For all of you who couldn’t help but think whether the Matrix was more than a figment of one’s creative potential, you may find it interesting that the idea that we may be living in a virtual reality is one that actually seems plausible even to NASA scientists.
The theory that everything you have experienced – from feelings to the best and the worst moments of your life – is a product of a highly-advanced computer code was first introduced by British philosopher Dr. Nick Bostrom.
According to Dr. Bostrom, a race of highly-evolved human descendants could, in fact, have created a virtual reality to stimulate a time in the past or recreate how their ancestors lived.
And, if this sounds crazy to you, it might puzzle you that NASA agrees with the possibility of this theory. Rich Terrile, director of the Centre for Evolutionary Computation and Automated Design at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has given out some information which could point to this possibility.
“Right now the fastest NASA supercomputers are cranking away at about double the speed of the human brain,” the NASA scientist told Vice.
“If you make a simple calculation using Moore’s Law, you’ll find that these supercomputers, inside of a decade, will have the ability to compute an entire human lifetime of 80 years—including every thought ever conceived during that lifetime—in the span of a month.”
Moore’s Law states that computing power doubles roughly every two years, making a complete simulation of a person’s life exceedingly possible in the near future. Which is more, Terrile takes the principles of quantum mechanics as an important indicator that we could be living in a simulation.
“In quantum mechanics, particles do not have a definite state unless they’re being observed. Many theorists have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how you explain this. One explanation is that we’re living within a simulation, seeing what we need to see when we need to see it,” says Terrile.
If we look at reality from this perspective, then the question if Earth was indeed at the center of the universe could easily pop up, and more importantly, it would seem that going from this point means that every person is at the center of their Universe no matter where they are.
Terrile explains the fact that the universe behaves in a way that closely follows mathematics and quotes Einstein’s statement that “the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it’s comprehensible.”
“The supposition here is how do you know it’s not 30 years in the future now and you’re not one of these simulations?”
He theorizes that the immensity of information is one that is only generated only when it is required to can be easily compared to the laws of quantum mechanics, which state that the particles only acquire the definite state once they’re observed.
However, Professor Peter Millican from Oxford University believes that there is a flaw in the Matrix theory. “The theory seems to be based on the assumption that ‘superminds’ would do things in much the same way as we would do them,” he explains.
“If they think this world is a simulation, then why do they think the superminds – who are outside the simulation – would be constrained by the same sorts of thoughts and methods that we are?”
He suggests that the assumption that these superminds would have to implement a virtual world using grids comes on the basis that our ways of implementing a pretend reality involve a grid, and this doesn’t have to be the case.
However, he also believes that this theory is crazy in a healthy way and deserves to be explored further. “You never know when good ideas may come from thinking outside the box,” he adds.
What do you think? Are we just a part of a virtual simulation? Could we be our own avatars or are we just caught in the experiment? And, most importantly, how does this change things?