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Elon Musk: 'One In Billions' Chance We're Not Living In A Computer Simulation (vox.com) 951

An anonymous reader writes: At Recode's annual Code Conference, Elon Musk explained how we are almost certainly living in a more advanced civilization's video game. He said: "The strongest argument for us being in a simulation probably is the following. Forty years ago we had pong. Like, two rectangles and a dot. That was what games were. Now, 40 years later, we have photorealistic, 3D simulations with millions of people playing simultaneously, and it's getting better every year. Soon we'll have virtual reality, augmented reality. If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then the games will become indistinguishable from reality, even if that rate of advancement drops by a thousand from what it is now. Then you just say, okay, let's imagine it's 10,000 years in the future, which is nothing on the evolutionary scale. So given that we're clearly on a trajectory to have games that are indistinguishable from reality, and those games could be played on any set-top box or on a PC or whatever, and there would probably be billions of such computers or set-top boxes, it would seem to follow that the odds that we're in base reality is one in billions. Tell me what's wrong with that argument. Is there a flaw in that argument?" You can watch Elon Musk's full interview on YouTube.
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Elon Musk: 'One In Billions' Chance We're Not Living In A Computer Simulation

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  • Senile? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 02, 2016 @11:33PM (#52238885)

    Is it just me or does it start to seem like ol' Elon is going senile?

    • Re:Senile? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <bruce@perens.com> on Thursday June 02, 2016 @11:45PM (#52238965) Homepage Journal

      Is it just me or does it start to seem like ol' Elon is going senile?

      Not senile, but self-indulgent. Any college sophomore can deal with the same ideas and get nowhere. And then there's Mars. I fervently wish he'd leave off the Mars stuff until SpaceX was on a solid footing as a profitable launch company with rapid cadence.

      • Re:Senile? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by WhiplashII ( 542766 ) on Thursday June 02, 2016 @11:59PM (#52239027) Homepage Journal

        OK, people seem to be getting down on Elon here...

        Personally, I don't think we are in a game. I think that the primary use of such simulations will be to have "children" (those under the age of 1,000) experience the "bad old days" back when resources were bounded. So this is school, not a game. I guess we'll know if I'm right in about 50 years, on average.

        As for those that think this level of simulation is impossible, it isn't. There may be limits to hardware that prevent exponential increases from going on forever. But there are no such limitations for software. You can optimize the simulation by doing things like dropping information whenever you don't need it (quantum mechanics), and removing redundant calculations (as in, after a quadrillion people go through the same sim, it is unlikely they are actually coming up with anything original...)

        • by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @01:12AM (#52239383) Journal

          As for those that think this level of simulation is impossible, it isn't.

          Without ANY bugs? Really? The only way this idea works is if you have a divine programmer who cannot make any mistakes who created the universe. This is more like scientology than science.

          • by Dashiva Dan ( 1786136 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @01:51AM (#52239511)

            Without ANY bugs? Really? The only way this idea works is if you have a divine programmer who cannot make any mistakes who created the universe. This is more like scientology than science.

            If my life has been a software simulation let me assure you, there's a LOT of bugs.

          • by TsuruchiBrian ( 2731979 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @02:45AM (#52239699)
            Even if there are bugs, you can just stop the simulation, fix the bugs and start it over. Furthermore, even if there were bugs, that's for the creator of the simulation to notice and fix, not the simulated apes per-occupied with voting for Hillary or Trump.
            • by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @03:08AM (#52239777)

              > Even if there are bugs, you can just stop the simulation, fix the bugs and start it over.

              As a developer and administrator for decades, dealing with increasingly complex systems, I must say "no". Many complex systems have bugs that are "emergent". They emerge from subtle interactions among smaller components, and can be devastatingly destructive to your existing system to repair. Examples include exceeding the size of expected storage through conditions that were never in the original specification, but which were assumed by other developers.

