Are You Real or Are You Living in The Matrix?

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December 12, 2006 | 11,082 views

This interesting essay (linked below) delves into the popular simulation argument -- that humans may be living their thinking lives inside a computer-simulated environment while their bodies are surviving elsewhere.

The argument is as follows. If these two arguments are false:

Then this argument is true:

In other words, if you believe that there are technologically advanced civilizations in the universe who can simulate life and are interested in doing so, then you are almost definitely already living in a simulation.

Since one computer simulation could contain billions of people, and each civilization that does this will likely have many such simulations, there are probably more people in simulations than in the real universe. Statistically, you're most likely to be one of them.

As our technology improves -- spawning video games and programs that create sensory experiences in your brain -- the more some people will question the physical reality of the world in which we live, one of the many philosophical arguments behind movies such as The Matrix.

As far-fetched as such things may sound, bear in mind that entertainment giant Sony Corp. has already been granted a patent for transmitting sensory information directly into the brain, using a technique that sends ultrasound pulses to targeted areas of the brain. This can create sensory experiences such as moving images, tastes, and sounds.

What's more, it's simply an improvement over similar technology that already existed: transcranial magnetic stimulation, which triggers nerves by using rapidly changing magnetic fields to induce currents in the brain.

On Vital Votes, however, Dex from Orem, Utah points out a major flaw in the argument that we are already in a simulation:

"To be valid, the questions would have to be inclusive enough to explain every possibility of the origins of existence. They claim exclusive possibilities, even between the three questions. Instead the questions pose empirical certainty that is based on an illogical supposition, while at the same time taking the fiction seriously.

"Despite what you think, you can't be a simulation, because you're a construct of my imagination."

Other responses to this article can be viewed at Vital Votes, and you can add your own thoughts or vote on comments by first registering at Vital Votes.

[+]Sources and References [-]Sources and References