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The Matrix
The Matrix (1999)

Elon Musk thinks we’re living in the Matrix

The tech billionaire previously stated that there's a ‘billion to one chance’ that our reality isn’t real

As if releasing humanoid Tesla bots into the world and shipping tourists to outer space wasn’t unsettling enough, tech billionaire Elon Musk stated last night (November 30) that we’re most likely living in a hyperreal computer simulation.

Replying to a tweet about Pong – Atari’s first-ever commercially successful video game, released in 1972 – Musk explained that advancements in video game graphics imply that we could be on track to create worlds indistinguishable from our reality. “49 years later, games are photo-realistic 3D worlds,” he wrote. “What does that trend continuing imply about our reality?”

Musk previously stated that there’s a “billion to one chance” that we’re living in a simulation, citing Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom’s 2003 paper, titled Are You Living in a Computer Simulation, as evidence. Bostrom’s argument states that if even one civilisation can simulate conscious beings with computing power, then billions of highly detailed civilisations can be simulated in the likeness of their forebears.

“It could be the case that the vast majority of minds like ours do not belong to the original race but rather to people simulated by the advanced descendants of an original race,” the philosopher explains.

Back in 2016, at the Recode Code Conference, Musk backed up Bostrom’s claims. “If you assume any rate of improvement at all then games will become indistinguishable from reality,” he said. “Even if that rate of advancement drops by a thousand from what it is now, let's just imagine it’s 10,000 years in the future, which is nothing on the evolutionary scale.” Perhaps we’re all just hyperreal characters in the latest video game simulation then? TBH, it doesn’t seem all that unlikely.

Last month, theoretical physicist and former chair of Harvard’s astronomy department, Abraham ‘Avi’ Loeb, proposed his own simulation theory: that our universe was intentionally created by a more advanced class of lifeform. In an op-ed for Scientific American, “Was Our Universe Created In A Laboratory?”, Loeb suggested that aliens may have created a “baby universe” with “quantum tunneling” – perhaps justifying why our universe has flat geometry and zero net energy.

Speaking to Dazed, he explained that scientists are on track to producing a baby universe of their own (AKA their own mini simulations). “We are getting close to producing synthetic life in our laboratories,” Loeb says. “Once we will understand how to unify quantum mechanics and gravity, we might know how to make a baby universe in the laboratory.”

Check out Musk’s tweet below, and read more about Loeb’s simulation theory here.