Do We Live In a Simulation?

Mason Teemant, Writer

Do we live in a simulation? This has been a much debated topic among scientists and intellectuals for about 20 years now. The questioning of reality however, has been a topic debated for centuries. The topic of humanity living in a simulation was proposed by Nick Bostrom in a 2003 article in the Philosophical Quarterly.  He argues that there is a 50-50 percent chance we live in a simulation. His thesis for this topic is, “I argue that at least one of the following propositions is true: (1) the human species is very likely to become extinct before reaching a ‘posthuman’ stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of its evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we shall one day become posthumans who run ancestor‐simulations is false, unless we are currently living in a simulation. I discuss some consequences of this result.”

There are also counter arguments for this proposition. Some say that there would be too much wasted complexity if we lived in a simulation. Why would an advanced society waste time and energy creating a universe? Since the hypothesis does not have a falsifiable prediction, it can’t be proven wrong. In 2017, Bryan Eggleston, a undergraduate in in system analysis, discovered a flaw in Nick Bostrom’s theory. He said, “The simulation argument relies on our descendants building super advanced computers, because we are the only known species to build computers in the first place. Once our descendants build such computers, we’ll know for sure that we’re not among the simulated beings in those computers, because we can point to those computers and conclusively say we’re not inside them.”

At this moment, we can’t predict if we are or aren’t in a simulation. Do we live in a simulation?