Did Shakespeare not say ‘All the world’s a stage’? And (my favorite quote), from Einstein : ‘Reality is a very persistent illusion’. At last week’s 2016 recode technology conference in San Francisco, Elon Musk remarked that life as we know it, may in fact be a computer simulation.
Here is his argument ..
The strongest argument for us being in a simulation probably is the following: 40 years ago we had pong. Like, two rectangles and a dot. That was what games were. Now, 40 years later, we have photorealistic, 3D simulations with millions of people playing simultaneously, and it’s getting better every year. Soon we’ll have virtual reality, augmented reality.
If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then the games will become indistinguishable from reality, even if that rate of advancement drops by a thousand from what it is now. Then you just say, okay, let’s imagine it’s 10,000 years in the future, which is nothing on the evolutionary scale.
So given that we’re clearly on a trajectory to have games that are indistinguishable from reality, and those games could be played on any set-top box or on a PC or whatever, and there would probably be billions of such computers or set-top boxes, it would seem to follow that the odds that we’re in base reality is one in billions.
Tell me what’s wrong with that argument. Is there a flaw in that argument?
So this prompted The Late Show’s Stephen Colbert in his introduction on Thursday night’s show, to ask his assistant Paul, if he thought that was possible – that we’re in a giant simulation. ‘Hmm, I don’t know’ replied Paul. And just then Pinky from Pac-Man* ambushed them and made them disappear.
*[From Wikipedia] Pac-Man (Japanese: パックマン Pakkuman) is an arcade game developed by Namco and first released in Japan on May 21, 1980. It was created by Japanese video game designer Toru Iwatani. It was licensed for distribution in the United States by Midway and released in October 1980. Immensely popular from its original release to the present day, Pac-Man is considered one of the classics of the medium, and an icon of 1980s popular culture.