What Elon Musk Thinks About Our World Will Shock You

What Elon Musk Thinks About Our World Will Shock You

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Why are we here? What is the purpose of our life? Who created this world?

All these are unanswered questions of humanity for millennia. Different disciplines of spirituality and philosophy offer different answers for these. Not everybody is satisfied with the availablibe answers though.

It looks like the SpaceX and Tesla Motors supremo, technology evangelist Elon Musk has a radical view on our universe.

Elon Musk thinks that our universe is a giant computer simulation and we are unintended consequences of it.

Are we, and the universe we inhabit, a simulation? Elon Musk is telling us that there is a billions to one chance that we actually exist physically: it is much more likely that we are data swirling around in someone’s immense supercomputer.

What led Elon Musk to this strange conclusion?

Musk is immersed in a technological world, one that has seen immense advancement over the past few decades, and it seems inevitable to him that a functioning human brain, consciousness and all, will exist within a computer in the not-too-distant future.

With the inexorable growth in computing power over the next few millennia, this first lonely brain will be joined by many more in an entire computed universe. Are you listening?

To quote the great author Douglas Adams, maybe “this has already happened” and we ourselves are living in someone else’s synthetic universe. But how would we ever know?

It is a difficult question for science to address, as uncovering the laws of nature would really be revealing the algorithms inside the computer program.

There are some intriguing properties of the universe that make us stop and think about the possibility of a simulation, in particular the masses of fundamental particles, such as electrons and quarks, and the strengths of the forces that dictate their interactions.

The Fine-tuned Universe?

Growing evidence tells us that if the universe had been born with masses and forces only slightly different to the ones we have, the results would have been catastrophic, with a dead and sterile cosmos. Perhaps we are only here because some higher dimensional programmer “fine-tuned” our fundamental laws to produce some interesting results.

There might be subtle clues. If their computers are like ours, then they rely on numbers with finite digits, which would result in coarse graining of space and time rather than a smooth continuum. We could look for this.

Alternatively, we could search for the invariable glitches and bugs, places where the computer program is not behaving properly. But in both cases, it is likely that we would treat these as new “features” of the universe and include them in our fundamental laws.

Beyond the scientific, the notion of a simulated universe gives rise to many philosophical questions. And what happens if the simulating computer loses power?

Science offers no definite answers to the question of whether our universe is really a simulation, and Musk’s odds are little more than wishful thinking. But at the moment, they are as good as anyone else’s. What do you think about this?

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