By: Giedrius Astafjevas
Have you ever wondered whether the objects around you are real? Whether the ball you caught while playing American football, the pen you used to write the politics paper, or even the BAISMAG article you are reading, are part of this reality? You may think that the answer is quite obvious: “Of course they are real, what in the world are you talking about?”, and you are most certainly correct. However, allow me to attempt to change your mind. Allow me to introduce a different perspective and convince you that everything around you is, in simple words, a simulation.
Simulation theory is based on the idea that the world we exist in is not real. In other words, we live in a simulation, or a computer program if you will, which has been devised by our future selves for an unknown reason. Even though we believe that everything around us is real, it has been designed in a way for us to perceive it as an accurate reality. Thus, the book you read or the computer you use, are nothing but parts of a program, encoded to ensure that you perceive them as tangible objects of this fictional world. Whether this sounds surreal or not, let us now consider two alternatives.
First of all, we as humans have something that no other living creature has and that is called imagination – we have to imagine ourselves achieving astonishing things before they actually happen. As human civilization, it is in our creed to pursue the maximization of our capabilities. We wanted to cross oceans so we constructed ships and became travelers; we wanted to cross deserts and vast continents so we invented airplanes; we wanted to explore new horizons outside planet earth, so we built space ships. We have showed that there are no limits to what human minds can do. Laws of physics were unknown for the most of our existence and the most significant breakthroughs happened in the last centuries. Driven by this constant sensation of discovery and new futuristic prospects that are waiting to be explored, it can be frightful to even imagine what awaits us in a hundred, a thousand or ten thousand years. One thing remains clear – if we continue to advance at the same pace as now, the possibility of our “reality” being a simulation is fairly possible.
Second of all, it is simply enough for us to take a look around – how futuristic is our reality? If we would bring Antoine de Sent Exupéry back to live in our age, he would undoubtedly exclaim Ce n’est pas possible! Internet, smartphones, smart-TVs and, incredible progress in artificial intelligence have made our time unrecognisably different from that of fifty years ago. The really scary one is the video game industry, which thanks to Oculus rift technology, is capable of simulating video game reality which is close to being parallel to the real world. In short, technological advancements have been the most spectacular part of the 21st century. Considering that these developments were made in the last fifteen-twenty years, just imagine how technologically intense our lives will be in 2100!
Of course, everything that I presented remains very speculative and we do not have firm proof that we live in a “fake” reality. Although, is it hard to believe that we could actually be part of a simulation? That our world is just a computer program? That our world is just a dream?