Tech Billionaires: Life Is A Simulation, And We Want To Escape



At least two Silicon Valley billionaires are funding research to learn about the simulation we may or may not be living inside. They’re even researching how to escape from said simulation if it exists. Cenk Uygur, Grace Baldridge, and Brett Erlich, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

“Tech billionaires’ latest obsession — outside of suing websites into oblivion and attending odd, expensive festivals in the desert — is apparently one that gripped the country in 1999. The bad news: We’re all just living in the Matrix. The good news: According to a New Yorker story this week, a couple of tech billionaires are secretly funding research to break us out. (One can only assume Keanu Reeves is onboard the project as a consultant.)

Jokes aside, the idea is called the simulation hypothesis and it’s growing in popularity with the Silicon Valley nouveau-riche, as well as in idiosyncratic corners of Reddit. The New Yorker piece by Tad Friend was centered on Sam Altman, CEO of the “startup accelerator” Y Combinator, but took a detour into Matrix territory.

Wrote Friend: “Many people in Silicon Valley have become obsessed with the simulation hypothesis, the argument that what we experience as reality is in fact fabricated in a computer; two tech billionaires have gone so far as to secretly engage scientists to work on breaking us out of the simulation.”

The two billionaires from the New Yorker profile are left unnamed, but there is one tech billionaire who has publicly addressed the theory — SpaceX/Tesla CEO, and real life Tony Stark, Elon Musk. In fact, he thinks it’s highly unlikely we’re not in some form of simulation.

“There’s a one in billions chance we’re in base reality,” Musk said at the Recode Code Conference in June.”*

Read more here:

Hosts: Cenk Uygur, Grace Baldridge, Brett Erlich
Cast: Cenk Uygur, Grace Baldridge, Brett Erlich

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28 Replies to “Tech Billionaires: Life Is A Simulation, And We Want To Escape”

  1. What a waste of time, money, and effort. You guys keep telling us Philosophy is useless.
    Descartes disapproved this ages ago: I think therefore I am.

  2. Well there is the famous argument that if we're able to create a believable simulation that can contain another believable simulation, then we might as well be living in a simulation. And from a physicists standpoint, there is a famous theory that the entire universe is a projection from a different universe. Which is something we're at this point unable to either prove or disprove.

  3. That 'science fair project' is almost exactly what one of my book series is going to be about. I have been writing many stories on a world where 'student deities' created the world specifically to impress their teacher. The world has some sloppy 'copy/paste' issues and other things the deities put in just because they thought it was cool. They even had to patch the world just 70 or so years after they put people on it.

  4. The best argument I've ever heard that we are NOT living in a simulation came from Dr. Richard Carrier. His argument was that any civilization sufficiently advanced to create a life-like simulation would have to be highly moral or it would have destroyed itself already. Creating a simulation with suffering is an immoral proposition. Even if you morally justified it as necessary for research purposes, you wouldn't need more than a thousand simulations to get the data you're seeking. This makes the likelihood that we're living in a simulation much lower. Of course, the simulation could be the work of a single, immoral AI that doesn't have to answer to anyone else but still, this is the only argument that has ever given me pause.

  5. The idea is out there for newcomers but its entirely possible

    However, i dont think its provable and if we do exist in a sim, we cant escape. Elon Musk's certainty about this puzzles me but he is smart… Ambitious and idealistic but smart.

  6. It depends on what we would be escaping to. It might turn out to be preferable to stay here but sweeten the simulation.

  7. This is basically new age religion. "You can't prove its not happening" is basically the premise the idea is based on. Are people allergic to occam's razor? Isn't it possible that the earth simply exists as a part of the universe and on this earth there developed a phenomenon called life and one development of that phenomenon is human beings? Isn't it possible that humans are just an outgrowth of earth's nature? It might not be as wacky and out there and fun as Musk's theory but it definitely seems more plausible considering we have, you know, EVIDENCE for it.

  8. The simulation hypothesis that physicists are talking about, is a real thing, but a tiny, minute possibility. Leonard Susskind and Brian Greene wrote books on this. they were about the possibilities of more spacial dimensions which are very likely when dealing with very small, or very large (and I don't want to overuse the word, but in a trumpian fashion, very, very small, like the Plank length, or very very large like the star betelguese) there still is no one way to describe these things that correlate with the laws of physics. we're getting there. we're close, but to say our reality is a simulation is a fascinating concept, a tiny possibility that it is technically possible, but please, just be decent to people, until there is no conversation left. if you haven't convinced them, no fact that you can tell them will change their mind. After that, well, history will decide. and hopefully those historians will be interested in truth, not politics.

  9. This is what happens when you take billions of dollars out of the middle class and redistribute that to only a select few. they run out of things to spend their money on and they have to come up with nutty stuff like this. How about using your money to solve problems that are impacting people today? That is just a sci fi wet dream for these guys.

  10. so if this is a computer simulation of advance humans bit of a coincedence their simulation evolved with astoroid wiping out the dinosaurs and humans evolving to then invent the microchip and then pong and then computer graphics simulations. thats to big a chance. more likely not an advance humans and something else

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