Conspiracy theories are nothing new on TikTok, and another one has gone viral, offering presumed proof that we all live in a simulated universe created and controlled by an unknown power that we don’t know. ability to grasp.
Many people are excited about this theory because it would mean we have something bigger to discover beyond the universe we think we know. Others, however, are scared because it would potentially mean we’re all being watched 24/7 (which we already know is partly true given that our phones are listening to us most of the time).
But is it true?
What is Simulation Theory?
Simulation theory, also known as the simulation hypothesis, is the theory that we all live in a computer-simulated reality – meaning that the reality we think we know is entirely artificial, much like the concept behind the 1998 Jim Carrey film “The Truman Show” or Keanu Reeves’ infamous 1999 classic “The Matrix”.
The theory recently caught fire after TikToker Heidi Wong shared the argument made by Oxford University professor Nick Bostrom in a 2003 post titled “Are You Living In A Computer Simulation?”
According to Bostrom, there’s about a 50/50 chance that we’re living in a simulation.
“This article argues that at least one of the following propositions is true,” begins its summary. “(1) the human species is very likely to die out before it reaches a “posthuman” stage; (2) it is extremely unlikely that a posthuman civilization will run a significant number of simulations of its evolutionary history (or its variations); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor simulations is false, unless we were only currently living in a simulation.
The reasoning behind Bostrum’s theory is what is called a trilemma, a complex problem with three potential solutions.
As Anil Ananthaswamy explained in Scientific American, the simulation argument is as follows:
“Bostrom envisioned a technologically adept civilization that has immense computing power and needs a fraction of that power to simulate new realities with sentient beings. Given this scenario…at least one proposal in the trilemma must be true: First, humans almost always disappear before they reach the stage of simulation Second, even if humans do reach this stage, they are unlikely to be interested in simulating their own ancestral past . And third, the likelihood of us living in a simulation is close to one.”
Basically, if we believe an advanced civilization is likely to be able to create a simulated reality that resembles existence as we know it, chances are we’re already living in one.
TikTok videos regarding the simulation theory have since garnered millions of views. And many of them contain at least somewhat believable theories and raise some good questions about whether or not we’re living in a simulation.
The probability that there is a base reality and the rest of what we experience is part of a simulation increase or decrease based on the average of the Bayesian model.
In 2020 Columbia University astronomer David Kipping offered his own analysis of Bostrom’s theory in which he agreed that there is about a 50% chance that we live in a base reality where no simulations happens, or whether we live in a simulation.
Using a mathematical method of estimation and prediction known as Bayesian model averaging, Kipping claims that “the probability that we are sims is actually less than 50 percent.”
However, he expands on the original argument by explaining that once humans create a simulation that houses sentient beings, the odds change so that “you are left with only the simulation hypothesis”.
“The day we invent this technology, it takes the odds from a little better than 50-50 that we’re real to almost certainly that we’re not real, by those calculations,” Kipping says.
If you take a look at the quality of video games humans have created over the past two decades, it doesn’t seem so outrageous to believe that these characters could one day soon be sentient beings.
“Honestly, it makes sense if you think about how realistic video games are getting day by day and all the little glitches you see in the world that are unexplainable would make sense behind that theory,” says TikToker Nikki Jain.
When TikTokers refer to “problems in the matrix,” they’re referring to videos and images of things being captured that are either inexplicable or seem impossible.
This can mean “cars hitting invisible objects, planes staying in one place in the sky, dogs appearing randomly,” as shown in Jain’s second simulation theory video.
Elon Musk shared his own beliefs on simulation theory
TikToker Scarlett Mills shared a series of videos detailing the history of this theory, noting that notable scientific minds like Elon Musk and the late physicist Stephen Hawking have spoken about their belief in the plausibility of the simulation theory.
During a panel discussion at the 2016 Code conference, SpaceX founder and Tesla Techno King Musk said “the odds that we’re in base reality are one in billions.”
“And actually, I mean probably we should hope that’s true,” Musk continues, “because if not, if civilization stops advancing, it may be due to some calamitous event that wipes civilization out. So maybe we should hope it’s a simulation because otherwise…either we’ll create simulations that are indistinguishable from reality, or civilization will cease to exist.Those are the two options.
In 2021, Wade McKenzie, one of the metal artists behind the monolith that arose in California in December 2020, coined the term “simulation”, which he defines on Urban Dictionary under the McHiram handle as “the civilization existing in the realm of a simulated reality.”
This label seems apt if used to describe our civilization as Musk refers to it if the simulation theory is, indeed, correct.
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TikToker Ashley Lanese agrees with Musk’s assessment, comparing humans to Sims but saying that while Sims are part of a game, they are capable of making their own decisions.
“If life is a simulation, that means to me that we have more choice, more opportunity to choose the life we want,” she says.
According to philosopher David Chalmers, it is certainly possible that we are living in a simulation. But that shouldn’t change anything.
“If we found out we’re in a simulation, that would change some things. We might want to escape the simulation and go beyond it. At the very least, we might want to try to communicate with the simulators,” he says. . in an interview.
“But I think simulation or no simulation, life is still perfectly meaningful.”
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Megan Hatch is a writer who covers celebrity and entertainment news and loves internet pop culture. Follow her on Instagram and on Twitter for artistic and funny content.