You are probably not real

According to some researchers, there is at least a twenty percent chance that we are currently living in a computer simulation. In fact, if you accept a pretty reasonable assumption of Oxford University’s Dr. Nick Bostrom’s, it is almost a mathematical certainty that we are living in someone else’s computer simulation.

“This simulation would be similar to the one in The Matrix, in which most humans don’t realize that their lives and their world are just illusions created in their brains while their bodies are suspended in vats of liquid. But in Dr. Bostrom’s notion of reality, you wouldn’t even have a body made of flesh. Your brain would exist only as a network of computer circuits.”

“Dr. Bostrom assumes that technological advances could produce a computer with more processing power than all the brains in the world, and that advanced humans, or ‘posthumans,’ could run ‘ancestor simulations’ of their evolutionary history by creating virtual worlds inhabited by virtual people with fully developed virtual nervous systems. Some computer experts have projected, based on trends in processing power, that we will have such a computer by the middle of this century.”

I’ve explained this to several friends who find the information rather unnerving. But I’m not sure why.

If there is no conscious difference between the real world and a simulation, wouldn’t it be better to be part of the simulation?

Lose control of your SUV and run over a child and you’ve only destroyed a series of bits and bytes and not actual flesh and blood.

Sounds good to me.

Consequences would be considerably degraded (even if it were unconsciously so) while success and achievement, even in a simulated environment, would continue to carry the benefits and prestige that the world has assigned to it.

Not a bad deal until some advanced human civilization pulls the plug.