Elon Musk: We're Likely All Just Characters in a Cosmic Video Game

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Elon Musk: We're Likely All Just Characters in a Cosmic Video Game

The nature of the universe has long been a quandary of philosophers and those who have been drinking heavily alike. Recently, Tesla's CEO and technologist extraordinaire took a whack at philosophy by considering the nature of the universe, and coming to the conclusion that the universe is likely one big video game.

Musk, while appearing at the Recode Code conference, noted that he'd thought quite a bit about the idea of life being just one big video game, and that we were all essentially just participants in one big simulation. Musk reportedly noted that there was a slim chance this wasn't the case, and if it wasn't, we should all be grateful that was the case.

Musk compares technological development to the technological development of gaming; consider one of the first games, Pong. It started out as just two lines and a dot on a field. Now, games are immersive, powerful affairs that can present a world to the level of detail we're accustomed to today. We can show a world that's as deep as Fallout 4's Commonwealth, or as expansive as the universe of worlds contained in No Man's Sky. Thus, the notion that we could be part of a giant simulation isn't exactly outlandish.

Of course, the fact that there's a correlation between game development and the development of the human civilization doesn't exactly mean that there's causation involved. There's a resemblance, yes, but it could be merely cosmetic, with humans drawing on their own experiences to create something similar to their own lives. First in fiction, then fiction grew to the video game.

It's technically possible Musk is right. It would require a computer system of almost staggering complexity to create a game that evolves over a period of centuries, even millennial, but then it could be that this is just how we perceive time. But it's unlikely all the same, and it's handily impossible to prove or disprove either way. It's a nifty theory, and it makes me wish I could find a set of cheat codes for this match.

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