Tech billionaires including Elon Musk think we live in a simulation of the real world

“Some of the world’s richest and most powerful people are convinced that we are living in a computer simulation. And now they’re trying to do something about it,” Andrew Griffin reports for The Independent. “At least two of Silicon Valley’s tech billionaires are pouring money into efforts to break humans out of the simulation that they believe that it is living in, according to a new report.”

“Philosophers have long been concerned about how we can know that our world isn’t just a very believable simulation of a real one. But concern about that has become ever more active in recent years, as computers and artificial intelligence have advanced,” Griffin reports. “That has led some tech billionaires to speculate that the chances we are not living in such a simulation is ‘billions to one.’ Even Bank of America analysts wrote last month that the chances we are living in a Matrix-style fictional world is as high as 50 percent.”

“Mr Musk spoke earlier this year about the fact that he believes that the chance that we are not living in a computer simulation is ‘one in billions,'” Griffin reports. “He said that he had come to that conclusion after a chat in a hot tub, where it was pointed out that computing technology has advanced so quickly that at some point in the future it will become indistinguishable from real life – and, if it does, there’s no reason to think that it hasn’t done already and that that’s what we are currently living through.”

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Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The only flaw in Musk’s logic is sanity… or insanity. Take your pick: Red pill or blue?

SEE ALSO:
Woz: One day, robots will make us their pets – June 25, 2015
Elon Musk: ‘With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon’ – October 25, 2014
Human takeover by machines closer than we think? – May 8, 2013

51 Comments

    1. And is the creator of the computer simulation living in a computer simulation? And who created him? And in the end, how does any of this alter the fundamental mystery that is life? It’s infinite mystery, no matter what Elon Musk or anyone else may know about the closest next layer. It’s all just ego freaking out about the unknown.

      1. But isn’t it worth questioning it. The only argument for not doing so is that at some stage the act of awareness will lead to the simulation being closed down …. Or if it is indeed Microsoft we all suffer the ultimate blue screen of death.

    2. Good question. So what I believe you are asking is — is there an uncaused cause? There has to be. If not then you just have an infinite regression, which is not logical because we know that the universe had a beginning. Who started it? “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Gen 1:1.

    3. How absurd. These people and the media talking about this like it’s something new. This whole “we’re living in a computer simulation” has been argued to death for centuries. Rene Descartes and his famous treatise is one of the best reads on the subject. “I think, therefore I am”. This was the conclusion he reached through his contemplation of the nature and existence of reality. What he meant was, because he thinks, he simply is a thinking thing. He can’t say much more about himself and what he knows about the world. All he knows is that he can have thoughts.

      In Philosophy, this is about Solipsism. That means that… all you can know is your own sensory experience, nothing more. You’re completely locked into your body and mind, whatever that really is.

      In the end, these morons, like you and me, know nothing more than our own perceptual experience. And by postulation, we can conclude that we are extremely limited in how we experience the world and our knowledge of it. For starters, we only have 5 senses. We can imagine something like an infinite number of senses. This relates to the book “Flatlands”, a very old book about experiencing different dimensions

      Finally, the big problem with idiots like Musk etc.talking about us being a “brain in a vat”, is that humans make analogies throughout history that relates to what they now at X period in time. “Computer” is like a “bag”, or a “phone”, or a “road”, etc. These things have meaning to us TODAY. But they may be meaningless in the future or their meanings could be so different… like a computer may not even be a physical thing.

      We are simple, flawed creatures with a long way to go from an evolutionary standpoint. We are not in a computer simulation. That is meaningless. We will evolve over time, get smarter, physically evolve… etc.

  1. It would explain certain religious aspects – we “die” and then actually “wake up” from the current simulation and if we want we do another – live another life in whatever form or gender we choose. I certainly prefer that scenario to simply returning to eternal blackness and non-sentience. As Captain Obvious would say “There are still mysteries to this universe we haven’t a clue about.”

  2. Musk says the likelihood is far higher than 50%. He suggests it’s nearly 100%. Why? Well, there is only one “base reality,” but there are a massive number of potential simulations. So what are the chances that this is base reality? Very small. Very very very.

  3. From a metaphysical point of view, that’s precisely what Christianity teaches. C. S. Lewis always referred to this life as “the Shadow-Lands,” which are simply shadows of the numinous Reality.

