Are We Living in a Simulation? – 8-Bit Philosophy


Suppose, dear viewer, that everything you
own: your NES collection, your youth sports participation trophies and all of your wonderful
memories are merely fabrications — 1s and 0s of binary code in an advanced computer
simulation. It may sound like science fiction, but is
it actually possible? According to the inventor and CEO Elon Musk,
it’s not only possible, it’s almost certain. Bollocks, you say? Perhaps. Although Musk has made this simulation theory
mainstream, it was proposed over 15 years ago by Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom in
his essay, aptly titled: “Are you living in a computer simulation?” “A computer simulation in which the simulated people are conscious.” Bostrom argues that at least one of the following three statements is true: According to Bostrom, if future humans don’t
go extinct, and don’t opt out of super simulations, than you, dear viewer, are almost certainly
living in a computer simulation. Bostrom’s thesis rests on the concept of
ancestor simulations – the idea that humans will one day be able to recreate their own
history in perfect detail. “This is the world that you know.” Perhaps future humans would want pop on a
VR headset and see what London was like in the 21st or 17th century, or take a trip to
12th century Mongolia and meet Genghis Khan himself. They would be so detailed that the simulated
humans would, for all purposes, think that their lives were real. With enough computing power, simulated people
may eventually run their own simulations, and their simulations may run their own simulations
— like Russian nesting dolls. When Elon Musk says that there is a billions
in one chance that we are not living in a computer simulation he does have math on his side. Let’s say that your next-door neighbor will
create a simulation of you next Tuesday. If they are replaying last week in order to
better figure out a way to ask you out, it would mean that there is a 50/50 shot that
you are a simulated being created for your neighbor’s enjoyment. If this idea is expanded to the totality of
humanity things get a little scarier. It only takes one future person to create
one replica of our reality, let’s call it the “Party Like It’s 2017.exe,” to make
the odds that you are living in that simulation 1 in 2. If, in the future, someone creates 3 different
versions of “Party Like It’s 2017”, then our odds of living in that simulation
are 3 in 4 – 75%. Minecraft has sold over 100 million copies
in our own world. If in the future “Party Like It’s 2017”
were as popular as this, your chances of living in a simulation today would be 100 million
to 1, a 99.999% chance of living in a fictitious reality. Given enough time: say thousands of years,
billions of people could own 2017 simulations and it would mean that you would have a billions
in one chance of living in base reality: or the really real world. Odds are you exist in one of the billions
of 2017 simulations. Musk believes that with any real amount of
technical progress, widespread simulations like this are inevitable. For Bostrom, it isn’t simulation or bust
though— Bostrom believes people may very well be able to create ancestor simulations
and choose not to. If you’re hoping you are real, this possibility
is your only saving grace. But does it really matter? Will the fact that our universe is simulated
make it any more or less meaningful? What do you think dear viewer, would the truth
of an other-worldly creator bring you solace, or would we be obliged to make like Neo, and
bring it all crashing down?

Maurice Vega

100 Responses

  1. It doesn't honestly matter if this world is real. If this is indeed a computer simulation then it will be just as real as it always was. Even if this exists inside a computer I am still as concious as the person in the base reality, and this is as real to me as his world is to him.

  2. You forgot to mention that the computing power necessary to simulate an entire universe in the detail we see it in pretty much rules out this idea.

  3. This major issue with this idea isn't philosophical, but practical. Even if it's true that the original humans, whether that's us or some other group, can or or did create a simulation, it breaks down as you go through the chain. If the original people created a simulation, and then those simulations created a simulation, and so on and so on, it eventually reaches a point where there's not enough energy in the real universe to allow all those simulations to exist. And this ends up being true if multiple people in the original universe run millions or billions of copies of simulations. Even with the size of the universe, there's only a finite amount of energy that is in existence and can be extracted for use at a time.

  4. I personally find it unlikely that we're all part of some simulation based on the simple fact that we each perceive the world around us. When someone plays a game, the only parts of the game that are rendered are the parts near the person playing.

    To render an entire world where each and every simulated being in that world is able to perceive and interact with the world around them, in addition to having their own independent thoughts and emotions would take an excessive amount of computing power.

    To then postulate that this is being done multiple times so each person wanting to explore a simulation can have their own world to interact with that isn't being tampered with by other "real" people, despite the fact that there will be vast segments of the world that those people will never interact with goes so far beyond being impractical that it's almost certain this isn't the case.

