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I Believe We Live in a Simulation


I talked about this at the recent VivaTech VIP dinner in Paris. So, on this fine Sunday, I wrote it up. I believe we live in a simulation.


When I was a kid 40 years ago, I lived in a small village without running water or electricity. We had to carry water from a well about 200 meters away and used oil lamps when I did homework in the evenings. A few years later, we had a water pump installed in our own yard, which was a huge improvement. Then another year later, we had tap water. When electricity became available, it was only available for a few hours a day. That also improved very quickly. Now we have cell phones, the internet, and blockchain.

Given the exponential growth in technology, imagine 20 years from now, will we have the technology to plug a rod into our heads just like in the movie Matrix and have everything simulated for us? Probably yes.

If 20 years is a bit tight, what about 50 years? Or 100 years? It’s not if; it’s just a matter of time. Let’s be safe, and say it will take 500 years to get there. I think it is pretty safe to say in 500 years, we will have the technology to simulate anything we want to see or feel, or experience. 

When we can, we will. Millions or billions will. 

Look at Nintendo games. Because we have it, millions of people play it. That’s also a type of simulation. When Super Mario runs forward, the world in front of him gets simulated for him. When he runs backward, the world behind him gets simulated.

Today, when I look at a wall, I don’t know what’s behind it. I don’t know if it is there. When I walk around the corner, the things behind the wall get simulated for me. It’s a possibility.

For you, say you are 200 years old, about to die, and have money to spare. And you are offered to re-live 200 years of your life, or a different variation of it, in a simulation that will take one hour in real-time. Will you pay to do it? Of course.

When we can, we will. Millions or billions will. (The world will be more populous in the future.)

What's the probability of this? The counter-question is easier to answer. What’s the probability that we live in a real-world and not a simulation?

If we already have the technology, it will be one in millions or billions. Or 0.000001 at best. Mathematically, if we round to 3 or 5 significant digits, it is a 0% chance.

Or are we actually the first time? What are the chances that this 500 years is the first time in our universe? In this world/simulation, our universe is 13.8 billion years old. 500 out of 13.8 billion is also mathematically 0 if we round to 5 significant digits.

So, mathematically, there is a 0% chance we are not in a simulation. So, we are.

Does this mean life is meaningless?

No, it doesn’t. Life is still very meaningful.

We don’t know what type of simulation we are in. 

We could be in a simulation where we are stimulating ourselves. And if we die and we just wake up. That would be the best case. 

We could be in an individual simulation where everything is simulated for you, including all your friends and this article.

We could be a group simulation where we are in a group dream like in the movie Inception. And when we wake up, we see our friends.

Or we could be in a simulation simulated by a higher dimension being, just like how we simulate Super Mario. When he dies, he doesn’t get to interact with us. The next re-spawn may or may not be him. He dies; he vanishes. In this scenario, if we die, we may just vanish. We won’t have much ability to interact with our simulators unless they want to. This also explains ghosts, god, supernatural beings, and much other unexplainable stuff. It may just be our simulators interacting with (some of) us or just part of the simulation.

It doesn’t matter. But the fact that we don’t know what kind of simulation we are in makes it interesting. We can’t just die. We still need to make the best out of this simulation.

Taking Pressure Away

Because we know we are in a simulation, many of life’s pressures go away.

A simulation has programmed challenges that you can’t avoid and some randomness that just happens by chance. We don’t know which one is which. But it doesn’t matter. We just gotta make the best out of what we have. We still have to take life seriously. But it takes all the pressure away. Whenever you face a new challenge, know that it’s just part of the simulation. And you just need to make the best out of it.

My team knows this. So whenever we face a challenge, my team always tells me: “hey, it’s just a game.” It does take the pressure away. I started to think like this in 2015.

Take work seriously. Take life seriously. But don’t take yourself too seriously. Make the best out of your simulation.