Are We Sims?

Audrey Whalen, Reporter

This theory revolves around the idea that humans are being controlled by someone like a sim. Someone is making out decisions and makes us do the things we do. The world is a whole simulation and when we die, we wake up.  

Depending who is asked, there’s a 20 to 50 percent chance that you are living in a computer simulation. Not like “The Matrix,”, the virtual people in that movie had real bodies, albeit suspended in weird, pod-like things and plugged into a supercomputer, according to Imagine instead a super-advanced version of The Sims, running on a machine with more processing power than all the minds on Earth.

Oxford University philosopher Nick Bostrom argues that we may very well all be Sims. This possibility rests on three developments:  the aforementioned megacomputer. The survival and evolution of the human race to a “posthuman” stage. A decision by these posthumans to research one’s own evolutionary history, or simply amuse themselves, by creating a – virtual simulacra of ancestors, with independent consciousnesses, according to

Meanwhile, in the world we know, virtual or not, some computer experts predict one will have such computing power by the middle of this century, though the ability to model the minds of even the  most remote ancestors lags woefully behind. At present, virtualization technology enables us to run multiple “virtual computers” on a single computer, each with a different operating system, each completely isolated from crashes or viruses that disable the others.

Virtualization and advanced simulation will have an enormous, and largely invisible, impact on  lives for a long time to come. Invisibility kind of the point – these technologies enable studies, experiment, explore, and take action on a global scale while minimizing or erasing altogether the physical resources we use in the process. Medical students will be able to practice heart surgery on virtual patients before assisting in life-or-death operations.

New risks will accompany these changes, too. Home computers are vulnerable to viruses and malware, of course, but centralized, Cloud-based processing and storage exposes one to new risks, including large-scale data-theft and sudden loss of access to, say, our Great American Novel-in-progress. And as one comes to rely deeply on sophisticated advanced simulation, according to