Are we living inside a cosmic computer game? Elon Musk echoes the Bhagwad Gita

When the film The Matrix was released in 1999, its main premise, that the world is not what it appears to be, appeared to repeat the ancient Indian principle of maya, or impression. As Morpheus says to Neo in the film:Exactly what is real? If you are speaking about your senses, exactly what you feel, taste, smell or see, then all you’re speaking about is electrical signals analyzed by your brain.

He then continues to reveal to Neo the reality that the mankind has been condemned by the Machines to endure their lives in a synthetic simulation called the Matrix, which they easily accept to be the real world.As an outcome of its different referrals to Hindu viewpoint, the film, understandably, caused a unique frisson of interest in India. In fact, The Matrix is not alone in its assertions: the concept that the world, as we understand it, is simply a computer-generated, Matrix-like impression is a relatively common theme in sci-fi, and different academics theorists, physicists, mathematicians and theologists have been exploring this idea over the years.

Now, none other than Elon Musk, the billionaire Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Tesla and Space X, has spoken out strongly in assistance of this principle.At a technology conference in San Francisco recently Musk startled the world by saying he thought that the chances are overwhelming that we are living inside a computer simulation. To puts it simply, we might simply be virtual playthings inside a cosmic computer game created by some species of Super-beings. In fact, the chances are just "one in billions", Musk concluded, that we remain in "base truth".

Which is something of terrific significance? After all, it’s something for a philosopher, physicist, mathematician (or other academic theorist) to have fun with abstract ideas like illusion versus reality that s what they provide for a living. When a hard-headed pragmatist like Elon Musk, who is immersed in the world of innovation, sticks his neck out on the subject, it’s time to shut up and pay attention.

Philosophical hypothesis.

First, a quick flashback. Four years after The Matrix. In 2003, Oxford philosophy professor Nick Bostrom recommended the possibility that members of a sophisticated post-human civilization with enormous computing power might run simulations on how their remote ancestors lived. And he got to a hypothesis that depended upon a trilemma, or the assertion that a person of three propositions is probably real:

The portion of human-level civilizations that reach a post-human stage (that is, one with the ability of running high-fidelity forefather simulations) is close to no.The fraction of post-human civilizations that are interested in running ancestor-simulations is close to zero.The fraction of all people with our type of experiences that are living in a simulation is close to one.

Bostrom reasoned that if the 3rd proposal is true, which practically all individuals with our sort of experiences reside in simulations, and then we ourselves are almost certainly living in a simulation. (Not always easy to follow, but that’s the method it often is with philosophy.).

How do we show it?Providing a hypothesis is something, however aiming to in fact show it is a different matter.John Barrow, a mathematics teacher at Cambridge, tried to do that, recommending that if our world was indeed a simulation, it would, as it deteriorated, begin to display glitches (just as any computer would). Barrow said, we need to carefully keep an eye on elements of nature that are supposed to be consistent like the speed of light, for example, or the strength of the electro-magnetic force and if we ever spot them wandering from those constant values, that may be evidence that we are indeed inside a simulation. This test would maybe be the equivalent of the little Red Pill that Morpheus gave to Neo in The Matrix to enable him to see that the real life was various from the impression he had inhabited all his life.

Silas Beane, a University of Washington physicist, went on to propose a different evidence for the simulation hypothesis. If someone were to develop a simulation of space it would always have to be done by using a lattice-like structure. In a simulation, because of the lattice structure, the cosmic rays would travel along the axes of the lattice, so they would not come to us from all directions equally.

All these theories and proofs came, obviously, with their own presumptions and cautions. Beane s theory, for instance, makes the presumption that the beings that produced a simulation would follow the very same approaches as we do. However why should we presume that an innovative "post-human" civilization would produce a simulation the way we would do it, using a lattice? Why shouldn’t they develop a simulation that is completely smooth rather, like space itself?

Equivalent from truthElon Musk’s reasoning, however, is much simpler and more down-to-earth. Pragmatist and technologist that he is, he prevented extremely abstract theorizing.Rather, he explained how 40 years earlier, computer games such as Pong were played using simply two rectangular shapes and a dot. "That was exactly what video games were."Now, 40 years later, we have photorealistic 3D simulations with millions of individuals playing games all at once and it’s getting more sophisticated every year.