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All the world's a video game, Elon Musk reckons

Video games’ market reach may be even greater than we realise.

Speaking at the annual Recode Code Conference, Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk has speculated that the world is nothing more than an elaborate video game, and its people the cast.

“Forty years ago we 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. Soon we’ll have virtual reality, augmented reality,” he said, as reported by Vox.

“If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then the games will become indistinguishable from reality, even if that rate of advancement drops by a thousand from what it is now. So given that we’re clearly on a trajectory to have games that are indistinguishable from reality, and those games could be played on any set-top box or on a PC or whatever, and there would probably be billions of such computers or set-top boxes, it would seem to follow that the odds that we’re in base reality is one in billions.

“Tell me what’s wrong with that argument. Is there a flaw in that argument?”

This isn’t a new idea, as it happens. The theory is called the Simulation Hypothesis. It posits that while statistically a civilization as advanced as our own seems incredibly, incalculably rare, realistic computer simulations that are indistinguishable from the real world seem like a future certainty.

So which reality is actually the most probable?

Wikipedia’s probably your best bet for more information on that.

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