              • by religionofpeas ( 4511805 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @04:26AM (#52240009)
                The simulation wouldn't necessarily have to be complex. You could simulate the entire universe in a giant Game of Life board, with a handful of very simple rules combined with a huge state space.
              • Examples include famine, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, wars, Trump, accidents, murders, insanity, ecological disasters, North Korea, Chernobyl, volcano eruptions, landslides, avalanches... do I need to continue?

                Could be that the intent was to create a perfect world and all the above are the bugs.

          • by lgw ( 121541 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @02:49AM (#52239713) Journal

            If the universe were being run right now in debug mode with frequent pauses and on-the-fly bugfix-and-continue changes ... would you know? There'd be no evidence in-universe after all.

          • by religionofpeas ( 4511805 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @04:25AM (#52240001)

            Without ANY bugs? Really?

            You've never lost your keys and then found them later in a place you were certain you've looked ?

          • by ranton ( 36917 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @04:27AM (#52240019)

            As for those that think this level of simulation is impossible, it isn't.

            Without ANY bugs? Really? The only way this idea works is if you have a divine programmer who cannot make any mistakes who created the universe. This is more like scientology than science.

            Whose to say there aren't bugs? As a physics major in college I could certainly be convinced many aspects of general relativity and quantum mechanics could be considered bugs. Nothing can move faster than the speed of light? Oops. Quantum entanglement and superposition? We'll fix those in version 2.5. Hopefully by version 4 we can finally get the world to run by what you call Newtonian physics with no exceptions.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Coisiche ( 2000870 )

            Without ANY bugs? Really?

            Two articles ago there was something [slashdot.org] that looks a lot like a bug to me.

          • by sosume ( 680416 )

            What if the programmer is an AI program itself? I'd wager that a self-aware computer won't make silly logic mistakes. What if that AI is residing in another layer of simulation?

          • by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @08:04AM (#52240803)

            As for those that think this level of simulation is impossible, it isn't.

            Without ANY bugs? Really? The only way this idea works is if you have a divine programmer who cannot make any mistakes who created the universe. This is more like scientology than science.

            If we are in a simulation, I would anticipate it to have about 3 lines of code:

            1. initialize multidimensional structure full of 0s with one huge number in one location

            2. Apply unified theory of everything to structure

            3. goto 2.

          • by NickFortune ( 613926 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @08:31AM (#52240913) Homepage Journal

            Without ANY bugs? Really? The only way this idea works is if you have a divine programmer who cannot make any mistakes who created the universe

            Reminds me of one of my favourites from /usr/games/fortune


                    "Yo, Mike!"
                    "Yeah, Gabe?"
                    "We got a problem down on Earth. In Utah."
                    "I thought you fixed that last century!"
                    "No, no, not that. Someone's found a security problem in the physics program. They're getting energy out of nowhere."
                    "Blessit! Lemme look... Hey, it's there all right! OK, just a sec... There, that ought to patch it. Dist it out, wouldja?"
                            -- Cold Fusion, 1989

          • by rhazz ( 2853871 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @08:37AM (#52240975)
            Maybe all the schizophrenics are a processing thread like the rest of us, but with the DEBUG=true. They see the simulation for what it really is. And without realizing it we set their DEBUG=false by pumping them full of drugs.
            • by igny ( 716218 )
              Considering the rate at which hallucinogenic or other psychotic drugs are being developed/ discovered, it is much more likely that we all live in a hallucination of some megalomaniac.
          • Without ANY bugs? Really?

            Surely the whole of quantum mechanics is a bug? Spooky action at a distance?

      • Re:Senile? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Teancum ( 67324 ) <[robert_horning] [at] [netzero.net]> on Friday June 03, 2016 @12:37AM (#52239209) Homepage Journal

        I fervently wish he'd leave off the Mars stuff until SpaceX was on a solid footing as a profitable launch company with rapid cadence.

