Elon Musk doesn’t like talking about the possibility that our world is just a mind-bending simulation created by a super-advanced civilization. He’s had this discussion so many times he’s now banned it from hot tubs.
I don’t know if this means that Musk is bored with theoretically intriguing but ultimately meaningless discussions, or if he’s just very demanding with his hot tub time. Maybe he’s only interested in issues he can influence in tangible ways, leaving the ontological speculation for his retirement. Or maybe he just wants to feel in control of his own actions, unwilling to believe that he’s just an algorithm designed in the lab of some future genius.
But his argument is an interesting one. The probability that we’re not living in a simulated reality program, he says, is very, very low, and that’s a good thing because it suggests that civilization at large has managed to advance to the point where it can create worlds that look real, feel real, and deceive their inhabitants to the point where even though they know they are probably living inside one, they can’t prove it.
Like we said, interesting, but it sounds like a tautology, in fact, like two tautologies: 1) the simulation is so perfect we can’t — and could never — distinguish it from base reality, so it’s perfect, and 2) the fact that we’re here means that civilization has survived because only an advanced civilization could have built such a complex and absorbing hologram, meaning that life goes on no matter what.
The more you think about it, the more it does your head in, which makes me think that no matter how much we advance, nothing will change. We will dump the old gods in favor of new ones, trading in the metaphysical ethereal creators for super-advanced technomasters with a penchant for playing complex video games and running insane simulation programs for whatever purpose. We will theorize and speculate about who they are and what they look like, what their reasons and motivations for creating us were, if any, surmising their existence through their absence. The more invisible they are, the more outrageous and mind-bending their capacities, their ability to make worlds from scratch using cosmic software programs and blow-your-mind technology, and I’m thinking, yes, now I get why Elon Musk is tired of having this conversation. He just wants to enjoy his time in the hot tub before getting ready to go out and create a simulation of his own, or some kind of smart technology to that effect.
When he does, he’ll be able to argue with greater confidence — and based on evidence (and not the absence thereof) — that yes, we’re probably the products of a simulated reality because look at us, we’ve created one ourselves. It’s not perfect, but we’re getting there.
Still a tautology, but with something to back it up this time round. But still a tautology.
Screw it, I’m going for a dip.
From the bays of Pearl Coast,
Fish a ton of oysters, strike a shiny pearl.