What if everything around us was an illusion, just like a video game and you were a character playing along? This hypothesis popularized by The Matrix movie might not be so far off, according to some Physicists and Philosophers. Begging the question: what is reality?
First, let’s break down what simulation theory is!
Simulation theory is what they call an ancient modern hypothesis that suggests we are living in an advanced digital construct, like a computer simulation overseen by a higher form of intelligence. Meaning the physical reality we perceive would actually be an illusion.
Thinking deeply about what reality is can be unfathomable once you consider simulation theory. Have you ever experienced a moment where something strange happened and thought to yourself “this can’t be real” or having deja vu? These are considered as examples of glitches in our simulation. Rizwan Virk, Author of “The Simulation Hypothesis” experienced this while playing a video game that was so realistic he actually forgot he was in an empty room with a headset on. Leading him to believe humans could also be embedded in a world created by beings that are more tech savvy than ourselves.
Beyond opinions and personal experiences however, science is speaking out thanks to a recent discovery by the renowned MIT Theoretical physicist James Gates, while working on his baby: Superstring Theory. Gates allegedly identified a computer code in the equations of string theory, that being an error correcting codes, similar to what you would find on your web browser -- mind blowing, right?
However, the hypothesis about our reality dates way back, I'm talking prior to the popular flick The Matrix. That’s right -- hello 16th century, thanks to French Philosopher René Descartes famous quote “it is possible that I am dreaming right now and that all of my perceptions are false." We have been able to track the discussion back and any ideas of simulation theory. Since then many Physicists, Philosophers, Scientists and the like have seriously pondered this idea. But it doesn’t stop there, more recently Elon Musk spoke out on the matter saying “the odds that we’re not simulated are “one in billions.”
Unfortunately, as far as we know right now, there is now way to test this hypothesis since there’s no way to prove a true or false outcome. As Nuclear Physicist David Chalmers from NYU stated "you're not going to get proof that we're not in a simulation, because any evidence that we get could be simulated."
The closest thing we have to mimic what we believe to be a simulation is by playing video games such as The Sims which allow us to simulate life on a small or large scale. So should you be worried about whether or not we are living in a simulation? Absolutely not! Life will continue on as usual despite the facts. So do you think it’s possible we are living in a simulation?
“A rainbow is computer code in the sky. It is the subroutines of sunshine and the classifications of colour.”