        How can you say that SpaceX is not profitable at the moment? They have not had an investment round for several years now, except for the Google investment that seems to be aimed at something other that building rockets. SpaceX is also going to have well over a dozen launches at the current launch rate unless there is a major glitch that appears which would ground the launch fleet.

        This comment would have been appropriate in 2009 or earlier when SpaceX was still flying the Falcon 1 and still struggling to simply get into orbit with only announced plans for the Falcon 9 and some test hardware in the assembly line. That is no longer the case right now.

        If Elon Musk succeeds at sending a probe to Mars in 2018 like he already announced, it isn't just talking about Mars but rather actually going there. He also committed to sending at least one payload to Mars on every Hohmann Transfer Orbit opportunity between the Earth and Mars for as long as the company exists in the future (and mentioned in the above video). The question isn't just pontificating about what the future could be like, but rather holding actual hardware that will be on the surface of Mars in a definite time table.

        When companies talk about spaceflight, I always look at "bent metal" to see how serious they are about getting the job done. SpaceX certainly has plenty of bent metal to prove they are serious about going into space and a growing resume of completed missions in space.

      • Re:Senile? (Score:5, Informative)

        by starless ( 60879 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @12:44AM (#52239257)

        The idea that we are living inside a simulation is far from original from Musk.
        Perhaps the most prominent contemporary proponent of this idea is the philosopher Nick Bostrom.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        It's also peripherally related to the idea of a Boltzmann brain
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        • by LQ ( 188043 )

          The idea that we are living inside a simulation is far from original from Musk. Perhaps the most prominent contemporary proponent of this idea is the philosopher Nick Bostrom. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

          It's also peripherally related to the idea of a Boltzmann brain https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

          When I first heard this hypothesis I started thinking about how you would model an infinite universe. The distances between the stars compared to the lifespan of a human could be an artificial barrier to limit the size of the simulation.

        • Like the idea of Multiverses (you know, this thing when everytime you make a decision, the whole Universe duplicates in two branches, and in the other branch you made the alternate choice), like the theory of Panspermism (life never born around here but brought by some intergalactic comets from unreachable places), we face here a nice theory that completely eliminates the risk of being tested.

          In other words, it is not a scientific proposal : it's a faith that is proposed to you.
          And a low-grade one at that.

        • by bigpat ( 158134 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @09:46AM (#52241419)

          The idea that we are living inside a simulation is far from original from Musk.
          Perhaps the most prominent contemporary proponent of this idea is the philosopher Nick Bostrom.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

          It's also peripherally related to the idea of a Boltzmann brain
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

          Also there is Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" [wikipedia.org] which describes prisoners in a cave viewing the shadows on the wall as their reality and similarly our own view of reality being perhaps like a "shadow" of a meta reality.

      • Re:Senile? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by eth1 ( 94901 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @12:45AM (#52239263)

        Is it just me or does it start to seem like ol' Elon is going senile?

        Not senile, but self-indulgent. Any college sophomore can deal with the same ideas and get nowhere. And then there's Mars. I fervently wish he'd leave off the Mars stuff until SpaceX was on a solid footing as a profitable launch company with rapid cadence.

        Isn't the entire purpose of SpaceX to get to Mars? The rocket launch business is just to fund things and develop the technology.

        I suspect this is why there hasn't been a rush to go public - it could scupper that long-term mission when investors start demanding moar profits NOW.

    • This is just repackaging Anselm's Ontological argument for the existence of God: postulating "a being of which no greater can be conceived" would necessarily mean God exists. Just like living in a computer simulation: imagine "a computer simulation where no greater simulation can be conceived".

      But it doesn't make things real. Just because you'd have to imagine a real God doesn't necessarily make it exist outside your head. Same with the simulation.

      Neat thought experiment, not a proof.