  5. The simulation hypothesys assumes the following entirely plausible possibilities are not true:
    4) Creating a simulation indistinguishable from reality is not even possible because simulations and reality are fundamentally different things.
    5) Creating an infinite number of ancestor simulations is not possible because it is impossible to collect sufficient information about the state of the universe to do so.
    6) A simulated consciousness can never actually be self aware in the same way as a real consciousness.
    7) There are infinitely many possibilities other than life being a computer simulation and so the math required for #3 to work cancels out.
    8) You are not interesting enough to be simulated, and if a future superintelligent race wanted to simulate you they would re-create you either as a comic caracature, a badass superhero, or a hot space alien rather than the boring dweeb you really are.

    Plus, there is the fact that if this were a simulation the marketing people would require ads to be inserted all over the place. If you were in a simulation, not only would you be WAY more awesome, adorable, or entertaining than you really are, but your life would be continuously interrupted by popup ads for Slurm Cola and Soilent Green. Sorry to break it to you, but this is not all a dream. This is your real life and you are stuck with it.

  6. This is why having a functioning mythology is crucial to human life; the logical possibilities of existence are too vast and too confounding to be of any true value.

  7. “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

    – Albus Dumbledore

  8. Please make more 8-Bit Philosophy videos. They're my favorite part of Wisecrack. If you do make more 8-Bit Philosophy videos make them more like the older ones. I like the older videos better.

  9. What makes science fiction great is the fiction not the science so a science fiction story ignoring fiction and making it all about science is like a guy so despirate to disprove something that he ends up proving it to be true and vice versa there is no evidence of this just a theory a fantasy and not a compelling one I know it's computers age and AI ,it is convenient that this theory comes now if it was logical and philosophical people would have thought of it before but it's a product of industry and propaganda God made sense people are divided but it's ok it makes sense either way a creator created everything not impossible and it makes sense or if we say big bang and evolution and here we are now well it's possible makes sense by science but we are in a computer made by intelligent beings who were not created by a creator they came with a big bang or something who made the program , how and why ? we cannot answers two things the sophisticated and the absurd and as much as many want this one is absurd not sophisticated .

  10. aren't the increasing odds only a derivation of the original 50-50… odds are 1 in 2 that i'm either part of a non-artificial reality or that i'm part of an artificial reality… odds are 1 in 2 that there was some god who created all matter (pick your deity) or that there is no god… the odds of the god i may have been created from didn't increase when mormonism was invented or dianetics, or ever at all for that matter… it is an inherent state of being that i was either born in a simulation or i wasn't… it doesn't matter how many simulations are really being run, simulation-running itself can't be given the benefit of the doubt as 'reality' which is essentially the meaning of the end of the matrix when smith says that it isn't fair and there's all that crucifix explosion imagery… i think therefore i am 50% bullshit 50% real… it depends strictly and inherently on the conclusion that you come to, not whether you're in someone's simulation, but whether you can claim and assert agency as opposed to feign derivative code

    the 50s housewife paradigm are living beings robbed of their agency and turned into a simulation and in turn rebelled against by those too real for that system… it doesn't matter if those in rebellion rebelled against a digital code or not… the people who wrote that code may have been writing it for no reason in which case they were expressing the 'fifties housewife model' as a reflection of their set of values, the rebellion from that code is less artificial than the intelligence that created it and can interact in a world worth living in despite having however artificial of a background thrust upon them

    joining that rebellion when the choice comes for say your own kids can never be as simple as 'needing to be joined to be on the side of good' their 50-50 moment will come and they'll be tested… i think the finest bet is to derive your own set of expectations and see how others orbit around it while always at least intermittently questioning yourself

  11. you guys ever play skyrim and spawn a shitton of chickens and the game lags? well we just need to spawn a few billion more and if the universe starts lagging then we will know.

  12. It doesn't even need to be an ancestor simulation. We could, for instance, be in a simulation run by a more advanced species studying biological and environmental thresholds that cause a species to annihilate itself or otherwise die off before becoming a more advanced civilization on what we call the Kardashev Scale.

    Because if we do develop the computing power to create super simulations, doing the same thing ourselves could aid astrophysicists in the search for extraterrestrial intelligent life, and better inform us of how to interact with it if we find it. So we probably would.

