Have you ever wondered if the world isn’t actually real? Well, get ready to boot up because things are about to get trippy. For a while now, the Simulation Hypothesis has been considered crazy, akin to conspiracy theorists and tinfoil hats. It’s easy to shrug it off as some kind of science fiction like The Matrix. However, recently, this hypothesis has regained traction, floating around the internet with newfound vigor from the tech industry and making headlines with Elon Musk and Neil deGrasse Tyson putting stock in it. So, what exactly is the Simulation Hypothesis? Get ready to take the red pill because we’re going into Wonderland. Here are 25 Crazy Ideas About The Simulation Hypothesis.
Bostrom's Simulation Hypothesis
Nick Bostrom, a professor of philosophy at Oxford University, proposed the Simulation Hypothesis in 2003. His argument states that at least one of the following three things are true: “(1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation.” He believes the chances 1 or 2 is true is unlikely and that 3 is much more likely.
Part of Bostrom’s argument hinges on the assumption of human technological progress. If human technology continues at its current rate or faster, then it’s probable that humanity will create a computer powerful enough to run life-like simulations with or exceeding the capacity of the human brain.
The Pong Argument
Elon Musk has made headlines for buying into the Simulation Hypothesis, stating he believes it’s very likely we’re living in a simulation. He makes perhaps the “strongest” argument that is similar but arguably more understandable than Bostrom’s. It goes like this: Forty years ago we created Pong, two rectangles, and a dot. Today, we have photorealistic 3D simulations. We also have virtual reality and augmented reality. Imagine what the next forty years will bring?
End of the World Argument
Bostrom argues that the end of the world will likely be the end of our simulation. If his progress argument is true, and we aren’t the first humans to create life-like simulations, he doesn’t think the “posthumans,” or the humans that first created the simulation, would allow our simulation to create another life-like simulation, meaning that once we come close to achieving life-like simulations, our simulation will end. Others disagree with him on this point, but we’ll get to that later.
The Simulation Hypothesis brings new credence to the philosophical idea of Modal Realism, brought to life by 20th-century philosopher David Lewis. In simple terms, Modal Realism states that there are many possible worlds, and they are as real as the world we live in. Philosophers have disputed this idea for quite some time, but with the Simulation Hypothesis, it makes a lot more sense.