      • by Gamer_2k4 ( 1030634 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @09:23AM (#52241249)
        The interesting thing to me is that this is just religion given techy words so it sounds more "rational" or "thought-provoking." Both a simulation and a creation would require a creator - some greater being outside of what we consider reality. In fact, when it comes down to it, do you really lose anything by calling the Christian (or Muslim or Jewish or whatever you like) theology a description of a computer simulation?
    • Why, because he does not believe in a mystical being floating somewhere that refuses to confirm or deny 'the rules' but will judge and punish/reward every single human when they die based on those rules?
      Or because he takes a more pragmatic path to considering a little further away from the normal 'on no, we are going to die, but we dont want to, god!' crowd, but still wants to perhaps believe in some purpose, therefore considers this to be a possibility?
      Or perhaps because he is willing to openly state what

      • Why, because he does not believe in a mystical being floating somewhere that refuses to confirm or deny 'the rules' but will judge and punish/reward every single human when they die based on those rules?

        Sounds like you're taking an opportunity to inject an anti-religious argument where no pro-religious argument has been made. Besides, if we were in a simulation, wouldn't this still be the case? There would be someone else on the other side who has created rules, and hasn't confirmed or denied them?

        Or because he takes a more pragmatic path to considering a little further away from the normal 'on no, we are going to die, but we dont want to, god!' crowd, but still wants to perhaps believe in some purpose, therefore considers this to be a possibility?

        He doesn't consider it a possibility. He's stating that it's a reality with the smallest improbable chance (1 in 1 billion) that it's not the case.

        Or perhaps because he is willing to openly state what he HIMSELF may think, rather than hiding behind the skirts of an organised religion? Or because he is not making a claim that would lead to greater power for any particular involved group? Or, most likely, because he does not agree with your own personal worldview?

        Maybe you're not replying to the parent post, but if you are, it'

  • by Austerity Empowers ( 669817 ) on Thursday June 02, 2016 @11:34PM (#52238895)

    ...we'd be the Jetsons. Cars have been getting better every year for 100 years. Soon we'll have electric cars, hybrid electric cars. If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then cars will fly.

    CEO logic, avoid it.

  • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Thursday June 02, 2016 @11:35PM (#52238897)

    The circles of CEOs and geniuses rarely intersect. Not even this time.

    • by quax ( 19371 )

      Indeed. Love the guy, and there are other seriously high flying theorists who entertain the idea [wavewatching.net], but the notion that a classical computer could simulate reality is nevertheless rather far fetched.

      At any rate, there is no value in the notion, unless you can derive some theory from it, that'll allow for an experimental test.

      • At any rate, there is no value in the notion, unless you can derive some theory from it, that'll allow for an experimental test.

        "Testing the hypothesis physically

        A long-shot method to test one type of simulation hypothesis was proposed in 2012 in a joint paper by physicists Silas R. Beane from the University of Bonn (now at the University of Washington, Seattle), and Zohreh Davoudi and Martin J. Savage from the University of Washington, Seattle.[10] Under the assumption of finite computational resources, the simulation of the universe would be performed by dividing the continuum space-time into a discrete set of points. In analogy w

  • by invictusvoyd ( 3546069 ) on Thursday June 02, 2016 @11:35PM (#52238905)
    10000 years later there will still be linux users and they will still be playing pong and tetris and having one windows box hidden somewhere offline just , just for "gaming".
  • by fibonacci8 ( 260615 ) on Thursday June 02, 2016 @11:38PM (#52238925)
    Sister Miriam Godwinson was quoted today saying, "We must Dissent."
    • by pezpunk ( 205653 )

      We are all aware that the senses can be deceived, the eyes fooled. But how can we be sure our senses are not being deceived at any particular time, or even all the time? Might I just be a brain in a tank somewhere, tricked all my life into believing in the events of this world by some insane computer? And does my life gain or lose meaning based on my reaction to such solipsism?
      - Project PYRRHO, Specimen 46, Vat 7. Activity recorded M.Y. 2302.22467. (TERMINATION OF SPECIMEN ADVISED)

      (even more appropriate, fr

  • by Nutria ( 679911 ) on Thursday June 02, 2016 @11:40PM (#52238933)

    Of course there is: the infinite regression of where did the uber-advanced civilization come from which created our Universe?

