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December 10, 2017

We are Probably Living in a Simulation

We are on the of cusp of creating a manufactured reality that is indistinguishable from reality.

Virtual reality technology is developing at astronomical rates. Moreover, the human-machine divide is being crossed. This means that in the future virtual reality won't require the use of extraneous mechanical devices. Instead, the virtual will simply exist in the same shape and form as the real - completely indistinguishable from one another, including by those participating.

So how do we know we are real?

It is highly likely that we are indeed sentient simulated beings living in some sort of computer simulation. To disagree with this probability requires one to subscribe to one of two premises:

Premise 1: Humans will destroy themselves before developing the technology to create realistic simulations.

Premise 2: Humans will survive to develop the technology to create realistic simulations, but will choose not to use it.

#1 is a pretty depressing, but possible supposition. If that's the case, we probably only have about 40 years left. 40 years ago we developed Pong (featured image). 40 years from now we'll probably have a way to create a realistic alternate reality.

#2 is completely unrealistic. Have we ever developed a compelling technology and not used it? We couldn't even stop ourselves from building, stockpiling and using the one technology that has the potential to destroy mankind - nuclear weapons. Even if measures are taken to prevent the use of realistic simulations, there will be ambitious profiteers and war mongers that find ways to exploit the technology.

If we remove supposition #1 and #2, we are left with a future in which realistic computer simulations are created and used. And if those simulations are created and used, it is likely that millions or billions of simulations will be created over time.

This means that for every real human that exists there may be millions of simulated sentient humans operating within computer programs.

So out of all humans in existence (real and simulated) it might turn out that 0.0001% are real. Therefore, by a matter of probability distribution, when selected at random a human is almost certainly part of a simulation.

Think about that for a while.

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