Elon Musk, the entrepreneur behind SpaceX and Tesla, recently announced a new project called Neuralink.
With the reported aim to eventually integrate the human brain with artificial intelligence, it’s certainly another leap forward being taken by the man who wants to lead us to Mars.
However, Neuralink isn’t the first time the South African-born visionary has explored a connection between the mortal mind and the power of the computer.
In fact, he believes it almost certain that we’re already not living in a world of pure human consciousness.
As he put it in the Vox video above, “there’s a one in billions chance that this is base reality.”
When such a statement comes from the mouth of someone as switched on as Musk, it deserves explaining.
The Vox video does a great job of that but if you prefer to read, I’ll attempt to summarize.
40 years ago, video games consisted of 2 sticks and a ball.
Today they feature near-photorealistic graphics and can be played by millions of people simultaneously.
This technology is improving every year and virtual reality is imminent.
Based on a paper by the philosopher Nick Bostrom, Musk believes that if we continue to simulate everything, we’ll eventually simulate ourselves and the world around us.
The computing power needed for this would be immense, so self-replicating robots (I know, but stick with me here) would be sent to other planets.
These may even eventually begin to create their own simulations.
If they do, billions of simulated universes exactly the same as our own will exist.
They may well exist already.
So the chances that we, me writing this and you reading it, are in the original one?
Billions to one.
It leads us back to Musk’s statement of “there’s a one in billions chance that this is base reality.”
If the thought that we’re living in a simulation ruins your day, don’t let it.
Musk thinks we should hope we are, as the alternative is worse.
He says that “either we’re gonna create simulations that are indistinguishable from reality, or civilization will cease to exist. Those are the 2 options.”
I, for one, welcome our new computer overlords.