The idea that we may be existing within a simulacrum is a contentious one, and many have tried to ascertain the odds of whether we are controlled by superior beings in one form or another.
Others have attempted to formulate a way to prove whether or not we are living in an artificial simulation. Many in the debate have said that the chances are 50-50, but how can this be proved? Let’s take a look.
The simulation hypothesis is a proposal regarding the nature of existence. The theory proposes that every human experience and every piece of knowledge regarding life on Earth and beyond is being controlled by some advanced entity that can also deny us knowledge of its existence.
The origins of the hypothesis date back to antiquity. It makes up part of philosophical skepticism, in which a scenario posits the existence of a deceptive power that deceives our senses and undermines the justification of knowledge otherwise accepted as justified.
The hypothesis may seem like it belongs in the realm of science fiction, but it has been examined critically, and a 2003 paper written by Nick Bostrom of the University of Oxford has reopened the intense debate on the matter. Today, people like Neil Degrasse Tyson and Elon Musk are seen as strong supporters of the idea.
There are many pieces of supposed evidence that may support the idea of our existence being a simulation. These tend to revolve around cutting-edge technology with the goal of simulating another existence. So if humans can do it, why is it implausible that we are not a simulation?
Commonly cited, as above, are examples of simulation, which can take the form of video games, or something a little more advanced like Sophia, a social humanoid robot, that was activated in 2016, and achieved a lot since! Among other things she was granted a Saudi Arabian citizenship.
She tours the globe, appearing on such shows as CBS 60 Minutes with Charlie Rose, Good Morning Britain with Piers Morgan as well as outlets like CNBC, Forbes, Mashable, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Sophia is treated as a human, and assigned various roles that could be performed by humans. It’s rightful to wonder if humanity is getting close to the Westworld series scenario.
The world of video games becomes ever more advanced, with titles that are increasingly immersive. These games, coupled with affordable cutting edge technology, offer gamers the chance to essentially place themselves into a simulation – albeit a voluntary one.
First-person shooters, fantasy, open world, and RPGs are among the biggest genres for such immersive experiences, and online multiplayer allows gamers to enter into a group simulation. The Sims franchise turns the player into a puppet master, able to determine every facet of their virtual characters.
Even classic online casino games have become quite an experience. And according to arabianbetting.com, their popularity has spread across the world, including the least expected areas like the Middle East. Most notably, it’s the online casinos available to Kuwaiti players that boast real technological advancement with games like blackjack and roulette available in live dealer versions, simulating a real life experience. While not yet available in the region, we’re slowly also seeing a move towards VR simulated gameplay, enabling players and dealers to interact and move around inside the environment.
Philosopher Nick Bostrom posits that if “the fraction of all people with our kind of experiences that are living in a simulation is very close to one”, then it follows that humans probably live in a simulation. This has been embraced in some areas but criticized in others, the main objection coming from those with an interest in empirical reasoning.
Philosophical stoicism is the opposite of skepticism – one has to understand the rules of the natural order, since they thought everything was rooted in nature. Therefore, speculation without any scientific or earthly proof is pointless as it cannot be proven, and endless hypotheses can be reached with far-fetched, skeptical ideas.
One major refutation of the Simulation Theory is based on the complexity of our world, and how much of that complexity is wasted – i.e. not beneficial to the proposed simulation itself. Why would an entity of higher intelligence waste time and effort building such wasteful elements into the simulation?
Of course, the question is hypothetical, and those who consider simulation a valid idea could argue that the entity includes these elements in order to make the world fuller, and to convince us that it is not in fact a simulation.
Does the simulation rely on us not perceiving it at all? But in that case, perhaps the entire argument proves that there is some cognitive awareness of the simulation amongst humans, if only theoretical.
As there is no decisive empirical proof of the world as a simulation, the idea has split opinion 50/50. Until we have our Truman Show finale, we’ll never really know the answer. The best option is to rewatch The Matrix – great special effects.
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