Wow, this one is a bit mind-bending. I recently read an article by a philosophy professor at Oxford University that discussed the probability that we all live in The Matrix. Yep, you heard that right. Now here is the best part; he actually postulates that there is a high probability that this is true!
His argument is based on something he calls the “simulation argument.” Based on this, the author says that “there is a significant probability that [we] are living in a computer simulation.” One of the underlying assumptions of this argument is “substrate independence,” which means that conscious minds can live in a silicon based processor just as easily as biological neurons. This means that our minds could be implemented on a computer system.
Of course we do not yet have the technological capability to implement a mind on a computer, but the author points out that we could exist in a virtual reality created by some advanced civilization. Or even a simulated world created by God that we would occupy in the afterlife to somehow prove ourselves before moving on. He goes on further to say that if we do all live in a simulated realty, there’s no way we would know because we would not be able to differentiate between what is real and what is simulated.
The author lays out a lot of science babble to discuss this argument, but what I wrote above represents the gist of it. For all you geeks out there, if you want to read the full article it can be found here. The bottom line is that I find it hard to believe that this is possible, but it is interesting to think about nonetheless. Better stock up on your Matrix sunglasses and Neo sunglasses just in case!