Maybe Second Life isn’t that far from Reality.
A little while ago I stumbled across a very interesting article in a philosophy journal. It spoke about an interesting theory of reality, and the possibility that we are all actually living in a simulated world.
I've heard about the simulated reality theory before and never really paid it much attention - the idea that we're all just pieces of computer programming, living and thinking as defined by some arbitrary piece of code seemed a little crackpot to me - maybe even cultish. Yet when I read the article I was amazed to discover that actually, there's a very reasonable, and almost scary, argument as to why this could be the case.
As users of Second Life, we're all familiar with virtual worlds, what they mean, what they look like, and how they're steadily evolving. The Second Life of 2009 was a very different place to what it was five years ago, and no doubt we'll see just as much change within the next. The same can be said of Artificial Intelligence, year after year it improves, becoming increasingly human-like. The question is, where will it stop? There is no doubt in mind, that at some point in the future, some lab somewhere, will have developed a complete, living breathing virtual world, with completely autonomous avatars controlled by exceedingly sophisticated AI. Chances are it won't be just one either, but rather thousands upon thousands of emulations created for all kinds of purposes. But then what if one of those simulated worlds evolve to the point where it decides to create it's own simulation? We quickly get started on an almost endless chain of worlds within worlds, simulations within simulations - where only one original exists, but countless emulations. And if any one of those worlds was singled out, it's not only possible, but incredibly likely, that that particular world is one of the simulations.
Of course there's loads of arguments as to why this shouldn't be the case - perhaps such simulations can't occur, or wouldn't be deemed ethical by a civilisation advanced enough to create them. On top of that, most of the general arguments against creationism also stand. But still it's a compelling thought isn't it?