10 Reasons We’re All Living in a Computer Simulation
Disney’s 1982 science fiction movie, Tron, was a hit sensation. The plot included Jeff Bridges as a gifted computer programmer who discovers that a coworker at his job is stealing his work. When Bridges hacks into the system, he finds himself trapped in the virtual world where he fights against a computer simulated version of his coworker. Added to the challenge is the Master Control Program that plays the characters against each other. Once he discovers there are other ‘oppressed programs,’ Bridges becomes a freedom fighter, ultimately escaping the virtual world.
What a fun movie … and what a crazy idea to actually believe this scenario is possible. Yet, there are countless science fiction movies, created by imaginative producers and writers, where humanity and this earth we live on, are actually a computer simulation. Sound too far fetched? You may want to run a reality check on your own programming!
Hollywood is obsessed with humans being mere computer simulation, placed here for the entertainment of a higher entity. The early Star Trek episodes include power hungry space dwellers, lonely for some toy or game, who trap Captain Kirk and his cohorts in some computer programmed world. Early shows such as The Twilight Zone include eerie episodes of alternate reality where the characters are not what they seem. The Matrix includes three movies based entirely on existence being merely a computer program. Total Recall is the nightmare of a botched virtual reality vacation with twists and turns to confuse actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, in his already confused state.
Are you creeped out yet? Staring at your computer screen wondering if you’re looking in a mirror? These “10 Reasons We’re All Living in a Computer Simulation” may just get you thinking.
10Can the Idea We May Live in a Computer Simulation Improve Life?
Before even considering if our world is merely an elaborate computer simulation, think of the benefits computer driven virtual reality brings to our present day life. What may this concept do to improve life?
Think of people suffering with chronic pain. This worldwide epidemic is derived from accidents, surgeries, and neurological causes. Technology is now making use of virtual reality devices to help chronic pain sufferers conquer their pain. Head-mounted displays, (HMD) include sound, music, a virtual environment and controls to set personal preferences for this virtual world experience. When the device is attached, any movement from the user’s head gives the feeling of actually being part of the terrain they choose. They can run to the top of a mountain, ski the highest peaks, or swim with dolphins.
This complete experience transports a patient to a world far from their situation. Pain associated with chronic conditions or medical procedures is reduced and the virtual reality environment acts similar to analgesia. A complex body system makes up pain. Pain is based on emotional distress, attention to the reality of a medical procedure, and a complex neurological system. Although it’s unknown why an HMD relieves, clinicians know it works; and so do patients. People who make use of the virtual reality pain reduction prefer it to medications.
Duke University Hospital, in North Carolina, has implemented a program called the Walk Again Project, WAP. Using virtual reality technology, spinal cord injury patients who are paralyzed are learning to reconnect the link between their mind and body. The results are amazing as paraplegic patients found new sensations in the paralyzed limbs and partial muscle movement and control in their legs. Although this sounds like some scientific isolated machine, the device used was available to the public. Duke researchers used the Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets released in March of 2016.
Patients, who previously displayed no brain activity when asked to simply imagine walking, showed brain activity once they were wearing this virtual reality headset. Some were instructed to make their avatars play soccer on a computer simulated soccer field. The research included t-shirts fit with stimulators for areas of the body the avatar would have contact with objects like the soccer ball or grass. Exoskeletons, designed to aid in this simulation, also provided feedback. This combination allowed nerves, once severed, to send messages to the brain and allow movement of previously paralyzed muscles. Patients began to realize the possibility of recovery. A far advancement using computer aided virtual reality.
We tend to label people who are paranoid as, well, crazy. They slink around believing everything is a conspiracy and the bad guys are out to get them. Yet, a person who appears to be paranoid is actually someone who has a heightened awareness of the world around them. A paranoid mind is not entirely wrong. Paranoid people are likely to have higher IQ’s and use their sniffing ability to seek the truth and imagine the impossible.
