If we're living in a computer simulation like in The Matrix, how would we know? It might be really hard to tell, according to philosophers and physicists.
It seems some leaders in Silicon Valley are taking the possibility seriously. At least two tech billionaires are recruiting scientists and funding research on a way to break us out of "the Matrix" that we may or may not be living inside of, according to a recent New Yorker profile of Sam Altman.
"Many people in Silicon Valley have become obsessed with the simulation hypothesis, the argument that what we experience as reality is in fact fabricated in a computer," Tad Friend wrote in the New Yorker piece. "Two tech billionaires have gone so far as to secretly engage scientists to work on breaking us out of the simulation."
Friend doesn't name any names, so we can only speculate as to who might be funding a secret computer simulation research lab.
Tech titan Elon Musk has famously said the chances that we're not living in a computer simulation are "one in billions." Similarly, analysts at Bank of America released a report saying there's a 20% to 50% chance we're living in a simulated reality:
Could we really be living in a simulation?
In a paper titled "Are you living in a computer simulation?" philosopher Nick Bostrom writes that there are three possible answers, and only one can be true:
1. There isn't any species advanced enough to build a computer simulation as sophisticated as the one we might be living in.
2. If there actually is a species advanced enough, they wouldn't have any interest in building or running a simulation.
3. We are almost definitely living in a simulation.
Maybe someone from Silicon Valley will have an answer for us soon.