What if your reality was nothing more than a complex computer simulation? And if you were just a program on someone else’s hard drive, how would you know?
Who would be controlling your every move? What kind of technology could make the simulation possible? And how could you break out of the matrix?
Today, it only takes a virtual reality headset to jump into a computer-simulated realm. We can even bring some digital magic into the real world as a part of augmented reality experiences.
Our future computers may be able to generate entire simulated universes. And if we humans were able to simulate complex realities, how could we ever be sure that our own world wasn’t just a computer simulation designed by another, more advanced civilization?
Everything in the world we live in seems to be based on mathematical laws. We can predict how everything in nature behaves by making a few calculations. For instance, we can find out the speed at which this car moves by just measuring how long it takes the car to cover a certain distance.
Even our genetic code has a mathematical model. Just like if someone had programmed our reality with a computer code. See where I’m going with this? We may be living in a giant video game without realizing it.
But who designed this matrix? An advanced alien civilization? Maybe not aliens, but a future iteration of humanity simulating the lives of their ancestors. Which would make you a living memory of someone else’s great-great-great-grandmother.
This future humanity would require extremely powerful supercomputers to run the simulation down to the subatomic level. Much more powerful than the most advanced computer we could imagine.
If we ever got to this level of technological advancement, and started running computer simulations of our own, that would be very strong evidence that our reality was also simulated. A simulation creating their own simulation, wouldn’t that be mind blowing? Chances are, our creators would turn out to be someone else’s simulation.
This phenomenon could be something that’s been going on for generations. In the many, many simulations, from the original reality on down, each subsequent simulation would turn out less and less advanced. They just wouldn’t be able to match their creators in advancing their technologies.
If your life was a simulation, you wouldn’t know. Just like there’s no proof that you’re not living a simulation, since the reality of our world could be simulated.
But you could try looking for the glitches. If our world was some computer code, it could have software bugs. Every now and then, when our simulators decided to roll an update, something could slip sideways.
It could be a glitch like meeting your doppelgänger – someone who looks like you, but isn’t related to you. It might just be a mix up in character appearance preferences.
If we ever found out that we were a program on someone’s hard drive, it could be because that someone wanted us to. In that case, escaping the simulation would be, well, simulated. We’d just end up on another level of the matrix.
Maybe, discovering the identity of our creators would make them reboot the system. A big Ctrl-Alt-Del for the entire universe.
Reality might not be a quantum computer simulation. But if it is, would it change anything in your day-to-day life? Not likely.
- “Are You Living In A Simulation?”. Bostrom, Nick, 2018. simulation-argument.com. Accessed December 1 2018.
- “Are We Living In A Computer Simulation?”. Moskowitz, Clara. 2018. Scientific American. Accessed December 1 2018.
- “We Are Not Living In A Simulation. Probably.”. McDonald, Glenn, 2018. Fast Company. Accessed December 1 2018.
- “Do We Live In A Computer Simulation” . Bostrom, Nick, 2018. simulation-argument.com. Accessed December 1 2018.