  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <bruce@perens.com> on Thursday June 02, 2016 @11:41PM (#52238937) Homepage Journal

    This is just a fancy sort of solipsism.

    You could also describe it as a modern form of faith-based explanation for existence couched in a scientific framework, but otherwise much as conventional religions attempted to explain existence before the scientific framework came about. It explains nothing, because if the world is a simulation, there is an outside to the simulation and one still has to explain how that world came about. Just as older explainers said the world was created by gods, leaving open the question of how the gods came about.

    • by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @12:00AM (#52239031)

      Maybe it's a bit easier to see life as a game or simulation when you're one of the clear winners, and it all seems so easy to you. It's got to be a bit surreal to have the resources of a billionaire like that.

    • by L. J. Beauregard ( 111334 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @12:08AM (#52239079)

      if the world is a simulation, there is an outside to the simulation

      "You're very clever, young man, very clever; but it's turtles all the way down!"

    • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @02:35AM (#52239667)
      So then, what came before the Big Bang? What exists inside of a black hole?

      Restricting yourself to purely scientific explanations doesn't make these sorts of questions go away. It just means you're willfully ignoring them - pretending stuff outside the reach of scientific inquiry doesn't exist, just like you're accusing others of pretending things outside the reach of scientific inquiry do exist.

      Goedel proved nearly a century ago [wikipedia.org] that any logical system is incomplete - there will always be things within the system which cannot be proven by the logic within that system. That is, the set of statements about the universe isn't divided into true and false things. It's divided into true, false, and cannot be determined. So any philosophy based on assuming things are false unless proven true is logically inconsistent. And believing nothing exists outside our current system is just as much a faith as believing something exists outside. The only logically sound stance is uncertainty about what if anything exists beyond our perception.

      In that respect, Musk has the more logically consistent argument. He offers no proof but at least acknowledges the possibility that he may be wrong. You on the other hand offer no proof but seem certain that you are right (that he is wrong).
      • by bingoUV ( 1066850 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @04:27AM (#52240011)

        He offers no proof but at least acknowledges the possibility that he may be wrong. You on the other hand offer no proof but seem certain that you are right (that he is wrong).

        Bruce didn't claim here to be certain that Elon is wrong. Bruce said that Elon's statement explains nothing. Similar to how "God created us" doesn't explain our existence.

        Elon also doesn't acknowledge that he may be wrong (except by not forcing everyone to swear by it by all that is holy) - he estimates the chances of us (at least him and one other person) not living in a simulation. So he acknowledges that we may not be living in a simulation, but doesn't acknowledge that his estimate of the probability may be wrong - which is his actual statement.

    • by freeze128 ( 544774 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @02:51AM (#52239719)
      Occam's razor suggests that Elon Musk is just trolling us.
    • by Ramze ( 640788 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @03:50AM (#52239899)

      Except the theory that we're in a simulation makes zero sense. The very quantum mechanical oddities that people who embrace this idea call upon as being inherent to a simulation are also critical to important natural processes -- like fusion in the heart of stars which depends on quantum tunneling of protons. Photosynthesis depends on quantum-tunneling as well. If the quantum nature of the universe is some sort of evidence that we're a simulation, then what exactly are we simulating if the "real world" outside of the simulation does not depend on the exact same quantum processes? Obviously the hypothetical "real world" MUST have different physics if our quantum physical laws are merely side-effects of the limitations of our simulation. So... How does fusion happen in the "real world?" What about photosynthesis? How about LEDs, solar cells, and various computer components that all rely on quantum effects?

