Are we in the Matrix? | The Tylt

Are we in the Matrix?

Life is full of the inexplicable. That Mandela Effect? Who remembers the Berenstain Bears? It’s Berenstein, for Christ’s sake, no matter how badly Word wants to correct it. This, among other things, has convinced people that we’re currently living in something like the Matrix, where reality is not only not real, but controlled by unknown beings. Others shake their heads and sigh, opting to believe in more plausible reasons. What do you believe? 

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“The Matrix” premiered in 1999 as a film that bent the mind as much as it bent spoons (of which there are none). The story revolves around Neo (Keanu Reeves), who’s thrust into a conflict between human rebels and evil robots that’ve created a false, people-controlling reality. Not only did this film make audiences think investing in a full leather outfit was a good idea, but it forced them to face the possibility that, hey, maybe everything really isn’t as it seems. 

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The theory that we’re living in a simulated reality has been around far longer than “The Matrix” has. Fourth-century Chinese philosophical text "Zhuangzi" tossed out how we could possibly be living in the dream of a butterfly while Plato went on about that whole cave thing. An article published by The Guardian points out how, scientifically and mathematically speaking, there’s a pretty high chance we’re living in a machine-made reality right now

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Called the “simulation hypothesis,” Nick Bostrom—the Oxford professor who first suggested the theory—argues that, since A.I., virtual reality, and technology in general have progressed so quickly in such a short span of time, it’s likely we’ve reached a point in which someone (or something) has already forced us into a submissive, perpetual dream. We’ve no way of being aware of this (except maybe for those Mandela blips) and, furthermore, we may have no way of ever getting out.

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Think about it: we could be living in a “Sims” game, only it’s us with red diamonds above our heads while the faceless maniac at the keyboard refuses to implement the “rosebud” cheat code so we can make more money without doing anything. 

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Reality is real. End of story. While those in their dorm room listening to Joe Rogan are undoubtedly falling for Bostrom’s simulation theory hook, line and sinker, many others are quick to call out its discrepancies. Brian Eggleston of Stanford University points out that the math Bostrom uses in his theory just doesn’t add up. In fact, when applying Bostrom’s formula, the resulting number indicates there’s actually a very low possibility we’re living in a simulation. 

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While he acknowledges his rebuttal doesn’t prove we’re not living in a simulated reality, Eggleston moves on to debunk a few other things about Bostrom’s hypothesis. One is that there’s more of a likelihood that humanity will be long gone before there’s ever a chance to engulf the world in a simulated reality; the other is that posthuman civilizations probably won’t be interested in making one in the first place. Remember where you put your “Sims” game? Yeah, neither do we. 

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N.Y.U. philosophy professor, Ned Block, is also a skeptic. Block tells Inverse there’s no solid backing in the belief we’re living in a simulated reality since consciousness is evidenced “[to be] the electrochemical processes in the brain.” We have a personal connection with our consciousness, one that can’t be replicated by any machine, no matter how advanced. “[They’re] still computers,” explains Block. “They’re still a description of us that is grinding away, computing what we would do in a given circumstance.” This would limit the simulation’s grasp of reality, making it difficult to replicate it. 

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If you were kind of looking forward to the idea of reality being simulated, sorry. Just stick to making true reality work instead of building straw houses. Those are way easier to blow down.   

FINAL RESULTS
Culture
Are we in the Matrix?
A festive crown for the winner
#MatrixHappening
#MatrixFakeNews