You could already be living in a giant computer simulation. (Brief Article) Michael Brooks. OF COURSE you thought The Matrix was fiction. But only because you were meant to. Do you think they're stupid enough to let us realise what's really going on? It usually takes a conspiracy theorist to hatch such a far-fetched plot.
But Nick Bostrom is a philosopher at Yale University, and he believes the Hollywood block buster is closer to the truth than many of us would care to believe. He's done the calculations, and he reckons that we could well be living inside a simulation. That's right. Your life might actually be a computer program developed by a post-human society living in what you think of as the future. In a paper submitted to the journal Mind, Bostrom has outlined exactly how he reached this chilling conclusion. The reasoning starts with one simple premise.At some point, civilisation will develop enormously powerful computers capable of mimicking what we call consciousness. And if that premise is true, the rest follows logically. Outrageous? Not a bit of it. Look at it rationally. If it becomes technologically possible to mimic consciousness, the future can only pan out in one of three ways. First, some extinction event--maybe a powerful but deadly technology, maybe a natural disaster--will wipe us out before we actually do it. If that's true, then you can relax. What you're experiencing right now is real life. The second scenario is also a comforting one: future humans won't be interested in running simulations. They might be too sophisticated to bother with such games, or there may be laws against it. But do either of those noble outcomes sound like a probable future of human civilisation to you? Thought not.