Elon Musk cited the video game Pong from the 1970s to reaffirm his belief that our perception of reality is, in fact, a hyper-realistic computer simulation.
In response to a tweet about Pong, Posted by a popular engineering trivia account, the director of SpaceX and Tesla commented that the advancement in graphics and gameplay in the years since its launch implies that humanity is on its way to create digital worlds indistinguishable from the real world.
“49 years later, games are photorealistic 3D worlds,” wrote the billionaire. “What does this continuous trend imply about our reality?”
Musk previously commented that he subscribes to a simulation hypothesis presented in a 2003 paper by philosopher Nick Bostrom, which posits that future advances in computing power will allow later generations to run a large number of highly detailed simulations of their ancestors.
If this eventuality occurs, Bostrom said, “then it could be the case that the vast majority of minds like ours do not belong to the original race, but to people simulated by the advanced descendants of an original race.”
Based on this paper, Musk stated that there is a 99.99 percent chance that the universe we inhabit is a computer simulation.
Tools like the Unreal Engine enable the creation of photorealistic 3D environments in real time, while technologies like virtual reality headsets and haptic feedback suits offer insight into what it’s really like to inhabit these simulated worlds.
The idea that we live in a simulation has been a popular theme in science fiction movies and literature for the past half century, and one of the most notable examples is the movie franchise.Matrix.
The premise of the film is that reality as we know it is in fact a computer simulation that we perceive through a wire attached to our neck.
One of Elon Musk’s many commercial ventures uses a rudimentary version of this technology in the form of a broadband brain-machine interface that provides a direct connection between the brain and a computer.
The startup Neuralink initially aims to treat neurological disorders, but later versions of the device could offer users “enhanced skills” such as streaming music directly to the brain, regulating anxiety levels, and ultimately allowing humans to compete with advanced forms of artificial intelligence.
Earlier this year, Neuralink revealed that he trained a monkey to play Pong using only your mind.