Discovering that our world was a computer simulation presented a second unexpected revelation: not all of us had physical bodies to escape into.
The world was a simulation, and most of us simulated beings within it; made to believe we were real, to make the genuine humans want to stay.
I think a lot more could have been done with the Matrix trilogy by the Wachowski brothers, so much in fact that I could probably base the rest of the sagas for this month on it. I’ll try to resist that urge.
One thought I’ve had before when thinking about the possibility of being in the matrix, or of being a brain in a vat, is ‘what if I’m just a part of the simulation?’ I mean, presumably if you make a simulation of the world, you’re going to need a few simulated people, right? In fact, that’s what many game developers are working towards when breating non-player characters’ AI for their game worlds. Perhaps one day they won’t just be creating programs that mimic people, but simulated people, programs which run like a human mind and are tricked into thinking that they, and the virtual world around them are real.
It sounds absurd at first. How could we possibly just be simulations. But then is it any more strange that a conscious being should emerge from a string of complex computer codes, than emerging from what is basically meat with electrical signals running through it? In fact, it might even make more sense if we were just electrical signals and no meat: one less interaction to explain then.
So maybe most of us are simulated persons, with no physical body outside of the simulated world we reside in to go to. Perhaps the heroes of our time, the people who seem to accomplish the impossible and beat all the odds, are the real people (or their avatars), plugged into our world to play games.