Are We Living In A Simulation?

Your perception of reality may be false, nothing but a simulated experience. If this is true, why aren’t we choosing to live life to the fullest if we can truly do whatever we want? If life is just one big advanced video game why not make life more exciting and fulfilling.

Quarantine left a lot of people stuck in the house with nothing to do but find activities to pass the time. For one college student, Grea Llamar, video games is what helped her stay entertained for the many months spent on lockdown. The game she played the most was called Sims. Sims is a life simulation virtual reality game that gives the player the opportunity to live out the daily activities of one or more virtual people while pursuing relationships, careers, and other goals. In the Sims world, you have the choice to customize your avatar(s) and you have the ability to do anything you want in life. This got Grae thinking about how similar the game is to her real life. We have the choice to customize ourselves and make the choices to do anything we desire. Grae shares how “It dawned on me that my life might just be a temporary experience. I am literally in the game called life. This is a good thing because it means I am in control of my avatar and I have the freedom to make her life as exciting as possible.” With the advancement of technology becoming more and more impressive each year, who is to say that we are not living in a simulated world. This theory may not be as far fetched as you think.


In 2016 business magnate and industrial engineer Elon Musk brought popularity to the idea that we are all living in a simulation. In an interview, Musk stated that “If you assume any rate of improvement at all, games will eventually be indistinguishable from reality. We’re most likely in a simulation.”. The simulation theory ultimately argues that technology will have become so advanced in the future that we will have the opportunity to be in virtual reality games that mimic all aspects of real life. This concept has been hypothesized by many philosophers such as René Descartes, Hans Moravec, and Nick Bostrom. 


In 1986 The first virtual reality headset was created by computer scientist Ivan Sutherland and his student, Bob Sproull. This first VR headset only allowed you to see certain shapes and moving pictures that looked as if they were projected into the space in front of you. In the 90’s we begin to see the development of VR headset games that allow you to experience simulations that feel like you are really inside the game. However, these games did not have realistic graphics or imitate real-life experiences. Today we now have gaming systems such as the Oculus headset that have advanced graphics and generate an experience that is almost indistinguishable from reality. If we were able to make this much progress in just half a century then imagine what this means for virtual reality within the next century. The future of gaming will be incomprehensible to us now. Virtual reality will be completely indistinguishable from reality which can also lead us to conclude that if this reality we are all living in now is not a simulation something must have happened to the planet in the future that ceased the progression of technology. 

Many well-known scientist and researchers have discussed their support for different simulation theories. In the 2016 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate, scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson discusses how “the odds of our universe as simulated reality were 50-50”. Furthermore, in 2003 Nick Bostrum stated his theory that “advanced civilizations with massive computing power might decide to run simulations of their ancestors, us, and, given the sophistication of the technology, we wouldn’t know that we’re nothing more than computer programs.” 

“It doesn’t matter if people think I’m crazy for believing this. It is more so a metaphor for the way I need to live my life. If there is potential that this is a simulation and nothing really matters at least I lived a happy and exciting life.” says Grae when asked how people react when discussing this theory with them. Grea hopes that people will think about simulation theories with an open mind and not as something to fear.


All in all, for video game players like Grea simulation theories, do not make her feel any less real or less human. She shares how “If my life is a simulation I am still just as happy to be here. It gives me a sense of excitement in the knowledge that I shouldn’t take anything too seriously and that need to live my life as fulfilling as possible daily.” Grea’s words remind us that life is meant to be an exciting experience. If you were pulled out of this simulation today would you be happy or proud of all of your past experiences? Would you rather play a virtual reality game where you are experiencing the same boring activities over and over or would you rather play in a video game that gets your adrenaline pumping, where you can do and be anything or anyone you want? You are in control of this experience. 


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