Tech billionaires’ latest obsession — outside of suing websites into oblivion and attending odd, expensive festivals in the desert is apparently one that gripped the country in 1999.
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The bad news: We’re all just living in the Matrix. The good news: According to a New Yorker story this week, a couple of tech billionaires are secretly funding research to break us out. (One can only assume Keanu Reeves is onboard the project as a consultant.)
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Jokes aside, the idea is called the simulation hypothesis and it’s growing in popularity with the Silicon Valley nouveau-riche, as well as in idiosyncratic corners of Reddit.
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The New Yorker bit by Tad Friend was centered on Sam Altman, CEO of the “startup accelerator” Y Combinator, but took a detour into Matrix land.
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Wrote Friend: “Many folks in Silicon Valley have become obsessed with the simulation hypothesis, the argument that what we experience as truth is in fact fabricated in a computer; two technology billionaires have gone so far as to covertly participate scientists to work on breaking us out of the simulation.”
Both billionaires from the New Yorker profile are left unnamed, but there’s one technology billionaire who has openly addressed the theory — SpaceX/Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, and real life Tony Stark. The truth is, he believes it is highly unlikely we are not in some sort of simulation.
“There’s an one in billions opportunity we’re in base truth,” Musk said at the Recode Code Conference in June.
“The most effective argument for us being in a simulation, likely being in a simulation is the following: 40 years past, we’d pong, two rectangles and a dot,” Musk included. “That’s what games were.
40 years after we’ve photorealistic 3D models with millions of people playing concurrently and it’s becoming better every year. And shortly we’ll have virtual reality, augmented reality, if you suppose any speed of progress whatsoever, the games will become indistinguishable from truth.”
Musk, basically, considers the first of these three alternatives is likely to be accurate. That decision boils down to the notion that if technology will surely be progress to create artificial intelligence that’s indistinguishable from life that life that is simulated is bound to create more life that is simulated.
It is all enough to give a head ache to you. But if we’re in The Matrix, count your intrepid International Business Times correspondent in the team so he could love a steak again if it was a mirage of the character Cypher, who picked back in to the simulation. Because if this is all a simulation subsequently hot wings likely are not real — at least in the manner we believe they exist — and I do not need to live in a hot-wing-less world. Blue pill, please.