It’s been said life is like an illusion; a drop of dew, a flash of lightning, a phantom, a dream. Such contemplations have endured for thousands of years, fueling philosophers, Mystics, poets, and even scientists. But what if life is not a dream at all? What if life is a video game?
I know you’re rolling your eyes right now, figuring “here comes another silly column” and wondering why on earth I’d waste my time writing such drivel. It’s a reasonable thought, and it’s running through my head right now, too. But…and you knew there would be a but…some very well-paid, highly-respected and brilliant cosmologists have built a strong case for exactly that possibility, namely, what we experience as real life is nothing more than a simulation created on an otherworldly, super-duper quantum computer.
Now I know Hollywood has explored this subject, albeit with really big explosions and killer robots intent on enslaving or wiping out humanity, but underlying such fanfare sits a logical conundrum rather impossible to refute. Here’s the logic:
If ours is not the only universe (and opinions in the scientific community lean heavily in that direction), and if in fact what’s true is that our universe is but one among an infinite number in an infinite multiverse, then it follows that intelligent life also exists elsewhere among the infinite worlds in the infinite multiverse. You with me?
OK. If that’s the case, then it’s also true that some of the other intelligence in the multiverse have developed advanced technology, and if they survived (always a big question, except in the mind of Donald Trump), some technology is far more advanced than ours. In fact, with an infinite opportunity, we can posit the notion that technology far more advanced than ours definitely exists. Hang in there, I’m getting to the point.
So, we’re investing big R&D money into creating digital Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR) and already envisioning quantum computers (all the computing power of your desktop compressed into a device the size of a grain of sand). All this combined means the prospects for some killer AI/VR video games are nearly infinite, and if this is true for us, imagine what’s true for those super-highly advanced civilizations out there in the multiverse.
Now suppose, you, I, all and everything…our entire universe, it’s past, present and future, is nothing more than self-generating computer code, a simulation-game among an infinity of simulations amid a multiverse of infinite universes. Can you prove otherwise? What if everything – the family photos, George Washington, the Parthenon, the ancient cave paintings in Lascaeux, the taste of orange marmalade, sex, all of it – is nothing but digital information generated within an infinitely powerful computer created by a far higher intelligence than we currently possess? What if?
Well, you might answer, “So what!” and, frankly, that’s a reasonable response. If indeed life is a video game, does that change anything? Of course not. But, it does bring our physics and science-based mathematical scenarios of Big Bangs, Super String Theory and the Bubble Universes of Inflation full circle and back around to the unfathomable and uncomfortable mystery of the metaphysical; if our universe has indeed been created within a quantum computer designed by an unimaginably powerful, super-intelligent being, is that not the basic narrative underlying the world’s religions?