    1. No, there is no comparison here. The loons are stating that we are in a ‘simulation’. That’s the opposite of what CS Lewis and other Christian (and other religious) writers have said. Rather, this is real life here and now. We are provided with the gift of CHOICE and the opportunity to grow to be capable and worthy of the higher form of life to follow…

      No simulation. IRL.

      1. Not quite. emmayche makes an apt comparison.

        Most religions teach that the world (physical universe) we live in is temporal, only what comes after is eternal. Most religions also teach that getting a place there must be worked for.

        Pretty much only Christianity (and offshoots) teach that it is accessible otherwise (by accepting Jesus). Christianity doesn’t preclude Christians from doing “good deeds”, but good deeds aren’t the ticket to the afterlife.

        1. Thank you for the point about temporal vs eternal. Certainly for we creatures that die, this would appear to us to be temporal.

          As for the Christianity points, that get’s into baloney Christianity and source Christianity, as interpreted by whoever. My perspective is that a spirit doesn’t magically change from temporal eternal by ‘accepting Jesus’. I consider that to be deep baloney. Instead, whatever paths works for a person, that goal is to become a spirit capable and worthy of the ‘eternal’. There is no ON switch. We become as we live as what we live. All the best religions point out how to BECOME as a deep and difficult process.

          I’ll point out Matthew 19:24 (King James version) “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

          So much for the tech billionaires! 😉 (I’ll end my contribution to religious discussion there).

        1. I also had a related conversation, at length about the subject, with a friend of mine. His point was the what I shall call ‘The Tyranny Of The Subconscious’, whereby the conscious mind is frequently subject to its choices rather than its conscious choices. THAT I can comprehend.

          Playing out some puppet show for gawd knows what reason, THAT makes no sense. I am very active in my choice making in life and measure my personal growth by what I learn from each choice.

  4. There is an ‘old saying’: “If you want to know God, bend over and kiss your ass.”
    What if we are all spiritual beings, and we collectively ‘created’ this physical world and/or simulation? If we created it, then is it not real? Are they, (both the physical and non-physical realms) not both real if we are the creators…the essence of both of them?
    ….seems like we are always looking in the wrong place. Again: “If you want to know god, bend over and….”
    🙂 live long and prosper. 🖖🏻

  5. What everyone that believes in this theory fails to intuit is that our technological progress will inevitably hit a point of diminishing returns. Life progressed slowly for billions of years, has just hit an inflection point, and will very soon hit another point (that falls short of the perfectly indistinguishable VR) where we’ve discovered 99.9% of technology that is achievable in reality. Just because you can dream of something, that doesn’t mean it can be made reality. Unless we line the streets with circuits and metals (with unsustainable costs), we will never have the hoverboards from back to the future. We will never achieve true time travel. We will never achieve a circuit that perfectly interfaces with our brain to create indistinguishable virtual reality. Other amazing technological paths exist and our future remains bright, but there are some undeniable limits that we just have to come to terms with. We’re already seeing those limits play out in chip development. We won’t go much lower than 10nm process… maybe down to 4 or 5 at the limit. Then we make chips with fully 3D design, which will bring one or two more orders of magnitude improvement. Beyond that, things will slow down very quickly. Entropy is immutable. True, complete immortality is impossible.

    1. That’s. Great argument, one I would love to hear answered by these tech giants. Has there ever been a discussion programme of such varied minds grappling with this I wonder. Such programmes seemed common in the 60s and 70s but seem to have become rare these days. I blame our electronic Masters…. or Cook possibly.

      1. I think very successful people may believe they can be good philosophers. But It is not that easy.

        Many times they lack in argument substance and they get away easy covering their blind spots using their high celebrity status. I am not saying it is a conscious thing. But we humans are pretty good at selling ideas when we are doing ok.

        This world is real, it gets you compromised even if you don’t want to choose and in the end you can’t fool the universe, it is that real, solid or consistent.

        I think one of the biggest mistakes these days is to believe we discovered 99% of reality and that we are very close to the end of this journey. That is dangerous, because it is far from there and the illusion might be We are not looking carefully enough.

        Keep fooling yourself about fundamental things and you will end up in a lot of confusion.

  6. I too think Elon is smoking way too much weed. But then again, if I see Morpheus and Neo walking down the street in long black coats and weird shades, I might change my mind.

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