Have you ever thought the world you know may be artificial? After watching a science fiction movie involving a computer simulated world, people’s minds will commit the idea to memory and for even a second, consider it to be possible. What was the last TV show or movie you watched where it took place in a computer simulated scenario? How do you know it’s not possible? Are you really flesh and blood? Maybe you’re a series of programs making up your physical body, mind, personality, and controlling your every move. It could be the reason you actually ‘do not’ believe you are computer generated. Your brain is directed by a main computer, deciding your fate.
If highly intelligent researchers, scientists, philosophers, and computer programmers are considering we do not know if we are real or not, maybe the paranoid mind is on to something.
French philosopher, René Descartes, emphasized the knowledge we obtain by challenging common beliefs about ourselves and the world helps us to determine truth from fiction. He believed that questioning everything was the beginning to compiling knowledge that is factual: that if we continually seek truth and proof of our surroundings, we will gain confidence and abilities previously untapped.
This experiment in the truth may not always prove profitable. Many things we live and experience cannot be proven real without a doubt. The smallest evidence of impersonation or counterfeit elements leaves our mind wondering if we should be paranoid.
There’s something to be said about the paranoid being survivors.
8Look to the Stars
Astronomers have debunked many obsolete theories such as the earth being flat. Astronomy also presents the cause negating the possibility that our world is computer simulated. They give examples such as the imperfection of big bang theories and glitches in the universe unexplainable if a computer program were running it.
But NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory director, Rich Terrile, talks confidently about digital simulations already proven accurate. We know computers can process computations incredibly faster than the human brain. Terrile quotes Moore’s Law that claims computer systems double in power and ability every two years. With this in mind, in a decade or less, we will see computers that can create minds; human minds with accelerated knowledge. These minds, or brains, will be able to calculate and compute 80 years of thoughts, information, and history in approximately a month.
Some astronomers consider the idea that the universe is generated by a supercomputer using programming code to correct inconsistencies and explain the unknown origin of the cosmos. Standard scientific beliefs are challenged by many misunderstood properties of our vast universe. Astronomers know the universe is expanding at an increasing speed, but cannot calculate how long it will continue and when it will stop. Are the answers in the stars? Or are the answers within the code of a grand computer simulation?
7So What If We Are Living in a Computer Simulation?
The idea that life is really one big computer program not only has piqued interest in researchers, philosophers, and scientists to discover the truth, but the possibility has some wealthy tech billionaires worried. These powerful, educated, people have enough money and just enough knowledge to consider that living in a computer simulation has a downside: when does it end?
Two wealthy Silicon Valley technical entrepreneurs are so bewitched with the actuality of their existence being cybernetic, they are spending large amounts of money to discover how to ‘break’ free from this imaginary computer simulation. Many of their well-educated peers claim they believe there is as much as a 50% chance the fable is true. High paid computer engineers and programmers are fast at work for these two billionaires working on finding the ultimate ‘worm hole’ answer. Secrecy prevents anyone else from knowing the process they are experimenting with and the programming being compiled.
People in Silicon Valley call this possible computer simulated life the ‘simulation hypothesis.’ Many hold onto the fear that smart devices growing exponentially may cause our human consciousness to cease. If our brains were no longer efficient, they could be replaced with computers. Experiments with artificial intelligence that prove to be successful, puts this reality at the forefront.
What these wealthy worriers may not realize is if this is all just a computer simulation, trying to break out of it is part of the grand program!
6If We are Created by a Computer, Can We Trade Ourselves In?
The 1962 Twilight Zone episode titled, “The Trade Ins,” tells of an elderly couple who decide to extend their happy marriage by trading in their bodies. New Life Corporation provides paying customers a transfer of their consciousness to young, healthy bodies. But this loving couple only has enough money for one complete trade in. Dismayed at the option of only one of them living on, they go on a risky path to find the extra money needed.
If we are all simply programs in a computer simulated world, the idea we could trade in our bodies for new or different ones would be an obvious choice. That is, if whoever is running the elaborate program allows such a trade.