  13. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't one of the beliefs of Hinduism is that we are living in a "simulation?" Like, everyone is a different personality of one God, even other gods, and when you truly awaken you realize you are part of God, and our reality is just the result of God entertaining their-self.

  14. I've seen people decapitated, disemboweled and castrated on the internet but this was the scariest video I've ever witnessed.

  15. You would think that the simulation itself will delete any attempt at questioning the simulation itself. The fact that this video exists and the people around the world are free to express this idea might mean that maybe, after all, we aren't in a simulation. I think that an AI would find it illogical to allow it's very own simulations to question the reality that they live in.

  16. If this is all you'll ever going to experience, then from your POV this life is REAL to you. As real as it can be

  17. why on earth would a futuristic society waste all that computing power looking at human history? don't they have a star to enswarm?

  18. If this world isn't even real, then the creator is a real piece of shit! They could make us all live a happy life together, but chose to make us egotistic, greedy, murderous, warmongering idiots that abuse and take advantage of each other.
    SMH at you, virtual god!

  19. But the entire time they don't provide tangible evidence that we are in a simulation it's just a Sci-Fi thought that could be apply to reality if that's the case we can apply the Matrix to reality but then we'll never get anything done if we all believe we're living in a simulation. He is no proof of the simulation other than oh wouldn't it be cool if or I think that things may be going this way. Here's the reality humans are going to go extinct one day this planet will be engulfed by the Sun the universe itself will end in anything and everything that has ever existed will be no longer now if we die and there happens to be another phase or another realm or a higher being then great I hope we can reconnect with our loved ones but besides that that's the reality that were dealing with.

  20. If we're a simulation, what happens when we commit suicide? Did we just get deleted? Or a glitch? I don't know I'm new to this whole theory but damn it's interesting.

  21. This can be disproved with Westworld. This can't be a simulatuon because it's to complicated, miserable, and boring. If it were a simulation it would be fun

  22. “If inherently flawed premise x is real, and you arbitrarily multiply it by one million because of a false equvalency to a video game, that means it’s one million times as likely that x is true.”

    There are so many random leaps in logic and misuses of probability, that this theory reads almost as absurdly as the above. Even just starting with the Swedish guy’s theory, he’s awfully close minded to think those are the only three possibilities. What if a possibility is that simulations indistinguishable from reality are impossible to create? I’m not saying they are impossible to create, I’m saying the jury’s out. And the only way to claim that they’re possible is to make a crude extrapolation like this: “On a long enough timeline, everything happens because of infinity.” Sure, maybe. But it’s hardly scientific to be so philosophical.

    His argument’s semantics even technically address this by saying “humans may go extinct before they reach that level.” But it’s highly misleading phrasing because it assumes that level is reachable with extinction as the only exception.

  23. Okay,
    So if we are living in simulation then why would any advanced creator of our world programme want to let us know about the fact that we are simulated?

    Listen if we are simulated then the simulator can control everything, our brain itself so why would they let us know?

    We can't really give a theory about science based on thinkings only, we actually need proper proof for that, someone like Elon Musk should take care for his statements as because his so called theories based on thinkings leads to question existence and may cause existential crises, so better improve science so that one day our future generation can actually create simulated games to play on YouTube 😃

  24. If this is a simulation what if someone you know commits suicide. What happens to them? Could you see them again or find them in another simulation? If so will it be the same person or different personality?

  25. I'm not sure I buy this "Billion to one chance we're in base reality" logic.
    So billions of people in the future can have the ability to create or play a game where our time and universe is the game or simulation.
    That suggests that we, as individuals with our own consciousness..are part of one of those billion's game.
    Yet..we have our own conscious and self-awareness.
    I can see if it were..WE OURSELVES, that are in the future..playing a simulation..immersing our existing consciousness in the game.
    But to say our self-awareness isn't real..and we..as in ALL of us on Earth, are in one of some billion possible games..played by another conscious being in the future..doesn't quite fit.
    Unless..the simulation technology gets so advanced..that those that are simulated, have self-awareness.

  26. Here’s why we’re not in a simulation, everything cancels out in our reality, everything will eventually always equal zero, a computer can not operate on zero, this is a difficult concept to understand, but it’s true

  27. Here in 2019. Thinking about it simulation theory from what this video is saying is echoed a lot in Black Mirror Bandersnatch, the whole free will question and parallel realities. Pretty cool

  28. What if the hypothetical simulation isn’t being “run” by humans, or their ancestors? What if the simulators are some foreign third party? Why is that not considered as one of the possibilities?

