The Matrix came out 1999 and as far as I am concerned that is an eternity ago. 13 years in how fast technology is moving is a lifetime. But, that movie introduced a concept to me that I had not considered before. The Matrix. The red pill and the blue pill, and a Keanu Reeves I liked. But mostly, a computer generated reality. Since then this movie has been dissected more times than I care to talk about. I actually have lost all interest in thinking and talking about this movie. Why am I doing it then? Well, I happened to stumble on this interview with NASA scientist Rich Terrile on VICE about the possibility of a computer generated reality.
Here is why this article is worth your time and disconcerting:
1. A NASA scientist is saying this. I mean, unless something is changed I don’t think they let just anyone be a NASA scientist.
2. It has to do with Science Fiction ideas and everyone loves sci-fi whether or not they want to admit it.
3. The question and answer below:
So there’s a possibility we’re living in a super advanced game in some bloodshot-eyed goober’s PlayStation right now?
Exactly. The supposition here is how do you know it’s not 30 years in the future now and you’re not one of these simulations? Let me go back a step here. As scientists, we put physical processes into mathematical frameworks, or into an equation. The universe behaves in a very peculiar way because it follows mathematics. Einstein said, “The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it’s comprehensible.” The universe does not have to work that way. It does not have to be so easy to abbreviate that I can basically write down a few pages of equations that contain enough information to simulate it.
The other interesting thing is that the natural world behaves exactly the same way as the environment ofGrand Theft Auto IV. In the game, you can explore Liberty City seamlessly in phenomenal detail. I made a calculation of how big that city is, and it turns out it’s a million times larger than my PlayStation 3. You see exactly what you need to see of Liberty City when you need to see it, abbreviating the entire game universe into the console. The universe behaves in the exact same way. In quantum mechanics, particles do not have a definite state unless they’re being observed. Many theorists have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how you explain this. One explanation is that we’re living within a simulation, seeing what we need to see when we need to see it.