“Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”
“In the game of life and evolution there are three players at the table: human beings, nature, and machines. I am firmly on the side of nature. But nature, I suspect, is on the side of the machines.”
“So what will we do when our intelligence is in the range of a googol (10¹ºº) calculations per second? One thing we may do is to engineer new universes. Similarly, our universe may be the creation of some superintelligences in another universe. In this case, there was an intelligent designer of our universe—that designer would be the evolved intelligence of some other universe that created ours.”
I believe our universe exists inside a machine, a supercomputer running a simulation that is so complex that it will take us several centuries before creating it ourselves.
As a consequence reality is a projection of our consciousness, as in Eastern philosophies or as in Berkeley. Nothing exists if not observed, or better it exists as potential until is calculated into existence by interacting with us. Time travel is technically possible, and so instantly reaching every corner of the universe and beyond. Those who created us live in a dimension above us within an universe that is basically a Russian doll containing ours. I suspect they wonder, like we do, who created them… The hypothesis that the universe may be a digital computer is actually nothing new, it was pioneered in 1967 by Konrad Zuse, the man who built the world’s first programmable computer.
While I cannot prove this idea to be true it’s interesting to notice how, differently from any other idea of “god” humanity ever developed, it should be possible to investigate this one using the scientific method. I have no idea of how we could do that, I am just an artist who was far from being good at maths. But if any computer scientist, or physicist, or curious creative mind is listening, please comment and share your views it’s all up for debate here.
I think one thing we can all agree on is that humans will try to build that machine. It may take centuries but we already started to do it, as a matter of fact increasingly complex universe simulations are already on our map. My take on it is that we will do it because it’s in our nature to do it.
Let’s assume that this freaky idea I am here exposing spreads and becomes mainstream, as I think it will be (even though I doubt I’ll get to see that day). How would that change our culture? Not easy to predict, but you can bet its impact would not be inferior to Darwin’s. The philosophical consequences are many, some I have already mentioned, I’d like to suggest these four for your consideration:
This machine would in practice be for us a huge scientific experiment. I like to imagine it, using a bit of irony, to be regulated by principles like the following:
Well, it may not happen exactly in these terms but I hope I managed to give you a hint of how radical can be the impact of this new thought on our culture. Indeed, it may take centuries for us to build a similar machine, if not millenniums, but if more people start to put their minds on it some strong arguments supporting the digital universe theory may arise already during this century.
One of my primary artistic missions is to accelerate the coming of this awareness by inspiring people who are brighter than me. I am just an artist, a common man who is happy to serve a cause that he considers good. Even if I may well be the only person in the world who pro-actively supports it.
This belief I have here exposed comes form what Jung would call “spirit of the depths” and is at the core of my artistic activity. My other key artistic message, apparently more occult in nature (but the contrary is true), is the Ten Commandments for the Digital Millennium. My mission is not to convince people but to inspire people, especially those from the new generations.
UPDATE: On June 2nd 2016 Elon Musk publicly declared that there is ‘one in billions’ chance we are NOT living in a computer simulation. I am so excited that one of the most influential figures of our time shares my same belief, both because of the tremendous acceleration he’s giving to the arising of this awareness, both because when a such a genius shares your view people will be less inclined to consider you crazy 🙂