With the computer enhancements we see today, there is talk of being able to derive the thoughts and knowledge of our future long gone ancestors. If cloud based storage was able to handle massive amounts of data with virtual computers being run on a single computer, there would be enough space to store each person’s consciousness: every person on the earth today. Future family members or comrades could access this information at will, virtually adding the knowledge and information of people deceased for years.
Today, computer users can create an avatar with a certain design to represent their identity online. Members of an online group can mold their own character with every detail catered to; hair color, body type, age, etc. Gamers create intricate sims—part of life simulated games and multiply a favorite design like cloning an army. The possibility of being a computer simulation creates infinite possibilities for choosing our path in life.
In the quest to find out if the world around us and our life on it is a computer simulation, researchers are digging deep to find the minutest evidence. Subjects they investigate include limitations of our physical existence and the planet we live on. Where is the tiniest beginning evidenced? What are the ‘building blocks’ of life? Computers and the ability to process countless computations in minute time frames are being investigated as the model of life for a computer simulated world.
Looking for any constraint on life as we know it could lead down a path to proving our engineering is mechanical, not organic. Super computers are able to simulate and create unseen and almost incalculable programs and process data found to be similar to the origin of life. When computer simulations match ‘human building blocks,’ the question arises as to whether we are just tiny beings in a bigger artificial reality.
These small beginnings are the first step and as scientists and computer programmers increase the risk and size of each simulation, the belief is we will ultimately be able to recreate something as vast as our universe.
If this were possible, thought would have to be taken as to whether we are real or not. Consider the computer simulation we live in took a supreme programmer somewhere years to create. They could have started with the same small steps we are experimenting with today. If this were true, will we finally meet up with this mysterious creator? Would our limited computer simulated world become unlimited?
Researchers are starting small in hopes of eventually answering these questions with a final conclusion that we are merely programmable beings.
4Is Silicon Valley Right?
Many technology entrepreneurs, such as Elon Musk, are studying the concept of ‘simulation hypothesis.’ Musk is part of a movement in Silicon Valley investigating the idea that the world we live in is merely a complex, unending computer simulation. Of course, that has to include some fantastic programmer or supreme being who wrote this simulation and controls it. These Silicon Valley high thinkers and geniuses are looking around and considering topics such as relative time, the consistent speed of light, and other solid scientific constants lead to the ‘living in a computer simulation’ concept to be true.
Lines of thought linger on our current technological advances, especially in artificial intelligence. It’s an advance proving we are using computer simulations to create higher level computer simulations without even knowing. This process brings up bigger issues: if nothing around us is real and we aren’t real, what if programmers get tired of writing new sequences and we just stop existing?
Born in South Africa, Musk is a Canadian-American inventor and investor with an out-of-the-box imagination that he intends to prove correct. When scientific and technical high achievers such as Musk make valid arguments for the impervious concept of computer simulated living, people take notice.
Silicon Valley is the computer brain center of California, and the world it seems, known for being the officiates of all things technical.
3The Matrix Reality
A series of intense green computer code streams up the monitor and the unintelligible mess is considered actual reality. The Matrix is real. The Matrix is where we live. The Matrix is the ultimate life in a computer simulation. This popular virtual reality movie may seem like mindless entertainment. Much of the verbiage is merely circular reasoning with a touch of dullness—especially when the Oracle professes some wise quote such as, “We are all here to do what we are all here to do…”
But Morpheus declares the ‘real’ reality, “If real is what you can feel, smell, taste and see, than ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.”
These entertaining machine world movies allow viewers to escape reality for a bit; becoming part of the computer world the characters live and struggle in. So how far out is the concept of living in a computer controlled virtual reality world? Scientists, philosophers, and tech nerds are creating their own belief that we are living in a computer generated world. Their very genius brains and ability to write programming to simulate artificial intelligence has them questioning whether we are flesh and blood and the world is real. This concept is not new to Hollywood movies based on life in a computer simulated world.
What science fiction movie or show have you watched lately? If you’re not interested in virtual reality or computer simulated worlds, it may be time to brush up on your knowledge. It could be the writers know some hidden secret we don’t know about!
