Eventually, in the narrative of the artificial intelligence singularity, computers become so advanced that desktop PCs are able to process with incredible speed beyond the collective brain-power of every man, woman, and child who ever lived. And if this were the case, a proposal known as "simulation theory" suggests that the chances of being a product of one of these simulations is almost guaranteed. So how did one Oxford University Professor call everything in reality into question?
The paper at the center of the controversy is titled "Are You Living in a Computer Simulation?" Nick Bostrom, award winning Swedish Philosopher and professor may have come dangerously close to disproving reality as we know it. Circulated in 2003, the paper goes down the rabbit hole to suggest that we are not, as many have taken for granted, in a physical world governed by immutable laws that transcend the fabric of the universe dictated by forces unknown at its periphery.
Instead, it puts forward the following three possible scenarios given today's already emerging technological trends. First, it says it is quite possible that the human race will inevitably go extinct before it achieves a "posthuman" stage where artificial intelligence is able to improve upon itself in a Ray Kurzweil style AI singularity. If that is not the case, it suggests the idea that some factor in the human race's future will prevent more than a handful of advanced computer simulations of its own past from being built.
And the final scenario it puts forward is the most shocking of all - that we are currently living in an environment generated entirely by a computer. And that's not all. According to the paper, even our very minds may be simply byproducts of the computer simulation. It states that rather than a mere possibility, the likelihood of our being made from information is surprisingly high.
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