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ChatChat - Claudia Cragg

Jan 30, 2020

What if the real world isn’t 'REAL' but just some kind of computer program?

Claudia Cragg (@claudiacragg) speaks here with Riz Virk @Rizstanford 

As Virk (Treasure Hunt, 2017) puts it, “The fundamental question raised by the Simulation Hypothesis is: Are we all actually characters living inside some kind of giant, massively multi-player online video game, a simulated reality that is so well rendered that we cannot distinguish it from ‘physical reality’?”

These ideas may well have first been most discussed because of the Matrix films, but many people have been fascinated with the potential for far longer than video games have been around.

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave suggests a similar concept, as do the teachings of Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism. Carl Jung,  Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, was interested in the notion of mental projection while Philip K. Dick—who frequently imagined such situations in his fiction—firmly believed that the world was a simulation.

Virk says the Simulation Hypothesis is not as far-fetched as it may seem. He explains computer science, humanity’s understanding of physics, and mystical traditions going back thousands of years all point to the idea that the world may not be as “real” as people think it is.

“The goal of what we call science," he says, " is to understand the nature of reality. If we are in fact inside a video game, then science becomes a matter of ‘discovering’ the rules of this video game.” Virk demonstrates that what we call 'reality' is a harder concept to engage with than people admit.