The basic idea is that everything we see around us, including the Earth and the universe, is part of a very sophisticated MMORPG (a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game) and that we are players in this game.
Chances are you haven’t heard of something called ‘the simulation hypothesis’, but this is a very hot topic among some of the leading technological minds of our day. It states that what we are actually living in is a massive, simulated virtual reality much like the movie The Matrix. Before you dismiss this out of hand, think about this.
“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” Hebrews 11:3 (KJV)
When God created our world and our entire universe, He did so by speaking it into existence from nothing. Everything that we can see, feel, taste and touch are products from the imagination of the mind of God. To us they are fixed and real, and yet to Him they are not. Remember how Jesus walked on top of the water without sinking? Impossible for us, a complete violation of the law of physics. Or how He turned water into wine by commanding it to be so? Even with all our advanced technology, this remains a feat we will never accomplish.
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” 2 Peter 3:10,13 (KJV)
The bible says that God will one day destroy this world by fire and then remake it just by speaking it to be so. God has full control over everything in our universe and is able to alter it at any time into any new thing He desires it to be. That is the very definition of a simulation, that is exactly how our video games like Fortnite operate. God, as the Creator, remains dominant over all of the elements in His creation and is not bound by them. He has power over the wind and the waves because He created them, and thus exists on a higher level than they do. The bible tells us that Jesus can appear in a room where all the doors and windows are closed.
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2 (KJV)
Lastly, like in a simulation, people never die or cease to exist. The bible tells us that when an unsaved person dies, they will continue to live in a place called Hell that exists in outer darkness and burns with endless flames. It also tells us that saved people go immediately to Heaven to be with Jesus the moment our life here on earth is done. Once there, we will be just like Jesus, and have power over all the elements of creation just like He does. There we will be able to travel through time, space and matter just by thinking it.
Looks like the simulation hypothesis might not be so crazy after all. Check out this quote from scientist Max Planck. It certainly shows that the simulation hypothesis points to an ‘all powerful creator”, and as Christians we know exactly who that Creator is.
All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force… We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter.” Max Planck
Are we living in a simulation? This MIT scientist says it’s more likely than not
FROM DIGITAL TRENDS: What if I told you that physical reality is an illusion and we all live in a computer simulation? That hypothesis, famously probed in the 1999 film The Matrix, is the subject of a new book by Rizwan Virk, a computer scientist and video game developer who leads Play Labs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In his book, The Simulation Hypothesis, Virk endeavors to unpack the heady arguments that call our physical world into question.
Are we all just artificial intelligence (A.I.) programs running on the basement servers of some advanced future civilization? Or perhaps the Wachowskis were on to something when they depicted modern society as an illusion used to enslave our minds, as our bodies powered a dystopian planet ruled by robots. Maybe there really is no spoon.
It may sound like a far-fetched idea, but the simulation hypothesis is today discussed seriously in academia and more popularly by people like Elon Musk.
We spoke to Virk about the hypothesis, why it matters, and why it has gained traction 20 years after The Matrix hit theaters. The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Digital Trends: The simulation hypothesis is a complex and controversial topic. What first got you interested in writing a book about it?
Rizwan Virk: I had an experience playing virtual reality ping pong and the responsiveness was very real to the point where I forgot that I was in a room with VR glasses on. When the game ended, I put the paddle on the table but, of course, there was no paddle and there was no table, so the controller fell to the floor. I even leaned over onto table and almost fell over. That experience really got me thinking about how video game technology is evolving and how it could end up being so fully immersive that we would be unable to distinguish it from reality.
Describe the simulation hypothesis for people who aren’t familiar with it.
The basic idea is that everything we see around us, including the Earth and the universe, is part of a very sophisticated MMORPG (a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game) and that we are players in this game. The hypothesis itself comes in different forms.
In one version, we’re all A.I. within a simulation that’s running on somebody else’s computer. In another version, we are “player characters,” conscious things that exist outside the simulation and we inhabit characters, just like you might take on the character of an elf or dwarf in a fantasy RPG.
So, for example, in The Matrix there’s that famous scene where Morpheus gives Neo the choice between the red pill or the blue pill. When he takes the red pill, he wakes up (in a vat) in the real world, where he controlled his (simulation) character. He was jacked in through a physical cable in his neocortex. In that particular version of the simulation hypothesis, we are conscious or biological beings outside of the simulation and each of us controls a character.
When The Matrix first came out, the simulation hypothesis seemed purely science fictional. Why do you think it’s taken more seriously today?
The first reason is that video game technology has advanced and we can now have millions of players on a shared server. Also, 3D-rendering technology has gotten really good. We can actually represent 3D objects in 3D worlds. In the 80s and early 90s, there wasn’t enough computing power to render a world like World of Warcraft or Fortnite. It relied on us being able to build optimization techniques that allowed us to render just what the character sees. A third of [my] book is dedicated to video game technology, how it evolved in the past, and what the stages are to get from where we are today to a “simulation point,” (where simulation is indistinguishable from reality).
“Probability says you are more likely a simulated being than a biological one.”
The other big reason why scientists and academics are starting to take it seriously is Oxford professor Nick Bostrom, who wrote an article in 2003 called “Are You Living in a Simulation?” He came up with a clever statistical argument for the simulation hypothesis. He says, suppose some civilization somewhere gets to the simulation point and can create highly realistic “ancestor simulations.” With more computing power, they can spin off new servers and new civilizations really quickly. Each of those servers can have billions or trillions of simulated beings within them. Therefore, the number of simulated beings is way more than the number of biological beings. If just one civilization reaches the simulation point, probability says you are likely a simulated being because there are way more simulated beings in existence than biological ones.
Today, we use computer simulations to predict things like planetary interactions or hurricane paths. And we play video games because they’re fun. These simulations have some inherent value, so we have incentives to create them. Besides using our bodies as batteries, like in The Matrix, what incentives would a civilization have to create so many simulated beings?
In today’s computer model simulations, the computer makes random choices to see, for example, what the weather will be like. It’s very possible that whoever created our simulation would like to see, given random choices, where we as a civilization would end up. Would we destroy ourselves? Would we end up creating nuclear weapons? Would we end up creating our own simulation?
Looking at the video game version of the argument, we may ask why we play video games in the first place. It’s because we like to inhabit these characters in the virtual world and do things that we wouldn’t want to do in the “real world.” If we are in fact player characters rather than just a bunch of non-player characters, then whoever created the simulation might just want to be able to play us as characters and study what our civilization looks like. READ MORE
The Simulation Hypothesis Documentary
Are we living in a virtual reality? Is the universe emerging from an information processing system? And if so, could we ever tell? Is it possible to ‘hack’ the system and change reality? Take a look at the evidence and decide for yourself! Contributions to THE SIMULATION HYPOTHESIS are made by leading researchers from physics, cosmology, mathematics and information sciences. Appearances by Max Tegmark, Neil degrasse Tyson, Paul Davies, James Gates and many more.
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