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Elon Musk Thinks There's A "One In Billions" Chance We Don't Live In A Computer Simulation

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Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

clockJun 7 2016, 10:52 UTC

Elon Musk at Recode's 2016 Code Conference. Recode/YouTube

It sounds like Elon Musk might have swallowed "the red pill."

Part Bond villain, part Tony Stark, Elon Musk seems to be hellbent on pushing our world forward, technologically. Pretty bizarre, then, that he thinks there is a real possibility the world is just a simulation.

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Musk – who founded SpaceX, Tesla Motors, OpenAI, and Paypal – took to the stage at Recode's 2016 Code Conference and got philosophical about computer simulations and the nature of reality. On answering a question from journalist Joshua Topolsky, he began to explain how it’s very likely we’re living in the computer games of a more advanced society.

He said it’s fair to assume we’ll soon be able to create games that are indistinguishable from reality, considering the rate of technological advancement in computer technology has allowed us to go from the game “Pong” to photorealistic virtual reality in just over 40 years, 

He concluded, “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.”

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But if the thought of being a mere “Sim” in an inauthentic reality makes you feel blue, Musk says it’s actually a positive thing. In fact, he believes we should hope this is the case. Check out the full excerpt of the conference below:


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  • tag
  • SpaceX,

  • Elon Musk,

  • Tesla Motors,

  • artificial intelligence,

  • virtual reality,

  • computer simulation

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