Elon Musk: Our Reality Is Actually A Complex Simulation

June 2, 2016


Man, stuff like this makes my brain hurt. This is a video of Elon Musk discussing the hypothesis (originally proposed by philosopher Nick Bostrom in 2003) that what we know as reality is actually a very complex simulation created by an advanced civilization. He's so convinced this is the case that he says that, "There's a one in billions chance that this is base reality." So basically I'm just a really shitty Sims character. Just a second while I ponder the complete meaninglessness of my life.

He bases this argument on the fact that humanity has experienced amazing technological advancement in the last few decades.

"Forty years ago, you had Pong, like, two rectangles and a dot. That was what games were. Now, 40 years later, we have photorealistic, 3D simulations with millions of people playing simultaneously, and it's getting better every year (...) If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then the games will become indistinguishable from reality."

Well if we really are just living in an some sort of ultra-complex simulation, I have a message for the advanced civilization that's running this little experiment. PULL THE PLUG. Close the program. Just kick the computer off your desk. Yank the hard drive out, whatever it takes to end this. But please, just bring the dinosaurs back for like a week before you do.

Keep going for the video.

Thanks to DieselNuts, who's convinced if that meteor hadn't wiped out the dinosaurs that they'd be so advanced that they'd be running reality simulations by now.

  • shashi
  • Quaddy

    IF his reason for deducing everything is a simulation, is that humans have made fairly rapid technological advancements, then...A) he is doing the human race down, intimating we aren't good enough to have genuinely done that, and B) his premise negates itself, because the "advanced race" that are running our simulation, would surely be prone to the same argument....that they can't possibly have gotten that advanced, and someone is running them in a simulation...loop, repeat...

  • shashi

    its turtles all the way down

  • Quaddy

    that's some uninterruptible power supply "they" have, the system uptime is crazy impressive, and i thought my 13GB HDD from 1998 was doing well to still be functioning

  • AC

    Yes, there is a flaw in that argument.
    1. that is true that because we will have the ability to create such a quality simulation that others will also have this ability,
    And 2. That the proper way to solve the probability of this being the base reality is the number of possible existing simulations and there will be billions (an obviously arbitrary number) of these programs so there is a 1 in billions chance of this being the base reality.
    Then you also have to account for the exponential growth created by simulated realities creating other simulations, and even if each reality only creates two others then the odds are incalculable as it is 1 approaches infinity.
    Though this still goes along with his real point, that the odds are mathematically anything other than 0 that simulations of this quality will exist and that we could be one, and anything other than guaranteed that we are the base simulation.

  • shashi

    assuming you are alluding to the improbability of infinite growth: you also have to consider the possibility of the inevitable blackout of the observable universe and its eventual heat death. These could be indications that if we are living in a simulation, it has a 'pre-programmed' end point

  • AC

    None of this is relevant to anything. He asked in the video if there is a flaw in his calculation, yes there is a flaw in his calculation. It is not a commentary on whether or not the basis of his calculations were factual or if it is something that is possible or the conditions of such a reality.
    There is no improbability of infinite growth in reference to calculation, the number that actually exists is not relevant, it is the number that can possibly exist, it isn't a real number.
    That is assuming that all simulations operate on the same base physics and universe and that it isn't built into something beyond our current understanding of technology, so again not relevant.

  • shashi

    ok i see what you mean now. Yes, his numbers are as accurate as any solution for the Drake equation although my understanding is that he is not asking if there is a flaw in his calculation but rather if there is a flaw in the fundamental argument which i can see you have already conceded as being possible. More importantly: do you have the codes for god mode and infinite ammo?

  • GWZipper

    That explains quite a lot

  • Smeg

    "originally proposed by philosopher Nick Bostrom in 2003"

    *originally proposed by Rene Descartes in 1641

  • palpable ovaltine

    Hell, even the Matrix came out before 2003.

  • Munihausen

    "Elon Musk: Crony capitalism is awesome! Guess what stupid $hit I will convince your elected leaders to squander you tax dollars on next!"

  • SmoovyBRad

    Elon Musk: I Am A Technofascist

  • Chaz Gomez

    If this is true... I want to kick the living sh!t out of the mthr F'kn "programmers" who let my fiance die of breast cancer...

  • TanktopOverreach

    I cannot imagine your heartache. I'm glad you found your peace.

  • Geekologie

    :( I am sorry for your loss

  • Chaz Gomez

    Thank you... I've come to accept what the Universe gives and am happy... I'm sure she's saying the same things from the Recycle Bin... ;)

  • Geekologie

    I like the cut of your jib, Chaz

  • Chaz Gomez

    Thank you... at my age I'm always appreciative of compliments to my jib...

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