Kids these days are head over heels into video games, do you ever think maybe we live in a video game itself. The question seems absurd. Yet there are plenty who are convinced that this is not only possible but perhaps likely.
Rizwan Virk, a computer scientist and video game designer, published a 2019 book, The Simulation Hypothesis, that traces the path from today’s technology to what he calls the “Simulation Point,” the moment at which we could realistically build a Matrix-like simulation.
I know nothing about computer science, but this idea that we’re all characters in an advanced civilization’s video game is, well, kind of awesome.
Pretend you know absolutely nothing about the “simulation hypothesis.” What is the simulation hypothesis?
The simulation hypothesis is the modern equivalent of an idea that the physical world we live in, including the Earth and the rest of the physical universe, is actually part of a computer simulation.
You can think of it like a high resolution or high-fidelity video game in which we are all characters, and the best way to understand it is the movie The Matrix, which many people have seen, it’s become a cultural phenomenon now beyond the film industry.
In that movie, Keanu Reeves plays the character Neo, who meets a guy names Morpheus, who is aptly named after the Greek god of dreams, and Morpheus gives him a choice of taking a red pill or a blue pill. If he takes the red pill, he wakes up and realizes that his entire life, including his job, the building he lived in, and everything else, was part of this elaborate video game, and he wakes up in a world outside of the game, which he did.
Are we living in a simulated universe right now?
There are lots of mysteries in physics that are better explained by the simulation hypothesis than by what would be a material hypothesis.
The truth is that there’s much we simply don’t understand about our reality, and I think it’s more likely than not that we are in some kind of a simulated universe. Now, it’s a much more sophisticated video game than the games we produce, just like today World of Warcraft and Fortnite are way more sophisticated than Pac-Man or Space Invaders. They took a couple of decades of figuring out how to model physical objects using 3D models and then how to render them with limited computing power, which eventually led to this spate of shared online video games.
I think there’s a very good chance we are, in fact, living in a simulation, though we can’t say that with 100 percent confidence. But there is plenty of evidence that points in that direction.