have questioned whether they might not be an indication that we're actually living in some kind of computer simulation or alien experiment. Less than two years ago, the US electing Donald Trump as president was unthinkable, the researcher argues. The question of whether we are actually aware of the real world is one which has been continually asked by philosophers.
Have you ever wondered if life is not exactly what it's cracked up to be? OK, let's take that thought a little further. Have you ever suffered from an identity crisis? One in which you suspected that you're not a real person, but instead an extremely sophisticated computer simulation of a real person produced by an immensely more developed civilisation than that which we take to be our own? It's just possible that I lost you on that last point, but stay with me, because the reality we take for granted is coming under increasing technological and theoretical threat. Earlier this month in an office block in Euston, I put on a virtual reality (VR) headset and began playing a prototype of a game developed by a company called Dream Reality Interactive.
When Elon Musk isn't outlining plans to use his massive rocket to leave a decaying Planet Earth and colonize Mars, he sometimes talks about his belief that Earth isn't even real and we probably live in a computer simulation. "There's a billion to one chance we're living in base reality," he said at a conference in June. Musk is just one of the people in Silicon Valley to take a keen interest in the "simulation hypothesis", which argues that what we experience as reality is actually a giant computer simulation created by a more sophisticated intelligence. If it sounds a lot like The Matrix, that's because it is. According to this week's New Yorker profile of Y Combinator venture capitalist Sam Altman, there are two tech billionaires secretly engaging scientists to work on breaking us out of the simulation.
A prominent computer scientist and MIT professor believes there's a very good chance we're all living in a computer simulation. The idea of humans living in a simulated reality controlled by robotic overlords has been much explored by academics, experts and notable figures like tech mogul Elon Musk. But in MIT researcher Rizwan Virk's new book, 'The Simulation Hypothesis,' he probes the idea further, even examining how long it might take before humans could use today's technology to construct their own simulation of reality. MIT researcher Rizwan Virk believes it's more possible than not that we're living in a computer simulation akin to the scenario depicted in the 1990 sci-fi film the Matrix (pictured) There are several aspects of our world that explain why it's likely we are all living in a simulation, Virk said in an interview with Vox. He pointed to'quantum indeterminacy,' or'the idea that a particle is in one of multiple states and you don't know that unless you observe the particle,' Virk said.
On most days, we do not wake up anticipating that we may be suddenly thrust into the sky while popcorn shrimp rains down like confetti, as some guy roars from above: "Hey, there, I'm Jack. And you are in a computer simulation." Instead, we wake up thinking that an atom is an atom, that our physics is inherent to this universe and not prone to arbitrary change by coders, and that our reality is, well, real. Yet there may be another possibility. Game developers have opened up massive, explorable universes and populated them with computer-generated characters based on advanced A.I.