  29. When I go to work Monday, there is a change my boss will give me 1000.000$. There is also a change I won't get this. So 50% I will become a millionaire. However, if you take into account my boss might give me a million on multiple occasions, or it won't be my boss, but another person, there is only a billion in one change I won't become a millionaire on Monday…

  30. anyone else see the video about jim carreys perspective one life? "jim carreys 'crazy' behavior explained" by Prince Ea???

  31. I don’t understand why people believe in this theory here why it’s impossible the simulation is going to be played on computer of some sort right then that would mean that the computer would have to render atoms to which are real the universe is made or over 120 centillions atoms that would mean it would have to render all of that every second which would mean the computer would have to be bigger than the universe in which it is being runed at which would be impossible but you can believe what you want thanks for reading this hope you have a nice day

  32. Guys guys guys, children let me introduce you to sir Alan Watts my personal lord and savior. Wen ever you ready to step outside the playpen of course https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULtGTbRSlrI

  33. Why would someone bother to create consciousness, free will, pain, taste, for all of us NCP's, IF this is a computer simulated model?

  34. "The really real world" HaHa

    New reality show? 😦

    BUT in the Matrix people had bodies in the real world and minds in a simulation. They had something to escape to. If we ARE the simulation… that's our reality.

  35. I actually thought of this about 15 years ago. I've always pondered why am I the consciousness from where I am and not from another person? Then who are all the other people around me if I'm the consciousness? I thought to myself we have souls but NOT everyone does. I do believe most all are nothing but drones walking and breathing human beings to form this world so I can live. For example, the computer I'm using to type, the chairs I sit on, the car that I drive, the building I live in have all been created by drones. They are merely drones of which have been programmed to exist and build whatever is needed for me to survive. With this theory I have been more observant and seen people around me just kind of robotic and nothing inside sort of hollow. Sure you can communicate with them but they are merely programmed to answer the way they have been programmed to do so, kind of like talking to Siri or Alexa but of course more complex which I'm sure will happened to both Siri and Alexa in about 50 more years from now which I wouldn't doubt it will be able to hold a conversation with us. So when we're not seeing or looking at things are they still going on? Of course, that's how everything around us is being built. But it may appeared to be built when it fact it appears automatically when we're not looking at them. Another theory I have is that we are all programmed to behaved certain way, including myself the consciousness. KInd of like, I'm in a vehicle which is my body to observe and experience what ever my body and mind is doing everyday life. The free will we have are nothing but illusions. Why? Because I did not choose my body, my parents, my gender, where I was born and etc. So all those that have been given to me by our creator in which we are now using and being the passenger of what was given to us. So when we make choices it was already programmed for us to choose that particular choice we made. Our personality is what determines how we choose. Our personality was formed from our DNA first off, then from the surroundings that were given to us, including the people we eventually encountered were all given to us. Every single steps we take have been programmed for us. So when we think we're making the decision to turn right but in fact it was already programmed to make that turn and not left. But you might say well then I will take left instead? That is also programmed for us to think we're making the change to take left instead. It is our ego which makes us think we are making our own decisions, a major deceptive program by our creator to insert ego into us to make us unaware of the choices we're making that which was already programmed. Another one you mentioned is that math solves everything, is another theory I also came up with back then. I do believe everything has a formula to solve every single thing that exists in this world, including our personality, our next moves and choices we make. Only our creator has all those formulas and we have only limited knowledge to understand the basic formulas to solve distances and other areas. But to solve life with formula is way beyond us. Can we evolve into super intelligent being at some point in time to come up with those formulas to solve life? I don't know. I do know that our intelligence is limited at this time to comprehend life solving formulas. Nevertheless, they do exist and only our creator is able to use those. Thank you for the video. By the way, I have been programmed to write you this comment as well. Do you see my point?

  36. Unless the world outside the simulation is that much better, I really don’t care if I’m in a simulation.

  37. If I could choose to create ancestor simulation I would . But if this is true people like Elon musk the president of the United States and other influences would definitely be npc's . Have you ever noticed some people seem more real than others . Some people have a light in their eye the shows they're there or their present and others have a blank gaze and seem incapable of deep thought .

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