We may have been living in a simulation ever since we were born.
Elon Musk, Founder, CEO and CTO of SpaceX; CEO of Tesla Inc., believes that the possibility that we exist within the boundaries of a simulated world. While the idea is not a new one, it may finally be proven that the world we live in is nothing but a goldfish tank that is observed by a higher intelligence than that of the human comprehension.
The idea was most prominently shown in the hit movie, The Matrix, which has become an influential movie in both cinematography and on a philosophical scale; addressing the idea of reality as we have known it to be.
However, not to draft off, when Musk was asked about Virtual Reality, he claimed that we “maybe in a simulation right now”. He questioned, “What are the odds that we are actually in base reality? Isn’t it one in billions?”
The claim that we have been living in a simulation is not a new one. In 1977, Philip K. Dick stated,
“We are living in a computer-programmed reality, and the only clue we have to it is when some variable is changed, and some alternation in our reality occurs.”
Neil deGrasse Tyson claims that we may never be able to escape the Matrix; implying that we are living in a simulated reality. His claims point out to infinite regress where our ability of reasoning becomes sequential and never comes to an end.
The idea that Tyson and Musk agree on stems from the advancements that video game technology has made. Assuming that the progress continues to grow, engineers would have the ability to make simulations that would be indistinguishable from reality using technologies such as Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) and Computer-Brain Interface (CBI).
Regarding the idea of a reality indistinguishable from the truth is a Greek idea known as “Allegory of the Cave” presented by Plato in his work Republic. In it, Plato describes a group of people who have been chained to a wall of a cave for their whole lives. In that cave, they are facing a blank wall where they watch shadows of people projected on the wall as they pass with a fire set behind them. The prisoners’ reality becomes the shadows for they know no other reality and thus have no desire to escape from their prison.
Are we living in cave of the Matrix? Brian Greene concludes, “There is certainly no convincing evidence that leads us to definitely conclude that we are in a simulation.” However, we fall back to the idea of infinite regress where even if we managed to escape the simulation, we may never reach the base reality.