2PokéMon GO Where?
Pokémon Go was launched and millions of people around the world, maybe more, downloaded the app to their iPhones and Android devices. The craze created by this virtual reality app was short of an instant addiction gone wrong. Mesmerized users of this roving game walked the streets, combed the parks, visited businesses with a Pokémon monster, and took risks that at times, landed them in the ER. A news story told of two young men in California, tracking these virtual reality creatures, falling 50 to 100 feet from a cliff leaving them with serious injuries.
Pokémon Go players, true to their craft, will insist these little wandering monsters are actually real. They search for them in the present reality we occupy, but equate the animated creatures with real life.
Restaurants advertise the presence of particular Pokémon monsters, offering coupons for players who find one in their venue. Parents tout the togetherness effect when the entire family goes on a hunt and others praise the exercise they get searching the world over. This seemingly harmless little game is connected to anyone playing, anywhere in the world, at any time. It’s virtual reality in an infancy stage.
If TV shows and innocent virtual games can pull drones of people into their augmented worlds, maybe we all truly are living in a computer simulation. And these entertaining extras are multiple layers of that artificial reality.
Do you or someone you know play Pokémon Go? Can you stop right now and delete the app? Or maybe you can’t. Hmmmm.
1Virtual Reality is Here!
Have you seen the new VR goggles? Everyone is wearing them these days. You walk down the street and people are wearing these virtual reality goggles and headsets, hopefully watching where they walk in ‘reality.’ PC Magazine announces that VR is here and follows with reviews of the many options and styles from multiple companies. Virtual reality goggles or headsets attach to your smart phone and allow you to be transported to a virtual world of your choice. Motion tracking provides a way for you to actually ‘look around’ and travel in a virtual place.
Have you purchased your VR goggles yet? If not, you may be pressured to follow the craze. VR goggles are spookily similar to the 1991 Star Trek Voyager episode, The Game, when the crew becomes trapped by an innocent headset game Lieutenant Riker brings back from his vacation on planet Risa. The addictive game was intended to render its players helpless, allowing The Ktarians to take control of the crew and ship. This VR goggle and game, brought pleasure to the user and eventually affects the brain’s higher reasoning. Of course, Data, being an android, is not affected, and once Wesley restores his circuitry, he disables the effects of the game on the crew.
Not a Trekkie? Still not interested in a virtual reality headset? Marketers think otherwise. One hotel is promoting its fanciful drinks with the help of VR headsets. The One Aldwych Hotel in London offers VR headsets to its bar patrons. They promise a tantalizing drink once the participant watches a two minute 3D journey. After the multi-sensory trip and explanation of the origin of the ensuing cocktail is over, a virtual view of the bar is shown. The VR headsets are removed and the drink is sitting in front of the patron, ready to be enjoyed—in reality.
By now, you’re ready to pinch your arm to be sure you’re made of real flesh. Go ahead, try it. Now consider what you just did was all part of your particular computer programming. If you really think about it, the act of pinching your arm is like infinite mirrors: one action leading to the same action over and over in an endless loop. That’s enough to make living in a computer simulation a subject to look into.
If you’re getting the heebie jeebies at the thought of being a computer SIM, look at the good aspects. Once we prove the existence of a supreme being who programmed our lives, the possibility of removing health issues could become reality. Glitches in programming would be constantly monitored and repaired so we no longer suffer from accidents, war, disease, and loss of natural resources. Animal extinction would be, extinct.
The bad side; think of the psychological shock of knowing you are not an original. If we are computer simulated beings, than there is likely another one of you: a clone, or a similar being created with a minor adjustment. It also implies we will all share the same common consciousness stored in the cloud or some other virtual storage area. Privacy is instantly removed. Although identity theft will no longer be an issue, identity of every being would be known to all.
It’s a mysterious and fantastic idea that we may all just be computer simulated people in an artificially created world. When you go to sleep tonight, take note of your surroundings. If you wake up in an alternate reality, you may want to remember who you really are!