      It's absurd to think any of those things would be possible without our very specific physics. The only possible explanation if we're in a simulation would be that the "real world" has completely different physics than ours. That makes me wonder why beings living in such a universe would bother to simulate a fantasy world where physics not only doesn't work the way it does in the "real world," but would also bother to create an entire universe populated by sentient beings just to see how such fake physics would play out. Oddly, we'd be like a video game instead of a simulation.

      Sooner or later, every computer program generates a flaw. Even if it's not a bug in programming, a single bit flip from a cosmic ray could cause havoc. One would think with a simulation our size running for this long would have produced more than a few noticeable bugs, and it would be a serious pain to roll back the universe from a saved state just so that the beings living on a slimy spec of rock around an average main sequence star in an uninteresting galaxy in a not especially special cluster of galaxies wouldn't remember the glitch and be self-aware that they're in a simulation. Oh, gee... I guess we all just signed Elon's death warrant now that we all let the beans spill that he's in on our simulation masters' secret.

      • by Ihlosi ( 895663 )
        > The only possible explanation if we're in a simulation would be that the "real world" has completely different physics than ours.

        Well yes. It could have more spatial or temporal dimensions. Or no laws of thermodynamics. Fun.

        > One would think with a simulation our size running for this long would have produced more than a few noticeable bugs,

        The accumulation of the effects of such bugs and calculation errors is called entropy. The effect of the systems limited memory is called conservation

  • You have already lost. Respawn at home base.
  • by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Thursday June 02, 2016 @11:44PM (#52238961)

    then will the owners please debug the code and/or get the hardware fixed? I'm getting sick and tired of glitches like 'Real Housewives', Kardashians, and Donald Trump.

    • Well, Trump is actually a patch -- the simulation is using too much RAM, so we need to install walls to limit our worldsize. Likewise, the computer running the general EU area is running out of RAM, too, hence the whole Brexit thing.

      To quote TFS, "Tell me what's wrong with that argument. Is there a flaw in that argument?"

      (And this general line of thinking is nothing new -- see, for instance, the Boltzmann brain [wikipedia.org].)
    • by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @12:41AM (#52239237) Homepage Journal

      Really, those are the worst in your opinion? How about Marx, Lenin, Mao, Stalin, Hitler, FDR, Hoover, Quadaffi (or however you spell it), Putin? Genocides, wars, murders, kidnappings, rapes, robberies, death, destruction .... How about stupidity, collectivism of all forms, types and shapes, ignorance, idleness? Governments are the epithome of the worst collectivists systems, religions, and we are mentioning Kardashiand and Trump?

      But seriously, the Matrix was a great movie but it makes a bad religion and a bad belief system. What Musk is saying is akin to any other religion out there and his 'proof' is as good as a 'burning bush' or a talking snake.

  • by Tailhook ( 98486 ) on Thursday June 02, 2016 @11:45PM (#52238971)

    When challenged to explain the lack of evidence for "god" theists will sometimes argue that the universe was deliberately designed not to reveal the evidence. Naturally one is left wondering what difference there is between a universe that contains no evidence of a creator and a universe that had no creator.

    What's the difference between a simulated universe and a "real" universe if the two are indistinguishable?

  • Weak argument (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Maow ( 620678 ) on Thursday June 02, 2016 @11:47PM (#52238983) Journal

    I find that pretty weak.

    Things plateau and don't always improve at a linear, never mind exponential, rate.

    Sure Moore's Law has served us well for a generation and a bit, but on his "evolutionary scale" it'll likely be seen as a blip.

    All bubbles are obvious after they burst, but when inside one, it can be hard to recognise them.

    I have lots of respect for Musk, but this just seems ridiculous.

    We had transoceanic ships half a millenium ago, and it improved quite a bit from those days, but today's tech would be basically recognizable to someone from the 1600s, even if unbelievably large in scale. Metal ships & propellers seem to be the biggest advances (disregarding nuclear fuel sources vs ICEs) and those aren't considered new by any means.

