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Elon Musk: We’re living in a simulation

by Brandon Russell | June 2, 2016June 2, 2016 11:20 am PST

Earlier this year noted, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said that it was “very likely” our universe is a computer simulation. You know how games like Minecraft and No Man’s Sky are infinite worlds where essentially anything is possible? That’s what our life is like, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk seems to agree.

Speaking at Recode’s Code Conference on Thursday, Musk was asked whether our existence is just a simulation being run by an alien civilization. The long and the short of it: yes.

The strongest argument for us being in a simulation is the following: 40 years ago, we had Pong. Two rectangles and a dot. Now, 40 years later, we have photorealistic 3D with millions playing simultaneously. 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 1000 from what it is now. It’s a given that we’re clearly on a trajectory that we’re going to have games that are indistinguishable from reality.

The basis for this thinking focuses on the “simulation hypothesis,” which says that reality is a simulation and we’re totally unaware. Right now, physicists are trying to prove the simulation hypothesis by proving it’s possible to simulate a universe. If there comes a point when scientists make it happen, there’s a very good possibility we’re living in a simulation ourselves.

When Tyson argued that we might be living in a simulation, he said there is probably a life-form out there much more intelligent than us—similar to our intelligence compared to, say, a dog.

If this is all a simulation, is the computer in front of me even real? What really happens when we die? Why does pizza taste so good?

Recode

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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