Elon Musk cites Pong as evidence that we are already living in a simulation

Tech billionaire questions what the development of photo-realistic 3D worlds ‘imply about our reality’

Anthony Cuthbertson
Wednesday 01 December 2021 18:40
Comments

Related video: Elon Musk 'tells Tesla employees not to race to boost deliveries by end of Q4

Elon Musk has cited the 1970s video game Pong in order to reassert his belief that our perception of reality is in fact a hyper-realistic computer simulation.

Responding to a tweet about Pong posted by a popular engineering trivia account, the SpaceX and Tesla boss said that the advancement in graphics and gameplay in the years since it was released implies that humanity is on a path to create digital worlds indistinguishable from the real world.

“49 years later, games are photo-realistic 3D worlds,” the billionaire wrote. “What does that trend continuing imply about our reality.”

Musk has previously said that he subscribes to a simulation hypothesis laid out in a 2003 paper by the philosopher Nick Bostrom, which posits that future advances in computing power will allow later generations to run a vast number of highly detailed simulations of their forebears.

If this eventuality occurs, Bostrom claimed, “then it could be the case that the vast majority of minds like ours do not belong to the original race but rather to people simulated by the advanced descendants of an original race.”

On the basis of this paper, Musk has stated that there is a 99.99 per cent chance that the universe we inhabit is a computer simulation.

Tools like Unreal Engine enable the creation of photoreal, real-time 3D environments, while technologies like virtual reality headsets and haptic feedback suits offer a sense of what it is actually like to inhabit these simulated worlds.

The idea that we are living in a simulation has been a popular trope in science fiction films and literature over the last half century, with one of the most notable examples being The Matrix movie franchise.

The film’s premise is that reality as we know it is in fact a computer simulation that we experience through a cable plugged directly into the back of our skull.

One of Elon Musk’s numerous business ventures utilizes a rudimentary version of this technology in the form of a high bandwidth brain-machine interface that provides a direct connection between the brain and a computer.

Elon Musk says his Neuralink startup will create 'human-AI symbiosis'

The Neuralink startup initially aims to treat neurological disorders, while later iterations of the device could offer wearers “enhanced abilities” like streaming music directly to their brain, regulating anxiety levels, and ultimately allowing humans to compete with advanced forms of artificial intelligence.

Earlier this year, Neuralink revealed that it has trained a monkey to play Pong using only its mind.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in