    We've had air travel for over a century, yet in the past 30-40 years there hasn't been that much improvement; in fact just try to get a supersonic passenger flight now - can't do it.

    We've had men in space for half a century, had men on the moon almost half a century ago - can't do it now - USA can't even put a man in space on certified technology.

    Mr Musk must be aware of these limitations, surely.

    In light of those examples, I call his arguments on us living in a simulation very weak.

  • by mfh ( 56 ) on Thursday June 02, 2016 @11:51PM (#52238993) Homepage Journal

    Fuck you for all the pain and suffering, cunts.

  • I had a professor who posited that we were all part of a Matrix-style simulation. How could we possibly know? My response, "Commit suicide." If it's a simulation, you'll come out of it. Mr. Musk, prove me wrong. What are the odds that I'm wrong? A billion-to-one?

  • Slashdot is definitely a computer simulation. How can it possibly be real?
    • by ChunderDownunder ( 709234 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @12:24AM (#52239161)

      Has anyone ever noticed that Elon is an anagram of "Neo L" ?

      Surely that's a clue that we're living in a matrix.

      • Has anyone ever noticed that Elon is an anagram of "Neo L" ?

        Surely that's a clue that we're living in a matrix.

        Has anyone ever noticed that Elon is an anagram of "Neo L" ?

        Surely that's a clue that we're living in a matrix.

        No, it's a clue that we're living in a trim ax.

  • by shess ( 31691 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @12:05AM (#52239067) Homepage

    Let's say you have a computer program with 10,000 lines of code in it. How many bugs are there? OK, 100,000 lines, are there 10x as many bugs or 12x? 1M lines? Let's say you have a 10M-line computer program, there are going to be tens or hundreds of thousands of bugs in that thing.

    How many bugs have we seen in reality? I don't mean "Oh, _that's_ interesting" and later we figure out general relativity - I mean bugs, the shit bluescreens, or if you look in a certain direction, things are different. How many have we found?

    AFAICT, we've found _zero_. Every time we find a discrepency in the universe, later we figure out that it wasn't a discrepency, it's how the entire universe works, and our previous understanding was simply wrong. EVERY TIME. So either the bugs self-heal and become consistent universal features, or they weren't bugs in the first place.

    If the universe is a self-organizing emergent property on some very fundamental operator, then I don't see how "simulated" differs from "real". We don't write software that way. We don't build hardware that way. I don't mean a little bit, I mean AT ALL, that's entirely alien to everything in software and hardware, to the point where you might as well be talking about something else entirely.

    • Or it could just be this is the umpty infinitillionth run of this particular simulation, where the bugs have, for the most part, been fixed?
  • by Raenex ( 947668 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @12:20AM (#52239137)
  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @12:22AM (#52239153)

    if this is a simulation, all he offered was a simulated argument.

  • by bistromath007 ( 1253428 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @12:32AM (#52239187)
    Elon Musk Gets Totally Baked, Flouts Thermodynamics in Attempt to Philosophically Construct Secular Afterlife

    I mean, I don't even think he's completely wrong, but holy shit the way he's saying this makes it clear he was toasted.
  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @06:38AM (#52240453)

    s there a flaw in that argument?"

    There are lots of flaws in that argument. It's basically a version of the brain-in-a-jar [wikipedia.org] argument. It is an argument possibly from a false premise. It has no physical evidence and (so far) no testable model to verify it. It's a mathematical and philosophical argument based on extrapolations and probabilities and axioms, not a (yet) physics argument based on empirical evidence.

    This is one of those times where somebody from physics tries to play in philosophy without knowing that this is ground that has been covered before.

  • by internet-redstar ( 552612 ) on Friday June 03, 2016 @07:10AM (#52240597) Homepage
    Typical talk of a cokehead... And even if we live in a 'simulation', who cares; it's OUR REALITY... get sober Elon!

An age is called Dark not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it. -- James Michener, "Space"

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